Japan has a rich history of arcade game design and manufacture, and Antstream Arcade is proud to have acquired much of the back catalogue of one its most renowned companies. Formed in 1953, the Taito Trading Company initially began juke box leasing, before moving into the video game industry in the mid-Seventies. Following on from last week’s article, here’s another selection of brilliant Taito arcade games, freshly minted on Antstream Arcade!
If you enjoy a slice of hack ‘n’ slash arcade action then Taito’s Rastan, released in arcades in 1987, is the classic retro video game for you! Playing the titular medieval warrior, the player must cross a dangerous and mystical land, chopping down the many fantastical beasts that stand in their way. Gathering treasures, power-ups and upgraded weapons, Rastan faces off against orcs, hydras and dragons in this exciting and hazardous arcade adventure from Taito. Taking its inspiration from famous literature such as Conan The Barbarian and The Lord Of The Rings, you can get swinging with Rastan right now on Antstream Arcade!
Ant-Fact: One of Rastan’s many outstanding features is its soundtrack, and it’s available to purchase, thanks to Zuntata Records (ZTT).
Ant-Tactic: Grab the useful extended range axe early on by smashing through the square floor block. Jumping in the air and pressing down and attack will do the job.
Ant-ernative: For more legendary warrior type combat, stomp over to Tecmo’s Rygar on Antstream Arcade.
Elevator Action, 1983
Greetings, Agent 17, AKA Otto. Your top secret mission, which you have choice but to accept, is to descend the thirty floors of a top secret building, collecting all the top secret documents stored on each floor, before escaping in the getaway car parked in the basement. Enemy spies await you on each level, but we have issued you with a weapon to help eliminate those who stand in your way. You also have complete control over the building’s elevators – use them to your advantage! We won’t lie to you, Agent 17, you probably won’t make it out unharmed, but we have total faith in you completing your mission. Good luck! Oh, and in case you missed it – this mission is top secret!
Ant-Fact: Arcade owners could originally purchase Elevator Action as a conversion kit, transforming Alpine Ski, Front Line and other older games into the lift-jumping classic.
Ant-Tactic: The rooms with red doors contain the secret documents. Take too long to collect them and an alarm blares, making the game much trickier!
Ant-ernative: There’s more elevator-based shenanigans on Antstream Arcade with Taito’s sequel, Elevator Action Returns.
The New Zealand Story, 1988
Bubble Bobble not enough cutesy fun for you? With that game proving a worldwide smash in 1986, Taito upped their assault on adorable gaming two years later with this antipodean tale of a little kiwi named Tiki. A sneaky blue leopard called Wally has kidnapped all Tiki’s friends – including his girlfriend Phee Phee – and it’s up to you to help Tiki rescue them all. With its delightful and sweet graphics actually concealing an arduous yet entertaining challenge, The New Zealand Story is a real joy for all retro gaming fans. Bow at the ready!
Ant-Fact: The New Zealand Story is one of a few arcade games based within an actual real-life country. No prizes for guessing which one!
Ant-Tactic: As with Bubble Bobble, the player can collect the letters EXTEND – pick them all up and a valuable extra life is yours.
Ant-ernative: If you’re after another charming arcade platform game, try Tecmo’s Bomb Jack on Antstream Arcade.
Battle Shark, 1989
We couldn’t let a new games round up pass without including some shoot-‘em-up action for Antstream Arcade fans – and here it is! With its unique upright cabinet, housing a realistic submarine periscope, Battle Shark was a distinctive addition to arcades in the late Eighties. Set in the near-future, World War III has broken out, and the fighting on dry land has spilt over into the seas. Taking command of the futuristic Battle Shark submarine, the player roams the depths, searching for the enemy’s secret underwater fortress while obliterating rival subs with an arsenal of lethal torpedoes.
Ant-Fact: Like other arcade classics such as Operation Wolf and Battlezone, Battle Shark employs a first-person perspective, with damage to the player’s submarine shown on screen.
Ant-Tactic: Don’t forget to shoot the round coloured mines – they contain useful power bonuses.
Ant-ernative: For more nautical fun, give Gun Boat and River Rescue a paddle on Antstream Arcade.
Football Champ, 1990
With a great sense of timing, Taito originally released this fantastic footie game into arcades during the 1990 World Cup, and, a mere 30 years later, you can now play it officially from the comfort of your own home thanks to Antstream Arcade. As befits an arcade simulation of the beautiful game, Football Champ is end-to-end stuff, with two types of kick as well as some nefarious off the ball tactics. Opponent show-boating too much? A vicious sliding tackle or – eek – a punch in the face, will soon bring them in line. And if the ref gets on your back, well, you can punch him out too! The North London Derby has nothing on this soccer-based fracas!
Ant-Fact: Taito cheekily re-skinned Football Champ into Euro Football Champ and Hat Trick Hero for later releases.
Ant-Tactic: A handy way to score is to guide a player to the top of the penalty era, tempting the opposing goalie towards them. When they get close, pass to a waiting player in the middle for an open goal tap-in.
Ant-ernative: For more sporting violence, the even more unsubtle Fighting Soccer from SNK is another must on Antstream Arcade.
More new games from Taito
Also debuting on Antstream Arcade's streaming service this month is action RPG Light Bringer, which pleasingly follows the unwritten fantasy role-playing game rule by starting out in a tavern. Elevator Action Returns sees Agent 17 once more travelling up and down a tall building and stealing secrets, while Cameltry is a mindbending puzzle game that involves rotating a maze in order to guide the ball to its goal. Finally for this week’s round-up, Liquid Kids, Don Doko Don and Chack ‘n’ Pop are all amiable platformers with shades of Taito’s legendary Bubble Bobble.