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 7 – Back to Contents
The Big Kacho’s Big Decisive Battle!! – "Cho Makaimura"


So here we are. After the amazing difficulty in trying to complete two of the Ghosts ‘N Goblins games, Arino bravely returns to his post to face the third and final game of the series (because the PSP one is too new): the Super Famicom’s Cho Makaimura (Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts). With one loss and one win, can he turn the score in his favor?

Arino grabs the game box and rubs it on the desk a little, presumably for good luck. He then starts the game, watches the opening cinema, and is struck when the game map scrolls by. Eight stages this time! This could be truly epic.

Stage 1 begins, and Arino runs and jumps around a bit, grabbing new weapons and trying them out. He gets the bow weapon and kicks ass for a short while, but doesn’t quite clear a jump and lands on a fireball, marking his first death. Two more similar deaths and it’s Game Over. He’s shocked and dismayed by how quick that took. Four credits remain.

He gets a little farther in the level, then dies, and starts dying again in the same spot as before. He then makes it to the watery part of stage 1. Instant pause; Arino’s sure something bad is going to happen here. He bravely jumps down and runs through, and is quickly swept away by the huge wave that crashes in. Of course.

But on the next try he quickly figures out that he should stay on the stone pillars to avoid being washed away. All’s well until he fails to jump out of the way of an evil clam’s floating eye, and he dies. The level restarts at the very beginning! Back to the water, where Arino finally gets past it and back onto dry land.

The gauntlet moves onto a patch of prickly vines, spiky bulbs and flaming skeleton carts. At least when Arino dies here, he’s back on the other side of the water. Things go well until he finally reaches the boss, the Cockatrice. As usual, he runs away at first sight, then turns and keeps throwing arrows at the boss. It works fine until the cockatrice spits out giant eggs at Arino, which eventually graze and kill him.

Tries two through seven end just as bad and lead into the next Game Over. It’s not until the next try — where Arino fights with just the lame dagger — that he ends up beating the boss as it’s almost offscreen. Stage 2 begins, but Arino’s eventually grazed by a ghost. Game Over again! And the intro’s playing… oh no, all the credits are gone! Back to stage 1 so soon!

As Arino plays through the beginning again, he’s interrupted by camerman Abe, who gives him a giant sheet of bread as well as a hint: grab the money bag in the stage for an extra credit! The bag is quickly found, and then we fast-forward to stage 2.

Arino does a much better job of running through it, getting to the second part of the stage, the raft-riding. Of course, he tries to be careful, but dies the first time out, and dies again after being grazed by projectiles. But then on the next try he grabs the green armor, which turns his weapon into a slick magical laser. But that’s followed by a very stupid death where he completely overshoots a jump onto a second raft. The staff isn’t happy, and neither is Arino.

The challenge continues, and Arino keeps spamming the dagger-laser as he sails along. But then, a pause. A rest, I suppose, as it’s just before another raft jump. Arino makes it this time and pushes on. And then we come upon the second boss, the big bad barnacle monster. The laser helps Arino defeat it in a matter of seconds!

Stage 3 is in the underground lava pits, and a series of narrow stone pillars that rise up quickly thwart Arino. He misses the jumps constantly, double-jumping when he shouldn’t and dropping straight into the lava. Eventually he gets past them with regular straight jumps.

Amazing… that is until another set pops up right after that, and the same bad habit comes back. Time spent on this stage so far: an hour and a half. Arino makes it through, but only after taking a hit. A sigh of relief is heard as he keep running through the stage, and then the next enemy appears and he runs back. It’s Red Arremer.

Of course, this was to be expected. The music builds and Arino bravely tries to fell the gargoyle, but with only one hit before death, it’s not long before Arremer swoops in and kill him. On the next try Arino gets past the demon and runs to safety, but it’s no good; Arremer is chasing after him! And Arino ends up dying from a different obstacle altogether as he reaches the spiral tower.

Thankfully, Arino restarts right on the tower, with Arremer gone. He continues up and through the rest of the stage. Another death after falling off a platform. Game Over; all credits gone. The gauntlet restarts once more. 3 and a half hours have passed thus far. The producer comes on the mic — would Arino like some assistance? Is the Pope Catholic?

Help arrives in the form of AD Urakawa. First, the bad news: AD Takahashi has decided to not to spend so much time on the show and instead become a teacher! How bittersweet, but, not too surprising after her disappearance these last few episodes. The good news: Urakawa has new hair that Arino can make fun of. The perm looks good on him! Ah ha ha ha!!! Seriously though, he grabs the controller and starts stage 1.

…And dies fairly early on, much to Arino’s dismay. He does better next time, and gets through all the way to the end of stage 3, where he pauses just as the boss appears. Arino recovers the controller and begins.

The rotating boss seems hard to track, but once it takes a breather, Arino pumps bow shots into its head. But then it disappears and sends a bunch of projectiles from the other side. Arino tries to jump, but it’s no good! On the second try, the projectiles fall from the sky, and Arino just barely misses them as they fall — whewwww. And then he destroys it, and grabs the key just as another projectile passes by him! Hoo, well, stage 3 is done at any rate.

Stage 4 is extra creepy, with pods that rotate the entire stage. And in the next part, Arino rides a platform while the stage sways from left to right. Other than one death, he survives it all and faces the next boss, the multi-headed Hydra. Arino tries his oft-winning strategy of keeping the boss offscreen while he pelts it from afar. Despite a psyche-out where the hydra turns into a little lizard and respawns on the other side, Arino ends up finishing it off. Nice. Easy.

The deaths rack up in the snowy stage 5, but Arino pushes through only to find another Red Arremer. Shoot. He bolts across the path, and after getting across an ice bridge, he dies. But that was the checkpoint, as he restarts right there, away from the gargoyle. Not much bad luck with them so far!

Fast-forward to the boss, the icy giant. He floats around while Arino keeps throwing bow shots into him, but his windy boomerangs keep catching him off-guard and killing him. Eight hours pass on the clock as Arino goes in for the third attempt. But then he lucks out, and deals the final hit just as the boss reappears. Onward to stage 6!

This one opens with another Red Arremer. Arino’s more agressive this time (probably because jumping over the big ledge woulnd’t help him escape), and actually ends up killing it! He lights up with surprise, but continues on. He climbs up the ledges, only to meet another Arremer! He falls off when attacking it — down back to the start, but he tries to stay safe and kills that one too! Revenge is so sweet.

The climb continues. Arino gets the green armor again and uses it against the clone Cockatrice heads. Not long after that he gets the gold armor! Pause; time to check the manual for that one. Ah yes, it lets you use a "smart bomb." Nice, nice… but, time to keep going.

It’s not long before Arino runs into Lucifer! Another representation of the Ghosts ‘N Goblins boss! Arino takes a hit and loses the armor, but keeps fighting — until he’s killed completely by a laser. He keeps trying to keep Lucifer off the screen, and then hitting him with arrows continuously until he’s finally toast.

Stage 7 is another climb, with more fake Cockatrice heads. At the top of the first section are two of them! Arino’s one hit from death as he begins the fight, but some expert jumping and attacking ends up with him beating them — well, after one death, anyway. The second section is full of wispy ghosts that keep coming into the foreground almost randomly, and thus kill Arino quite often.

Fast-forward. He takes on the section with the gold armor this time, but it’s gone by the time he reaches the end of it, and then is killed again by a ghost grazing his foot as he climbs a ladder. Another 90 minutes on this single stage. Arino finally makes it over the ladder and onto the next boss… another Lucifer! But with a dip in the floor, it’s a little bit easier to attack him. Arino shoots arrows and jumps over the lasers when it’s time, and the boss is down within seconds. Happiness (however pained) crosses Arino’s face. But then a yelp! Oh god, it’s not over! It’s…

… Yet another Lucifer! Well, actually it’s Nebilos, but he’s basically a green Lucifer. He shoots bigger lasers and farther-reaching fire, the latter of which kills Arino. On the second attempt, he pretty much camps in the middle of the floor, shooting at Nebilos, not really caring if he doesn’t hit him or not, since being safe is best.

But time is running out! Arino has literally 10 seconds left and he hasn’t killed Nebilos yet. The staff gets louder, yelling at every jump Arino takes. 3… 2… 1… Time Over. The third try begins, and Arino seems to have made Nebilos stuck. He won’t move, and Arino keeps attacking. Nebilos breathes fire and takes a step forward, but still doesn’t do much after that.

He then steps back. Arino follows. Nebilos now starts moving more regularly. Arino seems hesitant, unsure. He keeps throwing arrows, and before long bursts of flame appear from the edge of the screen. Nebilos is dead! Arino gets the key to the last stage! Much applause.

But before Arino enters the stage, a vision of the princess appears! She has a message; a long one; a bad one. If you know the series, you know what it is: he’s got to play it a second time before getting to the final stage. Stage 1 fades in and Arino reels.

AD Urakawa returns and tells Arino what he already knows, and of course, gives him the choice: keep playing, or bail out? This is a critical moment. So damn much is riding on this… probably! Arino pulls back and speaks through his teeth: yes, he’ll do it. Applause from the gallery, and then it’s back to stage 1. Urakawa sits back down to provide hand-off support.

The two take turns playing (and snacking) as the marathon continues. When Arino makes it back to stage 7, Urakawa tells him that he can get a special item here, a ring that’s gained after opening all the previous treasure chests in the stage. The ring is a special fireball weapon that can deal some big damage. Good to know! Now to fight Lucifer.

Arino tries to be careful, but Lucifer’s laser hits him at the beginning and breaks his gold armor. The only downside of the ring weapon is that it has terrible reach; therefore Arino is forced to get closer to Lucifer. That leads to a pretty quick death. And several more, for that matter.The attempts reach the double digits, and the challenge has now passed the 16-hour mark. On attempt 14, Arino finally gets rid of Lucifer and then faces Nebilos (with full armor, thankfully).

Arino uses the same rhythmic strategy here, attacking only when the coast is completely clear. This pattern continues for about two more minutes until, again, Arino gets down to 10 seconds left. The tension is palpable, and he still doesn’t have a window of attack even with six seconds left! Finally, at the three-second mark, Arino deals the final hit. The crowd goes wild.

Stage 8 begins! The final battle against Sardius! Arino’s instantly hit by one of the boss’ lasers, but he’s still in the ga– oops, another hit. Game Over, with two credits left. It’s nearly 3 A.M. The producer tells Arino this is his last chance. Two credits totalling six lives.

Attempt 2 starts. Arino’s hit and is shirtless again, but he rides one of the platforms that swoop under Sardius and manages to narrowly avoid the lasers and hit Sardius with the beam… once. Before long the lasers get him again. Attempt 3 ends even worse, but by the next one Arino starts to figure out the pattern, and the exact spots where to avoid the lasers.

He still dies, but at least now knows how to use the platforms better, and lands a few hits regardless. Attempt 5 comes after using the last credit. This is where he could win it — 52 hours of combined playtime in this series can end right here. Arino’s insanely careful, only jumping on that platform when he trusts himself. After landing several hits, he takes one more jump, rides the platform up, and mashes that attack button.

A resounding success. Two out of three ain’t bad.

Tama ni Ikunara Konna Bohkenoh

A week before this episode aired, Fuji had their big "Bohkenoh" festival at the Fuji building in Odaiba, and a special GCCX stage show was a part of it, including a public showing of the DS game.

And then, a one-on-one game battle! Arino challenges a couple of audience members to Street Fighter II. He wins against a little kid and rubs it in, but the crowd rightfully boos him. Revenge is taken by an older, kacho-costumed fan who deftly beats Arino with Chun-Li.

Game Kakeikaku

Nothing too revelatory in this edition. Arino sits with Kibe and looks through the pile of fan-submitted ideas for the game. They start with suggested names for the princess in Haguruman. After poring through some postcards, Arino decides on Houzuki-hime.

Next, Arino browses some sprite art ideas for the game’s AD portraits, starting with Tojima, then Sasano, Urakawa and Inoue. A lot of talented folks out there who know their pixel art!

This is followed by some more new Arino no Chousenjou footage: Haguruman 2 and the totally Star Soldier-esque Star Prince.

Game & Watch Hottokenai Yo

Last time it was the Tabletop Series, now Arino looks at their successors, the Panorama Screen series. Arino flips up the tiny screen and is amazed to see it looks like like the Tabletop games!

The first game is Mario’s Bombs Away, where Mario must send a bomb from one end of the screen to the other without it being lit by the enemies. He almost gets the hang of it, but dies too many times for it to matter.

Next is Donkey Kong’s Circus. Arino dies instantly before figuring it out: DK has to juggle pineapples one at a time without letting them fall. He does better than the last one, but slips up and grabs a fireball, ending the game.

So much are they worth now? Mario is 29,800 yen, while Donkey Kong is, whoa… 89,800 yen! Almost $770! That’s a spit-take-worthy moment. As impressed as he was to begin with, Arino won’t be taking them home.

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