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Taito Legends 2

Jeez, there's no holding back the retro action these days. Taito delivers another well-balanced chest of treats - but is there such a thing as too much retro?

You know what it's like. You eat all the good chocolates first, and are left with a collection you could pick your way through eventually but you're never going to do it in one go. Then you realise there's a whole new tray of chocs underneath and you gorge out on that one as well. Well, that's Taito Legends 2 summed up in a big chocolatey metaphor, even if the latest collection isn't quite as mouthwatering as the last.

Taito Legends 2 has far more Rainbow Island- and Bubble Bobble-inspired games than the previous collection, with the likes of Insector X, Fairyland Story and erm, Liquid Kids - all rare treats that we might not remember, but will instantly like all the same. We're just not sure about the weird names, though. Still, they were more innocent times, weren't they?

Taking its lead from the previous collection, Taito Legends 2 is another well-balanced chest of treats, tempering odd Japanese creations with some good old hack 'n' slash and space shooters. The likes of Growl and the amusingly named Violence Fight are right up there for a little shortterm burst of action, while the classic Darius Gaiden makes a return to the land of the living as well. Get in!

We like the new inclusion of longer-lasting Taito games this time around as well, and this will undoubtedly prolong the retro experience. A little touch of Dungeon Magic and Arabian Magic are great examples of how RPGs began, and as simple as they are, it'll prove a hard heart that isn't melted by them even if, like the majority of the games in here, you've never actually heard of them before.

Space Invaders buffs will be going a bit mental too with three versions included here, and while some people may ask whether that many are actually needed, let's not forget this package includes a further 30-odd titles to tinker around with. But one question remains that we hope will be addressed for the final line-up - Taito, didn't we beg, didn't we plead, didn't we cry out for the third part of the Bubble Bobble trilogy, Parasol Stars? Why no include? Why? Bad Taito.

That said, cast your eye over the complete list of games and see how many you can remember without Googling them. Some are classics, some are obscure and long forgotten, but playing them is like rediscovering an alternative universe where Rainbow Islands became a side-scrolling shooter, and Bubble Bobble was actually about dwarves. Honestly, we're not lying. Not as good as the original by any stretch, but for another wideranging box of retro goodness, and a hefty collection of new titles, Taito is still the last word in retro titles.

The verdict

Another fine, albeit bizarre collection of arcade classics. A little too obscure for our tastes, but it does the job.