Game Center CX Season 4 – Back to Contents
The Final Fight!? "Final Fight"
After the spectacular failure that was Ultraman (even though it wasn’t really his fault), Arino returns to his classic green uniform. Now he faces another tough-as-nails game: Capcom’s SNES "classic" Final Fight. Once he starts the game and gets to the character select, he consults the manual on which character to choose: Cody or Haggar. He spends so long checking out the manual that the game eventually starts without him. Forced to play as Haggar, Arino does a decent job getting through the first stage, even performing a few piledrivers along the way. Eventually he reaches the first boss, Damnd, but manages to get beat up pretty badly by the boss and his henchmen. But soon after, on his last life, he defeats Damnd. Onto round 2!
As you might guess, Arino’s life is short-lived in round 2, lasting only a few minutes before an Andore bursts through and pummels him. He uses one of his three continues and restarts the round with Cody this time. With Cody’s faster attack speed, Arino lasts a little longer in the round. He gets through the second and third parts of the stage, getting pummeled by more Andores until he’s back down to his last life. With his luck at rock-bottom, it’s only natural that at that point he faces the next boss, Sodom.
Arino creeps up to Sodom, and when he finally gets close enough, he’s whacked with a katana. Another hit or two and it’s back to the continue screen. He restarts and gets back to the boss with only one more life than he had before. But he gets a hit or two in and takes one of Sodom’s swords. He even briefly traps him in a corner, but is soon counterattacked to hell and back. Two lives later, he bites the dust again. He tries getting through round 2 again, but dies in the middle of it, expending all of his credits and getting a true Game Over. Back to round 1. Next time it only takes 20 minutes to get back to Sodom, and Arino has one more extra life to spend, but he blows through all of them even quicker than before. But on the fourth attempt, he takes things a little more slowly; a little more calculated. He tries letting Sodom rush him, then walking out of the way, then landing some punches. It works for about a minute. Sodom gets back up, retrieves his swords and cuts down Arino once more.
Attempt five has Arino with a full five lives, as well. Certainly this has got to go better? Well, more or less. He gets down to 2 lives before he finally breaks through to the last layer of Sodom’s health bar. From there it’s a smooth ride — he finally takes care of Sodom. After that is the Bonus Stage, where Arino constantly smashes the car while (apparently) saying "Japan! Japan!"
Next is round 3, the Westside. Arino gets a Game Over in the middle of it, but we fast forward to the next attempt. It’s much smoother this time, and he even takes care of the Andore minibosses easily! Yay for swords! He loses a couple more lives in the next part before facing the boss, Edi. E. Arino fights bravely, but Edi’s henchmen start to overwhelm him rather quickly. He dies and continues to face Edi again. On the second try, he gets Edi down to the last bar of life, but he’s also on his last life! But that’s when Edi starts using his guns, and takes down Arino in seconds. The third try is a repeat of last time, but this time it brings a Game Over. The next few tries are equally futile. He’s been working on round 3 for almost two and a half hours now!
Yet on the next try, Arino starts wearing Edi down and lands a few lucky hits, with a special kick to the head to end things for good. But in round 4, he gets heavily pummeled before the second part of the stage and gets another Game Over. He moans and grudgingly restarts. He gets farther, but is whittled down to his last life and has to continue again. More of the same on the next try, but by now it’s his final credit, so he gets another Game Over. The gang of El Gados and Holly Woods is just too much. The stress begins to mount. Arino’s all but cleared a little more than half of the key "points" in the round before the boss. But on the next try, he finally gets past those lanky assholes and moves on — straight into the fist of the boss, the superpowered Abigail.
Abigail’s life meter is white, meaning it’s at maximum! It’s going to take a lot of concentration from Arino on this attempt. Or maybe the next one, as he dies pretty quickly. AD Urakawa steps in and asks to give it a try in order to get Arino back up to the boss quickly. He obliges, and Urakawa goes to it. He doesn’t last all that long, however. AP Tojima comes in after that and asks if he can have a chance. Urakawa gives up his seat and lets Tojima handle it from here.
Tojima uses the "hame punch" technique, where you throw a few rapid-fire punches then feint in the other direction, then back to the enemy. This apparently suspends the enemy briefly, letting you keep up the offensive. Tojima keeps this up and gets right up to the last section, then hands the controller back to Arino to face Abigail. Tojima’s final advice is to jump kick Abigail when he turns red and starts charging. If the timing’s right, he’ll be knocked back and Arino can continue.
It takes a while, but Arino gets the hang of it… for the most part. Though that doesn’t necessarily spell success. His timing still suffers, and he dies once more, getting another Game Over. Tojima comes back in. If Arino really wants to beat the game and preserve his "Kacho pride," then he can go ahead and increase the number of lives in the options menu. Arino considers it… and decides to go with it. He ups his lives to the maximum nine and restarts the game. Will 11 hours of gameplay come to a close?
He makes it back to Abigail with the full hand of nine lives. With a combination of the punch and jump kick techniques, Arino wears Abigail down, but still loses most of his lives in the process. On his second to last life, he finally gets Abigail down to the last bar of life. Abigail kills him again, so it’s down to one more. Arino uses the jump kick exclusively, and after three more well-timed kicks, Abigail is toast!
The fifth and final stage begins, but as usual, Arino gets walloped straight into another Game Over. Tojima comes back and tells him it’s about time to leave. He gives him the option of giving up now, or taking it on later. Arino stretches, breathes, and considers it. Cheerfully, he says "I give up!" Games like Prince of Persia and Super Mario World differ from the difficulty of a beat-em-up game like Final Fight — they have save functions! Arino decides not to prolong the pain and adds another black mark to his record.
Arino visits Asakusa’s Hana Yashiki, a relatively small amusement park that’s been around since the 1850s. Before he gets a ticket, he starts by checking out the merry-go-round, featuring an ugly Snow White. Once he has a ticket, he orders — er, invites AD Urakawa up to try the Space Shot ride: a vertical coaster. Urakawa keeps a smile on as the countdown begins. He launches up and Arino is mighty impressed. When he comes back down, Arino asks how it was. Then, it’s his turn.
Arino gets strapped in, along with cameraman Abe. The camera’s pointed at Arino as the countdown begins and he’s launched up. He screams the entire way up, but Abe is as collected as ever. Well, it’s good to get the big excitement out of the way first, I guess. Once back on the ground, Arino walks over to a shooting gallery. He manages to knock off the "golgo" box, which lets him choose any of the big prizes in the front. He walks away with a giant foam slab of meat.
Now it’s on to the game machines. He starts with a ball-toss game called Hungry Animal. He doesn’t do as well as he wanted, so he enlists Urakawa again. He has the AD pass him the balls from the bottom as he tosses them in rapid succession. He does better, but only gets within a hair of filling the "Clear" quota on the front panel. Oh well. From there he checks out Namco’s Final Furlong machine. He and Urakawa engage in some furious rein-pumping race action, and Arino almost comes close to winning, but it’s Urakawa that pulls ahead. Arino walks away from that one with a sore arm.
Arino tries to get his revenge with Panic Park, another Namco game featuring giant levers that one slides to try and push their opponent into danger in a variety of minigames. Unfortunately, Urakawa pulls ahead with a 2-1 score. After that is Jump Up, a traditional strength test game where Arino must whack a pad to shoot a marker up and win a prize. After a few tries, he manages to win — a box of candy. The shutters above the machine must have thrown him off those first few times. To cap things off, it’s time for a ride on the roller coaster! Arino, Abe and the sound engineer all jump in for a ride. More screaming from Arino, but at least he enjoyed it. He ends the segment reviewing his prizes while aboard the ferris wheel.
Urawaza Jet Stream
A very nostalgic recollection of Famicom Xevious, including the glitch that allowed one to fly through the giant panels.
Game Collections: 1987: January-February