Godzilla: World of Monsters Review

Godzilla has returned! Lesss gooooooo. So after all these years I’ll now have gotten to read 6 different Godzilla series in one month. It’s nice to be catching up on all these titles after so long. In general the previous collection probably takes the win but the comics here are all solid as you would expect. Godzilla Oblivion is the weakest one but feels the most traditional while the gangsters series is the most different but ended up being the best. Rach series is quite different from the others so you certainly can’t say that the series is trying to play it safe. This title isn’t afraid to keep on switching things up.

First up we have Gangsters and Goliaths which follows a guy named Detective Sato. He’s been after a criminal group for a very long time now but unfortunately this group has grown too powerful. They now have people inside of the police force and just about everywhere else too. There is no way to escape from them and he is slowly seeing how futile the whole thing is. No matter how fast or far away he goes, the villains are right on his tail. His only chance now is a desperate one. He kidnaps the two priestesses who control Mothra and decides to use them as hostages so that Mothra can destroy the gangs. Naturally the gangs can’t do anything against a Kaiju but this is a dangerous game that he is playing. All it would take is one slip up and Mothra might end him in an instant.

Sato is a decent guy who has been taken into a rather extreme situation. The comic does make it clear that he wouldn’t actually shoot any of the two girls so that was good since it would have completely tanked his character. Still, taking hostages is certainly not the best plan in any case. Additionally he goes on a bit of a power trip by the end where he actually starts to try and drag the situation out. Rather than just end the gang in an instant he wants them to know that Detective Sato was the one who did them in and this is what makes things tougher for him. If he had just gone straight for the win then he would have saved himself a whole lot of heartache.

Mothra’s faction don’t look great here either. It’s like none of them can fight. I understand that they’re pacifists for the most part and get that but you have to still know that other people are ready and willing to fight. So when you walk up to a mobster with no plan and get shot it just makes these guys look bad. Mothra needs to re train her faction right from the ground up in order to get this all taken care of. They shouldn’t be getting handled by a normal guy like this. As for the actual human plot, I sort of missed the monsters the whole time. The gang plot is well written but since you’re reading Godzilla you’re hoping for more explosions and Kaiju battles. Now that’s something that would help elevate this to a whole new level. This was a good way to kick things off though and life does go on even while Kaiju are around so it does make sense that there would be gangs running around.

In Cataclysm we see that Godzilla successfully took down the entire planet. It’s now a wasteland with nothing left and people live in a very apocalyptic environment. At this point it’s a struggle just to stay alive. Only one Kaiju wants to bring the Earth back to life and that’s Biollante. Well, I guess Mothra is around to help but Biollante has the nature energy to revive the planet. The problem is that Godzilla keeps murdering her before she can really generate enough power. Hiroshi blames himself for this because he was part of a government experiment about mind controlling Godzilla and of course it went terribly wrong. All he succeeded in doing was getting that Kaiju real mad. Godzilla holds quite the grudge as he wants to doom the planet forever now. Hiroshi’s only chance is if he can escape with part of Biollante to buy her some time but this won’t be easy because Godzilla is king of the monsters. He is always around ready to dish out some pain.

The setting here is definitely very dreary and the comic paint quite the picture of what would happen if Godzilla won. There is a lot of narration from Hiroshi as he believes that nobody can ever truly know Godzilla so this might not even be rage but just Godzilla doing whatever he wants. There isn’t really a way to know for sure and that’s the crazy part. So in the grand scheme of things the humans couldn’t do much. So this makes for a decent survival story. The humans tend to look really bad here though. Some immediately want to go back to sacrifices and such to appease Godzilla while others just turn back to a life of crime. Hiroshi’s relatives blame him for everything even though that’s unreasonable because he was just following orders and had no way of knowing that this could even happen. Hiroshi was feeling guilty about the whole thing all these years but technically speaking he wasn’t as responsible as he figures. It would have been nice if the other characters could have acknowledged this.

I’d say the best part about this series is that it really shows why Godzilla is the king. It’s clear that no other Kaiju was able to even come close to his overall abilities and that’s how it should be. A king should be considerably stronger than the others and Godzilla proved that with ease. This comic really understood that aspect of his character which was great. I’m also cool with the humans panicking and looking awful since I could totally see that happening if we ever got a Godzilla. It’s annoying to watch but it definitely tracks.

Finally we have Godzilla Oblivion. So there are a bunch of scientists who are being paid to create a giant portal. They complete this task and then reluctantly turn it on because the boss wants a demonstration. This leads to all of them heading into a parallel Earth that is filled with monsters destroying everything. This isn’t exactly what they bargained for so they head back home but Ghidorah follows them and destroys everything. A few years pass and the heroes need to open the portal to send him back home but is that even possible?

The humans are completely out of their depth but what else is new right? Just trying to dump all of their problems onto another Earth isn’t the best idea either. The scientist tries explaining that but gets overruled the whole time. One issue here is that a lot of the characters look really similar. Throw in the fact that this comic has a unique style of framing the panels where you rarely see anybody and it can be really easy to mix everyone up. I feel that this does limit the series from the jump because it sort of takes you out of the experience. There’s not a whole lot to care about in the human plot because they all get mixed up and are thinking about themselves anyway.

I was actually kind of happy when the other Earth decided to throw all of their Kaiju at us because our Earth was being so annoying about the whole thing. They’ve got some really valid reasons for just doing this because it seems like our humans would have done the same thing if they could have. At first the other Earth actually seemed like decent fighters but in the end they were just doing their best to survive like we were and weren’t exactly winning the fight. The Kaiju are just too tough and relentless like always.

We do get a good amount of Kaiju action here which is always good though. They all get to show their stuff from start to finish. Godzilla looks like one of the big shots but we also have Ghidorah and Destoroyah running around so this time he has some actual competition instead of it just being a cakewalk for him. That’s good since you always want to have a little bit of a challenge there. I’d say we could have focused less on the humans and more on the big Kaiju action.

The art throughout these issues is fairly good. I wouldn’t say it ever gets amazing but it’s pretty solid. You really get to see the different energy attacks and the Kaiju designs definitely stick out. That’s the important thing here since you really want them to be able to stand out. There was a body of a dead animal in one comic that felt rather unnecessary. Fortunately it was a passing shot and had been gone for some time but I always get nervous that an animal will be collateral damage in one of these issues so the comics need to watch out.

Overall, Godzilla Oblivion is a very solid comic. It’s got a whole lot of action to it and a nice variety of stories. You should definitely check this out if you’re a Godzilla fan. Who knows maybe one of these comic series will be turned into a film or a TV show someday. There’s always hope out there and I think that could work really well. To keep things expanding I would probably say to do an original story instead but if it does get adapted then we’ll be able to see these fights on the big screen. Sadly Orga doesn’t appear here but I can still hope that he will return one of these days. He’s easily the most underrated Kaiju and it’s not even close.

Overall 7/10

Godzilla: Unnatural Disasters Review

Godzilla has returned to destroy everyone who gets in his way. He has long been known as the King of the Kaiju but in this collection he has to go up against all kinds of opponents. It’s a pretty solid collection with a whole lot of stories within it. I had a good time here and I would definitely recommend it to any Godzilla fan. You’ll get all of the action that you could want and more.

From the 3 titles in here I already read the Godzilla in Hell saga so I’ll go over that one a bit quicker. See Godzilla gets taken to hell by some kind of demon and it’s heavily implied that Godzilla has to overcome every challenge of hell in order to escape. This means overcoming physical threats as well as mental ones. Nothing is particularly effective against Godzilla though and he just continues to barrel through the place with ease. It’s impressive just how powerful Godzilla is. The guy is absolutely unrelenting and looks really impressive here. A lot of the monsters he fights with have very unique designs as well. Part of the hype here is that the whole saga is shrouded in a lot of mystery. Even by the end you have to use a lot of headcanon to decide exactly what happened.

The art is very solid and the pacing is good so I didn’t really have any issues with this one. It’s also very unique so I’d say that any Godzilla fan should really appreciate the experience. You know that you probably won’t be seeing anything quite like it any time soon. I think this would be the perfect story to turn into a movie because it would just be so out there that it should catch people’s eye right away. How could you turn away from a film with this kind of premise right? Now for the other two story collections they have a more traditional approach with humans running around but not all of them. We’ll dive into the Legends issues first.

The first Legends issue focuses on Anguirus who is a super big underdog but the humans talk fondly about how he never backs down from a fight. You can take this as a positive trait in that he’s super brave or you can take it as a negative one in that he is very bad at understanding power levels and jumps into flurries that he knows he can’t win. It’s a solid first issue but man does Anguirus need a power up. It feels like someone is giving him the McDonalds combo every time he steps into a fight. When’s the last time he got a definitive win against anybody? Because I can’t think of a single win for his character and that’s unfortunate.

The second issue is definitely a lot weaker though. So this crazy scientist has a Rodan egg and gets obsessed with it. The government isn’t happy because of how dangerous it is and get ready to destroy it so he runs off. His son gets picked on a lot and wanted to show off so he helps his father keep is secured but then the Dad gets arrested and the kid is potentially bumped off. This was probably the only issue in the collection where the Kaiju was completely put to the side in favor of the human plot and that’s what hurt this one quite a bit. The humans were just super annoying the whole time and that’s not what you want to see here. In general the humans are usually not great in the Godzilla comics as you sort of tune them out and wait for Godzilla to return but these guys really stuck out as being rather annoying.

Now the third issue is definitely one of the standouts here. So we have these telepaths across the world who can control Kaiju and the main character is taken to one of these schools to be trained. It’s like something out of Assassin’s Creed as they emotionally manipulate him the whole time and we get a real solid twist involving aliens. The humans were actually rather interesting this time around and it’s a shame that these are all one shots because this could have had a real solid continuation. Titanosaurus got to look good as well, well maybe not in the sense that he was being mind controlled but he looked good in a power context and that’s what you want to see. Throwing in a solid cliffhanger like this one did was pretty effective.

Issue 4 continues on a very solid note as we see Hedorah enter the fray. This time the humans have a Mecha Godzilla at the ready but are still unsure if he will be enough to really help them be victorious this time around. The story has a good amount of tension and they have to decide which monster to take down when Godzilla appears. What I liked about this one is that Hedorah really got his respect. He’s one of the few Kaiju who was actually more powerful than Godzilla when they first fought and so I wanted him to look powerful here. That definitely did happen as the humans had to get involved. It was an emotional story and one that has a satisfying conclusion. I dare say fans all around will have a good time with this one.

The final story is a bit more low key as an old danger climber goes on one last hike. This time he’ll be climbing Godzilla and it’s the most daring thing anybody had done. Godzilla’s filled with radiation so this gets dicey but it’s interesting to see someone hanging on like this. I’m sure Godzilla could have removed him a any time but just wasn’t bothered enough to do so. He knows that no human can hurt him anyway so what would be the point right? It’s a reasonable attitude for Godzilla to have when you really think about it. It works as an emotional climax here especially with the final scenes.

Now we dive into Rage Across Time as we see that Godzilla has been terrorizing the world for centuries at this point. He’s just built different and not even time can get in his way. In the first issue we have him going up against a bunch of samurai/ninja which makes for a pretty unique setup. Personally I tend to like trips to the future a lot more than trips to the past but I get the concept of the series. If a modern military had trouble with Godzilla, imagine back then right? Fortunately other Kaiju are around as well so this leads to a lot of big fights.

Then in the second issue we have the Greek gods trying to unite in order to fight off Godzilla. Thing is they’re really bad at that. None of them get along at all and you can throw the lion’s share of the blame onto Zeus for this. Zeus is just being mean for no reason right out of the jump and it only gets worse from there. Since the gods power comes from the prayers of the mortals he enters the fight in a weakened state because he has been distant for so long. No johns though, Godzilla would have beaten him anyway. There is a good reason why he is known as the King of the Monsters after all. It was nice to see how out there these fights were. It really felt like a very hype supernatural encounter and not just Godzilla beating up on other Kaiju and humans. A very solid issue.

The third issue was a bit different than the others. So it had the knights of the olden days and there was a plague around so they go to Mothra for help. We get a nice fight with Mothra and Battra while the corrupt people across the kingdom mess the knights up. It was interesting but just felt a lot different from the others since Godzilla didn’t get to do a whole lot. A decent issue but Mothra isn’t able to hold her own issue quite as well as some of the other Kaiju. Regardless you should have a good time here.

This 4th issue may be the weakest of the set so you can see how it’s losing a bit of steam here. Godzilla shows up but this time he actually has trouble against humans as they put a lot of snow on him. It may be a tribute to Raids Again but this one suffered from the main issue of the humans getting too much screen time. Nobody really cares about the humans here…no offense to the humans. But I’m reading Godzilla for the Kaiju and the fights and this was the only one that didn’t really deliver in that respect.

This last issue gets real crazy as a bunch of Kaiju all appear and it becomes a whole nonstop fight from all sides. That was great and definitely the right way to end things off with. You barely even remember the story of this one beyond everyone just duking it out and that’s fine by me. Throw in Orga and then you’d really have a party. One issue for the future would have been nice to show that Godzilla is never over but I suppose it just wasn’t to be this time. Maybe next time.

The artwork is mainly solid during the issues. It fluctuates a bit but on the whole I was satisfied with it. You get to have the Kaiju with solid proportions and the fights are on point so that’s the important thing. By the end of this adventure you will be having a good time all around. The writing is good and there is a whole lot of content here so you will be able to enjoy Godzilla in his full glory the whole time.

Overall, If you haven’t read this comic yet then you definitely need to change that. All big fans of Godzilla owe it to themselves to check this out because it is just such a great collection of issues. You’d be missing out if you missed on this one. I would like to see more of a proper ongoing return with some really big plots in the verse but think of these like best hits and stories that could have certainly been movies in their own rights. Look at the issues through that lens and then you’re really all set. I have another Godzilla comic to check out pretty soon so that’ll be hype.

Overall 7/10

Transformers The Manga Review

Now it’s time to take a detailed look at the Transformers manga collection that came out over here. Spread across 3 omnibus volumes this brought in many different Transformers titles. So you’ve got everything from classic G1 to Starsaber and even beyond. It’s definitely a must read for any Transformers fan. The stories are typically fairly quick so they are able to fit a whole lot in here. Each volume also has a lot of artwork at the end which is always fun as well as the final volume having a lot of unused concept art for episodes that we could have gotten. Definitely a shame that they were never animated but this is a lot of Transformers hype right at your fingertips.

I figure I’m going to break this down into each oneshot/series that’s included so lets start from the top. The first miniseries introduces us to Kenji who will end up being a fairly important kid. He wants to help the Autobots as best he can but he’s mainly more like a cheerleader the way Spike and Daniel were before they got their Exo-Suits. It’s always nice to have a human cheering them on though and it beats having to hide who they are all the time. We get several fights against Megatron and co.

A lot of these issues focus on the combiners which is nice as we get to see fights like Trypticon vs Metroplex. If you’re a fan of those big ones including Menasaur and the gang then it’s a nice way to kick things off. This first series has 8 issues so it’s one of the longer ones in the collection. It’s also the most retro I’d say because each issue feels like how a classic Transformers episode would play out. At most you can just see how the fights are shorter since the comic page counts aren’t very large. Typically once the Autobots get serious the Decepticons go down in a page or two.

At the end of the day I’d say Kenji was decent. A kid who can’t really contribute to the story can only go so far but he does try so I’ll give him credit there. He’s also very enthusiastic about the whole mission and stopping Decepticons so that’s good as well. In the manga there are times when the kids can even get Decepticons to see the error of their ways or at least weaken their drive so that can be important.

The second series is a bit shorter with 5 issues but mainly deals with the Galvatron vs Rodimus Prime part of the Transformers mythos. So if you’re a big Rodimus fan then this will probably be the highlight for you. It’s always good to see him. I may be a bigger HotShot fan but Rodimus is fun as well. Galvatron is really outmatched in each story though so it can be easy to forget that he’s supposed to be way stronger than Megatron was. In many ways the Autobots completely outmatch the Decepticons in each of the series here. Maybe Rodimus really was the chosen one and helped keep the Autobots on a higher tier. It’s something to think about at least…

The humans don’t really get to appear in this one. This is one of the more Robot focused stories but the humans would be returning soon so you don’t have to miss them for long. Either way the Robots are doing the heavy lifting so it’s not really a problem if they miss from time to time. Some would say the stories are even better without them. I do like the dynamic with the evil kids later on though so you don’t want to lose out on that.

This next series is even shorter at 3 stories but with a title like the Great Transformers War you can bet that there is a lot of action going on here. Optimus Prime is back by this point which is cool and there is a lot of action going on across the universe. You’ve got the Dark Headmasters as well and I’m always up for a good fight. There may be a bit less in here to stand out among the other stories but it’s got a solid base which is always important. A good story and solid action scenes will always end up making for a solid product and imagining all of this animated would be fun. Daniel also gets to show up here.

There’s a oneshot during the Beastformer saga which was solid. Basically the Decepticons and their animal counterparts decide to attack while White Leo is away so Kane and the others have to defend the place. Kane is so much better than Kenji and the main reason for that is that he can fight. Not just putting up a struggle or something but he has a sword and a mech suit. He can actually deal damage and do more than just be a distraction. That’s exactly what you want to see from the humans when they’re contributing.

With 8 issues, Headmasters is one of the longer series and it makes sense since it was fairly long/important in the cartoons as well. You now have all the good and evil headmasters fighting it out like ChromeDome. The original Autobots don’t appear as much by this point but you should like the new guys well enough. Daniel and friends actually have a sizable role this time as they appear in virtually every issue.

While I thought the actual Autobots from the Headmasters show were always some of the weakest, it’s always good to see them as a change of pace. By this point the series was like Pokemon where it’s difficult to memorize all of the names. Good luck on trying though, it would definitely be impressive if you can remember them all. You get a good amount of action here so it holds up with the rest of them.

After that is the Masterforce adaption and of course that was one of my favorite shows so that was nice. Unfortunately Ginrai’s human host is already gone by the time the manga starts so he doesn’t really get to appear but instead Shuta and Cab get really big roles here as our human characters. They’re pretty solid and get a little more to do than Kenji from earlier. That’s because they actually get to debate with their evil counterparts on the Decepticons side to prove that being a hero is its own reward. They’re later joined by Minerva and the 3 of them are actually given robots so fight with so they can help on the front lines.

Again, that’s always really big in helping make the characters cool because you absolutely need to be able to contribute. It’s only when the characters can’t contribute that I start shaking my head. Masterforce gets 12 whole issues so you can see that the manga is giving it the respect that it deserves. Although on the villains side Zarak and Devil Z aren’t as impressive as their names suggest. The villains in this saga tend to be a little bit whinier at times and maybe that’s a result of having the dark kids with them. Hard to say for sure but they don’t seem as pure evil and heartless as someone like Megatron was.

Victory is next up and I always thought that Starsaber had a really cool design. It reminds me of Protoman and he really stands out for that reason. At 10 issues you definitely don’t want to underestimate this series either. This time the main kid is Jan and his evil counterpart is Solon. It follows a fairly similar format of the kid helping out at times but by now the names for fighters from both forces will probably be totally unfamiliar to you. Fortunately it’s never very hard to tell who is a hero and villain both design wise but also in context. There’s never any doubt with the villains yelling and blasting about destroying the world. The two kids from the last series return but the girl changes as instead Jan’s sister Patty takes up the heroine slot. Her design is almost identical to the last heroine except that she looks a bit older. I always think authors should go out of their way to make sure designs don’t look super similar as long as there is no plot reason for it.

We also have the Transformers Zone adaption and they get to flesh things out a bit which is cool. I always thought that OVA had a ton of potential because it was basically an all star line up of the most powerful Decepticons to ever walk the planet. So now you have them all teaming up? That’s a winning combination if I’ve ever seen one but it’s hard to properly give them all time when it’s so short. Well in the manga version you feel like they all get to fight a bit longer. You also have the human fighters at the ready and so it feels like a fairly climactic battle with a lot of fighters on both sides. This really could have been its own series and it would have worked out really nicely. One day I’d like to see more stories from this part of the saga.

That said, as mentioned the manga does go farther than Zone into some original territory. One of these is the Battlestar one shot. Super Megatron (Cool form btw) ends up fighting with Star Convoy over in space and it’s cool to see all of these powered up modes going at it. From the story pages of unused drafts we see after this, there were really a ton of new forms and stories that were coming in the future. This is a nice preview of what we could have had and it makes sense as each G1 show did keep on increasing the power levels. It only makes sense that the robots would get more advanced each time right?

This was no exception and it was fun. It’s harder to go into detail on the draft parts but Optimus Prime would have been revived for real with a new form, he and Megatron would have had a lot of clashes in space and it all looked super hype. It also seemed more plot focused with a lot of cliffhangers and to be continued segments. One day I’d like to see Transformers get back into stories like that. The modern titles are cool and all of course but when’s the last time we got really high tier space battles with energy sabers and all? I feel like a lot of that died with G1 even if the modern titles are cool in their own ways as well.

With so many stories in the collection they can absolutely start to blend together. I’d compare it to the original DC Justice League comics where there are a lot of adventures and they follow a format each time. New villains and threats but roughly the same steps to getting there. Most of the Transformer stories are very similar in that way and since most of them are effectively stand alones, it’s easy to just pick up and read at any time.

By the same token, none of them are going to leave the same lasting impact on you as a volume from one of the modern titles would. Because those are typically a lot more plot based and tense with different story arcs and fate of the world hanging in the balance. Since these can range from being re-adaptions to side stories within the verse, there usually isn’t a whole lot of danger in the stories. They’re all very consistent though so you’re not likely to run into any weak stories here. They’re all pretty good. None are great but none are bad so it’s a fairly safe spot in there.

The artwork is okay but this is one where I would say that it can get a little messy and chaotic. Particularly during the battle scenes where everyone is blasting at each other. That’s where you can start to get lost in the sauce a little and may need to re read a page or just go slow. The series are fairly old so it makes sense that the art isn’t as polished. The way the panels are lined up and everything even feels more like an old comic. In a way it’s interesting how comics and manga both changed a lot over time into more streamlined designs. I suppose progress is progress no matter where you’re at.

The writing is on point though and it’s definitely nostalgic reading these titles. They definitely feel like real episodes on the printed page, only abridged versions to tell the full story in a small amount of pages. Whether you like Transformers or just want to check out a classic action story then you’ll have fun here. Not only will you get to meet a whole lot of different Transformer characters from over the years but you’ll get to see a lot of them fight and can understand more when people mention how Transformers used to be more about the robots than the humans.

A modern day remake of G1 would definitely be amazing in any format. I’m talking a classic full length series with traditional animation in 2022. No gimmicks or AUs or anything like that, but a straight G1 inspired story for an ongoing. That would be a blast because those titles had a lot of charm and can be modernized pretty well. You’d just switch the more episodic plot into something that’s a little more interconnected and then you’ll be all set. You could probably even include the kids if you want, at least the ones from Masterforce and beyond since they have their own robot suits and can fight.

The plot with the evil kid would work too because it’s especially easy to see how a kid would be taken in by the Decepticon’s lies and would be hard to get back on the good path. You could have a real good plot there provided you don’t let it completely take over the main plot. Robots still need to be the focus and you don’t want to change that but otherwise you’re all good.

Overall, I’d recommend checking out this collection. It’s like reading a Marvel’s Essential or DC Showcase where they bring over 500 pages of content. This one is spread out over 3 volumes but each one is really large and you can probably tell that based on all the stories above. It’s a must read for Transformers fans and it’s really impressive that they grabbed so many stories. I can basically say that I’ve read just about all of the Transformers manga now. There will always be others of course but this was a massive jump considering I hadn’t read much Transformers at all before now. (I’ve read a decent amount of the comics although probably a small drop in that big bucket of materials)

Overall 7/10

Taito Legends Power-Up Stats and Records

Stats time!

High Scores

Space Invaders Part II 5000
Space Chaser 15000
Crazy Balloon 0
Balloon Bomber 0
Lunar Rescue 5000
Phoenix 2260
Qix 30000
Space Dungeon 39540
Alpine Ski 7283
Elevator Action 10000
Chack’n Pop 30000
The Legend of Kage 200000
The Fairyland Story 50220
Return of the Invaders 20000
Ki Ki Kai Kai 49000
Rastan Saga 273100
Kuri Kinton 90720
The NewZealand Story 49000
Raimais 50000
Cameltry 15000
Space Invaders 960

Taito Legends Power-Up Review

This is a game that I sort of got out of the blue because I wanted to finally check out the original Legend of Kage. Not only did this collection have the original but it also had the remade version that had a more 3D look to it. There’s a pretty solid collection of games here as well so it’s got some pretty decent value. At the end of the day it’s hard to really deny that this title has a lot of replay value. Surely you should be able to enjoy most if not all of the titles here.

None of the games really have much of a story mode of course since these are really arcade titles. Mainly the point of the game is to play all of these titles out and get your high scores in there. You’ve got sci-fi games, ninja titles, and even a game that’s sort of like Monkey Ball. The amount of variety here is impressive and while you may not put these games up against the true classics like Mario and Pac-Man, they hold up well enough.

Super old games are usually not really my thing since I can only play them so long before I need a break. That being said, I’ll still have fun while I’m along for the ride. Since Legend of Kage is the reason I was buying the game in the first place lets lead off with that. The game involves you throwing stars and slashing away at the enemies. The goal is to make it to the end of the game before they take you down. It’s a rather difficult game but with enough tries you should be able to conquer it. When you lose you can restart as many times as needed so you don’t need to worry about getting a game over. That would have definitely hurt the momentum.

You’ve got games that feature skiing, monkey ball, a bunch of sci-fi shooters, and a game that works a lot like Pac-Man. Basically you have to race around the stage and get all of the pellets before these opposing airships tag you. It’s very difficult because they are much faster than you. I don’t want to say that the game is luck based…but it sure feels that way at times. Escaping these guys is really hard to be sure.

As a collection Taito Legends accomplished what it set out to do. None of the games may stand out on their own but when together they make for a decent game. The graphics are pretty solid here so the quality of the old sprites is on point. The soundtracks are good too. I wouldn’t say they are particularly notable but they do have a lot of energy so they fit right in while you’re playing through the game. You probably won’t even notice the tracks a lot of the time. Maybe if there was some extra rock or something.

Since a few of the games have the original version as well as the enhanced remake it’ll be interesting to see if any of the originals can beat their powered up versions. I find it is usually very difficult to beat a newer version but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Sometimes the new version may try too hard in trying to be better and miss something that gave the original its charm. This title allows you to try both versions back to back to see how it really stands up.

There isn’t a whole lot more to say about the collection due to the nature of the game. Really this will either be your style or it won’t be but you should know right away based on the kinds of games you enjoy. That is really the deciding factor here. I’m not sure I would buy a future Taito collection but if they ever decided to bundle up a lot of very new games that could have a lot of potential.

Overall, Taito Legends Power-Up is a good game. I’d recommend checking it out if you like playing the classic Arcade Games. Naturally you would want to skip it if you’re more into the modern titles with story and cinematics. That’s mainly where I’m at but at the same time it can be fun to relive how the games used to be. After all, for their time I’m sure these were considered to be top notch.

Overall 6/10

Mega Man X Collection Review

Mega Man X Collection is one of those games that I have always wanted to get. Who wouldn’t want to play a collection of 6 titles all packed into one mega experience? The X Collection is a treasure trove of important moments in Capcom’s history and it’s fairly out of print so I had to pay a bit of a premium to grab it. It was worth the trouble though and ended up being a pretty masterful game. The titles are all about as hard as I remember as well. Good luck taking them down.

As I had already played X1 and X4 previously I didn’t replay those. The collection brings all of the games up through X6 and I already got X7-X8 on the PS2 a while back. It’s pretty fun to see how the games have improved over the years. There is a noticeable jump in the graphics as you go through. I would say the biggest jump was from X3-X5 in that it now looked like a fully modern experience. You could release that game today and nobody would bat an eye because it would not feel out of place. The core gameplay for each of these titles is largely unchanged though. They are 2D shooters with some platforming involved.

The goal of each level is to make it to the end and then destroy the robot master who is in your way. This won’t be an easy task of course but it is one that you will need to complete. Once you’ve beaten the 8 bosses of the game then you always head to the final stages is around 3-4 back to back levels of taking on new opponents as well as beating up the 8 masters once again. For each game I would focus on beating the 8 masters initially as my completion and didn’t go for the gold with the climax levels this time around. It was nostalgic enough going through those moments so I didn’t think I needed to go further.

Sigma tends to make an appearance in every game but the plots are very different. One of them has the Sigma virus going around and mutating everyone while another one has the Nightmare virus which even affects Zero. Sometimes you have Zero available to play with from the start and other times he is presumed dead so you don’t see him for a while. The various plots are always a lot of fun. X definitely goes all in with the stories compared to the classic Mega Man games. This is why we need an anime to adapt them at some point but in the meanwhile the manga has done a good job of this.

The game gives you the ability to customize the controls which is handy. I always switch the boost to R instead of X. I don’t see how you can boost efficiently with it there. You can also toggle the difficulty level and even start off with a super armor if you want. I like these little tweaks. They are good quality of life upgrades that you want to see in these games. Even with this the games are suitably hard so you don’t need to worry about that.

Naturally the graphics are really good here. The character models are on point and the stage designs are good as well. The soundtrack is also excellent. The X series has so many winning themes that you will lose track by the end. It’s just another reason why the X series is so good. It knows exactly how to deliver on its strengths. As for replay value, each game has some since you can look for power ups and new armors. Additionally each game is difficult enough where it should last you a good amount of time anyway. You won’t be finishing this game very quickly at all so content is the least of your worries. That said, the price is definitely excessively high right now so good luck finding it at a value price. Most likely you will have to shell out a lot for this one. It’s definitely worth it if you are a big fan of the series though.

It’s crazy to think that Capcom has completely ditched this series and yet they really have. I dare say Mega Man could still be a household name if Capcom had kept going instead of ditching it for other things. The storylines alone are enough to make this super engaging for future gamers. Just show them X and the other reploids who helped him out through the years like Zero and you’re set. Keep in the fully animated cutscenes for the games as well since they also helped to establish this as a very big game series with high stakes.

The collection also brings Battle and Chase but to get this you have to complete the first three games completely which is definitely difficult. I didn’t go back to the first one at all anyway but it is a really cool reward for the fans who managed to pull this off. What could be better than getting another complete game for your troubles right? Battle and Chase is also pretty obscure so this would likely be your first time playing it. The X Collection certainly didn’t go cheap with the content and it’s one of the reasons this became an eternal classic. It may not have as many games as the Mega Man Anniversary collection but that one has less story and cutscenes so I imagine it was easier to fit them all there.

Overall, Mega Man X Collection is a great collection of games. Each title here is a complete game from the original Mega Man X days and they all hold up well. Naturally the most polished ones are the final two but they were all developed well and without shortcuts. I don’t see you having any issue with any of the titles presented here. They will absolutely test your gameplay fundamentals though. With the exception of one moving spike level, I thought all of the levels were pretty fair as well. If you learn and memorize the villain’s fighting pattern then you should be all good to go here.

Overall 8/10

Yugioh Double Pack Review

It’s time to look at a Yugioh game that has been on the backburner for an extremely long amount of time. I remember playing this game for ages a super long time ago. I wish it kept track of the play time because it must have been at least 20 hours. Neither one of these games are short and they are both quite challenging. Reshef of Destruction in particular is extremely difficult and it’s a game with an almost impossible final boss. This is definitely one of the best Yugioh games I’ve ever played though and the duo probably has the best plot.

First up is The Sacred Cards. This game basically has the Battle City plot from Yugioh. A big tournament is underway which Kaiba is using to get the 3 Egyptian God Cards as well as to prove that he’s better than Yugi. The main character of the game enters the tournament as well and slowly but surely he begins to wreck every single character in the series. One fun thing about games where they make up an original character is that he is always unbelievably broken. Seriously, there is nobody who can even begin to challenge him which is pretty crazy. Can the main character stop Marik and his plans?

In the Reshef of Destruction game we get a completely original story which takes place after The Sacred Cards. It’s pretty cool that the games have a continuity. Well, the lead has saved the day but a mysterious villain known as Reshef is quickly approaching and threatens to plunge the world into darkness. Pegasus seems to be involved in this somehow and even Kaiba/Yugi are unable to stop him. It looks like they’ll have to call in the real champ to solve this issue, but can even Terry take this guy down? Seeing as how I was unable to beat the final boss I suppose the answer to that will have to be no this time. I’ll go more into that final boss in a second, but needless to say he is completely broken.

Both games have effectively the same gameplay and style which is why I figured I would go over both plots first. The gameplay is about as smooth as I’ve ever seen Yugioh. To date my favorite game in terms of gameplay is World Championship 2004 or 06 while my favorite aesthetic is Tag Force. This one isn’t quite able to top both of those, but it is able to keep up. One nice enhancement is that the game quickly auto scans the field after every turn instead of giving you prompts so it only gives you the option to use a spell card when it’s applicable. The turns go by very quickly as well. Using the back button to look at the details is a little odd so that takes some getting used to, but it’s fine.

One difference in this game compared to others is that you have to get strong enough to use various cards. Your duelist level and deck capacity goes up as you win duels. So for example you may need 250 deck space to use someone like the Summoned Skull and your Duelist level would need to be at least 50. I suppose this is to prevent you from going to the shop and assembling an intense deck but I don’t really care for this mechanic. Maybe I should specify that it is the execution which is a little dodgy. The concept could have worked but by the end game your level only goes up by one per duel and same for the capacity. It would take forever at that rate to ever get anywhere near where you would need to be to get some good cards. It’s pretty sad to have so many cards sitting in the trunk just waiting for their turn at bat. I had some great cards in Reshef which I never got to use because they were so high leveled. Keep in mind that I got to level 200+ but that still wasn’t enough.

The Sacred Cards was a difficult game but not an unfair one. With enough strategies and planning you could really end up having your way with the villains. That was more up my speed and I can tell you that it worked out quite nicely. I built a fire deck with a health amount of trap cards and I was set. As for Reshef, from early on you can tell it’l be tricky. For starters, your health points don’t regenerate between duels. This means that in some sections of the game you will have to beat up to 4 duelists in a row without gaining life points. This means you have to destroy them and even with a great deck it’s hard to show that much dominance. It took me ages to get to that point.

There’s also a new mechanic added into the game which are the type advantages. Effectively how it works is they surpass attack points. If you’ve got a fire monster with 4000 attack points and I have a water one with 200, my water type will bypass damage calculation and just destroy yours automatically. I’m guessing the game did this to counter how powerful some of the monsters are, but I don’t think it was a good idea. At the end of the day all it really did was widen the gap because the computers would really take advantage of this. I think now’s a good time to talk about the final boss and why he is easily the toughest boss I have ever faced. First off, this guy has 10,000 lift points. Next up, he has the Change of Heart spell which he will always save to snipe one of your strongest monsters. It’s hard to have any counter play to this and he can usually win the match here since it comes at such a dangerous point in the duel.

He’s also got a second version of this where he absorbs your monster and adds it to his own. Then he’s got two copies of Swords of Revealing Light which prevent all of your monsters from attacking for 3 turns. Good luck surviving this long because he can still attack during this period which can go up to 6 turns. He’s also got the wave trap which erases all of your spells and traps as well as a card that wipes out your hand. Basically no card you have anywhere is safe which adds another layer of stress. So good luck trying to beat this guy when odds are that you won’t have a high enough duelist level to use most of those abilities. They’re all just too broken and the fact that he has all of them at once is crazy.

Nevertheless, after about 50-60 rounds with him I won…or did I? After you wipe out his 10,000 life points he instantly revives. This time he has 20,000 life points. He’s got all of the cards he had before except there is one big change. He now has the God Cards in his deck. If he summons one then it’s basically game over for you. God Cards have more attack power than anything in your deck and they can’t be affected by spells or trap cards. How does a villain have this in his deck when you should possess the only copies of those cards? The whole thing is crazy and your life points don’t recover as I mentioned earlier so you’re fighting a guy at 2X power while you may be at half strength. I only made it up to this guy 2-3 times total and I got blasted away each time. Outside of codes and such he seems almost impossible to defeat nowadays. You’d need an incredible deck to put him down.

The graphics are fun enough. It’s got a nice chibi style that flows well with the story. The illustrations we get are nice and there are a good amount of backgrounds to enjoy. I do think a solid amount of effort was put into these two games and they’ve aged really well. The soundtrack is a little more on the forgettable side though. Despite the shows having excellent soundtracks I feel like the games have always been quite a few steps behind. Only Tag Force had an awesome soundtrack all the way through.

You don’t need to worry about length. As I mentioned both of the games are pretty long. You’ll be playing for a very long while as you increase your level and improve your deck. Your deck has to be incredibly powerful to even stand a chance against the villains at the end of the game. For replay value there are a bunch of post game duelists to contend with and naturally you can expect those guys to be crazy strong as well. If you are able to take them down then you will have really proven your Yugioh skills beyond a doubt.

Overall, Yugioh Double Pack is really a steal. It’s bringing two RPGs inside one cartridge for a very small price. It’s just hard to beat that, especially when both games are top tier even if the final boss for Reshef is a little too powerful. I’m sure it will feel great when you do eventually defeat him, but that’ll probably take a very long time. He’s not the kind of enemy you can just show up and defeat without a plan.

Overall 8/10

Angry Birds Trilogy Review

It’s time to look at the Angry Birds trilogy on the PS3. The game was definitely an odd port when it first came out because you can get Angry Birds for free on the mobile. Why pay the 30-40 bucks for console when you can do that? I suppose playing on console is more fulfilling with the controls for most games, but with the way this one plays out the mobile controls are actually your best bet either way. In the end I bought this game for a few bucks and I’d say that it’s worth the price for the sheer amount of content. You certainly can still get it on mobile but if you look at this port in a vacuum it certainly is worth a buy.

There isn’t really much of a plot here. The evil pig empire wants to take control of the birds base of operations so now the Angry Birds are being called in to put a stop to this. Keep in mind that the cutscenes don’t have any dialogue or voice acting so you have to interpret this as best you can but the games did get a movie so that also helps you get the plot across. You get some quick cinematics at the end of each chapter for the main game but not really any for the two spinoffs.

I’m not sure what the name for this kind of gameplay is, but I’d call it a motion shooter. Basically you have the bird on a slingshot and you launch him towards some constructs which have pigs in them. The goal is to hit all of the pigs before you run out of birds. From the start you can see how many birds you have so that’s how you start budgeting where to fire them. Sometimes you’ll aim for the pigs directly but other times you need to hit a part of the base and get it to all topple down. There’s a lot of factors to consider with each shot and towards the end there is a lot of trial and error or at least I ended up using a lot to get the wine.

As you go through the game you’ll start getting more advanced birds to use. The Red bird is the basic one that you launch into the air. The Yellow one can use a booster after launching so you can really power through some of the obstacles. The small blue one can turn into 3 birds after launch but they are all pretty weak so be careful on what you tackle. There’s the egg bomb bird which can drop a bomb below which deals a lot of damage. Finally there’s the actual bomb bird which blows up after a short time or you can trigger the explosion early. You’ve definitely got a lot of options for the birds and ultimately you will need to master them all.

You’ll have a lot of time to do so because the game has a crazy amount of levels to go through. We’re not just talking one or two hundred, but significantly more than that. I don’t know exactly how many there are but there’s enough content here to last you for an extremely long amount of time. You’d have to be a really big fan of the series to stick around with it for so long though. After a while you are effectively playing the same same stage. While that can be said for many titles, you really feel the repetition in Angry Birds. It’s just unrelenting even if the actual gameplay can be fun. I think it just needs more cinematics or razzle dazzle to make you want to stick around. Otherwise you’ll probably just stop playing after 100 or so levels. That’s what I did at any rate.

There are 3 games here, but they all have the same gameplay style so that doesn’t really solve the problem. My favorite was actually the summer game because I liked the level designs the most but they all have their charms. The graphics are pretty good I’d say. It’s not as if there is a lot in the game that really needs graphics so that probably made it easier for the company to focus on making those sections look good. We also get a few cinematics in the first game, but not really in the others. Calling them “cinematics” may be a bit strong since it’s mostly just stills that try to make you think they’re moving. I’m definitely still glad to have them though.

Angry Birds can be surprisingly difficult as well. Some levels took me dozens of tries to complete so they definitely weren’t your average mobile levels. The spike happens quite suddenly so even if you have a pretty good understanding of the birds and their various abilities I expect you will have some trouble here. I wonder how the final levels would be. They’ve got to be crazy since I was relatively early on in the game when I ended up putting it down. I have this nagging feeling that some of the birds have extra abilities that I don’t know about, but more likely I just wasn’t hitting the right angels.

Overall, The Angry Birds Trilogy is a fun game. It’s just not the kind of title that you want to play in long batches. I think it’s at its best a few levels at a time like most mobile games. It’s just not really convenient to be turning your console on and off so often the way you can on a cell phone. You’ll likely enjoy the game more if you play it on the mobile, but if you do choose to get the console version it is nice to have all of the content available right away. I do think more mobile games should try to port over to console though. It sounds like it should be fairly easy to do so the companies should make at least a bit of a profit in the transition.

Overall 6/10

Rayman 10th Anniversary Review

It’s time to take a quick look at the Rayman collection I recently beat for the GBA. This one made the interesting decision of merging the first and third games in the series. I don’t really understand why they would skip the 2nd game. Maybe it just wasn’t formatted in a way that would be easy to port to the GBA the way that the others were. Either way, it’s no big loss since I’m guessing it should be rather similar to the others. This is my first real venture into the Rayman series so that was neat. I’d say that it holds up pretty well though the third game definitely more so than the first. If you are a sidescroller fan then you need to check Rayman out.

The first game is pretty intense with how difficult it is. You get 10 continues and you have to be sure to not lse a life too easily. If you died too much on a level consider restarting your system right away so you can win without that hapening. I just barely made it as I finished the game with no continues left. Of course, if I was going for the secret ending by finding all cages then that would have been another matter entirely. The controls are good, but I can’t say as much for the level designs. There are a lot of blind jumps and cheesy sections where the game just stacks the deck against you. That’s fine, but then we should get unlimited continues like in most games. I never like when the game has a limit and then you just have to start over. That doesn’t seem very fair and will just become tedious after a while.

The plot of the game is a little weak though and that’s one thing that seems true for both titles so far. It’s just that Rayman himself isn’t nearly as interesting as most of the other colorful protagonists in these kind of games. I’m assuming he will get more personality soon but right now the cast doesn’t really jump off the page so to speak. They’re all just going through the motions so to speak. Since you don’t even get to see the ending without getting the 100+ cages then it’s not even much of a satisfying end. This game is fortunately supported by the next one.

Rayman 3 is a noticeable improvement in just about every way. For starters the gameplay is a lot faster and smoother. You really feel like you are in control this time around. None of the enemies scare you and if they ever start to get a little rowdy you can quickly take them out. Your lives are quite abundant and there is no limit on retries so no worries there. There is also more of an actual story this time as we get text boxes and the villains have more of a goal. The story still isn’t at the point where it could actually be considered as a selling point, but it’s getting closer which is the important thing. Just a few more steps and it will be ready for the big leagues. Regardless, this is a title that I could recommend a lot sooner than the other one. It’s just a solid side scroller and one that holds up well as it isn’t clunky.

The graphics for both games look pretty good. Naturally the 3rd game is a little brighter and more detailed, but it’s not a huge difference. Both games are quite clear and you can tell that effort was put behind them. Likewise the soundtracks for both games are pretty similar. There are some memorable tunes in there, but nothing super intense. Either way you’ll probably be too absorbed into the levels to notice much. The levels require a lot of concentration or you will be doomed to lose quite a lot.

As far as replay value goes I’d say there is quite a bit here. In the third game I was able to get most of the collectibles naturally so the bulk of your play time will be in the first game. The third one is also shorter in general, but every bit helps. It should last you a few hours. Then the first game will definitely last a few hours and obtaining everything will extend the time even more. Just keep a look out for those lives and continues since they are very previous. Once lost they will not be returned. That’s why the stakes are so high in the first Rayman.

Overall, The Rayman 10th Anniversary game is pretty solid. Since it brings 2 games for the price of one it is already a pretty good bargain. If you haven’t played the series before then it’s the perfect way to start I’d say. It may be tough goings for a little while but you’ll certainly get a lot of experience in how to handle a platformer by the end of this. It’s why I would be a little hesitant to recommend this to a kid but given enough time I’m sure anyone would be able to clear these levels. It’s just all about repetition and trying to learn some strategies. Now I can finally go and play some of the newer Rayman games. I’ll definitely snag them at some point and we’ll see if they can possibly match these two or if they are doomed from the start. No guarantees on just how soon “at some point” means though.

Overall 7/10