Taito - 1987
Machine: Arcade, and many others
Taito were once the king of coin-ops: they created so many classic games, usually in the mould of the cutesy platformer. Ever wondered what happened to them? Nowadays they are porting their impressive back catalogue onto mobile phones. The conversion of Rainbow Islands will be a sure fire winner. It is not possible for them to fail, given the game's perfection.
Rainbow Islands was a vertically scrolling platform game: you could jump and hop your way up to the top (and end) of the level. But you also had the option to shoot out rainbows that you could walk up in order to make your ascent easier (ha). There were also baddies to deal with: they could be either shot directly or trapped underneath your rainbows. To make things more difficult, there was water that would gradually rise up and catch you if you weren't quick enough. There were various power-ups to collect such as the ability to fire multiple rainbows... it was also possible to collect coloured jewels: if you collect all of the different colours, you were given a new life. If you were especially skilful and clever, collecting the coloured jewels in the order of the rainbow (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) would let you into a secret room where yet more prizes awaited. In all, the game was made up of seven themed worlds with each world being made up of four 'rounds.' Yes, and there were end of level baddies as well.
It was great. It was difficult. But what grabbed me about it was the sheer effortlessness of the gameplay. Everything worked together... I loved the different ways you could kill the baddies and how you were rewarded for ingenuity. If nothing else, this game was the result of a company that was at its artistic peak.
Bubbaray 12 Sep '02
Rainbow Islands Info Page - Filled with great rainbow goodness.
Wikipedia's Rainbow Islands page - A very detailed page from the people's encyclopaedia.