One traveller's milestone is another one's rock.

It’s not my job to determine what is and what’s not a milestone. I get that. But when I’m considering the important titles from Tatio’s catalog, am I including The Legend of Kage? I am not. But there it is as one of the ten titles that comprise Taito Milestones 2.

Obviously, this release follows last year’s Taito Milestones. The earlier collection included well-known games such as Qix, Alpine Ski, and Elevator Action, along with a personal favorite of mine from back in the day: Wild Western. Better, it introduced me to a new game I really enjoyed: The Fairyland Story.

That discovery gave me hope for Taito Milestones 2. I’ve never played any of these games, or at least I don’t recall playing them. That doesn’t mean they’re less important or significant, simply that I’m approaching them all with new eyes. How many would become new retro favorites? Not a lot, it ends up, but there certainly are some pleasant surprises.

Getting to them is easy. There’s no arcade facade to push through, and there are no historical materials to read. The intro screen is just a couple rows of games to pick from. The lack of industry context may put off some gaming historians, but all of that material is easily found on the web. Publisher ININ Games would rather you spend your time playing.

The ten games included in Taito Milestones 2 are:

  • Ben Bero Beh
  • Darius II
  • Dinorex
  • Gun Frontier
  • Kiki Kaikai
  • The Legend of Kage
  • Liquid Kids
  • Metal Black
  • The New Zealand Story
  • Solitary Fighter

As mentioned, they’re not instantly recognizable titles, some for good reason. Thankfully, they’re all easy to pick up and play. Unlike some of the games in Taito Milestones, all but a couple of these rely on two buttons and a directional controller (your choice of the L-stick or D-pad). Of course, accessibility doesn’t mean they’re easy to figure out.

Take Kiki Kaikai, for example. In this game, your character must rescue the seven gods of fortune who have been captured by yōkai. The unique shoot ’em up starts with you attempting to repel the various enemies descending upon you, and it took me a couple lives to realize I was supposed to be moving upwards; I thought the point was just to clear the screen Galaga-style.

Once I got going, however, this one became my favorite of the collection. I have yet to save all seven gods, however, and I’m not sure I will; the boss battles are tough, and you have no option to continue from where you lost your last life.

There are numerous other shoot ’em ups included here, all of which more closely follow the standard side-scrolling or bottom-up formulas. Darius II is certainly a standout; I can see myself sinking plenty of time into that over the next couple of months.

There are also a couple platformers that manage to feel unique in a world that’s full of them. Liquid Kids is especially enjoyable, centering around a hippopotamus armed with water bombs. Arcades were pretty much gone from my part of the world when this game was released in 1990, but I can imagine it would’ve been a favorite if I’d found it at my college’s rec center.

Perhaps the most intriguing game of the collection, however, is Ben Bero Beh. This 1984 arcade game features a superhero (at least he’s dressed like one) armed with nothing more than a fire extinguisher and a can-do attitude as he battles flames and a crumbling building to rescue his girlfriend. The controls are pretty bad, but once you get used to them, the game’s unique take on screen cleaning offers enough challenge, surprises, and goofy moments to warrant numerous attempts.

Other games, unfortunately, range from forgettable to unplayable. The Legend of Kage could’ve been fun, but the bad controls and messy action just make it annoying. The one-on-one fighter Solitary Fighter is generic and easy to ignore, but the introduction itself made it clear the game wasn’t meant for me.


Ask my family and insurance agent, and they’ll tell you I’m none of those things.

Then there’s Dinorex. Yikes! This brawler sees your caveman entering a tournament in which his dinosaur battles other dinosaurs to the death; cro-magnon behavior that’s still accepted in various parts of the world, only with dogs and chickens instead of dinosaurs. It’s bad enough the game is extremely difficult, but it’s worse the animations are terrible and the audio is grating. I couldn’t turn it off fast enough…but had to turn it back on just to show my family how bad it is. I guess there’s some value in that.

So, whether you’ll get $40 of value out of Taito Milestones 2 depends upon your interest in these particular arcade games. Although there are no classic titles here, there are a few fun ones worth discovering.