Ten Arcade Archive Classics from Taito have been bundled together in a new Milestones Collection.
Some of these you may have heard of, some you won’t, some you may possibly recognise. It’s quite a mix, honestly, but there’s some real gems here you won’t want to miss.
The headliner has to be The New Zealand Story, a unique platforming adventure featuring a Kiwi who has to save his friends from an oversized Walrus and travels all over Auckland to do it.
This game holds up super well, it looks beautiful whether you want to go full CRT and filter on it or just want to maximise the colouring of a Switch OLED screen and for a platformer in the late 80s, there’s a few surprises here you may not be expecting.
A game that also feels a bit like its spiritual successor, Liquid Kids is another cutesy styled platformer where you play as a Platypus that can throw water bubbles. This means you can grow plants, put out fires, but basically drown enemies as you side-scroll towards a Goal In. It also kind of feels like it could have inspired Yoshi’s Story, frankly.
But this collection also includes Kiki Kai-Kai, a game you might know better as Pocky and Rocky. This was the original version of the game before the SNES super port and sees a young girl take on armies of the undead in a top down shooter crawler.
If you’ve never played this one before, it’s a real treasure. In fact, ININ themselves did a Reshrined version very recently which snuck under the radar on consoles but is a real blast.
Another familiar name might be Darius 2, which looks brilliant on Nintendo Switch, especially preserved in its original form with only a small portion of the screen taken up, but it built out length ways as if you’re back in the arcades.
The thing to remember is the Arcade Archives ports are some of the best work out there and are often the best ways to play these games. New Zealand Story, for example, is a far superior, enjoyable – and less glitchy – version than that on Antstream Arcade.
Darius 2 feels great and includes all the Arcade original voice acting and action, running smooth as butter during battle sequences. And Gun Frontier feels like a true vintage arcade game with the constant explosions and rock-hard difficulty.
These are all ported to near perfection on Switch, though the presentation of the wider package is a bit lackluster outside of a basic menu screen tying them all together.
The games aren’t all winners either, The Legend of Kage is a bit dull and frustrating as you cycle endlessly throwing shurikens and swinging nunchuks against an unrelenting army of deadly ninjas. Though I do love how you can climb trees and have to fight against fire-breathing Raidens.
Solitary Fighter is just the oddest mix of Street Fighter and Final Fight and it captures the magic of neither.
Meanwhile, Metal Black might just be one of the oddest games I’ve played in some time. I had no idea what was going on but I kind of liked it? And Dino Rex is genuinely the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen. It’s Dino Street Fighter, but you get knocked down after a hit and have to be whipped by your handler to get up otherwise you’ll be eaten.
So, yeah, this is definitely a collection of oddballs and uncertains. There’s a few gems in here, but for the most part, it’s the definition of a mixed bag.
Of course, they’re all presented in the brilliant Arcade Archives way, with fully customisable display and game settings. You can tweak the buttons, compete in Online Rankings, save game states and even see the original manuals.
But there’s no bells or fancy whistles to this collection beyond that. It’s as simple as bringing ten Arcade Archives titles together as it gets and half of them may even be a play once and never again.
Unless you’re a Taito Diehard or you’ve got a few favourites in this collection, you may be better off picking up the games you like indivdiually. The difficulty curve on most of these will probably put you off long before you even realise or understand what you’re supposed to be doing.
Though I do feel like Ben Bero Beh has to be seen to be believed, because this is Donkey Kong like you’ve never played before.
Taito Milestones 2 is an interesting collection that doesn’t have the best of presentations. On the one hand, there’s some true gems in here like The New Zealand Story, Darius 2, and Kiki Kai-Kai, as well as some unknowns like Liquid Kids and Ben Bero Beh, but the collection is ultimately a really mixed bag of quality. Some of these games are super frustrating and utterly bizarre, others are a bit dull, so it’s a real deep dive into the Taito vault. That said, if you’re a die-hard enthusiast, don’t own any of the Arcade Archives, and want to complete a collection, this is probably your best bet.
+ Some great, classic games bundled in here
+ Arcade Archives versions offer lots of great options and are beautifully restored
+ Cheapest way to own all ten games
– Half the games go between dull, frustrating and outright confusing
– Presentation of the collection is lacking
Taito Milestones 2 is out today on Switch
Code Kindly Provided by ININ for review purposes