PS2 REVIEW: TAITO LEGENDS

Fans of Taito's classic arcade games will rejoice, while the average gamer will respond with, "What th…?"

It's coming up to that time of year again when companies release compilations of their greatest hits to fill shelves during the Holiday-buying season. The trouble with videogame companies is that they only have a handful of hits to push, with a lot of filler. Such is the case with Taito's Legends. True arcade fanatics from the golden age will probably have no problem recalling each and every game contained within while the average casual gamer will have heard of only a small portion of the games offered in this compilation. Of course everyone has heard of Space Invaders, but how many people have heard of Exzisus or Tube It?

Just because you haven't heard of a lot of these games doesn't really mean much. Maybe you'll like them - maybe you won't. All I can tell you is that they are very faithful to their arcade counterparts in virtually every detail. There are some control issues I will talk about later but the graphics, animations, sound effects and music are almost perfect emulations. Keep in mind that a lot of these games are very old-school. Their depth is typically in the form of an ever-increasing difficulty that incorporates more enemies at a faster pace while recycling the same levels or environments. The gameplay is firmly established at the beginning of the game and since they are arcade games they aren't too difficult to get the hang of.

You might be pleasantly surprised with some of these games. There's no shortage of space shooters, let me tell you. Most of the games are an amalgam of shooter, platform and puzzle. There are 29 games in all including Battle Shark, Bubble Bobble, Colony 7, Continental Circus, Electric Yo-Yo, Elevator Action, Exzisus, Gladiator, Great Swordsman, Jungle Hunt, Ninja Kids, The New Zealand Story, Operation Thunderbolt, Operation Wolf, Phoenix, Plotting, Plump Pop, Rainbow Islands, Rastan, Return of the Invaders, Space Gun, Space Invaders, Space Invaders Part 2, Super Qix, Thunderfox, Tokio, Tube It, Volfied and Zoo Keeper.

Bubble Bobble features two dinosaur brothers, Bub and Bob as they jump from platform to platform in an attempt to capture monsters by trapping them in the bubbles they are able to blow. Once trapped, they can pop the bubbles and destroy the monsters within, which will leave certain treats for our heroes to collect within a given time frame.

Do you notice that it took an entire paragraph to explain one damn game? Obviously I'm not going to do that with all of them. This review would be way too long. So I'll just briefly go over a few. Plump Pop requires you to bounce an animal on a trampoline to burst a horde of balloons let loose over the sky. Watch out for flying enemies. Super Qix is the game where you have to outline sections of a picture before the evil gremlin attacks your drawing line before you complete outlining a rectangular section. Operation Thunderbolt features Green Berets attempting to rescue hostages from terrorists. Elevator Action stars Agent 17 as he tries to steal documents from atop a building using a series of interconnected elevators and escalators. Tube It is a Tetris rip-off where your bin fills with pipes that you must connect in order to make them disappear. Exzisus is a simple, side scrolling, space shooter in which you fly over a planet shooting at anything in your path.

The only real downside to this compilation is that some of these shooters would have benefited from the inclusion of a lightgun. Instead you get a cursor which tends to diminish the impact. You probably won't miss it if you've never even heard of games such as Operation Thunderbolt and Space Gun, which is like an unflattering combination of Alien and Doom.

Taito's Legends is like having an arcade in your own home. Maybe not the best arcade in town but more like the cheesy one you might recall on the wrong side of the tracks next to the 24-hour bowling alley and laundromat. Don't deny yourself the pleasure of tackling some of these games just for the heck of it. The price is great if you want to purchase it but you can't go wrong renting it for a retro-weekend party.

Preview by Vaughn

Xplosiv revealed today the content for their highly anticipated forthcoming release Taito Legends. This retro collection of classic games will consist of 29 of the best loved classics, including Bubble Bobble, Space Invaders, Rainbow Island, Operation Wolf, New Zealand Story to name but a few. The title is set to be released this September for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC.

Taito are the original coin-op arcade masters and have always been at the forefront of arcade gaming, with many of the original and most memorable classics coming from their design stables. The catalogue of games to be included in the retro collection will span from as early as 1979 through to 1997 and include arguably the most famous Coin-Op of all time, Space invaders,

Taito Legends is already a dream come true for retro gamers and with extra features such as video interviews of the original games creators Mr Tomohiro Nishikado (Space Invaders, Space Invaders Part II, Pop 'n' Pop) and Mr Fukio Mitsuji (Bubble Bobble, New Zealand Story, Volfied), this collection will keep fans and gaming enthusiasts on the edge of their seats.

This amazing collection not only contains a staggering 29 titles but all 29 are arcade games from our childhoods, a gaming journey through time ensues as every game brings back memories and remind us all of our youth!

Taito has been at the forefront of gaming since the 70's and Mr Hironori Ishii, General Manager of Overseas Releases for Taito, commented, "There remains an overwhelming interest in the classic games of the 70s and 80s, of which TAITO played a leading role in. This compilation is for all those fans out there, eager to either turn back the clock to those glory days of gaming, or discover altogether why these games are referred to as "classics". We are proud to have a company of such strong repute as Empire representing us, and trust they will do their best with this title."

Over 25 games that defined a generation, Including:

Battle Shark
Bubble Bobble
Colony 7
Continental Circus
Electric Yo-Yo
Elevator Action
Exzisus
Gladiator
Great Swordsman
Jungle Hunt
New Zealand Story
Ninja Kids
Operation Thunderbolt
Operation Wolf
Phoenix
Plotting
Plump Pop
Rainbow Islands
Rastan
Return of the Invaders
Space Gun
Space Invaders
Space Invaders part II
Super Qix
Thunderfox
Tokio
Tube It
Volfied
Zoo Keeper

System: PS2, X
Dev: Taito / Xplosiv
Pub: Empire
Release: Oct 2005
Players: 1 - 2
Review by Daemia
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.5
GRAPHICS
3.5
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
4.0
VALUE
2.5