30 Days of Xbox: Taito Legends 2

It’s time to get seriously retro.

I love retro games collections. They’re generally exceptional value if you’re a child of the arcade age, not to mention something that would have blown my tiny mind had you suggested that at some point in the future I would have been able to buy a single game that contained more than 30 arcade games. 39 to be precise.

Although I do miss those old school “They sold a million” compilations. I wonder who holds the rights to that naming? Why don’t we get bundles like that any more?

That cover art might just be a little bit ’80s. Not that you’d notice.

But I digress. A bevy of old school arcade goodness is precisely what Taito Legends 2 offers, although it’s a rather mixed offering.

Now, anyone who knows me might suspect that I’d picked this particular compilation because it contains Bubble Symphony, a game in my all-time-favourite Bubble Bobble series.

Naturally, you’d be right, and of course I have to play some Bubble Symphony the moment the disc goes in the drive.

Followed, naturally enough, by the excellent Elevator Action Returns, also a highlight of the disc. Also, of course, there’s Chack ‘N Pop, the not-excellent predecessor to Bubble Bobble. One should always pay respect to one’s ancestors, after all.

The trouble with a collection this wide, though, is that I could do an entire month (and more!) just going through every game.

So I challenged myself to play some of the more, shall we say, obscure titles. Games like Alpine Ski or Crazy Balloon, which, honestly, do very little for me. I don’t feel as though they’ve aged well at all, but then the other hook for collections of this type is that they tug at the nostalgia strings, as well as the gameplay ones.

Maybe next time pay for the good translators, though.

Maybe there’s someone out there who spent their youth perfecting the ideal Alpine Ski strategy, and it’s the highlight of the collection for them.

I’m totally fine with that.

After all, Qix is in this collection, and I find it perfectly charming, something that others may struggle with.┬áThere’s also a lot of Space Invaders variants in this collection, and again, I’m fine with that.

Likewise Taito’s rather odd experiments, like Don Doko Don, which is more or less Bubble Bobble with hammers, or Bonze Adventure, which makes me wonder, once again, precisely which drugs Japanese game designers were on back in the ’80s.

I could play Taito Legends 2 all day long and while I’d change games from time to time, I’d never get bored. Sure, the publishers pulled a swifty by changing the game lineup betwixt PS2 and Xbox, but clearly here the Xbox won. It got Bubble Symphony, and what more could you need?

Fat Duck Tech Retro Xbox Game Rankings

  1. Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time
  2. Taito Legends 2
  3. Outrun 2
  4. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
  5. SSX Tricky
  6. NFL Street
  7. Disney Extreme Skate Adventure
  8. FIFA 2004
  9. NHL Rivals 2004
  10. Rocky
  11. Spy vs Spy
  12. Rugby League
  13. Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death
  14. Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball

I almost feel like I’ve betrayed myself.

A game that features Bubble Symphony, and it’s not number one on the charts?

Well… yeah.

Not that you shouldn’t play Taito Legends 2, but I can’t ignore the fact that it’s many arcade experiences, some better and some worse. It benefits from the breadth of its scope, but I shouldn’t ignore that some games are weaker than others once you remove the nostalgia filter.

Exceptional value and a lot of fun, but Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time stands by itself, where if Taito Legends 2 offered only one game it wouldn’t compare as well. Realistically, you should play both, of course.

Next time: Someone a bit like John Cena (but not a wrestling game)

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