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 4 – Back to Contents
Lord Arino~! "Actraiser"


Arino laughs off his three consecutive defeats and gets right down with the Enix classic, Actraiser. Yet the moment he puts the cartridge in, AD Urakawa steps in. He relays the message that if Arino doesn’t clear this game, he’ll be demoted from Kacho status. The heat is really on this time.

It’s probably a bit of help, then, that in this game Arino can be called a "god." He puts his name in as "Kacho" and from there the helper angel calls him "Kacho-sama." Arino then heads down into the first action stage in Filmore. He spends some time figuring out the controls, and then starts hopping through the stage. He’s then blocked by a patch of thorns, but decides to just run through them. Yeah, that doesn’t work too well, and he dies. He does better next time, though he’s down to only one bar of health by the time he reaches the first boss. He gets a few hits in, but the centaur zaps him with lightning to finish him quickly. Arino gets a Game Over and retries the fight. He gets the boss’s pattern down, and before long he succeeds.

From there Arino enters the Creation mode to help rebuild Filmore. He lays down some land, zaps some enemies, puts out some fires (literally) and refreshes the area. After that, he levels up! So far so good, that is until he has to flush out another bad guy. Act 2 of Filmore is lined with spikes that Arino keeps stupidly dropping onto. It reminds him of the hell of Prince of Persia, but a little more unfair. Eventually he gets his timing down and makes it through the act. He meets the minotaur boss, and starts using his recently-acquired fire magic attack on it. But before long his MP runs out, and the boss still has a third of its health! He starts madly slashing at the boss, and with one bar of health left, manages to defeat it.

From there it’s onto Bloodpool. He makes it to the boss here with little incident. He hangs out in the corner and waits for the manticore to leap over at him, then he slashes from below. But it starts to wear thin on the timer, and with just 12 seconds left and a little bit of panic, Arino manages to beat back the manticore. In Creation, he cleans up Bloodpool with little incident as well. Until the citizens start getting concerned with Teddy, a runaway boy. He tries to rescue him, but he wants his bread first, so Arino goes back to get it. With that out of the way, he clears out an enemy camp and turns Bloodpool’s blood pool back to normal. Then onto Act 2 to nip this in the bud.

There’s more strategically-placed spikes around. At one point Arino enters a new room only to run straight into a bed of spikes. On the next attempt he makes it to the boss, Zeppelin Wolf. Arino attacks the wizard gracefully, but then he turns into a werewolf! Arino tries using his new magic, but Zeppelin hovers near him and the Magical Stardust doesn’t hit anywhere near the two of them (much to the staff’s amusement). But once again, he pulls through in a close call and wipes out Zeppelin. He finishes up in Bloodpool, then heads to the next area.

To the sandy expanse of Kasandora we go! Act 1 just straight up pummels Arino thanks to annoying giant flames that hover around and drop fireballs on him. But he eventually makes it to the boss and wipes it out in one try. He builds up the town after that, and soon enters the nearby pyramid for the next act. He gets through the pyramid fairly easily, but is down to two health bars by the time he enters the boss chamber. Eep. The giant head of the Pharoah enters, and within a minute Arino gets hit with a stray arrow and dies. On try 2 he uses the Magical Stardust spell, which greatly slices a chunk out of the Pharoah’s health. Another casting and the boss is down for the count.

Arino takes the bird-borne carriage across act 1 of Aitos next. But by the middle of the stage he’s thwarted by a tengu standing across from a pool of lava. No matter what he does, he always ends up in the fiery drink one way or another. But with two lives left he finally gets past it. He makes his way through, spends another life along the way and enters the boss chamber…

…And runs right off the ledge he starts the next screen on, ending his game. OK, no matter, a quick retry gets him back to the boss, the Serpent. Despite the slithering creature and a few suspended platforms, he pulls through. After Creation mode, he enters the cavernous act 2. The act 2 boss is the Fire Wheel, and Arino once again uses the Magical Stardust to wipe it out in less than a minute. Then it’s on to Marahna and the boss of its act 1, the poorly named Rafflasher. This one’s much tougher, killing Arino more than a few times, and he can barely get a hit in! He spends an hour with this boss and still no progress.

In the real world, night falls. On the 32nd attempt, Arino starts to smarten up and tries to evade Rafflasher’s slithering vine, then running back to strike. He gets it down to two bars, but he has only one! He starts freaking out, but takes things very slowly. He runs back to the boss, and… gets hit with a projectile on the way, killing him and sending a scream through the room. Thankfully the next try is much smoother. After a brief stint in Creation mode, Arino moves forward to act 2. He faces the boss, Kalia, and goes in for the kill, only to die when he’s lifted up into spikes on the ceiling. On the next try he uses the trusty Magical Stardust to weaken her. He finishes it up with sword slashes.

Arino gets through a close call in Northwall and faces the next boos, the Merman Fly. He defeats it in record time. Unfortunately he gets hung up on the Creation mode until Urakawa enters the frame and suggests Arino level up first. Once he levels up, he can continue, which is probably what he doesn’t want at this point. At any rate, Arino heads into act 2. Thanks to the leveling up, his health meter is impressively long. But in this act it only slightly delays his deaths. A few lost lives later, Urakawa comes back and offers to help Arino navigate the stage. He agrees, and Urakawa pulls up a chair. He gets Arino around the tough spots and straight into the next boss chamber to face the Arctic Wyvern.

Another pretty brief battle occurs. Arino uses the Stardust, then hurriedly follows it up with some slashes. Celebration! All is said and done, right? The ending should be now, yeah? Not so much, says Urakawa. Arino floats over to the final area, Death Helm. Here he must face all the previous act 2 bosses in a survival battle before going up against the big cheese. With a total of four lives, Urakawa tells him that once they’re gone, his chance is over. His superfluous job title hangs in the balance!! Arino blows through the Minotaurus and Zeppelin Wolf, but loses his first life against the Pharoah. He’s careful not to waste the Stardust attack, as he’ll likely need it for the final boss, so he’s left trying to get by with regular attacks.

He gets past the Pharaoh on the second try, but dies again against the Fire Wheel. Once he gets past it, he dies again (rather stupidly) against Kalia. With one life left, things look positively bleak. He dies once again. The producer comes up on the mic, now referring to Arino as the downgraded "Kacho Dairi"… ouch. He offers him one more chance. If he fails that, it’s back all the way down to "Shunin." Arino sticks with it and grudgingly accepts.

The second attempt doesn’t start any differently skill-wise, but at least Arino has more lives when he faces and subsequently defeats the Pharoah. He dies against the Fire Wheel, but eventually pulls through there again. After that, he pauses. He sends in Urakawa and has him do the work on Kalia. Urakawa does quick work, and then hands back the controller to Arino so he can face the Wyvern. He spams the Stardust on the Wyvern again, and beats it with only three bars of life and two lives to go. Arino sighs in great relief, and then is warped straight to the final boss, Tanzra. But he’s killed within seconds. With full health on the second try, Arino whacks on Tanzra’s floating head enough to get it down to near-death. He makes the final strike, and celebration erupts!

… Eeexcept that as he was showing off in front of the camera, Tanzra’s second form appeared. And his health bar reaches all the way across the screen! Arino tries his best, whacking away at the demon, but he doesn’t even get Tanzra down to half health before losing his last life. For the love of…

Urawaza Jet Stream

Recalling a level-up trick in Dragon Quest II.

Game Collections: 1987 – March-April

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