David Low
24 Dec, 2005

Taito Legends Review

PS2 Review | Legends or Losers?
It seems the retro collection genre isn't going away anytime soon, and the latest entry is the first volume from 80's arcade giant Taito. Mostly famous for the Bust a Move games these days, Taito were once right up there with the big boys, with many famous arcade titles to their name, beginning with Space Invaders.

As far as collections go, Taito Legends is among the best yet. The front end is very nice and clean, the loads are minimal, and there is plenty of bonus and history material. Most games come with original arcade distributor pamphlets, and some of the bigger games even have developer interview videos.

We'll leave issues with individual games for their specific descriptions below, but for the most part, the emulation is very good for all games. There is a 60Hz option, and you can adjust the screen, change some controls, and view game instructions and bonus material from each game's individual menu, and all high scores are saved to single file on your memory card automatically. Everything is here to give you as authentic an arcade experience as possible, but with two major exceptions.

Firstly, Taito Legends does not support any light guns, which is understandable, but reduces the playability of the gun games, some more then others. What is far less excusable is that this collection does not support digital controllers, and therefore 99% of joystics will not work. For serious arcade fans, this could be a major problem, as a large part of the feel of a classic arcade experience is from the input device. Most peopleprobably wouldn't bother with a joystick anyway, so it won't be a problem, but it may be frustrating for some.

Taito Legends contains 29 compete games spanning about 15 years. Here's a rundown of each in alphabetical order, as they appear in the menu:

Battle Shark
A gun game where you shoot submarines. Like all the gun games on the compilation, this one forces you to use the analogue sticks for aiming, and Dual Shock sticks are just too “all or nothing” in the way they are read by the PS2 to be very good at aiming – your cursor is always moving either too slow or too fast. You can lower the sensitivity, but then it just means you can't cross the screen fast enough.

The game is a decent arcade shooter, which means there's some classic cheap fun here. It has nice 16 bit graphics, and is emulated very nicely.

Bubble Bobble
What should be one of the jewels in this collection's crown is let down by bad emulation. The frame rate, while stable, is down in the 20s – appalling for a game this old, and the graphics are blurry. Apart form the technical angle, it's a perfect arcade translation (ie the secrets and enemies appear in the same places as the original cabinet), but it just doesn't play very well, since the frame rate affects the feel.

For fans of Taito's Japanese offerings, the poor emulation of Bubble Bobble will be the biggest disappointment of the collection
Bubble Bobble is a great game, but it's the worst emulation on the disc!

Bubble Bobble is a great game, but it's the worst emulation on the disc!
Colony 7
A cross between a gun game and Space Invaders. Instead of moving a ship, you move an aiming cursor around the screen to defend the colony against waves of aliens. It's a very early 80s game, with tiny, single coloured sprites, but fun enough for an early single screen shoot em up.

Continental Circus
No Clowns and elephants in sight – It's actually about a car racing circuit. Not sure when the typo was made...

Anyway, what this means is a decent Outrun clone with F1 style cars. Nice Mega Drive like graphics make this a nice treat for fans of 2D car racing games – all twelve of you.

Electric Yo Yo
Gimmicky games have always been around – Those “tech demo” early DS games and the weaker Eye-toy offerings are just the latest to cash in on the “one trick pony” market.

In Electric Yo Yo, you play as - you guessed it – a Yo Yo, in what we can only describe as Qix Meets Pac Man. You have to collect the dots in a grid by extending the Yo Yo string, and avoiding enemies. Very Primitive.

Elevator Action
Many people have fond Memories of this game. If you'd like to keep them intact, it's probably best to avoid it. The emulation is fine, but the game doesn't hold up very well today.

Like most pre Super Mario Bros platform type games, it has ultra stiff controls and not much in the way of physics. The level designs are hardly inspired, and the graphics look EGA horrible, with many plain pastels and browns making up the colour pallet.

Elevator action isn't as good as we remember...

Elevator action isn't as good as we remember...
A primitive but decent shooter in the vein of Burai Fighter, in that you play as a person with a gun rather then a ship (although you can morph into a ship Transformers style). The Graphics are a bit rough, and show that more could have been done by the technology. But it plays very well for it's age.

Primitive Side scrolling Beat em up, but it actually plays more like a shooter, since it auto scrolls It's got some nice graphics for the time, but it gets old pretty quick.

Great Swordsman
No so great. It's a fencing sim, but it's only about as advanced as one from any of those old “olympics” games like Track and Field. NES level graphics and “Paper Scissors Rock” as the core gameplay element (hey, Dead or Alive still uses that – Ed), this won't take you much of your time.

Jungle Hunt
A fun adventure romp following an Indiana Jones/Safari type character through a jungle adventure with varying gameplay styles (rope swinging, swimming etc). Personally, this is the type of game that captured my imagination in the 80s.

Unfortunately, like a lot of the Taito USA productions, it has ugly, ugly graphics. But it's quite a lovable little game anyway.

New Zealand Story
Back to Cutesy Japanese made games with maybe the best game on the collection (in terms of both game and emulation). New Zealand Story is a brilliant little action platformer starring Tiki the Kiwi, who has to save all his Kiwi Friend from the Big Bad Walrus. Somewhere between Bubble Bobble and Super Mario Bros in gameplay, it has great graphics, great control, great level design, everything you want in a retro game.

New Zeland's World Cup 2010 training

New Zeland's World Cup 2010 training
Ninja Kids
A decent US made scrolling beat em up, starring some generic cartoon characters. Solid but nothing special, worth a play for fans of the genre.

Operation Thunderbolt
Sequel to Operation Wolf, and another gun game without a gun, with the same problems as the others (ie the analogue stick isn't so good for it). Nice graphics, can get boring though.

Operation Wolf
The original classic 80's gun game, it's more primitive then the others shooters on the disc, but has better level designs, so you'll come back to it more. Apart from the no gun problem, it's one of the better games in the collection.

Lucky they always wait a while before shooting, eh?

Lucky they always wait a while before shooting, eh?
Another Space Invaders clone, with more advanced enemy patterns – think Galaga. Good for some variety in your single screen shooters between rounds of space invaders.

Old, strange puzzle game, that at least shows that Tetris didn't invent the genre, but it can be frustrating when you reach a broken level – that is, one that actually can not be completed.

Plump Pop
An Arkanoid clone with alien space ships and cutesy animals? Strangely, it works! A great little inclusion this game.

Rainbow Islands
Another good one from from the Bubble Bobble guy. Nice music, nice graphics, nice levels, but it's impact here has been muted, because unlike most games on the disc, several excellent conversions of Rainbow Islands have been made in the past – not the least of which was the excellent NES version.

Rygar meets Golden Axe. Fun to pay an old side scrolling hack em up like this, but it can be be frustrating, and it's no Ghouls and Ghosts

Return of Space Invaders
Same gameplay, slightly better graphics (that actually date more then the original), variety that hurts the formula – sound like a standard sequel these days, eh? Good to see it's not a new phenomenon, but this game is only really worth it for the trivia value.

Space Gun
Another Gun game, this one “inspired” by the Alien films. Same aiming problems, but still fun.

Space Invaders
Not the original black and white release, but the one with some faked colour and the planet in the background. Still as addictive as ever - maybe just because of the incessant music! But I do actually prefer the Atari VCS version, the control feels slightly better.

Good version of a classic game, but not worth hours of your time anymore.

It should be boring, but that music keeps getting faster!

It should be boring, but that music keeps getting faster!
Space Invaders part 2
Same game, just with coloured sprites. Plays a little better because of the clarity the colour affords.

Super Qix
Another action puzzler – cordon off parts of the screen with your 'spaceship' (cursor) to trap enemies. Pretty clunky these days.

Thunder Fox
Part of the entire genre in the 80's based on Rambo, this one is actually a Green Beret clone, with nice 16 bit graphics. Worth a play through.

A complete 1942 Rip-off, but no-where near as good. The music is annoying, and the graphics are a bit bland, but it plays pretty well.

No, not surfing, the title is literal. It's a tetris like puzzle game crossed with pipe dream, and it's playable but a bit weak. Hard to believe it was released in 1993!

Qix repackaged with aliens. Better then Super Qix, but a tad unnecesary

Zoo Keeper
Strange ancient platform puzzle game. If you can work out how it works, lease tell me, because as far as I can tell it's just broken.

Well, that's it. Taito Legends is probably overall the best retro compilation yet. Capcom Classics has some better games, but the better emulation and presentation of Legends, combined with the greater number and variety of games (no “three versions of each game” here) puts it over the top – just. The only real downsides are the sub standard Bubble Bobble emulation, and the lack of Gun and Joystick support. So if you're after some 80's arcade action, Taito Legends is probably your best place to start.
The Score
The best arcade retro collection yet. The games aren't deep, but it's nice to have them all here on one disc. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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8 years ago
A very trivial thing - but I'll mention it anyway that NZ get the RWC in 2011 not 2010.

Apart from that it seems a nice review David.
8 years ago
Who says he was talking about rugby icon_wink.gif icon_lol.gif
Now that the aussies are moving to Asia, NZ are in the upper echelon of Oceania Football
8 years ago
Yeah, I meant soccer - you'll notice the screenshot says "Goal in".

Thanks anyway guys!
8 years ago
The PC version isn't too bad to be honest.
8 years ago
The best arcade retro collection yet? Have you not played Capcom Classics? Even without the 60Hz option Capcom's compilation makes Taito's Paddy's market release look shite.

I thought PAL Taito Legends was a fairly poor compilation. The PS2 version has a hugely stupid button configuration that cant be changed, some questionable emulation and an overall shoddy presentation. The drive killing CD is merely icing on an already mediocre cake. Best avoided imo - unless you cant work out how to run MAME (in which case you deserve to buy shoddy commercial compilations).

Taito Memories (Japanese release of Taito Legends) is said to much better. Probably teh best option for those who care really care about retro gaming.
8 years ago
the xbox version rocks
8 years ago
With so many light-gun games in this compilation, it was a real shame to learn that the title doesn't support a light gun.

Oh well, still worth it for the couple of gems there. You should be able to find it for under $30 in Australia this week too. icon_cool.gif
8 years ago
Big W = $25 (i think, if not, its close to that)
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