Taito Legends: Powered Up

The sub-heading relates to the four enhanced PSP-exclusive retro revamps of Balloon Bomber, Crazy Balloon, Cameltry and Legend of Kage. We can’t say they’re titles that we would have picked to receive a new lick of pixel paint, but then the games that we would have chosen – Elevator Action, Bubble Bobble, New Zealand Story and Rainbow Islands – have all been updated and re-released recently.

taiton.jpgSo we have nothing to complain about? Well, not quite. It’s suffered the same fate as Midway Arcade Treasures: Time Extended and Capcom Classics Reloaded. That is to say it’s not a compilation of the best of the best, but instead a load of odds and sods bundled together. Three versions of Space Invaders but no Bubble Bobble? The original Elevator Action instead of the superlative Elevator Action Returns? No horizontal shooters that would fit nicely on the PSP’s screen, just vertical ones which with their default screen settings are about the size of a postage stamp? Yeah, thanks.

You can change the view to use the whole screen, but doing so makes the graphics blurry and the controls awkward. At least the emulation is spot on, with no obvious glitches or defects. Don’t expect any extras like arcade artwork, manuals or game history though – there’s none of that.

Fortunately the four updated titles are quite nicely done. They all have stylish tranquil backdrops, and Legend of Kage has been blessed with 3D characters. Rotating maze Cameltry plays a lot like the recent LocoRoco, while Crazy Balloon can be likened to Nintendo’s Kuru Kuru Kururin.

Elsewhere on the UMD you’ll find the still highly playable New Zealand Story, enjoyable scrolling fighters Rastan Saga and Kiki Kaikai and classic puzzler Qix. Others – like Alpine Ski, Space Dungeon and Space Chaser – we can’t be quite so positive about. These aren’t the games that Taito are famous for, so why include them over better known games? It doesn’t make any sense.

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