Taito Milestones collects a mixed bag of Arcade Archives

Closer to Taito millstones

Look, it's a touch churlish to compare Taito Milestones to Taito Legends and its sequel. It was 2006, sixteen years ago. It's time to let it go, they don't really make retro compilations like that anymore. And that's for the best, in a sense. No, don't get cross, I loved Taito Legends 1 and 2 as much as anyone else, but I feel as though putting almost forty games of that calibre on a single budget-priced compilation is the sort of thing that goes some way towards undervaluing them. I know, I know. No living human on the planet agrees with me. I'm used to that, I'm used to fighting the world. Taito Legends 2 had some issues too, issues with emulation, with control mapping. A set of ten hand-picked games, emulated under Hamster's Arcade Archives series? That's more or less guaranteed to be arcade-perfect (at least to my eyes) and Taito has, as we've seen, quite the extensive library of superb classics to pick from. Surely a set called Taito Milestones is going to include world-beating originals like Bubble Bobble, Rastan, Chase HQ, et obvious device cetera oh no it doesn't it's a load of old toot. To some extent, anyway. Look, I'm just going to list them in two categories - games I think are good and worth playing and games I think neither thing of.


Halley's Comet
Space Seeker
The Ninja Warriors


Alpine Ski
Chack'n Pop
Elevator Action
Front Line
The FairyLand Story
Wild Western

I'm sure some people are spitting out their cordial right now over my expressed distaste for Elevator Action, but c'mon. I gave these titles a go and I just didn't see what made them a) milestones or b) worth playing at all. That's just me! Maybe you love Front Line, I don't know, but to me it seemed impossibly difficult to the point of being unplayable. Ditto the bizarre Wild Western, but I did appreciate the set-piece going on there with the train. Chack'n Pop is a predecessor to the mighty Bubble Bobble, but it plays like an absolute dog. And so it goes.

You know what would have been great? Some sort of historical context for these games. Hell, maybe they are milestones in some way, but god only knows what, because there's no kind of museum feature, nothing like concept art or even a few lines of text about the games outside of the usual Arcade Archives control scheme overview. Individually a lot of the games can be customised in that Hamster-tastic way, but given most of these titles are available seperately (and have been for some time), why not just pick up the ones that interest you?

As highlighted above, there are four games here I enjoyed spending time with, but of those four the only one I can see myself revisiting with any kind of real frequency is The Ninja Warriors, and even then I'd probably play the Ninja Saviors follow-up instead. Qix is, of course, an absolute classic, but now that I've played the rip-offs with bare ladies in them it's hard to go back. Space Seeker is an interesting title I hadn't played before (to my knowledge) in which you navigate a sort of overworld earth-scale map and get thrown into first-person blasting sequences that are genuinely dynamic and exciting. Rounding off the good stuff here is Halley's Comet, and even then it's just a kinda decent vertical shmup.

The fact is there's quite a lot missing from this set. Let me put it as simply as possible - if I were in charge of curating ten games for a Taito arcade compilation, not a single one of these offerings would have made the cut. That's not to say everything here is bad, or even that the stuff I disliked won't be beloved by others - such is the nature of the transient coin-op - but it could have been better. I don't object to the price for ten different games, but the almost complete lack of extras, barebones presentation and selection on offer make Taito Milestones a bit of a wide miss for me.