Taito Milestones 2 (Switch)

Video game maker Taito has a lot of history behind it.  Just as much as other long-time developers such as Namco and even Nintendo!  Some of the games they’ve made you’ve surely heard of, like Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble, Bust-A-Move, and many, many more.  And now there’s a second collection of classic Taito games on the Switch, so let’s take a look at what’s on there!  Click here to check out the first Taito Milestones!

But before we get started, I just wanted to note that like in the first game, these are from Hamster’s Arcade Archives series, which sells arcade games separately digitally on home consoles.  You can also press pause to bring up a menu to toggle various settings, like the difficulty and lives you get in each game, and if you want rapid fire or not.  On the shooters in this collection that have that option, I recommend doing that.  OK let’s begin!

Ben Bero Beh

This is one I’ve never heard of although I think I’ve seen videos of it on YouTube.  It’s like a reverse Donkey Kong.  You are a guy dressed in a superhero outfit.  I don’t think you really are a superhero because in the game, the guy is fat and slow and his only power is to use a fire extinguisher.  You can aim it up or down at an angle and jump.  Your goal is to make it down four stories of a burning building to save your girlfriend.  How she ends up in all these burning buildings is pretty suspicious to me.  You have to avoid obstacles like fire, swinging lights, collapsing floors, and people running out of doors.  One hit kills you.  There are some Taito game cameos like one time I saw Chack’n from Chack’n Pop run out from a door.  And I’ve read the enemy spies from Elevator Action show up as well.  Because of how slow your guy moves, I had a hard time getting into it.  Has anyone else actually seen this one in arcades?  Let me know if you have.

The Legend of Kage

This one is pretty infamous, and most people probably remember the NES version.  I think they were trying to imitate the action from martial arts movies with this one.  You are a ninja who must save a princess by swinging your sword and throwing stars as you run and jump through four repeating stages.  And you can jump super high.  One hit kills you and most of the time I never saw what got me, so I’ve never liked this one. Although it has a charm to it despite that.  It got a spin off game on the NES called Demon Sword and a remake on the PSP Taito collection and an actual sequel on the DS much later.

Kiki KaiKai

You are a Japanese priestess who throws cards and swings her wand to defeat mythical Japanese monsters in this 2D overhead shooter action game.  Most people in the US know the sequels as Pocky and Rocky, and the series even got a new game last year!  The first game is a bit plain in comparison, though.  Did you know the last boss in the first game is player two in the sequels?

The New Zealand Story

You are a cute Kiwi bird who must save his friends from a leopard seal in this 2D plaforming action game.  You can run, jump, ride on vehicles to fly, and shoot arrows.  One hit kills you, and the game is super hard despite its cutesy look.  I love it when you get hit and you dance around while the projectile is still stuck on you!  The music is catchy and the graphics are cute.  US gamers might know this game on the NES as Kiwi Kraze.  On one of the earlier Taito collections that had this on it, my brother Jeff was bound and determined to beat this game when he was younger.  He got way farther than I ever had the patience to get, and even got an ending where you went to Heaven!  He got a Game Over and couldn’t continue, which made him mad, but we both laughed anyway because it was still funny!

Darius II

I really like the Darius games.  I only remember seeing the first one in arcades but it was pretty memorable because it was three screens long, like Ninja Warriors.  The first stage music in the original Darius game is also one of my top favorite video game songs of all time.  It’s called “Captain NEO.”  The second game is pretty good, too, but super hard.

Liquid Kids

I love how cartoony this game is, and how it combines aspects from Bubble Bobble and New Zealand Story.  You are a hippo (I think) who can throw water bubbles that act like they do in Bubble Bobble when popped.  You defeat mostly fire enemies as you hop through short 2D platforming levels to save your hippo girlfriend.  I don’t ever remember seeing this one in arcades but I sure do like it.

Gun Frontier

It’s a pretty standard 2D vertically scrolling shooter.  Only thing interesting about it is the premise.  The story goes that in the future, people colonized a planet and their life there is like the old west.  And you fight off space pirates trying to steal the gold found on the planet.  But the game doesn’t really do the Wild West theme well, except that your ship is a gun with wings.  It plays a lot like Strikers 1945 but it’s also one of those games where if you die, you start over at a checkpoint and I usually don’t like that in shooters, so I wasn’t impressed with this one.

Metal Black

On the title screen it says “Project Gun Frontier 2” but it’s really not a sequel.  The story is different, and it’s a horizontally scrolling shooter instead.  When I first played this one on an earlier Taito collection, I was really impressed with it and still like it now!  The story goes that in the future, Earth has been taken over by invaders and there is an alien molecule all over Earth.  People made a spaceship that uses the molecule’s power, but Earth signed a peace treaty surrender with the aliens so they never used it.  Until one day a vigilante got a hold of it.  You must collect the molecules to power up your ship, and you can fire a super powerful beam with it.  It reminds me of the beam in G-Darius, and in fact, the same folks who worked on that also did this.  Metal Black was even originally going to be a Darius game!  I also like the music and stage premises to this one.  In the first stage, you are on a desert on Earth but can see destroyed cities and submarines and battleships in the sand, kind of like the Star Blazers cartoon.  You must also fight a giant crab that’s using an aircraft carrier as a shell.  In the second stage, you’re following the moon in space, but it’s not really the moon at all, but an egg that a boss alien hatches from!  The ending is also super weird and I just really like this game for some reason.

Solitary Fighter

This is a sequel to the infamous Violence Fight and is a one on one fighter except sometimes plays like a beat ‘em up. It predates Street Fighter 2 so it’s very basic and not very good.  It’s weird, though, and like in the first game it uses Batman-like word sound effects that make no sense like “Dogon!”

Dino Rex

I always thought I remembered seeing this in arcades, but I think I’m just getting it mixed up with Primal Rage.  It’s a one on one fighter except you play as dinosaurs.  The story goes that men fight with dinosaurs to compete for the hand of the amazon queen.  The characters are super huge but choppy and grainy.  It was made by the same team who did Gun Frontier and Metal Black, and was originally going to be a shooter until the popularity of Street Fighter 2 changed that.  Unfortunately it’s not very good.

And those are all the games!  My biggest problem with this collection is that it could’ve used more games.  I remember when Taito game collections would have over 30 games each on them!  And this only has ten.  And it would’ve been nice to have some more familiar games, like Bubble Bobble or Space Invaders.  But at least it has Metal Black.

Kid Factor:

Taito Milestones 2 is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence, Partial Nudity, and Mild Blood.  There’s exploding spaceships and fights, and sometimes you can see pixelated splats of blood in the dinosaur game.  Also the cavewomen in the dinosaur game wear skimpy outfits.  But I grew up playing arcade games like these and I turned out OK.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the menu text, but not necessary just to play.

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