Publisher: ININ Games
Developer: TAITO, Hamster Corporation
The first TAITO Milestones (our review here) was a decent but rather lackluster experience. Some of the games offered were strange, or lacking any form of charm. ININ Games has taken over publishing duties this time around and have compiled a better collection of TAITO classics that more players will recognize and enjoy. As before, since this is a classic collection with minimal options and presentation, I’ll be looking at each game offered with short reviews.
Kiki KaiKai (Available on eShop)
You may know this title as “Pocky and Rocky”. This is the arcade version of the same game with a little more challenge thrown in. You guide your magician through haunted areas defeating enemies and giant bosses. It was definitely designed as a quarter muncher for it’s cheap one hit deaths and insane challenge. Difficult but also really great fun! Solid game!
The New Zealand Story (Available on eShop)
This game came to the to the US on the Original Nintendo Entertainment System as “Kiwi Kraze”. You guide a little Kiwi bird through tough stages to rescue your other bird friends. You can use weapons and sometimes vehicles to defeat enemies and make it through each stage. A fun little game that went largely unnoticed at the time. I enjoyed finally seeing the Arcade version, as it’s much more fun and fluid than the original NES Game.
Darius II (TAITO Milestones 2 ONLY)
A cool shooter in the Darius series. In the Arcade, the machine utilized very large wide screens for a more immersive effect. The same effect is applied to this version, but leaves large black bars on the top and bottom of your TV. There is no option available for an optimal screen size that will actually fit most single screens so the effect is a bit off putting. Still, this is a fantastic horizontal shooter that has some really great music. I’m glad they included it, but I would of liked more screen options.
Metal Black (Available on eShop)
Another Horizontal Shooter with good music and great animation. Starts out pretty basic and then ramps everything up with giant bosses and huge fast moving battles. Some stages enter a sort of first person mode, where you target fast moving enemies, firing missiles from a 3D view. A little slow to start but with a little time, a lot of fun and challenges can be found here! I personally never heard of this game until I played it here. Very good Inclusion!
Gun Frontier (Available on eShop)
This one is a vertical shooter very similar to the Raiden series. Blast away at countless enemies and avoid all projectiles. This one is rather basic in its presentation and doesn’t really stand out among other vertical shooters out there. Not a bad game by any means, just very basic and not as flashy as Metal Black or Darius II. Very good for two players simultaneously. Not much else to say about this one.
Ben Bero Beh (Available on eShop)
Now, we start getting into the strange and bizarre with Ben Bero Beh. You are a Superhero/Fireman/Dude setting out to rescue a trapped girl at the bottom of a room. You make your way down 4 or 5 floors while the entire building is either on fire, falling apart or trying to kill you. Everything in these buildings wants you dead and all you have is a small jump and a fire hose. I played this for a while without really knowing all what was happening, as each life something different would happen to block my way to the woman at the bottom. An unusual game to say the very least. I had some fun with it though.
Solitary Fighter (TAITO Milestones 2 ONLY)
I’ve play a lot of fighting games in my day, but none can compare to Solitary Fighter. Not only because this is a rather terrible fighting game, but it is terrible on so many levels, it’s unimaginable how this actually got released. I think they were trying to make a Pit-Fighter style game and then threw in some elements of Final Fight and other belt-scroller games. Graphics range from passable to bad and some of the translation to English is really broken. I still don’t know what “Sammy You!” means, and why some opponents say it in their win quotes. I didn’t spend too much time with this one as it was very difficult to enjoy.
The Legend of Kage (Available on eShop)
Another classic game many played on the original Nintendo, this Arcade version is faster and more fluid. You guide “Kage” as he is surrounded by a ton of flying Ninjas and other enemies. It’s confusing at first as reaching the end of a level sometimes doesn’t end it. You must find and destroy a certain number of enemies before you can move on in most cases. You’ll be doing a lot of jumping and maneuvering until you defeat enough bad guys to progress. This one shifts from crazy fun to very frustrating then back to crazy fun constantly, and will continuously keep you entertained. Never played the Arcade Version until this collection and I am glad I finally did!
Liquid Kids (Available on eShop)
A cute platformer where you play a little dude who can throw water bombs. You set out to rescue your other little friends at the end of each level. The longer you hold a water bomb, the bigger it gets and you can soak way more enemies. Sometimes the water is used to activate switches, move obstacles like windmills and also clean paths to progress. This one was fun and cute, and felt a little bit like playing a scrolling platform version of Bubble Bobble. Some challenging jumps make you want to keep trying. Solid title.
DinoRex (TAITO Milestones 2 ONLY)
Last up, it’s another fighting game but with DINOSAURS! At first I thought it was going to be like another Dino fighter Primal Rage, but it’s far from that. It feels like they were going for a more realistic Dinosaur fighter, actually trying to mimic real animals based on what history knows about them. It’s a rather clunky fighter with moves that can incapacitate an opponent quickly giving them little chance to fight back. I really didn’t have any of the moves down, and yet was able to win battles simply by mindlessly pressing buttons. Not a very spectacular title, but not the worst fighter I’ve ever played (That MIGHT be Solitary Fighter), but not a stand out by any means.
ININ has done a fine job bringing these classics together. Even if the complete package offers nothing new outside of a game selection screen, these are all still pretty fun games. As before, 7 out of 10 games in this collection can be downloaded from from the eShop under the “Arcade Archives” line of games. Solitary Fighter, Darius II and Dinorex are Exclusive to this collection, but if those titles don’t appeal to you, then you aren’t missing anything by skipping this release. As for the overall presentation, not much has changed from the first TAITO Milestones, but since most of the games offered are much better this time, I can recommend this collection more than the first.
ININ Games provided us with a TAITO Milestones 2 Switch code for review purposes.