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Old 04-12-2008, 05:26 AM   #12
eastx
The Fighting Bomber
 
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Lake Jackson, TX USA
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R-Types Review

R-Types
Publisher: Irem
PSN Genre: Shooting
Filesize: 280 MB



Man, I keep reviewing these hard games. That's because so far, they're all shooters or collections of shooters. This would seem to indicate that I really like shooters. Well, I do, but sometimes I wonder why. I really don't care for too much difficulty in my games. I play to relax, not submit myself to torture. But there's something about shooters that keeps me coming back, despite their typically annoying difficulty. R-Types is not a very relaxing title, but it's definitely worth a look.

What are these R-Types I speak of? They're not just the types that come after Q. R-Types collects both the original arcade R-Type and its sequel, R-Type II. Many home ports exist of the first game but II hardly came out on anything. The R-Type II on PC Engine, for example, was just the second half of the original arcade game. The impossible half. But I'll get to that...


This guy deserves his own spinoff game.

R-Type's gameplay is fairly innovative for the genre. The player can choose to fire rapidly or hold the button down for a powerful charged shot. In R-Type II the charged shot becomes an impressive spread blast if timed correctly. You'll end up relying on rapid fire most of the time, though. More integral to the gameplay is the Force item. Once collected from a fallen enemy, this thing functions as both a shield and a weapon. It can be launched forward or backward at will and will continue to fire at enemies even when detached. Attaching the Force to the rear of your ship is the only way to survive some sections. After collecting the Force, several different weapons can be scavenged from certain enemies. However, only the blue reflective laser is very useful, even in R-Type II which added new guns. You can get missiles and little Bits, which are like the options in Gradius except they don't fire at anything. There is no true shield item in the game, which leads to my next point...

Ouch, these games are tough. The first R-Type contains eight stages, each divided up with a midway checkpoint and capped with a boss. The gameplay is challenging but not unfair for the first three stages. After that, the gloves come off. You will die constantly until you figure out the exact pathway to take through the enemies and obstacles. Even once you've figured out what to do, implementing it can take another twenty tries or so. There are just so many bad guys to avoid from all sides, most firing projectiles, and not nearly enough time to react to them. It's chaos. Level eight barely even has a background because the developers likely did not expect many players to see it. R-Type II lasts for only six stages, but ratchets the difficulty to impossible in stage two. Thankfully continues are unlimited and cheat codes are just a guilty input away...


Thanks to shmups.com for the R-Type II images.

Yet despite the horrendous challenge, both games are worth playing. The enemies and stages are incredibly well-designed. R-Type's first boss is one of the most memorable in shooter history, while level three tasks the player with nothing but flying around a huge, multi-screen ship and destroying its core. Any ship that big has it coming, if you ask me. R-Type II's bosses may have just a tad less personality than the first game's, but the game benefits from a brief intro sequence and slight graphical upgrade. The water effects in the second level are still better than many newer 2D games'. While the art direction can't be beat, neither game's backgrounds ever have more than a single layer of parallax scrolling. The developers at Irem should have played Gaiares before making these games, even if it wasn't out yet. The music is superior to most modern shooters' generic offerings, but fails to match the standards set by the Gradius, Raiden, or Darius series.


Gee, the waterfalls push you down too?

R-Types' copious bonus features differentiate it from other shooting games. The grainy FMV introduction is rather sedate, even without taking its too-quiet English narration into account. An FMV preview of R-Type Delta (the PSOne sequel) proves much more engaging. The R's Library gallery contains fully-rotatable 3D models and Japanese text for literally every ship and enemy in the game, as well as models from other R-Type games. Finally, options can be individually tweaked and saved for each game. That way you can play one in stereo and the other in mono, as god probably intended. Oh, and Circle is the confirm button here, a decision clearly intended to insult Irem's longtime rival Konami.


This part will kill you over and over again... If you actually make it that far.

R-Types is an easy recommendation for fans of the series. It certainly packs more bang for your buck than the Wii's Virtual Console R-Type offerings. Plus playing the first two games will surely help flesh out the new R-Type Command strategy game. Yes, R-Type I and II are both designed to steal quarters from arcade-goers wholesale. But they are also reminders of a time when shooters actually had interesting levels and personality. If things get too tough, you can just put in the invincibility code and catch your breath. I just found out this game is coming to the US PSN store, so you can soon get the R's Library in English if you so desire.
But now the same games are available on Xbox 360 with enhanced graphics for $15, so think long and hard before buying the PSOne version...

Last edited by eastx; 03-14-2009 at 06:02 AM.
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