GameCenter CX: Arino no Chousenjou 2 (ゲームセンターCX 有野の挑戦状 2) is a compilation of retro-style games developed by indies zero and published by Bandai Namco for the Nintendo DS in 2009.
As with its predecessor Retro Game Challenge, the game is based on the Fuji TV-produced Japanese reality television series GameCenter CX (localized as Retro Game Master in North America) starring comedian Shinya Arino. Similar to the manner in which Arino challenges difficult retro games over the course of the show, players of Retro Game Challenge are assigned multiple objectives to complete across several original retro-style games.
Each title is presented as its own release within the libraries of several fictional 8-bit and 16-bit game consoles, complete with period-appropriate box art and in-game instruction manuals. Additional media coverage is provided within the pages of a fictional gaming magazine called GameFan, which offers helpful gameplay tips and cheats that can be used to ease progression or achieve higher scores in the games.
Unlike the original game, Arino no Chousenjou 2 never saw an official release outside of Japan, presumably due to low sales of Retro Game Challenge in North America. An unofficial English translation patch was released in 2014 by Aaron Chmielowiec (link).
Just like the first game, players select either a boy or girl avatar who will receive the various challenges assigned by a newly powered-up Game Master Arino, the second evil "digitalized" version of Shinya Arino spawned by his own frustration at failing to conquer modern games. After being turned into a child by Game Master Arino once again, the player is thrown backwards in time to the 1980s and appears at the childhood home of a young Arino, who assists the player with completing the challenges by providing the necessary gaming hardware and software.
The sequel shares the same basic structure as the original: Game Master Arino issues a set of four challenges for a particular game, requiring players to complete each challenge in order before the next becomes available. A new feature in Arino no Chousenjou 2 allows players to call Game Master Arino if they become stuck on a challenge, who will give the player the option to skip the current challenge (but only if a certain amount of time has been spent playing the relevant game first).
Once all four challenges in a single game have been cleared, the next game in chronological release order is unlocked. Several of the challenges are simple tasks, such as scoring a set number of points or completing a certain level. Other challenges may require the player to master some of the games' more esoteric aspects.
After clearing all four challenges for a single game, that game becomes available in Freeplay mode. High scores and various other game data are maintained in Freeplay mode, but cheats are disabled with the exception of continue codes. Progress in Freeplay mode does not affect Story mode.
GameFan Magazine is a gaming magazine read by young Arino. A new issue of GameFan is unlocked after every few challenges beaten. It features tips and cheats for all the games featured in RGC, previews for upcoming games, and sales charts that include the games featured in RGC as well as several other titles that are not featured. GameFan's mascot is Larry T. Bird, a blue bird who appears on the cover of every issue.
As with the Japanese version of the first game, the magazine's staff in Arino no Chousenjou 2 are based on production team members for the GameCenter CX television show.
In contrast to Retro Game Challenge, which exclusively featured NES/Famicom-style games, the sequel contains titles based on several 8-bit and 16-bit systems including MSX, Famicom Disk System, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, SNES, and Game & Watch. Some games are sequels or remakes of titles from Retro Game Challenge, while several others are completely new.
Arino no Chousenjou 2 features nine games through the main campaign:
In the ancient city of Avalon, the half-man, half-wizard Wizan searches for the same lost treasure as his father: the Arthrian Stone. His journey to the top of the tower will not be easy...
As an arcade-style "dot eating" or "maze chase" game, Wiz-Man is very similar to Namco's 1980 arcade hit Pac-Man. Players maneuver Wizan around a series of single-screen mazes while collecting pellet-like crystals and evading enemies. There are a total of thirty-two floors which must be cleared before reaching the end, although it is possible to skip floors.
Each floor contains both red and blue crystals. However, before Wizan can collect any crystals, he must first obtain a red or blue magic wand. Equipping a wand allows players to collect crystals of the same color. Certain larger crystals will flash periodically, and collecting these flashing crystals in a particular order may either give players a score bonus or activate a "floor skip". Once all of the crystals in a stage have been collected, a door leading to the next stage will appear in the center of the maze.
Wands can also be used to attack enemies with magic spells: a Blue Wand's Ice magic can destroy red enemies, while Fire magic from a Red Wand destroys blue enemies. Players can temporarily stun enemies by attacking them with a same-color wand. Additionally, collecting two or more wands of the same color allows multiple spells to be cast simultaneously instead of one-at-a-time. Carrying multiple wands also increases Wizan's movement speed.
Hidden on each floor is the Light Wand, a third type of wand which allows players to collect both red and blue crystals. Light Wands also cast Light magic, the only means of defeating black-colored enemies; conversely, white-colored enemies take reduced damage from such attacks. Each floor has its own special set of conditions for making Light Wands appear.
Warp Routes appear on certain floors, which allow players to utilize a screen-wrapping escape route to the opposite side of the maze that enemies cannot pass through.
Various bonus items can be obtained for score and extra lives. Special high-score jewels appear near the center of the maze after every fifty crystals collected. Occasionally a defeated enemy may drop a Bell; after collecting it, Wizan enters a bonus stage where players can attempt to gather all the coins within a time limit for a score bonus. Additionally, collecting one hundred coins grants the player an extra life.
- The premise of Wiz-Man as a home console-based maze chase game is likely a reference to Devil World, a 1984 Nintendo R&D1 title which similarly resembles Pac-Man while also adding its own unique mechanical wrinkles.
- #01 - Cast 2 of the same magic in 2 locations! - In this challenge, get two of the same type of wand, and use the A button to cast two of the same type of magic in two different locations!
- #02 - Collect 8 large blue crystals in order! - For this challenge, gather 8 large blue crystals in order. The first crystal is left of where Wizan starts. When you get one blue crystal, the next will start flashing.
- #03 - Enter the Door on 4F! - To beat this challenge, gather all of the crystals and exit through the door. You do not have to defeat any enemies, so aim for getting the wands to gather the crystals.
- #04 - Collect 10 Jewels in 1 game! - For this challenge, I want you to get 10 of the Jewels that appear in the middle of the screen when you collect crystals. For help on getting them, see the manual.
Mutekiken Kung Fu
Kengo is a powerful fighter and master of the secret technique "Mutekiken". When his master is attacked by General Kotei, Kengo seeks revenge against his whole army! Kengo will avenge his master!
Mutekiken Kung Fu pays homage to early arcade brawlers, particularly Kung-Fu Master (later ported to NES simply as "Kung Fu"). The player character Kengo traverses five linear side-scrolling stages while engaging multiple types of enemies, each with their own fighting style. Every stage features one or more mid-bosses and a main boss which must be defeated to progress.
Kengo's basic moves include punching, kicking, jumping and crouching. With proper timing, players can perform combos against enemies and send them flying across the screen, potentially dealing further damage against distant foes. Defeating enemies in this manner yields special Ki orbs which can be collected by Kengo. Obtaining four Ki items within the same stage will automatically activate Kengo's "Mutekiken" power, enabling players to eliminate most rank-and-file enemies with a single strike and deal increased damage against bosses for a limited time.
Mutekiken Kung Fu also features a two-player versus mode.
- Mutekiken Kung Fu appears to take aesthetic inspiration from Karateka, a game originally released for the Apple II and the first commercial title developed by Jordan Mechner. Mutekiken is also noted to be an American-made game, further referencing Kareteka's history as one of the first Western titles ported to Japanese home consoles.
- The game's title may be a reference to Yie Ar Kung-Fu.
- #05 - Make 1 enemy fly! - To beat this challenge, send an enemy flying. When you land a combo of hits with the right timing, a red mark will appear and you will knock your opponent flying!
- #06 - Beat the 1st Midstage Boss - To complete this challenge, beat the 1st stage mid-boss "Afro Karate Boxer"! Watch for how he moves and use that to bring him down! I wonder why he never kicks...
- #07 - Unleash the Mutekiken Power! - To win this challenge, collect 4 of the Ki items that appear when you blast an enemy into another to unleash the Mutekiken power. Punch or kick an enemy with this power!
- #08 - Beat the Stage 2 Boss! - To win this challenge, beat the boss at the end of Stage 2! Chase down the boss, watch out for General Suzuki and his hawk and sword attacks!
While searching for a bride for her sons, the evil Demon Queen traveled to the human world and abducted the Princess. A brave human named Damon tried to stop the Queen, but he was cursed and transformed into a demon himself! Now Damon must battle through Hades World and rescue his true love from the Demon Queen's castle!
Demon Returns is an action platforming game which borrows elements from several other NES/Famicom platformers, especially Super Mario Bros.. Hades World is comprised of four worlds broken into four stages each, for a total of sixteen stages. Similar to the original Super Mario Bros., there is a boss fight at the end of every fourth stage against a member of the Royal Family of the Underworld.
Instead of a stage time limit, players must monitor Damon's vitality in the form of the Apple Gauge at the top of the screen, which depletes over time. Players can pick up Apple items throughout a stage to restore vitality; a red Apple restores one Apple on the gauge, while Gold Apples refill the gauge completely. If the gauge is depleted, Damon loses a life.
In addition to the traditional platforming method of head jumping, Damon can use his Spin Claw to attack enemies from the side and break Skull Blocks. Attacking an enemy with the Spin Claw causes it to flip upside-down and start spinning around in place for a few seconds, allowing Damon to use his "Devil Ride" ability to jump onto the spinning enemy and ride it for a speed boost. However, the increased speed also causes skidding when players try to move in the opposite direction, making precision platforming more difficult.
While using Devil Ride, players can perform a double jump by pressing the Jump button again while in mid-air, ditching the ridden enemy in the process. Being attacked while using Devil Ride will cause Damon to lose his ride, but he will avoid taking any damage as a result. Different enemy types provide their own special abilities when ridden; for example, performing Devil Ride with a "Kaniccho" enemy allows Damon to automatically attack enemies with Kaniccho's pincers simply by sliding into them horizontally.
Special "Devil Blocks" (styled after Super Mario's Question Mark Blocks) will produce one of five different types of Medal items when attacked with the Spin Claw:
- Moon Medal: A power up that transforms Little Damon into Big Damon. Collect a second Moon Medal to become the Damon King and gain the ranged "Spin Tornado" attack. Any damage taken reverts Damon back to his small form.
- Spark Medal: Grants temporary invincibility.
- 1UP Medal: Grants an extra life.
- Apple Medal: Reveals any hidden Apples nearby.
- Skull Medal: A power down item that reverts Big Damon or Damon King to Little Damon, or reduces the Apple Gauge to one.
Small white Souls float upwards after defeating an enemy or breaking certain Skull Blocks. Damon can gather one hundred Souls for an extra life. Large Souls are worth three Souls each and are typically found in bonus areas.
"Devil Pots" can be attacked to produce helpful items such as Souls or high-score Jewels. Certain Devil Pots may turn green after being attacked; Damon can enter these green pots to travel to a bonus area or a warp zone (similar to Super Mario's Warp Pipes).
- Damon's Apple Gauge is reminiscent of Master Higgins' constantly draining vitality meter in Adventure Island, which must be similarly replenished by collecting healing food items such as fruit.
- The kidnapping of the Princess by demonic forces in the attract mode and the game's overall hellish theme may be references to Ghosts 'N Goblins.
- #09 - Ride on the back of a spinning enemy! - In this challenge, beat an enemy with your Spin Claw move and jump on his back to ride him! Remember, if you jump on a non-spinning enemy you will only knock him out!
- #10 - Destroy a block with the Spin Tornado - For this challenge, collect two Moon Medals to change into the Demon King and press B to fire a "Spin Tornado". Destroy a large skull block with it to win!
- #11 - Collect 100 Souls for a 1UP! - To beat this challenge, break the numerous Skull Blocks to release "Souls" and gather 100 of them for a 1UP to win. You can also find many of these in the bonus stages!
- #12 - Clear Stage 1-4! - To beat this challenge I want you to clear Stage 1-4. However, if you use a warp to go beyond 1-4, you cannot beat a later stage to finish this challenge.
The Chief is a Great Detective, Part 1
One day at the GameCenter CX factory, Section Chief Arino receives an order from company President Ishikawa to unravel the mysteries of CX Industries. But are the answers more than they bargained for...?
The Chief is a Great Detective, Part 1: The Final Day of the Game Computer (課長は名探偵 前編 ゲームコンピューター最後の日) is the first release in a pair of titles for the Game Computer's "Floppy Disk System" add-on device.
The gameplay in Great Detective is modeled after Japanese command selection menu-based graphic adventure games. Yuji Horii's Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken (The Portopia Serial Murder Case) helped to establish the template for Japanese adventure games and heavily contributed to the genre's popularity in Japan during the mid-to-late 1980s, which subsequently set the stage for the rise of derivative genres such as sound novels and visual novels.
In Great Detective, the player character is a new company employee who has been assigned to assist Arino with his investigation into the "Seven Factory Mysteries" of CX Industries. Players choose commands from a menu such as Inquire, Use and Move to interact with other characters and the environment, which are illustrated as static images. When characters are speaking, their dialogue is displayed in a text box at the bottom of the screen.
There is also a world map navigated from a top-down perspective in a manner similar to that of old-school Japanese console RPGs, such as Dragon Quest.
- Great Detective most directly references Famicom Tantei Club: Kieta Koukeisha (Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir), a 1988 adventure title originally released in two parts for the Famicom Disk System, the real-world equivalent of Arino no Chousenjou 2's Floppy Disk System.
- The cast of Great Detective is mostly composed of production team members from the GameCenter CX television show. Former Bandai Namco president Shukuo Ishikawa also makes a cameo appearance as the president of CX Industries.
- #13 - Get/Use your Business Cards - To beat this challenge, get your business cards at the beginning of the adventure and pass one to someone else. Once you have done that, save with "Save".
- #14 - Solve "Nobody in the Meeting Room" - In this challenge, I want you to solve the mystery of "Nobody in the Meeting Room". When you solve it, save your game with the "Save" option to win this challenge!
- #15 - Solve the "Crying Machine" mystery! - For this challenge, I want you to solve the mystery of the "Crying Machine". When you complete this, save your game with "Save" to finish!
- #16 - Solve "Just one missing"! - To beat this challenge, solve the mystery of "1 Missing"! When you finish it, save your game with "Save" to beat this challenge.
In the Galaxy Year 0064, mankind has solved their overpopulation problems by colonizing outer space. One day an unidentified invader attacks Colony Site 4, marking humanity's first contact with a hostile cybernetic lifeform that would become known as "E-OS". In reponse, the Union Cross defense conglomerate develops a state-of-the-art fighter called GunDuel that utilizes a revolutionary "Gun Unit" add-on system. A lone pilot is selected to defend against the new threat and take the fight to E-OS!
Much like Star Prince in Retro Game Challenge, GunDuel is a vertical-scrolling shooter that takes inspiration from a number of similar 8-bit sci-fi shoot-'em-up titles such as Hudson's Star Soldier, as well as Zanac and Aleste by Compile.
Players can increase their firepower by picking up one of seven total "Gun Unit" weapon types. Each player can equip one Gun Unit as their "Main" weapon and a second Gun Unit as their "Sub" weapon; the two equipped Gun Units can be swapped at any time with the B button. The type of projectiles fired by a Gun Unit will vary depending on whether it is equipped as the "Main" or "Sub" weapon.
GunDuel also features a simultaneous two-player cooperative mode. After defeating one hundred enemies in two-player mode, a G-System power-up icon will appear. Collecting this power-up will merge both players' ships into a larger, more powerful fighter. In G-System mode, the player that collected the G icon controls the ship and its main weapons, while the other player controls the Option-like Sub-weapons that orbit around the ship.
- #17 - Swap 1 equipped weapon and blast 1 enemy - Sometimes when you defeat an enemy, a Gun Unit will appear as one of the seven total types (VLHMSWF). Swap your weapon if you have 2 or more equipped and blast an enemy!
- #18 - Destroy a Spy Camera! - Sometimes an alarm will sound and a grey Spy Camera will appear from the left or right of the screen, do its thing and leave! Hurry up and destroy it before it gets away!
- #19 - Use the G-System then blast 20 ships! - To beat this challenge, play in 2 PLAYERS mode, then after defeating 100 enemies, get the G-System item that appears, merge your 2 fighters, and destroy 20 more ships to win!
- #20 - Clear Colony 2! - Clear this challenge by clearing Colony 2! In the middle of the colony there are mid-bosses on and above ground. Defeat them and the end boss to complete this challenge!
The Chief is a Great Detective, Part 2
Without understanding the reasons why, Arino and his assistant are arrested and currently awaiting interrogation. An ally appears, but perhaps this case is more complex than they thought! And just what is "Love&Game"...?!
The second part of Great Detective features the same gameplay and graphics as the first. Players must finish Part 1 in order to carry over their cleared save data, which is required for starting a new game in Part 2.
Because this is essentially the second half of a single game, Game Master Arino issues no challenges for this title.
Triotos (トリオトス) is a falling block-style puzzle game inspired by popular puzzle games of the late 1980s and early 1990s, particularly Tetris and Columns. Echoing Tetris' publishing history in the West, Triotos is initially released for the Game Computer Mini, a monochrome portable console patterned after Game Boy.
Sets of three blocks called "Triominos" (a play on Tetris' Tetrominos) continuously fall from the top of the screen, and players maneuver each falling piece with the D-pad until they reach the bottom. If three or more of the same type of block form a horizontal or vertical line, those tiles disappear. Triominos can be rotated with the A and B buttons or quickly dropped by pressing Down on the D-pad.
Clearing six or more blocks at once will cause a multi-mark block to drop next; these special flashing blocks can match with any other type of block. Another technique called the "Line Spark" involves clearing a full horizontal row of five blocks, causing all blocks of the same type on the field to disappear.
Triotos also features a two-player versus mode, allowing the player character to link their own GameCom Mini with young Arino's.
- Young Arino notes that Triotos was made in Czechoslovakia, a former Eastern Bloc republic located near the Soviet Union. This is likely in reference to Tetris being developed by Alexey Pajitnov while working for the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1984.
- #21 - Line up blocks of the same type! - For this challenge, line up the falling Triominos so they make a line or row of 3 or more and watch them disappear! Keep an eye on the marking so you can match them up!
- #22 - Place a multi-mark block! - To beat this challenge, make 6 or more Triominos disappear at once to make a multi-mark block fall! Place the multi-mark block to finish the challenge!
- #23 - Perform a Line Spark! - To win this challenge, get a full horizontal line of blocks of the same type to set off a Line Spark! If you need help, see the DEMO option in the Mode Select screen.
- #24 - Beat Level 3 on VS. RIVAL mode! - To beat this challenge, play the VS. RIVAL mode and beat Level 3. You can check your rival status on the left of the screen. Get lines of 4 or more to attack your rival!
Guadia Quest Saga
The Guadias have upheld the peace of the land for hundreds of years. But now their dark power has been unleashed again, so three brave youths must face the Guadia Master!
Guadia Quest Saga: Light Edition is a portable entry in the Guadia Quest series, which began with the first Guadia Quest in Retro Game Challenge. Just like the original, Saga is a traditional turn-based Japanese RPG in the vein of Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy. This title is released on the Game Computer Mini Color, Arino no Chousenjou 2's equivalent of the Game Boy Color.
In addition to controlling three main party members, players can also utilize Guadias, a special kind of creature that can join with the player's party and provide support in battle. Saga evolves the series' gameplay by adding new features such as each party member having their own Guadia, as well as Guadias gaining new abilities after reaching a certain level.
Similar to the tradition in mainline Pokémon games of releasing a pair of titles (or "Versions") for each new generation, Guadia Quest Saga also comes in two versions: Light and Dark. The player receives a copy of the Light Version along with their own GameCom Mini Color console, while young Arino owns the Dark Version. This allows players to trade their collected Guadias with Arino in order to receive new types of Guadias exclusive to the other version of the game.
- #25 - Head for Twilight Town! - To beat this challenge, I want you to find Twilight Town on the world map! When you arrive, save your gave with your Journal to finish!
- #26 - Raise party to Level 5! - To beat this challenge, raise all 3 of your party members to level 5! When finished, save your game with the Adventurer Journal to complete the challenge!
- #27 - Collect 1000 Ducats! - For this challenge, I want you to collect 1000 ducats using any means necessary. When finished, save your game with your Journal to win!
- #28 - Defeat Meister on 11F of Heavens Tower! - For this challenge, find and beat the Guadia Meister on the 11th Floor of Heavens Tower. When you win, save your game with "Save" to win this challenge.
Super Demon Returns
After Damon rescued the Princess from the Underworld, the happy couple spent their days together in peace. But now the Demon Queen has kidnapped the Princess once again and transformed Damon back into his demonic form. Damon must use new abilities to survive in his all-new adventure through "Super Hades World"!
The sequel to Demon Returns is released on the Super Game Computer, a 16-bit console based on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Super Demon Returns features the same basic gameplay as the original along with revamped graphics and sound. Damon can now attack in four directions, as well as perform a Super Spin Claw charge attack which can destroy Metal Skull Blocks. Saving is also introduced as a new feature, allowing players to select and retry any previously cleared stages from the title screen.
- #29 - Collect a Big Soul! - When you destroy a large skull block, sometimes a "Big Soul" will appear. Get it to win this challenge! There is one in Stage 1-1 you can use to beat this one!
- #30 - Collect all 5 gems in Stage 1-1! - In this challenge, I want you to find all 5 Red Jewels in Stage 1-1! If you get a Game Over, you will have to get them all again. Find all 5 to win this challenge!
- #31 - Gather 100 Apples! - To beat this challenge, collect 100 apples! However, if you lose all your lives and continue, the count will reset. Gather the apples as you progress through each stage.
- #32 - Clear Stage 1-4! - To beat this challenge, clear Stage 1-4! You will win when you defeat the boss at the end of Stage 1-4. Do not bother with points or items, just clear the stage to win!
Game Master Arino's Further Challenges
Players that clear all prior challenges will receive Game Master Arino's Further Challenges, a set of four new challenges spread across four of the previous games. These challenges are more difficult and cannot be skipped by calling Game Master Arino, although cheat codes can still be used.
Once this set of four challenges is complete, the game's interactive credits will begin which feature a simple vertical shooter with Game Master Arino as the boss.
- #33 - Enter the Door on 16F! (Wizman) - For this challenge, I want you to gather all crystals on Floor 16 and enter the door at the end. Do not forget to seek out the magical rods that will make this easier!
- #34 - Win when playing "2P VERSUS" mode! (Mutekiken Kung-Fu) - For this challenge, I want you to play "2P VERSUS" mode and beat your opponent! Try not to let your opponent catch the falling Ki spheres and try not to lose!
- #35 - Get all "SPECIAL" letters in Colony 1 (GunDuel) - To beat this challenge, gather all of the hidden letters (S P E C I A L) from the 7 hidden panels. Blast far and wide to uncover them and get them all!
- #36 - Get a score of 200,000! (Super Demon Returns) - To beat this challenge, I want you to get 200,000 points! You can get a lot of points fast if you get many of the Red Jewels in succession on each stage! Good luck!
The Final Challenge
After the credits, the in-game date advances to December 31, 1994, which is marked as the "End of the 16-bit era". Game Master Arino then presents the final challenge: completing all nine previous games and seeing each of their endings. Cleared games will receive a special "Completed" badge in the Game Select menu to help players track their progress.
Since some games may not have clearly defined endings, Game Master Arino specifies the conditions for "finishing" these games as needed. For example, completing Triotos involves clearing its "VS. RIVAL" mode.
- #37 - Clear every game! - For the final challenge, get to the "END" screen of all the games! When you beat a game a yellow mark will appear next to the game in the Game Selection screen. Fight!
Game Store Games
Similar to Arino's game store field trips in the GameCenter CX television show, players can visit a game store called "Waku Waku Boy" (referencing two real-world Japanese game stores "Wanpaku Kozo" and "Top Boy") to play a handful of additional games not available in Arino's home.
Four of these games are ports or special revisions of games featured in the original Retro Game Challenge, while the fifth is an enhanced 16-bit version of Triotos.
Cosmic Gate (MASA-X)
A port of Cosmic Gate for an MSX-like system called the MASA-X that reduces the total number of stages to sixteen and rearranges certain other elements of the original.
Robot Ninja Haggle Man: Koume Version
A special limited edition of the first Robot Ninja Haggle Man featuring supporting character Koume as the playable protagonist. This version consists of eight stages that loop endlessly with no ending sequence, as well as a new enemy type not featured in the original game.
Rally King EX Time Trial
A rare version of Rally King featuring a time trial mode.
Star Prince SA (Score Attack Version)
A version of Star Prince in which the goal is to score the maximum number of points in 3 or 5 minutes of play.
An enhanced port of Triotos for the Super GameCom featuring extra gameplay elements over the original.