Taito Legends Power-Up

Review

posted 2/7/2008 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
Platforms: PSP
I propose that in the future all classic game compilation reviews need to have a 50 word limit. Let's face it, nobody cares what I think about all of the individual games game any given compilation, they just want to know what games are featured, if the games have held up well and if the game has some major design flaw. So, in the spirit of adventure and science, let's try out this brand new style of writing reviews for classic game collections.

What's the compilation? Taito Legends Power-Up for the PSP. What system is it for? The PSP (I guess this format has a few kinks to work out). What games are featured? Space Invaders, Elevator Action, Qix, New Zealand Story, and 22 other "classic" arcade games. Have these games held up? Some have, some haven't. Is there a major design flaw? Not that I ran across.

Unfortunately I can't get away with a 50 word review. Instead I actually have to spend the time talking about all of the reasons why you should rush to the store and buy Taito Legends Power-Up, a PSP compilation that features some of Taito's best known games. Maybe one day I'll have my way and be able to simplify everything to a simple crib sheet, but I have a hunch that nobody would be happy with me just springing that on you like that. Not the publisher. Not the developer. And certainly not my editor.

In case you haven't noticed, video game compilations are a tough thing to review. Generally speaking it doesn't matter what I have to say about the games in the collection, if you're a fan of the games and the company then you aren't going to listen to me any way. The best I can do is try and convince those unfamiliar with the company to give a damn, which is easier said than done. But maybe, just maybe, I'll get through to you this time. Perhaps Taito Legends Power-Up is the game that finally gets you to rush to the store and buy a classic game compilation. I have my fingers crossed.

Taito Legends Power-Up is a collection of 25 classic Taito arcade games, including a number of genuine arcade hits, like Space Invaders, Legend of Kage, Elevator Action, Rastan and Qix. On top of that you will also get a bunch of obscure games, such as Kiki Kaikai, Balloon Bomber, Lunar Rescue, and Alpine Ski. Some of these games hold up remarkably well, while others feel as old as they look. But while there are a few stinkers in the package, at $20 this is cheap enough to warrant a closer look.

The first thing you'll notice about this collection is that it seems to have a predilection for the Space Invaders series. Not only does this collection come with the original Space Invaders (1978), but it also features Space Invaders Part 2 (1979) and Return of the Invaders (1985). While I respect Space Invaders' importance in our gaming history, I'm of the belief that the game hasn't held up real well and that having three different versions of the game is a bit of an overkill. Of course, Space Invaders fans will no doubt disagree and we'll just be arguing in circles.

On top of the 21 classic arcade games, Taito Legends Power-Up also contains four "brand new" versions of the classic games. This "enhanced" mode is nothing new; companies like Namco and Atari have been doing it for years. The four games in questions are Crazy Balloon, Balloon Bomber, Legend of Kage and Cameltry. I'll admit that some of these remakes are kind of fun, doing a good job of capturing the spirit of the original game. However, not all of them are worth playing and the whole thing just seems tacked on at the last minute. Also, for some strange reason all four of the games have the year 2005 in their title (Legend of Kage 2005, Cameltry 2005, etc.). Considering that this game was released in 2007 this doesn't give off the impression that these enhanced modes are particularly new. Thankfully you can just ignore these games and go back to the 21 classic arcade ports found on this UMD.

Like the recent Capcom Arcade Classics collections, Taito Legends Power-Up allow you to customize the screen in a number of ways. Not only can you see the game from the original aspect ratio, but you can also flip the PSP around and play the games vertically (which works out perfect for vertical 2D shooters). From a technical perspective this Taito collection is definitely well made, the menus are easy to navigate and everything is nice and clean. These are the kinds of things that tend to get ignored when making a classic game compilation, so it's nice to see Taito spend some time polishing this disc up.

It wouldn't be a proper game review without some random complaining and nitpicking. While I certainly can't complain about some of the selections on this UMD, I'm perplexed why some of the better titles were left out. I'm talking about games like Bubble Bobble, Puzzle Bobble 2, Darius Gaiden, Liquid Kids and Dungeon Magic. Having a few of these games would have made it easier to swallow the idea of getting three different Space Invaders games.

Taito Legends Power-Up is exactly what it sounds like; it's a collection of 21 classic Taito arcade games. Is this the kind of thing that appeals to you? Well, if you're a fan of old school arcade ports then this should appeal to you, especially with games like Qix and Elevator Action headlining. At $20 it's hard to say no to a disc with so many solid arcade games? I say give this one a try, even if you've never heard of half of these games.
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