Review by Y0u

"$0.50 per game, most of them flawlessly emulated. HOW can you beat that?"

Of course, with the wait of over a year, I never thought this would come out in the US... but it did, and the wait was well worth it. That 10 I gave the game is notwithstanding that it's a budget release (it retails for $20 but typically sells for less as of October 2007;) this is easily worth full price ($50,) and this is coming from somebody who will very rarely spend more than $20 on a game! 39 arcade games in this compilation: Alpine Ski, Arabian Magic, Balloon Bomber, Bonze Adventure, Bust a Move Again, Cameltry, Chack 'N Pop, Cleopatra Fortune, Crazy Balloon, Darius Gaiden, Don Doko Don, Dungeon Magic, Elevator Action II, Fairyland Story, Front Line, G Darius, Gekirindan, Grid Seeker, Growl, Gun Frontier, Hat Trick Hero, Insector X, Kiki Kaikai, Kuri Kinton, Legend of Kage, Liquid Kids, Lunar Rescue, Majestic Twelve: Space Invaders IV, Metal Black, Nastar Warrior, Puchi Carat, Qix, Raimais, RayStorm, Space Invaders '95, Space Invaders DX, Syvalion, Violence Fight, and Wild Western.

There's no extras here aside from passable instructions (better ones than you'll get on many compilations, and what's nice is that you can access them while you have a game paused!) and pretty versatile difficulty/control settings, but with 39 games, who cares? This is a compilation with a very practical set of features.

Gameplay- 10/10
39 arcade games. There are a few that are crap (Alpine Ski and Violence Fight although the latter is worth $0.50 here just to see some of the engrishy craziness,) there are lots of fixed shooters and SHUMPs, a few side scrollers, a few beat 'em ups, a few old early '80's games, a few puzzle games... a little bit of everything, with perhaps a bit of a bias towards SHUMPs. There are a few games that it would be nice if they were here (Cadash comes to mind,) but can you really complain with so many games?

Everyone will find something to like here, be it the great SHUMPs like Darius Gaiden and Rayforce, the well puzzler Cleopatra Fortune (it seems to me like a lot of Tetris fans like this, perhaps because it has a few similarities while still being innovative,) the awesome beat 'em ups Growl and Dungeon Magic, or the side scrolling action of Bonze Adventure and Liquid Kids, which both feel more like console platformers than arcade platformers.

There are two issues with this compilation, though. The one more often mentioned is that Puzzle Bobble 2 from the European version and the Japanese Taito Memories compilations was replaced with Bust a Move Again, replacing most of Puzzle Bobble 2's Bubble Bobble graphics with very generic ones and mauling the music- but I'll get to that soon. (It is better than if it had been totally removed... which even if it had, there would still be 38 games here.)

The other issue that I have is that several of the games here originally came in 4 player arcade cabinets, but even with a multitap, there is no way to play with four players, unfortunately (it seems that the 2 player cabinets are being emulated.) Even though some of these games are at their best with four players playing, it's hard for me to complain too much since I don't even have a multitap or more than two controllers myself.

Controls- 9/10
The PS2 controller is perfect for most games here. It's a bit off for a few games (the analog sticks aren't quite like the paddles used in at least three games here) but you will get used to them very easily.

Graphics- 8/10
Nearly flawlessly emulates the graphics. The problem is that the arcade "screen" is bigger than many TV screens (especially smaller ones with rounded corners, like my 19" TV) cutting off some information in some games- there really should be an option to shrink the screen size.

Sound- 9/10
As far as I can tell (I haven't played the originals of very many of these at all, admittedly,) the sound is flawlessly emulated... except for Bust a Move Again, where the music has serious issues, not even playing sometimes. If the sound was bad to begin with, as it is on some games, that's not the fault of this compilation. -1 point for the Bust a Move Again issue.

Play time- 10/10
Suppose you spend an average of a scant two hours on each game. That's 78 hours of gameplay for at most $20. That means: for each of those quarters you'd spend at an arcade, you're getting a full hour of gameplay. Even amongst games like long RPGs, a value like that is hard to come by.

Buy/Rent/Use as a coaster?
BUY. YOU WILL TREASURE THIS GAME. Besides, 5 days for $5 isn't a good value when you can probably get this for $15. (Actually, it is a good value to rent this game- it's just that buying it is even better.)

Closing comments
I gave this a 10/10, although it's hard to call it truly flawless with the emulation issues with a few games. Still, were those few games not here, "flawless" would be an apt description; I can't justify knocking off a point for adding a few games with emulation issues to something that's already practically perfect.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 10/12/07, Updated 10/16/07

Game Release: Taito Legends 2 (US, 05/16/07)

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