Developed By: Hamster
Published By: ININ Games
Categories: Retro, Compilation
Release Date: 08.31.23

I love Taito games. I love game compilations. I even love the work that Hamster and ININ are doing. Yet, the first Taito Milestones didn’t exactly pull me in as much as I wanted it to. Be it the barebones nature of the collection or the games mostly just not grabbing me. It seemed like a collection that I would suggest just for people who even were thinking of buying one of the games on the eShop due to it’s price and the physical aspect of it.

Not the case with Taito Milestones 2. Well, sorta. It has the same issues of no content and those weird Hamster Arcade Archive quirks, but the game selection this time is much better. You’ll win my heart with Metal Black and Darius after all.

Lets start off easy with out first game, Darius 2. Not just any port of Darius 2, if that was the case, I’d just give you a link to my Cozmic Collection review. Something that was missing there was the three screen edition of Darius 2. The dual screen edition was included, but unlike the first Darius, there was no three screen version included. Just like that version of Darius, I really would not recommend you play this in handheld mode. Play it on a decently sized TV as there is going to be a lot of black space on the screen. This is the first time it’s been ported, so it is an experience for sure. It’s just a shame I can’t play this version with M2’s gadgets.

Speaking of Games I wish I could play with M2’s gadgets, it’s Metal Black! While it’s labeled as a sequel to Gun Frontier (which is also in this collection, it gives off more of a Darius vibe. Infact, initially in development, if documents are to be believed,it was to be the third Darius game, years before Darius Gaiden. Darius Part 22 was a hell of a name, yeah? Much like Darius Gaiden, Metal Black has a bit of an odd, off, ethereal feel, the Zuntata soundtrack probably adds to that. How does this game stand out though?

Like a lot of other shooters, you collect powerups from enemies you’ve shot down. Metal Black doesn’t quite give them to you like that however, it’ll just flood the screen with these Nuwalone Molecules. Collecting more will level you up, making your standard fire stronger, but also a devastating laser. You’re gonna be overwhelmed with enemies at points too, so this laser will help. However, using the laser drains your power…unless that is, you collect more Molecules. Needless to say, Metal Black can feel amazing.

Despite Metal Black being billed as a sequel to Gun Frontier, they’re only related by some minor plot threads, if at that. Gun Frontier is also a vertical shooter. Ever play a western themed shootemup where everything is gun themed? Well, you’ll have now. Collect coins and gold bars to power up and just cause mayhem. But trust me on this, don’t use autofire, you’re gonna be in for a bad time.

Dino Rex is a game that is well…Dino Rex. Made by the same staff as the last two games and was originally planned as a shooter, Dino Rex is a fighting game? Wrestling game? Fat Purple T-Rex makes funny noise and flies across the screen. The game is one of those that is infinitely more fun to watch in action than actually play. The controls are complicated with charging attacks and jumps being both mapped to the same direction? Seems a bit unbalanced too, but lord do I love that T-Rex.

Up next is another fighting game, Solitary Fighter AKA Violence Fight II. This, much like Street Smart feels more like a street fighting game than older Street Fighter games did. It’s rather basic in terms of controls and how your health and stamina work with eachother can be a bit confusing at first, but you get the hand of it fast. Fights are going to have people just coming in to interfere, but your opponent can stop those too. You’ll get goofy sound effects when anyone falls like GOON and GONGA. You’ll even fight a bear as a bonus stage. It’s hard to take this game seriously, but that’s the best part.

The Legend of Kage has me feeling mixed. Up to jump when it’s not a fighting game is never going to feel right for me. You constantly have to be on your feet, but when you jump around, you’ll grab parts of the environment like the trees, which will slow you down. You can toss shuriken or just slash away, but you’re better off just using your ranged attacks. At least the game isn’t long in the least.

Kiki Kaikai or Pocky and Rocky as westerners might know isn’t exactly the game that they might expect. Needless to say, the console ports and sequels felt better. Kiki Kaikai is recognizable, and it doesn’t quite feel bad to play, but you move far too slow, which makes the whole experience a slog. A tip from me, don’t try moving too far out of the way, stay in the eye of the storm.

We don’t get many fire rescue game, do we? Ben Bero Beh has you controlling Dami-chan, a portly super hero who needs to save his girlfriend Nao-chan from a burning apartment complex. This was a game brand new to me and I loved it. The fire grows, smoke fills the halls, and the floors are falling apart. It’s fun to navigate around and try and set out fires with your fire extinguisher. I don’t like how you go up and down stairs, but otherwise, I don’t have issues with this game. Also, keep and eye out for some of the enemies if you’re a Taito fan.

The NewZealand Story is simple. You play as Tiki, you need to save the kiwis including his girlfriend! The NewZealand Story is a platformer, a genre I always get enjoyment out of seeing in arcades. Stages can be like mazes, they can be tall, they can go deep. Sometimes you’ll swim, but be careful to remember to breath. You’ll fly with the help of different things to ride, sometimes stolen by enemies. You can even get new projectiles to fire out, like a laser. Occasionally, in certain stages losing your lives doesn’t lead to a game over, but sending you to heaven, but if you goof up there, it’s over. Last night of note is an early boss fight I adore. It’s an ice whale, it can eat you, but that’s not the end. It’s melting and you can shatter it from the inside. Makes me wanna play Lost Planet 2…

Our last game is Liquid Kids. Hipopo is on a quest, a quest where they can throw water bombs. The format is quite similar to The NewZealand Story, but the game is much more straightforward, and easier to boot. But if that bothers you, then you’re given split paths after stages, much like Darius for difficulty. Water is everything. Use it to wash enemies away, feeling like Snow Bros. Use it to nurture plants, use it on watermills to get platforms up. Call me a casual, but I enjoyed the mood of this game more, doesn’t seem overtly arcadey, but it felt good nonetheless.

At only $40, if you even plan on buying a handful of games in this set, you might as well get this bundle. The games this time, once again are much better too, if not the more creative games. I’m excited to know that as of this writing, Taito Milestones 3 was announced, I’m sure curious to see what they add to it.

4/5

Buy Now: $39.99

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*Game Download Code graciously provided for the purpose of review