TAITO Milestones (Nintendo Switch) Review

TAITO’s iconic arcade history is back
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The Nintendo Switch has played host to a wide range of arcade releases and TAITO Milestones is a compilation of 10 of TAITO’s iconic arcade classics from decades gone by. TAITO Milestones features titles that paved the way for TAITO’s future successes and eventual arcade dominance. 

The 10 titles in TAITO Milestones are as follows: Qix (1981), Space Seeker (1981), Alpine Ski (1982), Front Line (1982), Wild Western (1982),  Chack’n Pop (1983), Elevator Action (1983), The FairyLand Story (1985), Halley’s Comet (1986), and The Ninjawarriors (1987).

Starting with the oldest, Qix is a “puzzle game” where you draw lines using a square block while trying to capture areas while an enemy moves around. Collide with the enemy and you’ll lose a life. Lose all your lives and it’s Game Over. Qix is legitimately fun if not extremely dated. Playing this game will make you appreciate modern puzzle games which follow similar mechanics a whole heck of a lot more.

Space Seeker is an extremely rough-around-the-edges shoot ‘em up. Players will target the enemy air force on a planetary map and deploy their aircraft. The game then switches over to a 2D side-scroller mode and you’ll have to avoid obstacles while firing bombs and bullets against enemy aircraft. The game is tough as nails though and you’ll have to be pinpoint-precise with your movements otherwise you’ll end up dying repeatedly.

Alpine Ski is up next and this is arguably one of the best titles in this compilation. Alpine Ski is a plain and simple skiing game where you dodge obstacles and collect points on-screen while skiing downhill or through a slalom. Simple, to the point and still ridiculously fun despite being such an old game.

Front Line is a run and gunner where you will control your soldier and throw grenades at enemies or shoot back at them. Enemies will spawn and you’ll have to defeat them all in order to progress. You can also take control of a tank later on in the game but getting to that point requires a lot of skill and patience. Front Line is quite tough but it’s fun taking down tiny, pixelated enemy soldiers.

Wild Western is one of the most fun games in the compilation. In this title, you will take on the role of a cowboy on a horse that has to defend a train from bandits and robbers. You will ride your horse alongside the train and fire your gun across at the enemies that spawn. Obstacles will also spawn and you’ll have to avoid colliding with them or else you’ll take damage and die. It’s a fun shooter game where you need to pay attention to your foes’ movements, as well as your own, to be successful and rack up a high score.

Chack’n Pop is an intriguing title. Why the word chicken turned into Chack’n is anyone’s guess but you better be Chack’n out your environment in this game because you can only move in a limited way. Players will control a chicken that’s able to drop bombs to their left or right and can defy gravity – but only to a certain extent. Players will almost magically stick to walls and floors within reach and will have to avoid enemies while trying to set a heart free. Once the heart is set free, you need to reach the exit of the level and this is easier said than done. Chack’n Pop is quite challenging but quite fun.

Elevator Action is a shooter that’s pretty simple. Players will descend through a building while using an elevator. Enemies will spawn on each floor and you will have to either jump over their bullets or duck underneath them while shooting back. Getting through the levels is challenging and quite fun, especially when lots of enemies have spawned simultaneously and you need to clear them out. You can move onto the elevator, off the elevator, and can control its movement to your advantage, so some level of strategy can be implemented in Elevator Action. It’s a fun shooter game at its core though.

The FairyLand Story is a plain and simple combat-focused platformer. Players will have to defeat enemies inside a range of fantasy-themed levels while dodging their attacks. Your magic attack turns enemies into slices of cake that you can then destroy. This has to be done in each level in order to progress. It’s not complicated and, as such, remains remarkably fun.

Halley’s Comet is a tried and trusted vertical space shooter. Players will fire lasers at incoming comets and enemy fighter ships while picking up power-ups. You’ll have a tonne of fun playing this game and trying to rack up high scores. It also controls a whole heck of a lot better than the previous titles in the compilation and that alone adds to the enjoyment. 

The Ninjawarriors is the most recent title in the compilation and it shows. Originally released in 1987, the difference in technological progress between this game and the earliest games is stark. There’s a catchy background track that plays and the animations, for both your character and enemies, are quite smooth. Players will have to attack using either their kunai or a shuriken to defeat enemy forces that rush at them in a side-scroller beat ‘em up action adventure format. This is the title that we spent the most time in because of its fun factor and playbaility.

The TAITO Milestones package lets you change some in-game settings, such as the amount of lives you have as well as what happens when certain score points are triggered in some of the games. A little bit of real-life history explaining the origins of the games on offer here would have been nice to have but this wasn’t deemed necessary. It’s unfortunate because players will have to actively go seek information about these iconic arcade games elsewhere whereas they could have just got a mini-history session in-game instead.

Reimagining the older titles with some more modernised control mechanics that are less stiff or rigid or remastering the soundtracks with modern renditions would have also been a great addition to the games. Sadly, this too hasn’t been done. It really feels as if TAITO Milestones dropped the ball here completely with regards to providing any modernisation, doing just the bare minimum with porting, and that’s disappointing despite some of the games still holding up.

Ultimately, TAITO Milestones is a barebones compilation of 10 classic arcade titles from TAITO’s back catalogue of games. It’s great to see these being revived and now available on Nintendo Switch, and grabbing TAITO Milestones makes you feel like you own a part of video game history. Playing through these titles you can’t help but appreciate the effort put into modern-day video games and how different they are from these early progenitors of the industry. Despite the lack of any attempt at modernisation, TAITO Milestones is definitely worth picking up if you’re a fan of retro video games, especially since you can play it on the go on Nintendo Switch and it runs perfectly fine.

A review Code for TAITO Milestones was provided to gameblur by the publisher

TAITO Milestones

TAITO Milestones
7 10 0 1
7/10
Total Score
  • Gameplay
    7/10 Good
  • Visuals
    7/10 Good
  • Audio
    7/10 Good

The Good

  • 10 retro classic titles in 1 package
  • The Ninjawarriors is really fun to play
  • You can experience video game history by playing iconic arcade games

The Bad

  • No bonus features
  • Barebones compilation
  • Severely lacking any major modernisations to controls and soundtracks
  • No written history for the games included
Total
2
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