Taito Milestones offers up a steep price for games that have just not aged well enough to justify it.
Milestones offers a look back on 10 classic games, released from 1981 to 1987, and while some hold up and provide fun experiences, too many fall flat to warrant its current price ($39.99/£34.99).
Let’s get the unavoidable context out of the way: how much you enjoy this game will depend on your nostalgia for this era. While the 90’s kid writing this can muster up some nostalgia for SNES era Final Fantasy titles and the Gameboy Mario games, the 80s is a bit of a stretch. If this is your era, then it is a good collection of games.
It provides a nice range of visual filters and difficulty options, and even where the games might seem vague, the easily-accessible manuals are clear and quick to explain everything. Being able to save in every title is a nice touch, but rarely too useful. Aside from the best title in the collection, Halley’s Comet (1986) or The Fairyland Story (1985), I don’t see how a single playthrough would need a save, but it’s good that it’s there.
On the music front I will not pretend any of it hits as much as the opening notes of the first stage of Super Mario Bros, but it is serviceable. It doesn’t feel out of place, nor does it get particularly grinding.
Halley’s Comet is a superb top down shooter that I will routinely find myself going back to long after this review is done. It’s the best looking title among the bunch, plays smoothly and is a lot of fun.
A lot of them fall flat though, Front Line (1982) feels as old as its 40 years and just isn’t enjoyable. Alpine Ski (1982) is nothing special and Wild Western (1982) is another one you can just skip over.
Space Seeker (1981) has some nice ideas: mixing between planning your attack then either switching between a more first person space shooting or a side scrolling shooter. Yet in practice it doesn’t work, this game feels like an idea whereby the technology just wasn’t far enough along to properly execute at the time.
Qix (1981) is a simple and fun line drawing puzzle game about avoiding enemies while trying to capture 75% of the total area. It is also the game that highlights a major problem with this collection: you’ve probably already played what you will now realise were a lot of complete knock-offs of these games online for free.
Make no mistake, in a modern context none of these games feel special, even Halley’s Comet is a game that has since been done a lot but better. Although having said that some games, including Qix, are a nice insight as to how game developers could make a simple premise and make it work on the hardware of the time.
Given we’re discussing the mid 80s, there’s some graphical work to be appreciated here. Ninja Warriors (1987) looks great, even if the movement does just feel too stunted and it could have done with having the controls decluttered from the arcade original.
The Fairyland Story is another game that looks great. Playing as a magician, quite simply kill the bad guys on the screen and next time do it all again on increasingly harder stages. Simple, but effective and is comfortably the second best game in the collection.
Ultimately these games come from an era that will always be overlooked before the likes of Nintendo and Sega came along and catapulted gaming along the path where it has got to today, and that is commendable. It is a backhanded compliment to the era that these games are so out of date.
Yes you can have fun with them, yes you can appreciate how much they accomplished in their era, but the youngest one of these games is 35 years old and gaming has, at risk of sounding awfully sarcastic, moved on a bit.
In today’s market, $39.99/£34.99 can get you games that provoke thought and feeling with their storytelling, or genuine action thrillers or even games that make your jaw drop with their graphics. Unless you have nostalgia for this era, avoid this collection.