Developed By: Hamster Published By: ININ Games Categories: Retro, Compilation Release Date: 04.14.22
Old School Taito arcade games. Taito Milestones has ten of them. Nuff said, lets dig in.
First up, Qix. I am completely awful at Qix. The goal is to fill up the playing field by drawing a line, called Stix from end to end. The titular Qix is a bunch of random scrambled lines that will move sporadically and end your Stix. Not only does the Qix stop you, but also these small little Sparx on the borders of the spaces. It can get really stressful. Qix is probably my least favorite game in the collection. It’s really boring graphics wise, something future ports, sequels, or clones would much improve on. It’s not that Qix isn’t fun, but it’s not exciting enough to pull me into play more levels.
Next is Halley’s Comet. Despite being an incredibly simple vertical shooter, I really enjoyed this game. It’s easy to say just shoot everything, but just shoot everything. Enemies, comets, space debris. You’ll find powerups that can multiple your shots, your ships, and really make any challenge trivial. However, the main thing to look out for is that percentage on the side of the screen. That’s how much damage a planet you’re protecting has, if it hits 100%, you’re toast. The animation and music in the game is surprisingly good.
The Ninja Warriors might feel a bit redundant as we have The Ninja Warriors Returns, the amazing remake on Switch, but I always find it’s important to have both, to cater to specific tastes. This game is kind of like Spartan X/Kung Fu in where you go from one end to the other, with lots and lots of one hit enemies to kill. The nice thing about this being a Taito game in particular is that The Ninja Warriors has that fantastic ultra-wide, multi-screen display like the Darius games. However, since this is a slower paced game, stages can definitely feel like they drag. At the very least, this is one of the few games that doesn’t boot you to the title at game over. The Ninja Warriors looks and sounds great, for sure one of the big eyecatching games in this collection.
Chack’n Pop is a funny one. You need to get your hearts back inside of that cave! There’s some Bubble Bobble monsters in there, waiting inside eggs to be hatched. Luckily, you have bombs on your side. One button throws a bomb to the left, the other to the right. You can go from floor to ceiling if close enough, but it’s all rather tricky to get down right. Chack’n Pop is very very much a complicated game, especially for coming out in 1984. It feels like you’re fighting the controls. But once you get them down, it feels really great to drop bombs at the right time to take out enemies or eggs. Or if you’re skilled enough, not even going into conflict and just sliding by.
The Fairyland Story is what I like to call “Bubble Bobble with a cute witch”. It’d be more accurate to call it a predecessor to Bubble Bobble, as it predates it by a year, but they both play remarkably similar. In The Fairyland Story, you’ll play as Ptolemy, a witch who uses her magic to turn these monsters around her into cake. This is only temporary, so you’ll need to drop the cake off a ledge, keep using the spell, or even squash the enemies under said cake. This is another game I find that is a looker and sounder. Ptolemy has a surprising amount of death animations, and there’s some really cute intermissions between stages.
Alpine Ski is like if you had a fuller, more robust version of Ski Free. I’m also awful at this game. What’s great though, is falling or crashing isn’t just a game over if you have credits. The timer just goes down and down, so you can keep going and going. You’ll get points by just going down the slope, with more points being awarded if you can maneuver between tricky spots. Super simple, but the music is catchy and it is a fun game. If you’re good enough even, you can do new stages too.
Wild Western killed me near immediately. Playing this game with the joycons doesn’t seem to work quite right. Was this a game with a paddle? I don’t want to say this game is bad, but I’m struggling to even go moments into it. I do like the bonus stage where you shoot a can though.
Space Seeker is another game I have no idea what I’m doing in. The only time I had any idea what was going on was when I got into horizontal shooting stages. It’s really garrish color wise, but at least the music is nice.
Front Line to me feels like an older, less refined Commando. This too feels like a game that used a paddle. I had a much easier time moving and shooting around however. Though it’s just a tad awkward to aim with the right stick and press B to shoot.
Elevator Action is my favorite game in this collection. You play as a secret agent, code named Otto. You break into a tall building with your goal to get to the basement. You’re obviously not wanted there, so you’re gonna get shot at. Good thing, you have a gun too, and it works just as well. Enemies come out of blue doors, while you’ll want to track down those red doors to get documents. You’ll want these before you can get the basement. There’s little details like shooting out the lights to fall on an enemy I really love. It could have just been a standard platformer, or even something like Hotel Mario, but isn’t. Really fun, not too challenging, but not too easy. I love whenever this game gets re-released and I’m hoping we get the sequels one day.
Taito Milestone is quite possibly the biggest “your mileage may vary” kind of retro game collection. I love Taito’s legacy and arcade games, but for many, some of these games just might be…too old or archaic. Despite all of this, having games like Elevator Action and The Ninja Warriors on the go is always gonna be great for me. Now, if you want every game here, then we’re set. Lets go more into how it is as a collection.
If you’ve played any Hamster Arcade Archives release before, including Konami’s ACA release, then you know what to expect. There are no bonus features, so unless you buy that Collector’s Edition, you’re just getting the game. At the very least, physical and cheaper than buying them one by one. Emulation is all great, but the way Hamster handles their savestates is just a tad odd. You don’t just save and load, you save, then need to exit the game, and when you restart it loads the state. With the slight load times between the front end and launching games, this can get old.