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Taito Memories: Last Volume
  opened by paleface at 04:07:43 09/06/05  
  last modified by paleface at 12:25:50 03/05/24  
  paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Action_Variety; reg=JPN]
I've read that "Gekan" means "last" or something. Hopefully Taito means to do more of these, because they're pretty darn cool. As in Vol. 1 (see entry 853), you've got 25 retro Taito arcade games to explore, some of them quite obscure. This one has the exact same menu system and presentation as the first, including the unfortunately anti-aliased graphics and lack of vertical screen mode for the vertical arcade games. Ah well. Let's get to the games, shall we?
  paleface 05:04:19 09/06/05
1978 Space Invaders
1979 Space Invaders Part 2
Was it really necessary to include these? Didn't we get enough Space Invaders in Vol. 1? Sigh. These are pretty much a waste. Part 2 looks just like the original, except with some colors, pretty much. Wow. Waste of two game slots, and this collection doesn't really make up for them quite as effectively as the first collection could have. Too bad.
  paleface 05:05:19 09/06/05 [relations updated]
Download added: 03_crazy_balloon.gif (90777 bytes)
  "Watch those spikes!"
1980 Crazy Balloon
Rather like the Kururin games (see entry 511), as you guide your bopping balloon through a sharp maze. The graphics look almost ASCII-ish, and there's no music, but the balloon animation is quite lively, and when you brush a wall and pop it, the screen flash and snapping sound is nearly heart-attack-inducing. I'm horrible at this type of game because I have no patience, but those who like Kururin will probably get a kick out of it.
  paleface 05:06:01 09/06/05
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  "Shoot those nefarious balloons!"
1980 Balloon Bomber
I rather like this one, although since each bomb dropped by the balloons floating overhead cuts a crater in the ground, narrowing your movement area, defeat seems all but inevitable. Your artillery cannon has a big ass gun though, and it sounds neat.
  paleface 05:06:38 09/06/05
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  "Danger everywhere. Life in box-circuit world is not good."
1981 Qix
I'm not much at Qix, it's another game I don't have the patience for. I just want to GOOOOOO and having to wait and bide my time, especially when there are sparky things coming along to get me, just drives me nuts.
  paleface 05:07:25 09/06/05
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  "Hm. That's a big posse yonder."
1982 Wild Western
I played this a lot in Chuck E. Cheese's as a kid. It's dual analog here, with one stick moving you on your horsie, and the other aiming your gun in eight or so directions. Tough game--the baddies shoot a lot, and their tiny little white bullets are very hard to see coming. Has nice galloping movement, though.
  paleface 05:07:57 09/06/05
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  "Take that, copper!"
1983 Elevator Action
I can't remember if I ever played this before. It's all right, I guess. It just bugs me when I have to take an elevator down, and then some dude pops out of a door on the lower floor and has a bullet waiting for me as soon as I arrive.
  paleface 05:08:40 09/06/05
Download added: 08_chack_n_pop.gif (49871 bytes)
  "Smoke out those whale eggs..."
1983 Chack 'n Pop
It looks just like Bubble Bobble, but it ain't. Instead, you sorta hop or crawl along the ceilings and floors of weirdly shaped levels, dropping little red ball smokebombs that smoke out the enemy whales--you can even get them when they're still little eggs (??), if you're quick. Unfortunately, the bombs tend to drop behind you, making retreat awkward (and yes, the smoke bombs will hurt you, too). Nice sprites, but weird and not very pleasant game.
  paleface 05:09:07 09/06/05
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  "Two baddies with one grenade; who's the man?"
1983 Front Line
Another dual-analog vertical shooting game; this time it seems that you're gunning through Chinese troops in rice paddies, or something. You can shoot and throw grenades in any direction; grenades have a funky loop on them that makes their landing spot hard to predict. The graphics are quite ugly, but it's kind of fun to mill around spraying shots everywhere. I don't quite get the game, because nothing forces you forward, so you can just find a spot you like, preferably free of obstacles and mines, and just stay there racking up a score on the little dudes who spawn in over and over (watch out for boulders, though). If you *do* advance, you hit this area of weird robot tanks over piers, and it seems incredibly, insanely hard. I don't know if they tested this game very thoroughly.
  paleface 05:10:03 09/06/05 [relations updated]
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  "Jump! And throw shuriken! Repeat!"
1985 Legend of Kage
Ook, this sucks. Kill a set number of evil ninja per stage to go to the next one. You have this crazy almost weightless ninja leap that just carries you about into orbit, so keep doing that while flinging throwing stars all around yourself, and you're home free. Incredibly stiff graphics and movement, aside from the moon-walking jumping. Seems really similar to Demon Sword on NES (see entry 861).
  paleface 05:10:52 09/06/05 [relations updated]
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  "Suck ray-gun, bear!"
1988 New Zealand Story
Cool cutesy kiwi platformer. MUCH better looking than the PCE port (see entry 601). Crazy and fun once you get into it a bit, and you can continue right where you died, which wasn't allowed in the earlier games in this collection.
  paleface 05:11:16 09/06/05
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1988 Rastan Saga 2
Wow, this is even worse than the first one--the graphics look sort of nice in still shots, but they animate like wood, and the levels consist of big ugly blocks. Has co-op play so you can share the pain with a "friend."
  paleface 05:11:50 09/06/05
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  "Pac-Man? Is that you?"
1988 Ramais
Sort of a Tronish take on Pac-Man or something, but irritating because your speeder turns automatically if it runs up against a wall, so it tends to feel a little out of control. Really, it can screw you up quite a bit. Oh, and your ship can shoot, so I guess without the automatic stupid steering, the game would probably be too easy.
  paleface 05:13:01 09/06/05
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  "When bees get this big is the day I move to another planet."
1989 Insector X
Cutesy horizontal shooter, looks a lot like Hudson's PCE style (see PC Dengin for instance, entry 521). The big sprites make for some nasty big hit detection. Also, has separate bomb/shoot shot buttons, and that always annoys me. The exterminator and insect sprites are cute as the dickens, though.
  paleface 05:13:44 09/06/05
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  "Zapping bone-tossing cave trolls with my flying dagger spell. Wuzzah!"
1989 Cadash
Unusual (as far as I'm concerned) adventure-style D&D thingy, where you pick one of four fantasy characters (Warrior, Wizard, Ninja, Girl), and then wade through side-scrolling monster-infested caverns. Pretty nice graphics, particularly on the large, particle-based bosses, and keep an ear peeled for Don Doko Don music. Hah! But the control is sluggish, and there are many spots where you simply have to take damage. Yes you can buy auto-healing herbs in stores, but it doesn't make it less irritating.
  paleface 05:14:59 09/06/05
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  ""Boogoo" is the sound effect for a barrel hitting a sweaty guy."
1989 Violence Fight
Hah! Two huge sweaty sprite men duke it out in illegal fight club venues. It's an isometric vs fighter, and some stages have barrels or crates you can throw at the opponent, making a huge cartoonish GODOONG! letter sound if you connect. The fighting is all button mashing since you just have two attacks, kick and punch, and a useless jump, and sort of sluggish control. Is anyone actually good at this? Mashing gets me through the first three fights or so, then there's someone who's faster than me who I just can't outmash. Beh. But the graphics are really amusing.
  paleface 05:15:41 09/06/05
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  "The boss' turret is a big six-shooter! Get it?"
1990 Gun Frontier
Most of the ships in this co-op vertical shooter look like big mechanical revolvers or something. Very hard, solid feel to the graphics and gameplay, with big digitized explosions. Some of the bullets are small, dark and incredibly hard to see, but other than that, I like this one.
  paleface 05:16:24 09/06/05 [relations updated]
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  "Nothing like a flying knee on defense."
1990 Hat Trick Hero
Only the very bestest soccer video game I've ever played. Really, it feels like a 2D, arcade-style Winning Eleven (see entry 416), and those are all good things. Two buttons gets everything done, from passes and shots to flying headers, bicycle kicks, punches, and flying knees. The goalies are good--probably too good, as you actually have to fake them out in order to have any chance of getting something by them; scores in the 1:30 matches tend to be of the 1 to 0 variety. But there's a ton of action despite the low scores, and your team is very effective at passing up and down the field. Oh, the teams all seem pretty much the same, aside from looks. Has some exaggerated zooming effects. Check out comic touches such as the ref who always falls down, or taking out the cameramen with out-of-bounds kicks.
  paleface 05:17:16 09/06/05 [relations updated]
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  "The first boss doesn't like water."
1990 Mizubaku Daibouken
Aka "Liquid Kids," a super-cute platformer with a bubble-tossing platypus. I was kind of hoping that the arcade version supported two-player co-op, and that it had just been left out of the PCE version (see entry 586), but no such luck: two player alternating only. Some of the later, really watery levels sort of annoy me, but the thing is so darn cute it's hard not to like.
  paleface 05:18:02 09/06/05
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  "Use a potion and SHAZAM, you're Robin Williams from Aladdin."
1992 Arabian Magic
Two-player co-op beat-em-up, rather Capcom-esque, but with not so great character animation, and stiff controls with only really one attack per character, which feels rather limiting, particularly when you meet a boss who just keeps coming. Looks nicer than it plays; this wasn't really Taito's specialty, and it shows.
  paleface 05:18:37 09/06/05
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  "Wacky boss fights? No way!"
1995 Akkanvader
Ah, now this was much more up Taito's alley. Sort of a parody of Space Invaders, with super-cutesy ships and very lively sprites and sound effects. The enemies do all kinds of things like splitting in two or hopping down the screen, and you have I think it was five characters from which to choose, each with a different, powerful charge shot. You can also play two-player co-op. This is a great, fun action game.
  paleface 05:19:15 09/06/05
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  "Lots of turrets want a piece of me,"
1995 Gekirindan
Helicopter-themed vertical shooter, with co-op support. Some nice early 3D effects, especially the warping backgrounds, but doesn't stand out in terms of gameplay.
  paleface 05:20:14 09/06/05 [relations updated]
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  "Puzzle mode. Same as always--fun."
1995 Puzzle Bobble 2
Puzzle Bobble rules, and I like the bubble sprites and photographic backgrounds here. Huge puzzle mode with branching paths will keep me busy for a while, I think. Gorgeous 2D graphics with no slowdown--this is probably the best Puzzle Bobble I have. As far as I can tell from screenshots, the graphics and characters went downhill in 3, and I already have 4 on DC, but with slowdown (see entry 755), so--cool.
  paleface 05:21:10 09/06/05 [relations updated]
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  "Zapping a mid-boss or whatever. Blurry!"
1996 Raystorm
Pretty much like the PS1 version, I suppose (see entry 72), but with ugly, washed-out anti-aliasing of the 3D graphics here.
  paleface 05:21:58 09/06/05 [relations updated]
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  "They grew their bosses big back in G Darius."
1997 G Darius
Again rather similar to the PS1 port (see entry 94), but for the muddy 3D.
  paleface 13:01:59 02/20/17
Apparently ( ) "gekan" means "last volume." Fortunately, Taito would go on to do two more, a "Joukan" (first volume") "II," and a Gekan II.
  paleface 23:51:58 03/15/17
Some of the games in this collection have sluggish controls. Akkanvader and Arabian Magic, for instance, are relatively playable, but laggy control is definitely a problem for gameplay in shmups such as Gun Frontier and Gekirindan.
  paleface 11:17:41 12/03/23


Me in 2018: "Up to the point I'm capable of reaching currently, it's all good fun. Looking at plays by people who actually know what they're doing, I worry a little that it turns into the usual Space Invaders race to stop the ships from reaching the bottom of the screen, which to me was never very fun."
  paleface 16:08:01 12/28/23
"Violence Fight" had a sequel two years later: "Solitary Fighter." Looks fairly similar, sometimes another person enters the ring. Out on Arcade Archives; big flashy hit FX though.
· Bust-A-Move 4 (DC)
· Demon Sword (NES)
· The Double Shooting (PS1)
· G Darius (PS1)
· Kururin Paradise (GBA)
· Liquid Kids (PCE)
· The NewZealand Story (PCE)
· Space Invaders Pocket (PSP)
· Taito Legends (PS2)
· Taito Memories: 1st Volume (PS2)
· Taito Memories II: 1st Volume (PS2)
· Taito Memories II: Last Volume (PS2)
· Taito Memories Pocket (PSP)
· World Soccer Winning Eleven 7 International (PS2)

2024 Game impressions are the individual contributors. All rights reserved.