Taito Milestones 2: Reliving more Arcade Classics - Review.

  TAITO MILESTONES 2 Introduction: The world of arcade gaming has a rich history, and Taito Corporation stands as one of its pioneers. With ...



The world of arcade gaming has a rich history, and Taito Corporation stands as one of its pioneers. With a legacy that spans decades, Taito has brought us some of the most iconic games in the industry. In this comprehensive review, we will delve deep into the release of "Taito Milestones 2," the second game collection for the Nintendo Switch by Taito. This compilation is a treasure trove of arcade classics, and we'll explore each of the ten games it offers in detail. From shoot'em ups to platformers, Taito Milestones 2 promises an unforgettable journey through gaming history.

As the 2 indicates this is the second in the "milestones" series released, we also reviewed the 1st one while back, you can read it here, and a lot of our thoughts on that version apply to this second collection.

Each of the ten games in this collection has been ported by the developer Hamster, known for their work on the Arcade Archives series. That means that the games have been ported one to one, with all their yank, quirks and flaws intact as well, just as they were in the original arcade versions.

There is a distinct lack of any advanced optimization, and as a result the games may not look their best on the small screen of the Nintendo Switch. This visual limitation can affect your gameplay experiences. However, when playing the games on a larger screen in docked mode, the difference in visual fidelity becomes more pronounced, true to itself and therefore more favorable.

The games on "Taito Milestones 2" are essentially compiled as a set of Arcade Archives games with a launcher. This results in some inconsistencies, including menu layouts and default soft filters that may need to be disabled in the options menu. It is a bit disappointing to not see some efforts to create unified backends of their games for the collection.

However, the collection does offer some valuable features. Players have the ability to customize display settings and control mappings to suit their preferences. Each game also comes with various customization options, including difficulty settings. For those seeking a competitive edge, the inclusion of online leaderboards allows you to showcase your high scores to friends and the wider gaming community. While save states are available, it's worth noting that some modern features commonly found in retro collections, like rewind functions or fast forward, are absent.

Let's have a look at the games that are included in this collection.

The New Zealand Story (1988):
"The New Zealand Story" introduces players to Tiki, a brave kiwi bird determined to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend, Phee Phee, and his fellow kiwi chick friends from the clutches of a menacing blue leopard seal. The game is a platformer with a twist, set in maze-like, scrolling levels. Tiki's primary weapon is an endless supply of arrows, but pickups can transform it into bombs, lasers, or bouncing fireballs, each with unique properties.

What makes this game unique is the ability to ride various flying vehicles, including balloons, blimps, and UFOs. These vehicles can be found or stolen from enemies, adding a layer of strategy to the gameplay. The levels are expansive and scroll along with the player, encouraging exploration and discovery. The game also features hidden "warp" portals, leading to secret areas and shortcuts.

Each stage has an invisible time limit, adding urgency to the gameplay. If the player takes too long to find the exit, a "Hurry Up!" message appears, and an invincible red devil pursues Tiki. "The NewZealand Story" offers four main zones, each with four rounds, concluding with a boss fight. It's a platformer that combines action, exploration, and strategy for an engaging gaming experience.

Kiki Kaikai (1986):
"Kiki Kaikai" is an overhead multi-directional shooter that puts players in the shoes of Sayo-chan, armed with special o-fuda scrolls and a purification rod. The game's objective is to navigate through various levels while attacking harmful enemies that approach from off-screen. The enemies drop special paper slips upon defeat, enhancing Sayo-chan's power and improving her attack range.

The game also introduces challenging boss monsters that require multiple hits to defeat, adding intensity to the gameplay. Sayo-chan can be damaged by enemy contact, and a single hit results in her being knocked out. To counter this, players must master the art of dodging while delivering precise attacks.

Hidden items can be found by attacking objects with Sayo-chan's purification rod, and these items provide various upgrades and points. The game's unique point system rewards players with extra lives as they accumulate points.

Darius II (3 Screen Arcade Version) (1989):
Taking ultrawide to the extreme even back in the late 80's , "Darius II" is a 1989 arcade shooter that takes players on a journey through the inner half of the Solar System. Using no less then 3 screens in the Arcade. The game retains the branching level structure from its predecessor, "Darius," offering multiple paths to explore. The primary gameplay mechanic revolves around collecting power-ups to enhance the player's spaceship.

Power-ups in "Darius II" come in different colors, each upgrading a different aspect of the player's weaponry. Red upgrades the main weapon, green upgrades the subweapon, blue adds a shield, yellow grants a new "laser" main weapon, and rainbow powers up all the player's weapons.

The game also introduces minibosses known as "captains," which appear in levels before the main boss fights, increasing the challenge. Unlike its predecessor, "Darius II" features a different system for acquiring power-ups, requiring players to destroy specific enemy formations.

The game's difficulty escalates as players progress through its sci-fi shooter adventure, offering a dynamic and challenging experience.

Gun Frontier (1990):
"Gun Frontier" immerses players in a space Western-themed vertically scrolling shoot 'em up. As planetary settlers, players embark on a mission to defeat the Wild Lizards and liberate their people from space pirates. The game offers unique revolver-shaped fighter aircraft and a distinctive firepower system.

Players start with dual machine guns, which can be strengthened and multiplied by collecting dimes dropped by buffalo-shaped enemies. The more dimes collected, the more powerful the aircraft's firepower becomes. Players also begin with a set number of bombs, which can be upgraded by collecting gold bars from destroyed ground forces.

One of the game's notable features is the direction of bomb explosions, which depends on the player's movement. This strategic element adds depth to combat, as players can use bombs both offensively and defensively. Additionally, the game features a recovery system and a checkpoint system, making it accessible yet challenging.

"Gun Frontier" also incorporates an anti-autofire mechanism, where rapid firing leads to increased difficulty. It's a unique shoot 'em up experience with a Western twist.

Ben Bero Beh (1984):
"Ben Bero Beh" takes players on a platform arcade adventure with Dami-chan, a superhero on a mission to save his girlfriend, Nao-chan. The game presents a series of apartment complexes on fire, and Dami-chan is armed with a fire extinguisher to navigate through the blazing buildings.

The gameplay involves extinguishing fires, manipulating stage hazards, and avoiding enemies that appear from apartment doors. Players must also make use of Dami-chan's jumping abilities to avoid fall damage from collapsed floors and other hazards.

The quicker players complete levels, the more bonus points they earn, encouraging swift progression. The game features hidden secrets and bonus points within the scenery, rewarding exploration and observation.

"Ben Bero Beh" offers a unique combination of firefighting and platforming, making it a distinctive addition to the collection.

The Legend of Kage (1985):
"The Legend of Kage" is a side-scrolling hack-and-slash game that puts players in the role of Kage, a ninja on a mission to rescue Princess Kirihime from the clutches of the villainous warlord Yoshi and evil samurai Yuki. The game offers a fast-paced and action-packed experience.

Armed with a kodachi shortsword and shuriken, Kage must navigate through five challenging stages filled with enemies and obstacles. The game features fluid, side-scrolling gameplay, allowing players to unleash Kage's various skills and weapons.

As players progress through the game, they'll witness seasonal changes, with the environment transitioning from summer to fall to winter and back to summer. Crystal ball power-ups enhance Kage's abilities, changing the color of his clothing and providing additional powers.

"Legend of Kage" offers intense combat, dynamic level design, and a captivating journey through feudal Japan.

Liquid Kids (Mizubaku Adventure) (1990):
This adorable little game invites players to step into the shoes of Hipopo, a hippopotamus on a mission to rescue his missing girlfriend, Tamasun, while battling enemies led by the Fire Demon in the land of Woody-Lake. The game is a platformer with a unique twist.

Hipopo is armed with water bombs that can be thrown at enemies to soak and damage them. Once soaked, enemies can be kicked and completely destroyed. However, if left untouched, enemies will dry out and recover after a brief time.

The game offers a variety of power-ups, including faster movement and more potent water bombs. Hipopo must traverse a series of single-screen levels, each with its own challenges and enemies. The game also features hidden items and secret areas, encouraging exploration.

"Liquid Kids" combines platforming with the strategic use of water bombs, making for a distinctive and enjoyable gaming experience.

Solitary Fighter (1991):
"Solitary Fighter" offers a one-on-one fighting experience set in the world of street combat. Released in 1991, it allows players to select from a roster of fighters, including Ron Max and Tony Won, to engage in intense battles. What sets this game apart is its unique additions, including knife-wielding prostitutes who join the fray and bonus rounds where players must face off against a bear.

While "Solitary Fighter" may not stand out as a top-tier fighting game, it provides a glimpse into the arcade fighting game scene of its era. Its odd characters and moves may lead to some hilarious moments, making it a quirky addition to the collection.

Everyone wanted to ride the street fighter wave, many just sank into the pool of cheap knockoffs. 

Dinorex (1992):
"Dinorex" transports players back to the 25th century BC in prehistoric South America. In this fighting game, you assume the role of a warrior who commands a fearsome dinosaur companion. Your mission is to enter a tournament hosted by the titular king and prove your worthiness to become the next ruler.

"Dinorex" offers one-on-one fights with a main three-button configuration, featuring special moves and combo techniques. What sets it apart is the use of stop-motion animation for each of its dinosaur fighters, predating similar games like Primal Rage by two years. The fights are intense, and players must master a range of moves and tactics to emerge victorious.

As you progress through the game, you'll face a variety of opponents in different environments, making "Dinorex" a unique and memorable addition to the collection.

Metal Black (1991):
"Metal Black" is a scrolling shooter that places players in the role of rogue pilot John Ford. You'll take control of the CF-345 Black Fly space fighter craft as you embark on a mission to combat the Nemesis alien race and save humanity.

What sets "Metal Black" apart from other shooters is its minimalist approach to power-ups. Instead of offering a variety of weapons and bombs, the game focuses on collecting Newalone molecules scattered by Nemesis. These molecules increase your ship's beam level, serving as your only defense mechanism. The more Newalone molecules you collect, the more potent your firepower becomes.

The game features unique beam duels, where players must tap the fire button rapidly to overpower their opponent's beam. "Metal Black" also introduces bonus rounds where you must lock onto moving targets and launch cluster missiles within a time limit for extra points.

While "Metal Black" offers a simpler approach to shooting gameplay, it's no less challenging or engaging, providing a unique and memorable experience for fans of the genre.

With "Taito Milestones 2," Taito Corporation has curated a collection of ten arcade classics, each offering its own unique gameplay experiences. From platformers to shooters, fighting games, and even a firefighting adventure, One aspect where Taito Milestones 2 falls short is in celebrating Taito's rich gaming history. Sadly, there are no documents, videos, or artwork provided. This omission may disappoint gamers looking for a more comprehensive look at Taito's legacy. 

 It's important to recognize that these games represent a bygone era of gaming, characterized by old-school gameplay and a lack of modern "quality of life" features or handholding. If you appreciate classic arcade gameplay, warts and all, this collection offers a faithful representation of these titles, complete with save states and unlimited continues – a blessing for those who remember the days of feeding quarters into arcade cabinets.

The value of the collection depends on your perspective. With 10 games included, you're essentially paying $4 per game title. If you're looking to briefly revisit these classics for nostalgia or a quick gaming session, this price might seem a bit steep. However, if you're keen on reliving old memories or ensuring you have these titles in your retro game collection, this compilation offers a convenient and comprehensive package. It's worth noting that while some additional modern features would have been appreciated, the existing elements work well.

In summary, "Taito Milestones 2" presents a solid assortment of both well-known and lesser-known classics that may be challenging to find elsewhere, especially in one cohesive collection. Just be sure to enjoy them on a larger screen for the full retro gaming experience, as the Nintendo Switch's smaller screen may not do justice to these vintage titles.

However, it's essential to approach "Taito Milestones 2" with an understanding of the era these games hail from. They may lack modern quality-of-life features, but that's part of their charm. The price point may be a consideration for some, but for those looking to relive old memories or expand their retro game collection, this compilation can offer a good value. 

In summary, "Taito Milestones 2" is a solid package of known and lesser-known classics, providing a convenient way to experience these gems in one place. they provide a glimpse into the golden era of arcade gaming. The collection offers the opportunity to relive these classics on modern systems. Just be sure to enjoy them on a larger screen for the full retro gaming experience.

Game: TAITO Milestones 2
Publisher: ININ
Developer: TAITO
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date:  31 August 2023 (Price: $39.99)
Review Platform: Nintendo Switch 

About the writer: DadGeek (Rob) is the co-founder of GeeksVsGeeks. He is a product of the eighties and never let go of his geek interest and hobbies no matter how often someone told him to stop. His love for gaming and all things geeks has been part of his parenting style and permeates throughout the whole family. A family of Geeks vs Geeks  


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