LadiesGamers TAITO Milestones

TAITO Milestones Review 

Game: TAITO Milestones
Genre: Arcade, Action
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer|Publisher: Taito, Hamster | ININ Games
Age Rating: EU 12+ | US Teen
Price: US $39.99 | UK £34.99 | EU € 39,99
Release Date: April 11th, 2022

Review code provided with many thanks to PR Hound. 

The Lesser Known Titles

Taito is responsible for some of my favourite arcade games of all time including the likes of Rainbow Islands, Bust a Move, Space Invaders and Darius. Absolutely none of these are featured in Taitos Milestones collection. A better title for this collection would actually probably be the Taito Hidden Gems Collection, since it’s quite likely most gamers probably won’t recognise most of the titles in this collection, unless you’re a dedicated fan of the old arcade era. Particularly the 80s era. That’s not to say these games are not worth a look in. If you’re a fan of retro and you need more of that love on Nintendo Switch this collection is pretty good. 

LadiesGamers TAITO Milestones
The cutest game on the collection (Chuck ‘n’ Pop)

The Games

To start, let’s have a quick rundown of the games featured and my thoughts on them:

Chuck ‘n’ Pop – An unusual platformer that probably counts as another acquired taste. The premise is pretty unique, you play as a cute yellow creature on a quest to retrieve some hearts. You need to collect hearts from each level which are locked in a cage. This then unlocks the exit which you need to race to before a wizard blocks it. You’re able to use bombs to take out enemies but be careful you don’t blow yourself up to. The platforming here is a bit odd. Your character has extendable legs so you sort of leap between platforms directly opposite you, provided you’re close enough to them. It takes quite a bit of getting used to. You may recognize the enemies from the Bubble Bobble series. Probably the cutest game on this list. 

QixA simple puzzle game where you draw lines across the screen to capture an area. All the while you need to avoid a dangerous essence in the center of the screen and some small sparks colliding with you on the lines you move across. It looks simple graphically and in design but this is a real fun pick up and play title that holds up very well. There’s a risk reward twist to the gameplay by choosing to draw lines fast or slower. The slower you go, the higher the score you will obtain but risk collision. Probably one of my favourites in this collection. Fun fact this game was developed by a husband and wife team. 

LadiesGamers TAITO Milestones
More fun that it looks (Qix)

Space Seeker – A shooting game where you attack six bases. Three of the bases have you shooting ships in a first person cockpit mode. The other three have you playing in a 2D side-scrolling view. This one to me is a grower but far from pick up and play. It’s hard to figure out what’s going on particularly in the cockpit mode. In fact I lost a few credits way before I started making progress. But if you stick with it you might discover something pretty special about this one.

Alpine Ski – A sports game. Pretty simple, you hit the slopes starting by skiing downhill. Then hitting the slalom course then the ski jump. Then repeat it all over again to get the best score. Pretty fun and still better than any modern attempt at a skiing video game. 

LadiesGamers TAITO Milestones
Another crash boo (Alpine Ski)

Front Line – A top down shooter, probably one of the first games to attempt the run and gun genre. You play the game as a soldier with a pistol and grenade. You move up the screen taking out enemy soldiers. Move far enough into the game and you get to take control of a tank. Finally you need to lob a grenade into the enemy fort before cycling the game again with increased difficulty. Another title that takes a bit of getting used to.

Wild Western – Is an action game where you play as a horse riding sheriff dealing justice to the bandits who are trying to take down a moving train. This one feels like an acquired taste. The shooting is a bit tricky to get used to and it’s pretty tough. One bullet and you lose a life so it’s not exactly easy to get into. But again give it a few runs and you may begin to master the formula. 

LadiesGamers TAITO Milestones
There’s only one sheriff in this game (Wild Western)

Elevator Action – Probably one of the most recognizable games on the collection. A platformer shooter where you play a secret agent coming in the building from the top and work your way down stealing documents and taking out the enemy agents before making your escape. You make your way down the building via stairwells and of course elevators. This game is an absolute classic and so much fun to play. Comfortable to pick up and play and return round after round. Even if you’re not playing for a high score it’s fun just to explore the floors and take your time trying to survive. Like many games on the list it’s a one shot and you lose a life. 

Halley’s Comet – A vertical scrolling space shooter. I like my shmups. Basically you’re defending planets from direct collision with Halley’s Comet and enemy ships. If you let anything get by you it will collide with the planet. If the damage reaches 100% or you lose all your lives it’s Game Over. It’s a decent pick up and play space shooter. I liked it. 

LadiesGamers TAITO Milestones
Defend the planet (Halley’s Comet)

The Fairyland Story – A platformer that would come just before the release of the famous Bubble Bobble (absent on this collection). You control a witch Ptolemy and your goal is to clear the screen of enemies. You do this by turning the enemies into cakes with your magic wand. You can then push these cakes off the platform to destroy the enemy and potentially squash some others in the process. Like Bubble Bobble it’s easy to pick up and play and fun to find the best technique to dispatch the enemies in each level. Sadly only single-player but still highly recommended. 

The Ninja Warriors – A side-scrolling beat ’em up where you play a robot ninja taking on bad guys. What is not to love here? Your character casually walks across the screen destroying enemies with a knife or throwable shurikens. It feels incredibly 80s with its dystopian setting. This game will make you feel like a ninja badass and was probably the title that had me smiling the most during the review process. Probably just from nostalgia but I will say it’s a pick up and play experience you won’t forget. You can also play this game with two players. 

LadiesGamers TAITO Milestones
I counter your bullets by ducking (The Ninja Warriors)

Hamster Ports

All of the games featured in this collection are developed by Hamster and many are already available to individually purchase in the eShop. Each title is spot-on emulation of the arcade port. But keep in mind it’s the games in their original pixel forms, warts and all. These games are not remasters. As a retro guy I would not have it any other way but it’s understandable those looking for modernization won’t find it here with the exception of some difficulty settings you can tweak in the options. You have the usually added extras of being able to create save states, mess around with the filters, screen size and wallpapers. In some cases play around with the arcade dip switches which arcade enthusiasts will really like.

Controls for each game are also clearly displayed when you start. You can also adjust them to your liking. If you land a high score you can optionally post it on online leaderboards if you want to see how absurdly good other people are at the game. Buying this collection is certainly cheaper than purchasing the games separately but you may only want to pick and choose the games you want. Like a pick and mix of random sweeties not all the games in this collection are likely to click with everyone. For the record I always hated licorice in my pick and mix as a kid, gross. 

LadiesGamers TAITO Milestones
I cast a spell on you (The Fairyland Story)

A Niggle 

The games biggest niggle is these are simply a collection of ports of the Hamster games. The collection does not use the opportunity to provide any history of the games and extra features which is a real shame. Taito previously released The Legends Collection volumes 1 & 2 on PS2 and Xbox which featured more Taito games as well as giving you some mini-documentaries about each. This collection doesn’t even showcase the arcade pamphlets. It’s such a missed opportunity. Taito should be proud to showcase their history and I for one love learning about it. 

LadiesGamers TAITO Milestones
Going down (Elevator Action)

Conclusion – Retro Goodness 

Taito Milestones for me is an awesome collection of Taito arcade titles that showcase more of the company’s early work rather than their best. It’s a collection that will certainly turn the heads of the retro gamers that are looking to enjoy these titles on modern systems. There’s a pretty good variety of games which is welcome but some will click more than others. To me this milestone collection showcases originality and risk taking from the era where video games development was in its infancy. It’s just a shame we don’t see much of that innovation in modern gaming today. Taito Milestones may not be the best of Taitos past but it’s still a blast to play. 

Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot 

I like it a lot

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