| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Action_Variety; loc=NA] |
|Taito has been kickin' out the mega compilations in Japan lately (see entry 853 and entry 877), and apparently, European publisher Empire got the hots to do it in Europe. Then they hooked up with Sega to bring their compilation out over here. So, here we are with a whopping 29 Taito arcade ports in one discount package.|
Let's get the technical stuff out of the way. Like the Japanese Taito Memories comps, the games here are all blurry anti-aliased, and none of the games that were vertical screen in the arcade have a true vertical screen option here: you can either play them stretched to fill a horizontal 4:3 screen (the default), or play them shrunk down with big side bars.
Also, the thing doesn't recognize my ASCII arcade stick. Come on now, people. An arcade compilation that doesn't recognize a bog-standard arcade stick? Weak, is what that is. And you can't remap controls in any of the games--that's up there on the weak scale as well.
Surprisingly, then, the menu system is quite nice, with a fast-loading, minimalistic look, and a cool green background. Also, the electronic music loop in the background is pretty sweet.
|Download added: 01_battleshark.gif (87111 bytes)|
"A really unusually boring screenshot of Battle Shark."
In Battle Shark you shoot torpedos into the screen as if you're gunning from a submarine, err, periscope, sorta. Anyway, there's lots of sprite scaling and linescrolling (for wavy underwater effect) and shooting and explosions, and it's pretty fun. You have to watch your shots, though, 'cause although ammo sort of regenerates itself over time, you can run out pretty quick if you aren't watching yourself, and then you won't have any shots in time to block the incoming shells. Darn fun game until you get smoked on the insane level 3.
|Download added: 02_bubbleinterview.gif (135657 bytes)|
"Pretty good modus operandi, I guess."
Taito Memories Joukan (see entry 853) has Bubble Bobble, so I took a screenie of the interview with the designer.
|Download added: 03_colony7.gif (46407 bytes)|
"You can't really shrink down single-pixel sized sprites and get good results."
Colony 7 did not survive the shrinking down to 4:3 mode: the tiny little sprites are now almost invisible. It's sorta like a Missile Command type of thing, with turrets aiming around the screen at incoming particles. But Missile Command has way cooler explosions.
|Download added: 04_continentalcircus.gif (50606 bytes)|
"Oh, it's a circus, all right."
Continental Circus reminds one of Pole Position, only with nicer graphics. Oooh, you say? Just try cornering: head straight to crashville as the road suddenly takes what feels like two 90 degree kinks in a row. Bluh.
|Download added: 05_electricyoyo.gif (64337 bytes)|
"Electric Yo-Yo in its normal (for here) aspect ratio."
Electric Yo-Yo has you gulping up dots with your, er, yo-yo. No maze, though, just free-yo-yo-stringing through the void to grab the dots away from stupid monsters. Rather fun!
|Download added: 06_elevatoraction.gif (44011 bytes)|
"Elevator Action sucks."
Does Elevator Action really need to be here? Yack.
|Download added: 07_exzisus.gif (61995 bytes)|
"Shoot those blobs!"
Exzisus feels almost like an upside-down Moon Patrol, as your jet-pack dude can bomb down and shoot forward as he scoots across an alien moonscape (in Moon Patrol it's bomb UP, shoot forward). The graphics are way nicer than Moon Patrol, though, and the enemies mix it up better. I like this one.
|Download added: 08_gladiator.gif (83177 bytes)|
"Have at thee!"
Oh yeah, I used to play Gladiator fairly regularly. Not that I was any good with the "keep stick in one of three positions to block; press one of three buttons for high/mid/low attack" complex of inputs required to get good at all this bloody fencing. Still, knocking bits of someone's armor off is worth a bit of a hoot, at least--and who knows, practice enough and you might get good at it. Ehm.
|Download added: 09_greatswordsman.gif (71078 bytes)|
Seems like a precursor to Gladiator: you have three attacks (high/mid/low), but no shield (you can parry with the foil). Nice attention to detail here as they really do go at it like proper fencers. Scoring is tricky since your CPU opponent is more than capable of keeping up with your fairly slow feints and thrusts. I like this one.
|Download added: 10_junglehunt.gif (54726 bytes)|
"Oh no. Can it really look that bad?"
Jungle Hunt has not aged well. Hm, actually, maybe it has; it just always sucked. So here it is again, in all its pink and vomit-colored glory. Shout with glee as a crocodile's hitbox seems to swim in and out of your path just in time for him to dodge your knife and eat you! Relish the wonders of slow, synchronized vine swinging! Put your fist through your screen!
I guess it was memorable, since I remember it, but I don't know if this game is the kind of thing you want legends forming around, if you're Taito.
|Download added: 11_newzealandstory.gif (62016 bytes)|
"Most of the games have a digitized flyer you can look at."
New Zealand Story is here; it was also in Taito Memories Gekan (see entry 877).
|Download added: 12_ninjakids.gif (89291 bytes)|
"That's right kids: The Satan."
Ninja Kids brings over the top cartoonish decapitation to the beat-em-up genre, and I know I for one couldn't be happier. Well, not so much about the slicing people into pieces thing (you do that here, lots), but more just about the big, spritey battle action. Fast, with a nice graphic style. Too bad that jump attacks are pretty much worthless. Oh, good Engrish, too.
|Download added: 13_opthunderbolt.gif (60064 bytes)|
"Fire in the hole!"
Ohh man, they should have put in an option to turn off the light-gun flicker in Operation Thunderbolt: it really does feel seizure-inducing watching someone play, what with all the flashing going on. Also, the plain-looking sprites and backgrounds feel like a come-down from the predecessor, Operation Wolf. It's nice to have a home version, and you can play co-op, but it's too bad they didn't get light gun support in.
|Download added: 14_opwolf.gif (81901 bytes)|
"Ah, now that's the stuff."
Operation Wolf looks way better than Thunderbolt, even though it was earlier. Artists, huh? Also, no annoying flashing effect while firing in this one.
|Download added: 15_phoenix.gif (46072 bytes)|
"Aaaaa! The birds are after me!!"
Phoenix is a surprise--it looks like a precursor to Galaga, but it plays much faster, and even though it loops the same (pretty much) three stages over and over, at least they feel substantially different from each other. Crazy weird stuff with things winding down the screen and turning into giant owls, too.
|Download added: 16_plotting.gif (44040 bytes)|
"I'm plotting to get points!"
Plotting is known as Flipull in the Japanese version (see entry 853).
|Download added: 17_plumppop.gif (72993 bytes)|
"Sending baby after the aliens again."
Now this is what I'm talkin' about. Cute sprites, and lots of 'em, and a weird premise like parent pets bouncing their babies up into the sky to pop UFOs and get them to drop fruit. But wouldn't you know it, it's a darn nifty action puzzler, and crazy in multiplayer as you can bounce your opponent's baby too--or stand on his head and prevent him from bouncing his own.
|Download added: 18_rainbowislands.gif (37225 bytes)|
"Taste the rainbows."
Well, Rainbow islands exists in a PS1 version, but this one seems nice too.
|Download added: 19_rastan.gif (99513 bytes)|
"Dig my axe."
Rastan was in Taito Memories Joukan (see entry 853), and it still sucks just as much here.
| paleface 04:55:30 11/01/05 [relations updated] |
|Download added: 20_returnoftheinv.gif (65442 bytes)|
"Hey! What kind of formation is that supposed to be?"
Return of the Invaders has also cropped up in the PSP Space Invaders Pocket (see entry 920). The aliens have funky formations, and it's pretty neat, or would be if only it weren't for those aliens on stage 2 who whip your own shots back at you.
|Download added: 21_spacegun.gif (93907 bytes)|
Space Gun was a co-op light gun game; it's still co-op here, and completely insane, but without light guns. Obvious Alien (tm) movie influences here with "space marines" eradicating icky aliens with showers of grenades and bullets. Big, bright sprites and tons of action.
|Download added: 22_spaceinvint.gif (144586 bytes)|
"The Space Invaders designer looks like he did coke in the 80's."
Ohh no we don't. We already got enough of Space Invaders in Space Invaders Pocket.
|Download added: 23_spaceinvpart2inv.gif (143197 bytes)|
"Where can I buy one of these..."micro computers"?"
Space Invaders Part 2 is also in Space Invaders Pocket--but it's pretty much just like the old Space Invaders.
|Download added: 24_superqix.gif (49114 bytes)|
"Oh man, I knew I shouldn't have hit the sauce quite that hard."
I had Qix for Game Boy, and I guess I played it fairly often, not having that many other games to play on the system. But even the Super version feels a little dated, now. Check Volfied instead...
|Download added: 25_thunderfox.gif (106043 bytes)|
"Where'd everyone go?"
Thunderfox is a surprisingly robust-looking side-scrolling beat-em-up that you can play co-op. Lots of guns to pick up, and silly slaying of enemy soldier hordes.
|Download added: 26_tokio.gif (86002 bytes)|
"Make it stop."
Tokio is pure crap. I hope it ran better in the arcade, but here at least it seems to involve jerking along in a grotesque fashion as enemy waves come at you. Anyway, even aside from the weird slowdown, it doesn't look exceptionally different than other mediocre vertical shooters, so, eh.
|Download added: 27_tubeit.gif (110798 bytes)|
Tube It isn't a bad puzzle game, I think--I can't seem to make good connections between the sides to save my life. But if you can, you'll be one styling tubes-everywhere sort of person. You can play Vs and all that. Good concept; too bad I suck at it.
|Download added: 28_volfied.gif (109176 bytes)|
"I can see through time!"
Volfied takes Qix to a new and better level. Much more varied AI, and crazy powerups and things, not to mention nicer graphics, and a nifty feature that shows you the next stage through the areas you cover, makes this game much easier to swallow than older Qix versions. I actually kinda like it!
|Download added: 29_zookeeper.gif (41128 bytes)|
"Now that looks like something of a rampage."
Zoo Keeper is not the modern puzzle game (see entry 767) that you're thinking of. No! Here, you run around all four sides of this cage (sometimes invisible) that seems to have its own gravity. Animals inside want to burrow out, and you have to race round the edges, patching the bricks before all the animals run free--and you lose your bonus points. Pretty nifty game.