Every time a new game compilation is released, I get my hopes up. Maybe it's because the original Midway Arcade Treasures spoiled me, but I've expected so much more from the collections game publishers have been releasing that what I've actually received. Most feel that gamers should be satisfied with the large helping of classic titles that are included on each disc, and that this is essentially what each release is about. Well, let me add my voice to the growing population of people no longer content to merely play a particular company's backlog. There's so much more that could be included, and it's really sad that more publishers aren't taking advantage of the opportunity to keep their history in the public eye. I'm still miffed at Tecmo's half-hearted effort, and have sadly had only Capcom's wonderful set (even though Black Tiger is inexplicably absent) to console me. Thus, I was really looking forward to Taito Legends, in hopes that this set would be different, but alas, it's just like all the rest.
As I said, I'm a bit spoiled, now that I've had collections with interviews and other goodies to enjoy. Taito Legends comes up far short of expectations in this area, boasting a meager couple of interviews with the same two creators, Tomohiro Nishikado of Space Invaders and Fukio Mitsuji of Bubble Bobble. These little tidbits show exactly why this sort of content is so interesting and in fact, necessary. The questions, while pretty generic, lead to some entertaining answers, and this is precisely the type of thing this disc should have had more of. Each game has its arcade flyer and some tips, but you just can't get past the feeling that so much more could have been done here. With games today using DVDs as their medium, it's a mystery as to why more companies don't simply stuff these sets to the limit. They're doing a big disservice to both the creators of the games and to the public that remembers playing each classic in the arcade.
That's not to say that this is a bad collection, far from it. There's a ton of great games to be played here, ranging from such mega hits like Space Invaders and Operation Wolf to more obscure gems like Zoo Keeper. With twenty-nine games in total, you'll definitely find something to suit your particular retro needs. I'm especially pleased that Taito included selections from all periods of its video game past and not just one in particular. Seriously, I could spend all day playing Phoenix alone! A few titles were no-brainers, such as the aforementioned Space Invaders and its sequels, but a few managed to surprise me. Who'd of thought that we'd ever see Gladiator or Electric Yo-Yo on a home console?
As with every compilation, there are a few notable absences. Tiger-Heli, Renegade, and especially Arkanoid come to mind. I was also sad to see that Cadash didn't make the final cut. I don't see how anyone would rather play Plump Pop than these true classics. Still, there was bound to be criticism no matter which games Taito went with, so I can now eagerly await a second installment, right Taito?
What else can one do but enjoy the games available and lament the exclusion of others? That seems to be the standard with today's retro compilations, and until gamers start voicing their disdain with their wallets, classic games will continue to get less than they deserve.