Taito Legends

Taito Legends reviewer: Nish
rating: 3 out of 5
developed by: Taito
published by: Empire Interactive
released: 4th October 2005
rrp: £19.99
formats: PS2 (tested), Xbox, PC

Even though the recent Capcom Classics Collection was more entertaining than most retro packages I was still on the lookout for more old-time thrills. Sort of like the gamerís equivalent of Wayne Rooney.

Considering that Taito produced Space Invaders, probably the daddy of all shooters, then the developer's own collection of classics is surely as good an offering youíre likely to find? Itís a surprise, therefore, to discover that itís not included. Just kidding! The venerable vertical blaster and its sequel are included along with 27 other gaming memories from Taitoís back catalogue.

Rastan: walk *yawn* and slash
Rastan: walk *yawn* and slash

However, despite Space Invadersí celebrity status there are more dazzling delights on offer, the most sparkling being the platform triumvirate of Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands and New Zealand Story (for some reason Parasol Stars didnít make the cut).

This trio is as good as you remembered: simple, engaging and brightly-coloured cutesy fun. Itís strange in this time of RPG statistics, weapon upgrades and squad commands that encountering such basic gameplay can momentarily unnerve or even insult at first. Play a little more and the goodness seeps through: throwing a triple rainbow, manically filling the screen with bubbles or simply the crazy premise of controlling a fluffy kiwi wearing trainers which is armed with a tiny bow and arrow.

Strangely, the Taito games that had the most impact on me in the arcades (I admit that I played many via their home computer conversions) are perhaps the least successful on this compilation: Operation Wolf and its follow-up, Operation Thunderbolt. As you might have guessed Taito didnít pack a pair of Uzis along with the games and so itís down to the analogue sticks to gun down everything from troops and helicopters to dogs(!) and extra ammo. Needless to say pinpoint accuracy isnít achievable although the infinite continues ease your passage through both games.

New Zealand Story:!
New Zealand Story:!

Many of the other games in the package are disappointing and offer nothing more than nostalgic novelty value. Elevator Action is entertaining though the graphics are horribly crude, and Rastan is a dull walk Ďní slash platform adventure that doesnít look so stunning as I remembered it from nearly 20 years ago.

As with the Capcom collection there are a few notable exceptions including Chase HQ and Renegade.

Whilst Taito Legends isnít as attractive as Capcom Classics, the triple-thick slice of platform perfection of Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands and New Zealand Story make it worth a bite particularly since it can be picked up at a knockdown price.