April 10th, 2007 | Feature
The Game Center CX Episode Guide
The front-to-back tribute to the Japanese TV show that flies in the face of Nintendo's epilepsy warnings.


Game Center CX Season 14 – Back to Contents
A New Year’s Eve Live Special! Yoiko Festival: The Game Center CX & Yoiko Plan

Skip to Show 2

Game Center CX

We begin with former AP Tojima, our navigator for this beginning to the show. He walks around the control room, showing us the food packs, saying hi to people, playing the sound board, pointing out the fax hall, and so on before heading into the site of the night’s events.

The show is set in Fuji’s giant "dome" sound stage — so giant that the whole production only takes up about a fifth of it. Sitting at the small table against the far wall is Arino, peeling an orange. Behind him, a wall of games; all the ones that have been on the show, in fact, categorized by those he finished and those he didn’t.

Tojima asks Arino how he’s doing. And then, after a requisite dramatic intro video, we rejoin Arino, who chats a little bit more, and then we visit Kibe-kun in the fax room, who of course gives us the rundown of the next five hours and the fax number.

We go back to Arino, who is interrupted by the plinking of piano keys. We turn to the left and see Matsuda, a retro game pianist. Moving along, Tojima shows Arino a Piccadilly Circus machine, a Konami medal game that Arino once played on a TamaGe adventure.

Tojima invites Arino to play a game, so he puts in a few coins and slaps the red button on the machine. Right as he does that, Tojima stops him, because he needs to push the other buttons first to place bets on the thing, but hey, it’s not all bad — he scores a 24 on the machine’s roulette wheel and gets a nice handful of coins back. Arino continues feeding it coins as Tojima continues explaining the game.

After that, it’s time to visit camerman Abe — correction, Chef Abe, who’s stationed at a table next to the roulette game, and is getting started on an udon dinner for the night.

Moving forward, Arino spots AD Ito placing trinkets on a big tarp. Not just any trinkets, but all the prizes and other pick-ups Arino amassed on TamaGe trips.

Back at the challenge table, AD Katayama shows Arino the gumball machine next to him, which is filled with capsules containing pieces of paper. Inside they contain various segment ideas, pretty much just to kill time, as we’ll find out.

Arino is then prompted to check in on AP Nakayama, but instead, it’s Tojima on the other end. Nakayama is silently lounging behind him, reading a newspaper. Nakayama has been semi-sequestered to this small room, one that Arino’s used to live shows before. On the wall behind Tojima is a series of sheets with tons of drawings and comments written by fans and friends of the show that were solicitied before the broadcast.

And then, another segment. Members of the staff had reviewed all of Arino’s challenges until now. Inoko MAX and Kibe each have conflicting opinions of Arino’s prowess after viewing and experiencing these challenges: Inoue thinks he’s good enough at games, but Kibe says he still has a lot of work to do before he’s considered a genuine gaming talent. They have clips to back it up, with specific moments of successful feats or amusing failures.

Inoue and Kibe then join Arino behind the table and reveal their proof. Inoue has footage from Arino’s Contra challenge, where Arino keeps from dying in a sticky situation. As nice as that was, Kibe counters with a clip from the Super Mario Bros. 3 challenge, where Arino lets a Koopa emerge from its shell as he’s holding it.

Inoue comes back with Mighty Bomb Jack, which was a legendary struggle for Arino, but full of close calls that amazed. Kibe’s about to show his pick, but Arino interrupts in the middle of it when he hears coins spilling out from Piccadilly Circus. Tojima had been feeding coins into it this whole time, hoping to score big, and he finally did. Plus, he had been filming it hoping to figure out the trick to winning, so we follow him rushing into the recording studio to review the tape.

As soon as he finds the spot where he won, he sends the footage to the main screen and indeed, we see him score 30 on the roulette wheel and watch the jackpot unfold.Thrilling live events!

Back to Kibe, whose pick is also from Mighty Bomb Jack, where Arino keeps flubbing up on the original stage show. But Inoue counters with his third pick, from Legend of the Mystical Ninja, where Arino used the controller-switching trick to stay alive by going back and forth between characters. Kibe follows with a failure clip from Genpei Touma Den, where even Arino himself declares it a moment of failure in the clip!

That bit finishes for now, and Kibe rushes back to the fax room while pianist Matsuda plays the familiar Spelunker themes. We cut back to the fax room where Kibe and Inoue read a request from a fan — a success clip from his Super Mario Bros. 2 challenge. The next fax requests another classic: Arino failing hardcore at Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins.

That segement and more chatting spills into the escond hour, and Arino uses the opportunity to use a coin to get one of those capsules out of the machine next to him. And what does the first piece of paper say? "AD Takahashi’s Invincible Elbow." Takahashi apparently feels no pain on the fleshy part of his elbow, so let’s see if he’s telling the truth! Asnd yep, Arino just tweaks and pulls at the man’s elbow — nothing! Takahashi then brings out a box of oranges and a small basket. Arino clips it to the elbow skin, and Takahashi instructs him to start putting oranges in.

After about 22 oranges, Takahashi immediately takes the clip off, proving his talent is not perfect, but that’s OK, we don’t need any injuries tonight.

We then go back to the spread of TamaGe prizes. After surveying the lot, Arino picks the slot cars he used at a slot car track on a TamaGe trip. Ito points to the VHS tape he got from the batting center that showed his batting skill. Arino chooses that as well to be a present for the viewers, as well as the squishy pig he got in South Korea.

Following a break to play the Nintendo Channel Super Mario Kart segment, we come back to the studio. Arino has a friendly phone call from Masahiro Sakurai, Smash Bros. mastermind and designer of Kid Icarus Uprising for 3DS. The two men talk about the new game, but Arino asks Sakurai if he has a favorite failure or success moment from the show. Sakurai picks Arino’s struggles with Ninja Ryukenden. The next caller is Masanobu Endo, Namco’s famous designer. The two men get to talking about Monster Hunter and such. Meanwhile, Tojima is still playing Picadilly Circus.

The next phone-in guest is Kaayan, the now-teenaged boy who called in to help Arino with Super Monkey Daibouken all those years ago. These days, he’s playing baseball in the school club. Arino asked about his little brother who also called Arino once, and gets him on the line too. He’s now 12 and into badminton.

Just as Arino finishes the call, Tojima scores another jackpot. As he puts away the camera and goes back to check the tape, Arino plays a game and gets a 30 again! But no spillage of coins.

The next capsule activity reads "Arino Vs. Inoue Vs. Nakayama!" What could this be about? Would you believe a celebrity impression competition? Inoue leads with his infamous Beat Takeshi riff. Then, it’s Arino’s turn. His isn’t quite as honed as Inoue’s — and Nakayama’s is about a second long. The live show’s producer is on hand to judge, and gives the point to Arino. Another impression-off follows, and Nakayama scores in that one.

The next segment is a quick overview of how the show is put together — the staff meeting that decides a game, the ADs that play the game and report back, and then Arino playing it on the show. But today, we’re going to figure out what game will be the next episode of season 14, with a live "loke-han" (playtest) with Arino and AD Katayama.

Arino scoots over to another table where Katayama is sitting with a TV, a Famicom, and a box of games. All Arino has to do is pick a game and give it to Katayama.

To start, Arino picks Gimmick, the exquisite Famicom platformer from Sunsoft. Katayama immediately starts it up and gives Arino a sample. It’s not an easy game, so Katayama dies a couple times, and then Arino picks another game. Keru Naguuru, a kung-fu game from Namco.

Then, Katayama tries a bit of Rygar and Chase H.Q. Nothing’s especially entertaining about these playtests, as Katayama eventually fails or stops when Arino has something else for him. Arino lays out the rest of the games on the table, and asks Katayama about them. Soon, he has Katayama try Makai Jima, the Higemaru sequel from Capcom, and Amagon. None of those are convincing Arino quite yet.

Next is The Tower of Babel, a puzzle platformer from Namco. After a minute, Katayama tries to give Arino the controller to try a level, but he’s resistant. He caves, though, and gives the confusing level a try — Babel involves placing L-shaped blocks just right in order to reach the exit door. Arino fiddles with it, but eventually fails — now he’s going to get plenty of "fail" faxes!

Arino eyes MetalStorm next, and slots it in the Famicom.Katayama doesn’t even finish the first stage before taking it out. It appears Arino’s choice is down to Babel and MetalStorm. He struggles with the decision, staring at them for quite some time and weighing their differences. Eventually, he commits — the last episode of season 14 will be The Tower of Babel!

Soon, Tojima patches in and tells Arino he has footage of that last jackpot. Thanks for that — I’m sure we’ll be hearing the beeping of the machine again soon enough.

Arino has another call waiting for him — he and the caller keep going "hello?! Hello?!" back and forth. Clearly Arino’s just having some fun, and the guest called is Yama-chan from Nyankai Candies, who’s appeared on the GCCX year-end specials before. A long, mostly uninteresting chat follows, and then, another Nintendo Channel segment.

Our pianist friend opens the next hour, and then it’s time for another segment featuring Arino and Kibe. Former AD Emoto plays referee for this segment, where Arino and Kibe have picked a handful of favorite Famicom games and simply discuss them, trading thoughts back and forth as they pick a game from the other’s side they want to hear about. Games featured include Famicom Wars, Family Circuit, Kirby’s Adventure, Side Pocket, Double Dragon, Baseball, and Yoshi.

However, after they get through all of their games, the TV is moved over to their table, and they each write their favorite story the other one told. Kibe chooses Arino’s Famicom Wars remembrance of its catchy commercial. Then, Arino is directed to plug the game into the Famicom and give it a go.

Arino plays for a little bit, and then moves back to his seat to reveal his favorite Kibe game. It’s Kirby’s Adventure, and so, Kibe scoots over to the TV and plays Kirby for a little bit. All in all, a nice little exercise. Matsuda plays us out with some Dragon Quest battle themes.

Back to the fax room, where fans continue to vote if Arino sucks or rules at games. One fax is even from former AD Takahashi!

Arino gets another capsule from the machine, and the special prize is producer Kan’s "Gantz suit!" Is it disturbing cosplay? Nah, it’s just the boss man’s bicycling suit, which does strongly resemble the suit the characters from Gantz wear.

After cracking some jokes at Kan’s expense, Abe walks in with his finished udon dish. Arino loves it, of course, and I’m sure it makes a nice late dinner. Matsuda provides some music — the theme from the Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido. And then, as if on cue, in comes former AD Tsuruoka, who made the song famous, as he jams along with it on his guitar. After a chat with Arino, Matsuda continues with the equally famous Dr. Wily theme from Mega Man 2.

In the next segment, Arino faces off against Tojima, Emoto, Tsuruoka, and the show’s producer in a horse race… of sorts. Five copies of Derby Stallion II each have their own horse on it, and Arino and the former ADs each make a blind choice of one of the cartridges. On the back of them, they’re labeled with the name of the prize horse within the game.

Arino starts, with his horse "La-Li-Lo-Le-Lu," and though it almost pulls ahead, it falls back at the last moment, placing in second. That means Tojima loses, and must handle the punishment of being pantyhosed. Arino does the honors, stretching Tojima’s head along with the stocking, and generally making a mockry of him, ultimately making him go back to Picadilly Circus with the thing still on.

After a lengthy segment going through every pre-challenge bumper in the series (where Arino’s face is usually superimposed over the main character’s), Arino and Tojima continue to plug away at Picadilly Circus, but a dozen tries don’t get them another jackpot.

Then, it’s back to the fax room to see how many more people consider Arino to be skillful or not. Inoue proves his faith in Arino by dashing back and forth down the hallway to make all of the "success" faxes woosh up from the wall.

Arino dispenses another capsule, and the segment it "activates" is a recap of every single GCCX challenge, and if Arino completed the game or not. That’s it, and it runs far too long.

Matsuda, our pianist, plays a suite from Challenger as Arino reminsces about his own challenges. Finally, Arino joins Kibe and Inoue to get the final totals for the is-Arino-good-or-not conundrum. Inoue pulls back the seal on his results — 206 people called Arino skillful! Not bad! Kibe reveals his number… 155 said he’s not! So there you have it, Arino isn’t so bad at games after all! The people have spoken! Ah, we all know the truth. The producer presents Arino with a trophy — a blank trophy, but a trophy nonetheless.

To play us out, Arino and Kibe go to Nakayama’s room and sing a karaoke duet of Last Continue.

Yoiko Festival

The GCCX portion of the show dovetails into Yoiko’s New Year’s "festival" marathon. Yoiko is the name of the comedy duo where Arino got his start, and with his partner Masaru Hamaguchi, they put on all sorts of shows. We start with Hamaguchi, in GCCX uniform no less, sitting in a different, much more comfy-looking studio.

It takes a while to really get started — Hamaguchi has to entertain the audience by his lonesome (plus his dog, Haru) for up to half an hour before Arino makes it over. So nothing really happens until Arino walks through the door and Hamaguchi starts pulling out games from a nearby box.

Conveniently (I’m sure), all the games feature two-player modes in some way. Much like the playtest segment a couple of hours ago, the duo sample some of the games for a few moments, Hamaguchi prefacing each one with his own overdone versions of Arino’s "kacho ON" catchphrase. They try SonSon, Ice Climber, Mario Bros., and Kirby Super Star. Which one will they try to finish?

The choice whittles down to Mario Bros. and Kirby. Kirby seems like the best bet, since they already played a couple stages in it, and Arino rationalizes that Mario Bros. has no ending. And so, Kirby Super Star it is! It’s not the shortest game ever, though; there are a few different "games" within the game, and though they’re basically all the same type of platformer, there’s still plenty of stages to go through.

The two player component comes in via the fact that Kirby can swallow enemies and then use them as helpers controlled by player two. Hamaguchi stays with Kirby, while Arino is relegated to second banana, and is basically under Hamaguchi’s control if he ever wants a new partner.

With the game decided, Yoiko continues where they left off, starting at the first game, Spring Breeze. "Continue" in a relative sense, anyway, since they have to start it all over. Nevertheless, the first stage is Green Greens, the trademark starting point for many Kirby games.

Hamaguchi soon swallows a Sir Kibble enemy, letting Arino jump into the game playing as it. Soon they reach the first midboss, one of the good ol’ Poppy Bros. Arino does the heavy lifting, going right up to Poppy and slashing at him. Simple enough.

So is the rest of the stage, and before you know it, they’re up against the first boss, Wispy Woods. Hamaguchi continues to hang back and cover Arino, but Arino’s nearly dead, so he goes to hide while Hamaguchi goes up front and spits star projectiles at Wispy. It’s over in a minute, then it’s on to stage 2, Float Island.


The guys take a break to review the rundown for the show on the whiteboard behind them (spoiler: they won’t do much else), and decide which segment to do next. For a while, they decide to write and draw new year’s cards.

Then, it’s back to Float Island. They lose a life for the first time, but it’s a minor setback in what is a pretty easy run. They face the next boss(es), Lololo and Lalala, and oddly struggle with trying to attack the shuffling couple, but they’re victorious with just a chunk of life on Hamaguchi’s side.

Stage three is Bubbly Clouds, and they generally breeze through that as well. Hamaguchi dies right before the mid-boss, but that’s no big deal since they waste Kracko easily. After that, Arino dies, so Hamaguchi is left alone to try and regain a helper. He turns Arino into another Sir Kibble, and then it’s on to the boss!

Kracko Sr. is the boss here, and he’s the first real challenge for the pair. He’s a bit too swift, and his lightning attacks are a bit too powerful, so the both of them die. They plan for the next encounter by carefully choosing abilities (Hamaguchi goes with a Beam, Arino is a rock), but they die a second time.

Hamaguchi uses this moment to call over all the GCCX staff in attendance and give them their new year’s cards. Nakayama, Emoto, Katayama and Takahashi get cards, and then mikans. After some more chatting and anecdotes, it’s time for another special segment: a cooking one, with the return of cameraman Abe!

Hamaguchi and Arino walk down to Abe’s food table and see what he’s got going. For rest of the hour, Hamaguchi stands beside Abe and makes his own mochi soup for him and Arino.


The two continue to eat and talk, and then go step out of the room for a while to go out on a little adventure to visit the Odaiba Jinja, the only shrine on Odaiba, then return to look at some faxes.

Nearly an hour later (yipes!), it’s back to the game, and that Bubbly Clouds stage. They re-engage Kracko, and defeat him much more quickly thanks to Hamaguchi’s Stone ability. Well, there you go.

Onto the last stage of Spring Breeze, Mt. Dedede. In about a minute, they run in to encounter the evil King Dedede, and the combination of Stone and Rock squashes him flat. Spring Breeze is finished, and narrator Kan chimes in to announce their victory!

They go right into the next game in Super Star, Dyna Blade. It’s not much different from Spring Breeze, with only a handful of short stages. Arino’s helper character mysteriously disappears after going to the second section of the first stage, and Hamaguchi fumbles around trying to regain him, accidentally killing important enemies and swallowing useless ones. Finally, he swallows a cutter enemy, and the two are reunited.


They’re slow, but steady in their quest through the stage, and Hamaguchi is a little more active in mid-boss battles, slashing up the first one in a split second. After that is a little bonus game where Kirby is fired out of a cannon, and Hamaguchi perfects it on the first try, earning a few 1-Ups.

Stage 2 begins, and yep, it’s not much of a challenge — but an auto-scrolling section gets the best of them when they’re forced to jump up through narrow passages, and they’re killed. After that, Arino finds a secret spot with another 1-Up, but then Hamaguchi dies right on the spikes that lay under the item.

There’s no boss, so they beat the stage with another bonus game and fly right into stage three, the Cocoa Cave. Hamaguchi lucks into the Fighter ability, which makes him hit pretty hard — but of course, he loses it before heading into the next section.

Moving on, Hamaguchi gets the Yo-Yo ability, which of course cues him to say "yo" repeatedly every time he hits the attack button. All the "yo"-ing doesn’t keep them from dying when they blow up a room full of blocks that leave them with a bottomless pit. On the next try, Hamaguchi remembers Kirby can fly. They push through the rest of the stage, and Hamaguchi almost pefects the bonus game again, but not quite!

Time for the next-to-last stage. Here, the pair stuggle with a fairly easy gauntlet of rotating mini-cannons, until Hamaguchi once again thinks to just fly up to where he should be.

They reach the end of the stage and defeat the boss, the ice-tossing Mr. Frosty. After that, Hamaguchi finally puts on a cold pad in true GCCX fashion, and Arino follows suit. They jump right to the last level, and the boss fight against Dyna Blade herself. Arino dies right off the top, and then Hamaguchi is caught in Dyna Blade’s talons and squeezed nearly to death. One more bad move and they lose.

Hamaguchi restarts, and thinks carefully about the circle of ability powr-ups that surround them before facing the boss. With Arino as a cutter and Hamaguchi with the beam power, they engage Dyna Blade a second time. Once again, Arino’s wiped out quickly, leaving Hamaguchi to fend for himself… it doesn’t last.

For the third attempt, they last a little longer, and it’s Arino that deals the final blow just before Hamaguchi bites it. Dyna Blade is beaten back to normal, her babies saved, and that’s another game checked off.

The pair take a moment to decide on what game to tackle next, but it’s not long before they go right into The Great Cave Offensive. This one’s a bit different than the other two: Kirby is meant to explore a huge network of connected caves and hunt down over 50 specific treasures. They begin the first level and soon find a room with the Gold Coin treasure.

They continue to the next room, and contend with the stone doors that must be raised with switches, and get themselves seemingly trapped in between two of them, but all Hamaguchi has to do is jump down to the next door — guess it wasn’t that obvious. A bit further, and they grab the Lucky Cat treasure.

More adventuring leads them to a save room, but then Arino gets them killed a little later. At least they weren’t too far from the save point. They stay alive for a while from then on, but no big revelations, and no treasures captured.

With just a few minutes before the next hour, Hamaguchi pauses the game, reaches back over by the box o’ games, and procures a Kirby Super Star strategy guide — an official one, a kind which hasn’t been seen on the show since the third season. Arino begins flipping through the book, then directs Hamaguchi back to the game.

With the knowledge of where to go next, Arino and Hamaguchi head to a boss room against Fatty Whale, a creature that is exactly what he sounds like. Fatty rains down water on the pair, and it’s strong enough to kill Hamaguchi. Attempt two doesn’t seem much better, but with just a sliver of health left, Hamaguchi watches as Arino deals the final blow once again.

Onto the next area, where things start with a mine cart ride, and then a bit of a swim. They finally pick up some new treasures, too; the Falcon Helmet, and not long after that, the Ancient Gem. And not long after that, Hamaguchi dies for the billionth time!


They find another save room and move south from there, finding the Goblet treasure and… then reaching a dead end, it seems. They go back to the junction room they reached after beating Fatty Whale, and go down a different route to find treasure. Hamaguchi stumbles into an enemy and dies again, getting a Game Over.

Arino flips through the strategy guide some more, and the show takes a commercial break. When we come back, there’s some more goofing around by reading new year’s greetings, and more food comes in the form of an osechi, a traditional new year’s bento. Would this be the second dinner, or the first breakfast?

Yoiko continues where they left off, with Arino navigating via the strategy guide. They take the door on the right in the junction room this time, and head into a very crystal-y sort of area. It’s only a couple of minutes before they head to the next boss fight against Computer Virus, a transforming character who puts himself in PC-like windows. Once one form is defeated, another appears. They hammer at the Virus forms relentlessly, and they defeat it quickly in one attempt. They’re honing their teamwork quite well, it seems.

Another mine cart takes them to the next section, and a long trek through this ruins-like area follows. They die once, reach a midboss and almost die, but then die again, being forced to run up to the top of this ancient castle once more. And then Hamaguchi gets the Yo-Yo again, and… yeah.


After another death, Arino goes back to studying the guide while Hamaguchi follows his directions. He enters a room with even more doors than the last junction, and continues to wait for Arino’s instruction.

Arino finally gets an idea of where to go, and directs Hamaguchi to the next section of the game, where he’ll soon get to the next boss, a giant tribesman head known as Wham Bam Rock, who slams his equally giant hands onto our heroes. Arino, as a Poppy Bro, continues to feed bombs in Wham Bam’s direction, while Hamaguchi tries to follow up with normal attacks. Unfortunately, they fall.

The second try clinches it, though, with a much more concentrated offensive. One more boss remains in the game, but since it’s more effective to just head to the now-open exit than trying to defeat the boss and get all the treasures, the pair head right for the exit door, and complete the Great Cave Offensive.

The next game they go to is Revenge of Meta Knight, a (thankfully) much more straightforward game akin to the first two. However, they have a limited amount of time to destroy Meta Knight’s battleship, the Halberd. Luckily, they find and defeat the midboss quickly, which destroys the ship.

The ship crash lands by the ocean, starting another stage of the game, but still with a time limit, although it’s double the length of the last stage. Arino and Hamaguchi carefully go through the stage, but then they die when they’re squashed by an auto-scrolling screen.

They eventually make it to the boss, or rather bosses — a series of Wispy Woods clones. But they’re just as much pushovers as one of them would be, and the duo destroy them in record time, and head to the next stage. That one is pretty straightforward, too, so in no time, they return to the Halbert to destroy the next part of it.

Yoiko continues fighting their way through the Halberd, though blocks and midbosses alike. They make it to the next real boss, the Heavy Cannon, and unfortunately, Arino is taken out in a flash, and Hamaguchi is repeatedly grabbed by the cannon’s extendable hand and thrashed around. Game Over again!

The second attempt just about ends the same way as the first, but just before Hamaguchi dies, he swallows one of the cannonballs, revives Arino as a Poppy Bro, and has him toss bombs into the cannon until it’s destroyed. Now that’s teamwork!

The fight’s not over, though – they still have the rest of the ship to destroy. They head through another level, and then face the next boss, the Heavy Lobster. It’s an auto-scrolling battle, so Hamaguchi, at the very least, has to stay ahead of the boss. He doesn’t, so it’s on to attempt number two.

It’s much better now, as they make it through the auto-scrolling maze and then face the Lobster head on. As usual, Arino does all the dirty work in defeating the boss. That’s the opposite of teamwork!


They make it through the next section and reach the boss, the engine core, but die pretty quickly. Arino checks the guide, and then re-engages the boss. The trick here is to wait for the engine’s search laser to fire, luring it in the direction of the core, which will of course damage it. They get it right for one hit, but then Hamaguchi dies by accident. However, they just keep camping on top of the engine’s cannon and wait for the laser.

Success! They stay alive long enough,and the engine is destroyed. Unfortunately, there’s still yet another stage to run through. At the end is the final duel with Meta Knight himself. But they have only about 55 seconds left! Can they do it? Hamaguchi slashes wildly at Meta Knight, and in a flash of light, he’s defeated just seconds before the hour ends.

The end cinema of Revenge of Meta Knight plays as Arino and Hamaguchi watch intently. But time is short, so they waste no time in going straight into the next game, Milky Way Wishes. This is another straightforward action game, but with about double the amount of stages of Spring Breeze, for example.

After blowing through the first stages of Milky Way, they reach the boss, Fatty Whale, reprising his role from Great Cave Offensive. Arino dies pretty quickly, but Hamaguchi’s there to swallow and rescue him. The whale’s humongous water splashes nearly kill Hamaguchi too, but in a flash, Fatty’s destroyed, and it’s another level down.

It’s time to choose the next stage, so they go with Cavius. Right about then, Hamaguchi brings out another uniform and tries to get Arino to put it on, but it’s a little late for that, and he’s a bit embarrassed. He hastily puts it on as Hamaguchi plays, and that’s an opportunity to do a "power pose" of sorts.

Arino sits out for the first part of the level, but they’re back together after a miniboss. Like usual, the playing is pretty smooth, but then they reach the next boss, Wham Bam Rock. And doubly as usual, Hamaguchi falls pretty quickly. The giant hands of Wham Bam came down and pounded him a few too many times, but on the second try, it’s easy-peasy.

Inoue directs them up to the next stage, Halfmoon. Here, a mine cart level (in SPACE!) is but one of the obstacles in their way in this stage. 15 minutes are left on the clock. They battle more minibosses as the pressure seems to mount. The next area features wind forcing them to fly up through the vertical mazelike stage, but Hamaguchi makes it through unscathed.

The next boss is the return of Computer Virus. Both men keep hammering at its forms, but it has a new "dragon" form that’s pretty ferocious — Arino’s mirror power only works when the boss stomps down for a bit so it can reach, but that’s a time-waster, and it causes them to lose. Ten minutes to go!

They re-engage the boss, and Arino tries his best to stay alive while Hamaguchi flies up and camps in the upper left corner. Unfortunately, a wind gust attack hits Hamaguchi anyway; enough times for him to die. A third methodical encounter proceeds. Using double Bomb power, Arino and Hamaguchi start tossing bombs at the boss’ dragon form. It almost dies, and so does Hamaguchi, but as soon as Arino dies, so does the dragon, and that ends the level.

Five minutes remain in the show just as they return to the map screen to open up the final level. Bittersweet, yes, but they plow through the level nonetheless. Hamaguchi dies early, and it’s Game Over. Uh oh! Oh, forget it, Hamaguchi just continues and tries again. Unfortunately, there is but one minute left.

He dies once more, and with the last minute, they decide to stop. Yoiko seems accepting, and though they completed nothing else that they planned for the show, we got a fun game challenge out of it.

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