bitparade, Gaming

bitparade: Barnyard (PlayStation 2)

At the beginning the game does show some promise, mainly because unlike most other licensed titles, Barnyard doesn’t follow the plot of the movie. After the introductory cinematic where characters of the movie watch as a new cow is delivered to the farm, players take control of this cow. The first thing you’re allowed to do is pick the gender, colour and name of your bovine avatar, after which you’ll be allowed to run free through the barnyard. While the options for colour are limited, it’s nice for the developers to allow some form of customisation.

The main crux of the game is its sandbox environment, as after completing a few minor beginner missions, players are free to wander around the initial farm, plus other areas later on. All these areas have some room for exploration, mainly to accommodate the missions the other residents of the Barnyard world want to dole out to the newcomer. Most of which either take the form of locating specific items around the environment, performing athletic feats, or partaking in one of the many mini-games available.

The mini-games and missions themselves are enjoyable enough, and have some great humour to them. One type of mission involves donning a pair of sunglasses while squirting milk at residents of the Barnyard world, with the first six notes of George Thoroughgood’s “Bad to the Bone” playing in the background. And this section does provide some accidental humour as well. You can select to play as a male cow at the beginning of the game, which don’t actually exist. A male cow, for those who skipped biology, is a bull. Bulls, as a general rule (well, law of nature really) do not have udders. So when my male cow was running about the barnyard squirting a white liquid at people I couldn’t help but smirk madly.

Other levels involve such antics as helping the perilous Peck, a chicken with a death wish, achieving flight by launching him off a catapult and then guiding him through a series of oncoming obstacles. Others, like Gopher Golf and Whack-A-Gopher, are pretty straightforward, but then again, probably ideal for the target audience. While certain games can get repetitive there’s quite a large variety in the missions that can be played, so plenty for the fans of the film who it’s aimed at. They’ll also get a kick out of the game’s cel-shaded graphics which capture the look and feel of the film very well.

While the graphics certainly capture the feel of the film they do look rather lazy, with repeated character models being the biggest offender. The game’s audio design could certainly do with an upgrade as well. The music very rarely changes from a string of banjo plucking, and when it does, as in the case of the milk-squirting missions, you simply get a short string of notes repeated over and over. Voice work is also disappointing, with many of the lines of dialogue in the game simply being placed on the screen to be read. A few more spoken lines would have been great, especially as the game is aimed squarely at kids.

As ever with movie licensed games, and in particular movies for kids, there’s little to get excited about in Barnyard. It’s just about good enough to entertain kids who must see more of the characters from the movie, but everyone else should stay well clear.

#throwbackthursday, Gaming

#ThrowBackThusday Gregory Horror Show

We can’t do a #ThrowBackThursday in October without playing something horror-themed and searching through my collection at the beginning of the month I had a wealth of options including popular classics such as Silent Hill or Resident Evil 4. However, I ultimately decided upon a game that has maybe been forgotten about in recent years, Capcom’s Gregory Horror Show.

Wikipedia defines Gregory Horror Show (or Gregory Horror Show: Soul Collector as it is known elsewhere) as a Survival Horror, placing it in the same camp as your Resident Evils. However, most Survival Horror games have you gathering resources and attacking various monsters alongside puzzle-solving. Gregory Horror Show differs in this respect by being all about puzzle-solving. You see, as the unnamed player character, you have to collect the souls that are being protected by the oddball guests at Gregory’s House, a hotel hidden in a forest. Once you collect all twelve for Death (who, inexplicably, wears a hat bearing markings very reminiscent of the Swedish flag) he will tell you how to escape Gregory’s House.

Collecting a soul is achieved by spying on each individual guest, figuring out their routine and what it is that would enable them to abandon the soul they are protecting for just enough time for you to snatch it. Once this has been achieved, you move onto the next individual and so on, though the further you progress the more complicated it becomes to not only find that opening but to also just walk around the hotel, with the guests going about their daily routines but also keeping an eye out for you. If you’re spotted they chase you and if caught you’re submitted to their “Horror Show” (a short video showing them performing something horrific on you, each guest has a unique Horror Show).

I remember when this originally came out, with it getting some respectable scores despite being very much a niche sort of game. Of course, if it came out today it would rightfully receive a lot more attention for being so different to everything else available.

The thing is, it actually really stands up well today, this is largely thanks to two factors, the first is its visual design, the papercraft look that they went for means the lines are almost always clean and facial expressions are clear and crisp, okay the textures are typically PlayStation 2 in that they can be a little muddy but overall, its still a good looking game. The other factor that makes it work well today is its Capcom-ness. Now, this may come as a criticism, but I’ve always found that Capcom games have a certain clunkiness to them, in some games, it’s a bad thing, in others it works. In Gregory Horror Show it most definitely works.

I’ll give you an example. In most games of this era, there would have been some kind of mini-map or some “Live” way of knowing where guests were, or at least which ones were nearby. In this you find yourself having to constantly refer to the actual map by pressing the Select button, then checking a few moments later to get an idea of a guests route. Thankfully they mostly stick to a routine, but with 10 of them wandering the halls for you to avoid by the time you’re reaching the end, it can be hard to remember exactly who’s doing what and when, and that’s if you’ve even done your homework and been spying on the guests regularly.

What I find most interesting about Gregory Horror Show is its difficulty level, unlike other games everything you can do is available to you from the very beginning, so you’re not constantly having to learn new skillsets etc, the difficulty comes from the hotel becoming increasingly crowded and guests daily routines overlapping whilst you attempt to figure out and perform a plan to steal another guests soul. I’m going to spoil one of the later guests here, so if you plan on playing this and don’t want it ruined skip the next paragraph entirely.

An example of this difficulty was raised when trying to get the soul of the 11th guest Angel/Devil Dog. By listening to conversations and observing her I learnt that she likes to watch the same TV show at 6pm in the lounge each day. However, Gregory likes to clean the lounge at that time. Mummy Papa also jogs around the corridors at this time whilst Catherine walks past the lounge to go to the Medical Room around 6pm too. So I have to avoid the latter two and find a way to distract Gregory and that’s without even distracting Angel/Devil Dog long enough to take her soul away.

So there’s a lot of multi-tasking going on and the games systems don’t make doing that easy (you can only see a breakdown of each characters routine by visiting your room and each page is only filled in if you’ve spied on the specific character at specific times), the fact that its mechanics are all time based too, with few options too fast forward time (and those that are available do more harm than good), mean there will also be moments where you’re literally waiting for time to pass, but thankfully it doesn’t really manage to outstay its welcome and you’ll be escaping Gregory House before you know it.

 

 

bitparade, Gaming

bitparade: Codename K.N.D.: Operation V.I.D.E.O.G.A.M.E. (PlayStation 2)

We see these sort of titles all the time. Licensed games of popular kids programs and personally I’d heard of Spongebob Squarepants and Fairly Odd Parents, but I get the feeling they may be a bit outdated now, as I’ve never heard of this Cartoon Network license despite having 2 brother-in-laws of the age to watch the channel. I assume its popular otherwise there’d be no point in releasing a game for ti. And it’s a shame, for the kids, that developers don’t make an effort with this sort of thing. They usually take the role of collect-em-up;s with a script that includes as many of the characters from the show as possible, and Codename KND is no different.

It even features a ludicrously stupid subtitle in “Operation V.I.D.E.O.G.A.M.E.”. The way this differs from most licensed collect-em-up’s is that it is actually fun, in a surreal way, if only for 20 minutes. Its then that the annoying soundbites and music begin to grate your skin, the idiotic spelling drives you up the wall and clumsy controls make you want to throw the controller against the wall.

And while these are all problems that really hinder the game, it does have some very good ideas for levels and bosses. The first proper level , for example, see’s you running through a overgrown doughnut making oven before facing off against “Gramma Stuffum” in a robot featuring various cooking utensils as weapons. You can’t hurt the robot normally but by hitting three switches(one to drop a lump of dough, the other to open trap doors and the last to cover the robot in jam) you can lower its shield for a short period of time so you can shoot it with your gumball cannon. Also sections of levels are also inspired, still in the doughtnut maker, you have to make your way up a turbine using the fan at the bottom to help you jump long distances from platform to platform. But while the idea in principle is good, the choppy frame rate and awakward camera make life too difficult to bother.

While Codename KND is a better effort in the licensed collect-em-up genre, its still a mediocre title, that with some more time and effort, could have been fairly entertaining.

bitparade, Gaming

bitparade: Disney Pixar’s Cars (PlayStation 2)

Disney Pixar’s Cars, game of the movie, is an incredibly difficult game to write about. Unlike most movie tie-ins, Cars isn’t actually a standard collect-em up platform. That would be a bit difficult to achieve considering the characters, nor is it a racing game, which is partially surprising, but at the same time not, as you wouldnt be able to get a feel for each of the characters.

The game is set in a sandbox environment, a little like GTA but without all the violence obviously, based on the setting of the film, they’ve populated it with all the characters of the film and thrown in a few basic races, mini games and some minor customisation. Add to that the fact that many of the original voice actors for the film have put their talents onto disc for the game also and you have a pretty tidy package.

Pixar’s films are famous for being just as much fun for adults as they are the kids, but sadly the games have never had that same feel, Cars is no different. It quickly becomes incredibly repetitive, the in game sound bites become irritating and it all feels like a cheap attempt to tick all the boxes for a perfect videogame cash in on the biggest kids film of the year.

This isn’t helped by the fact that the game has been made far too easy, there’ barely any need to break, and one could question whether you could get away with not steering, meaning its next to impossible to actually lose. This is all well and good as it means the kids wont feel like they’re struggling with the game (which is probably one of the major problems with society today, but thats not for bitparade to discuss). The game quickly becomes the modern day equivalent of a poorly executed interactive movie.

bitparade, Gaming

bitparade: Makai Kingdom: Chronicles of the Sacred Tome (PlayStation 2)

Since it’s release Disgaea: Hour of Darkness has been a huge hit for the PlayStation 2, promoting Nippon Ichi Software to a much loved status within the gaming community and introducing an awful lot of gamers to the world of the Strategy Role Playing Game. A genre that’s a healthy blend of your Final Fanatsy-esque traditional RPG’s and strategy table-top/ boards games such as Chess.

Due to Disgaea’s success, Nippon Ichi saw fit to release its predecessor La Pucelle Tactics, and another SRPG title from their ranks, Phantom Brave, on these shores, and while both of these titles have a strong following; they’re not quite up to Disgaea’s standards. So with its latest release can Nippon Ichi step out of the shadow that Laharl, Etna and co have cast over its studios? Makai Kingdom is certainly going to try!

Nippon Ichi have stuck to their usual 2D sprites approach to the graphics giving the title a cartoonish approach, but allowing them much more freedom in showing emotion from the characters when telling the story. This brings about a quirkiness that will gain the developer many more fans, something that Capcom will know all about due to the success of its Street Fighter titles. Really it’s all about producing game mechanics that makes the title stand out, rather than just focusing on the graphics, something that many developers seem to forget, and Nippon Ichi appear to have this down to a fine art.

And it’s these game play mechanics that have taken the most radical change, albeit not a huge step from what the developer as already established in previous titles. In terms of its playing style, Makai Kingdom has more in common with Disgaea’s successor, Phantom Brave in that you have “free movement”. Basically instead of being forced to play on a grid-based landscape, you now get a ring appear around your character that shows the area that your character can move in, then once you select attack and how you want to attack, another ring appears to show you the range for it. This range of movement and attack can vary depending on your location on the map, which can make battles seem random and difficult to plan. This isn’t to say that the systems don’t work, as it does, very well in fact, and if anything it makes the title more accessible to newcomers than Disgaea ever did. Which can be no bad thing to Nippon Ichi although it might upset a few fans of that title.

And now not only can you bring your characters into the battlefield, but you can also “invite” the buildings that appear in your Netherworld carrying extra times and featuring ability aids to help you become all the more successful in battle. The ability aids are similar to the ability/status effects seen ion titles such as the Final Fantasy series, things like your health points being cured by a percentage every few moves and such. Using the buildings can also help you introduce vehicles such as buggies and mech-suits giving you extra movement options or more power in attack or defence in order to help you put together a successful battle strategy.

But with this amount of depth in mind, Makai Kingdom is incredibly easy to get into, especially compared to slower titles such as Final Fantasy Tactics Advance on Nintendo’s Gameboy Advance. It’s this accessibility that has gained Nippon Ichi so many fans worldwide since its PlayStation days. Even though previous titles have introduced numerous ways of altering the outcome of battles such as Disgaea’s Geo’s and the Item World. Makai Kingdom also brings something new to the table here, but it’s not a case of altering the battles, but more a case of extending them. For every hit you deal out to the enemy, you earn points, and these points go towards a total, once you reach a set amount, which is different depending on the map, you are asked if you want to finish the battle and be successful or carry on to earn more experience points or find rare weapons (you’ll probably need a thief for that) at the risk of possibly failing the mission.

On the subject of leveling up, those of you who are veterans of Nippon Ichi’s previous titles will be used to being able to level your characters up to ridiculous heights such as 9,999. But again, Makai Kingdom makes a change here, again making it more accessible to newcomers by reducing this number to a still very high 2,000. Even though it is possible to complete the game with your character levels in double figures. This isn’t to say the game tires quicker than anything else the studio has developed, with the opportunity to play any story battle as many times as you like and also the ability to use any Mana you earn to purchase new dungeons to fight in.

Makai Kingdom is an incredible achievement from Nippon Ichi, not only will fans of their previous work enjoy it, but it’s the perfect starting place for anyone who has the slightest interest in the genre but doesn’t know where to start. Although the game doesn’t quite shift Laharl et al out of the spotlight, it does give the audience of the show yet more content to rave about.

bitparade, Gaming

bitparade: SEGA Superstar Tennis (PlayStation 2)

Take two parts Virtua Tennis, one part Mario Tennis, and mix in a whole ton of SEGA nostalgia and you have yourself SEGA Superstars Tennis. Sound good? Well, it is, if you happen to be a big fan of what SEGA have done in the past.

Y’see while Nintendo present you with characters from their best known games in their sports tie-ins, SEGA Superstar Tennis relies upon you knowing some of their back catalogue, well, at least more than just Sonic the Hedgehog anyhow, although its unsurprising he has a big part to play, and will no doubt be the first character most people use. But its not just SEGA’s most famous output that makes an appearance, theres also showings from Ulala (Space Channel 5), Beat (Jet Set Radio), AiAi (Super Monkey Ball) and even the long forgotten Alex Kidd, among others, which can only bring a smile to those who favoured a SEGA console over the opposition at least once in their life.

Courts too are themed on SEGA franchises, with all the above titles getting their own courts alongside others which don’t have any in-game character representation, such as House of the Dead. Of course, none of this would count for anything if the game played terribly, and you’d be forgiven for being wary of it based upon a lot of SEGA’s recent output, but rest assured, Sumo Digital have taken the engine from Virtua Tennis 3 (which they also ported from the arcades over to the XBox 360 and PS3) and built a highly entertaining game around the engine and nostalgia they had at their finger tips. Not only is it highly entertaining, but as with its sibling its incredibly accessible to begin with and has quite a bit of depth to its gameplay the more you play it.

However, its not without its problems. Games can feel a little too easy to win at times, the first 5 tournaments or so I managed to get away with just hitting the ball from the left of the court to the right side, and whilst its always good for a game to start off easily and make things that bit simpler for you to get into it, this level of difficulty goes on for far too long and is only affected by the rather random feeling special abilities that each character has that are activated by keeping a rally going until the star around your character is completely yellow and glowing then hitting the pre-designated button. Although these can be just as harmful to your game as they are to your opponents, especially against an AI opponent.

But, as a SEGA fan of old, I find this game incredibly charming and entertaining, I’ve not been the only one to get enjoyment out of it either as my young daughter loves watching the characters run around the screen hitting the ball back and forth which shows that this is a game that the whole family can enjoy it together.

bitparade, Gaming

bitparade: We Love Katamari (PlayStation 2)

Katamari Damacy was one of the most original and bizarre games released in recent years, it depicted you as the Prince of all Cosmos and gave you the task of rolling a Katamari, a sticky ball type invention that collects everything that you roll over, around various levels in order to put the stars back in the Cosmos after your father, The King of All Cosmos, lost them. The game proved popular with the Japanese and Americans, although it didn’t receive a PAL release, but Importers spent the next year raving about what a great little game it was.

We Love Katamari introduces you to a world that has gone mad for Katamari and The King of All Cosmos, kind of like the real world for those who have played it, and tasks are introduced by the inhabitants of this world wanting to see the power of the Katamari, the Prince and the King. Although they mainly remain unimpressed with the results.

From the opening movie you just know you’re going to be treated to something so radically different to anything released on these shores before. This leaves you feeling completely open to whats about to greet you. And your first response is just to simple smile. This is gaming at its purest. The games charm and quirkiness keeps you coming back for more, which is helped by its LEGO brick style graphics and the music which you’ll be humming for weeks without it irritating you.

Your first impression while playing the game for the first time will be how awkward the controls feel, you see you control your Katamari like a tank, you move both analogue sticks around to control the Princes right and left hands to push it along, for example when you push both sticks forwards, your Katamari will roll forwards, if you pull one back and push the other forward you will turn around on the spot.

But while they may feel awkward at first, the fact that rolling the Katamari over stuff is so damn fun means you don’t mine, and before you know it, you’ve got the hang of things.

We Love Katamari is one of those games that come around every once in a while that drag in those who give it a chance and make them evangelical about it, but on the whole it will be ignored by the average high street gamer. Which is a huge shame as We Love Katamari is an absolute gem of a game, these is literally nothing more than can be added to make it anymore fun that it already is.

bitparade, Gaming

bitparade: Fast and the Furious (PlayStation 2)

In the past four years, games stores shelves have been saturated with identikit games, namely football, first-person shooters, sandbox crime titles (aka “GTA Clones”) and “street” racers of the Need for Speed variety, and here, for review, is yet another.

The Fast and the Furious is an identikit street racer, it has plenty of cars to choose from that you’d normally expect to see on the streets, it has loads of combinations of set ups, and is yet another title to lift Forza Motorsports decal editor, allowing you to create your own look on your car. If you recently purchased Need For Speed Carbon, then The Fast and the Furious is near on the same game, although its set on Tokyo’s highways.

However, Need For Speed Carbon was a good game, not great, or by any stretch a must buy, but it was probably the second best street racing game, with Midnight Club 3 DUB Edition being the best. Fast and the Furious doesn’t even come close to that quality. Sure it looks nice, once again NAMCO have created a nice looking game, hardly a surprise there if you’ve ever played the Soul Calibur titles. But thats where the niceties seem to end.

The first thing you expect from a driving game is for it to handle well, this is something that the Fast and the Furious doesn’t do, a slight touch of the analogue stick sends you swerving across the road, its stupidly sensitive, and don’t get me started on braking. In most games you release the accelerator briefly, brake, turn than accelerate through the corner, in simulators, depending on your approaching speed and how soon your turn this can either take you through the corner sensibly or kick the back end out a tiny bit (I prefer the latter), in arcade racing games this will result in a controllable slide round the corner, however in the Fast and the Furious, a slight touch of the break will result in your car being completely sideways but carrying on heading in the direction of the nose of the car. Resulting in you smacking the inside wall of a corner near on every time, this isn’t on and makes races with corners that require braking to navigate a really big pain in the backside. The games other big problem lies in its title, its neither fast, nor is it furious, races tend to be decided by who has the most powerful car, most nitrous and when you use it with hardly any jostling for position.

Now the mention of nitrous immediately brings to mind speed, but the cars travel sluggishly before you press the required button to activate the boost and just above sluggish while you are accelerating via the use of boost, travelling at 160mph for example feels like you’ve only just hit 60mph.

However, there are some nice touches to Fast and the Furious, and these are, sadly, in the car customisation area of the game and aren’t even there to improve the performance of your vehicle, they only act to make it look good. The things that I’m talking about is the inclusion of other NAMCO IP’s, namely in the form of Tekken and Soul Calibur characters appearing as vinyls for your car and Katamari and Pac-Man being included as “Drift Charms” to hang off your rear bumper and swing around as you drive your car around Tokyo. But thats really is the best thing about The Fast and the Furious.

bitparade, Gaming

bitparade: Tak and the Great Juju Challenege (PlayStation 2)

Tak and the Great Juju Challenge is the third and final installment in the Tak series, in the previous two titles Tak had to defend his Pupanunu people from evil enemy Tlaloc, This installment see’s you competing in a tournament with four tribes competing to earn the protection of the godly Moon Juju for the next 60 years. The game starts up with friends Tak and Lok attempting to take a feather from a phoenix in order for their tribe to enter the tournament. This is basically your tutorial level, and feels a little like Rayman 2: The Great Escape., which is probably one of the standards modern platform titles follow. Unlike previous installments, the player can now switch between Tak and Lok at anytime they wish to, making The Great Juju Challenge the first title in which Lok is playable.

The heroes of the game must compete against two representatives from each of the other 3 tribes, the JibbaJabbas, the Grammazons and the Black Mist. The character diversity makes the Great Juju Challenge stand out against most of todays platform based games. As is the norm these days, as the story advances you are treated to numerous animated cut scenes where you get to learn more about the characters and their backgrounds, so far, so painting by numbers.

The great Juju challenge tries to be humorous, but after being released during a similar time frame to Psychonauts and Stubbs the Zombie: Rebel without a Pulse, both from THQ owned publishers, it just doesn’t cut it and feels quite immature at times. Also the double team comedy capers were done much better a few years back in the original Jak and Daxter title, surely if anything, they’re the Laurel and Hardy of the gaming world, not these cavemen. The games level design isn’t entirely different to the rest of the series, and while this is to be expected it would of been nice to have seen some experimentation from the developer, rather than them taken the safely safely approach that they seem to have.

Challenges within the tournament see you racing through the levels in order to light to beacons in order to open a portal that leads to one of three sub levels. These beacons are lit via fiery auras that come from the feathers of phoenix’s that Tak and Lok have plucked into their hair. Activation of the beacons and the like is completed via the normal methods of clearing an area of enemies or solving a puzzle.

Overall, Tak and The Great Juju Challenge is an entertaining romp if your into the platformer genre, but it feels so unoriginal and by the numbers that people that aren’t fans of the genre would easily get bored. If its a humorous game of a similar style that your looking for, I’d personally recommend Psychonauts, proof, if it was needed, that Tim Schafer is a comedy genius when it comes to games. But if you enjoy titles like Jak and Daxter, Ratchett and Clank and all those other platforming double teams, then you may just want to pick this up as it is right down your street, and is a much better offering than the previous attempts by both of those series.

bitparade, Gaming

bitparade: Taito Legends 2

Retro Compilations are the in thing at the moment, it seems your not a legendary developer/publisher if you haven’t got a bunch of games to shove onto a disc and release on one of the modern consoles. But, as both Namco and SEGA have shown, if not done with due care and love, you end up with a complete mess. In this case, Taito are the leading light, our reviewer didn’t score their last compilation too well, but that was more down to memories and a few poor controls although the compilation did feature 29 games.

Taito Legends 2 then, takes this number and adds even more! With quite a few of these games not even originally being released on these shores, on offer there are 39 games for you to choose from, including games such as Elevator Action Returns, Liquid Kids, Puzzle Bobble 2 and many many shoot’em-ups.

To make this game easier to review, I’ve decided to select a few games rather than pick apart all 39 titles.

With this being Taito, there were always going to be plenty of Bubble Bobble clones, with Chack ‘N’ Po being the highlight of these, featuring the same familiar gameplay mechanics as the classic featuring the lovable dinosaurs Bub and Bob. It feels like an odd hybrid of Bomberman (before Bombermans release though), Bubble Bobble and Donkey Kong, the game entails you rescuing a heart and legging it to the exit of the level while placing bombs near enemies to aid your escape.

The Fairyland Story was release a year before the Bubble Bobble games, and is a lot of fun, although it does lack a two player co-op mode. In this you play a character called Ptolemy, who you use to cast spells into enemies, turning them into cakes, from there you keep zapping them to get rid of them. Bronze Adventure is a bit like Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins and is definitely worth checking out if your a fan of Capcom’s classic.

The best platforming title by far though is Liquid Kids, released in 1991, you control Hipopo. As Hipopo you have to thrown water bombs at enemies in a visually great platformer that bares more than a nod to Bubble Bobble.

Puzzle titles will always appear on these retro compilations, and Taito Legends 2 is no exception, except that it features some of the best Puzzle titles ever made. One of which is Puzzle Bobble 2 (a.k.a. Bust-A-Move 2), a game that hasn’t aged at all and is still the basic formula for all the bust A Move titles released now.

Also of note is Crazy Balloon, similar in theory to the Kururin games, you have to guide a balloon to an exit while avoiding thorns, which results in an incredibly challenging and fun experience.

Another genre that makes up a huge chunk of Taito Legends 2 is the Shoot’em-up genre. Featuring numerous versions of Space Invaders, Space Invaders ’91 is easily the best on offer, although Space Invaders is equally as good.

If vertical and side-scrolling shooters are your thing, theres plenty to choose from, with the package offering an interesting insight into how the genre developed during the 80’s and 90’s, but its a shame that many of them come across as generic, me too titles. There are a few highlights in there worthy of playing though, the long-forgotten Metal Black being one of them, giving you access to mammoth power-ups, zillions of enemies on screen at any one time and impressive visuals for their era. Also included are Darius Gaiden and G-Darius, two of the stand out titles in the genre.

As an overall package, theres only a small amount of genuine must-play titles among the 39 games on offer, that isn’t to say that many of the others wont bring you enjoyment. The presentation of the package is much better than the previous release, with games being organised into chronological order. If your looking for a Retro compilation that is worthy of playing, look no further than either of Taito’s efforts, if its famous names you want, the first is the one to go for, but if your looking for some experiences you may have missed out on, Taito Legends 2 is a definite must have, and is certainly better than Namco’s effort.