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PS2 Review: Taito Legends

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Classic compilations are nothing new. It’s gotten harder and harder through the years to stand out in this crowded “genre.” Twenty-nine original arcade hits on one compilation is how Taito Legends is billed. Twenty-nine arcade hits huh? Not exactly. I guess it wouldn’t be attractive to folks if it read “A few arcade hits and bunch of obscure arcade games you haven’t heard of.”

A lot of what made gaming great in the good old days was that whole “easy to learn, a lifetime to master” type of game play. If whatever title didn’t achieve that balance it was almost certainly doomed to failure with few exceptions. Taito Legends contains great examples of brilliant game design and horrid failures.

Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble, Elevator Action, Zoo Keeper, Colony 7, Electric Yo-Yo, Rainbow Islands, and Rastan are games that deserve your attention immediately upon popping this compilation in your PS2. Most of the other titles on Taito Legends are worth your time too.

The Ninja Kids is worth playing for the soundtrack alone, although game play is repetitive. Sadly Operation Wolf doesn’t make the “good list” along with a few other titles simply because you don’t have a peripheral such as a gun to interact with, which devastates the experience.

A lot of these titles are available on MAME. So why spend a cent when you can play em for free? It’s illegal! If the law won’t deter you take this into account: a huge advantage that arcade comps have over playing illegally obtained ROMs is the fact that they are formatted to fit your television screen. MAME will usually have bars on older titles to preserve the original resolution of whatever arcade game you’re playing, which some prefer. This new format doesn’t hurt this collection a bit and I prefer it in this instance.

I wish they had included more history and interviews about each title in the bonus materials. Only a couple notable games receive such luxury and what they present is largely insufficient. It’s easy to see little effort was put into Taito Legends. Luckily the aforementioned titles make it worth your time no matter how bad the bonus material is. I would have paid an extra $10 or $20 just to add more depth to the bonus materials. It’s doubtful, but hopefully this glaring flaw will be corrected in future Taito compilations.

For the price of a lap dance ($20) you can pick up this charming compilation. It’s worth losing five minutes in the VIP lounge to partake in hours of great old-school arcade gaming.

Taito Legends is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Mild Violence. This game can also be found on: PC, Xbox.

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