Review by DHouston

"A very well done shooter"

R-Shark. Upon hearing the name, you will immediately make two wrong assumptions. No, this game is not related to R-Type. No, it has nothing to do with sharks. Ok, now to the game.

R-Shark is a vertical shooter in the likes of the legends like Vapor Trail, Raiden, Strikers 1945, Aero Fighters--the list goes on. As such, it contains all the regularly expected features of a 2D shooter.

So let's look at the features:

Graphics: 2D sprite-based graphics are always sharp, and R-Shark does the trend no less justice than all others. The graphics are marvelous. Some enemies seem to get less detail than others, but larger foes (mid-bosses and bosses) are excellently detailed.

I must also comment on the great detail given to your fighter. We'll get into that in a moment.

Story: What? Shooters have stories? Amazing! Anyshmoe, R-Shark seems to present a case of Space Sheriff. Apparently there are 8 (or is it 10?) criminals wanted for arrest; each has a bounty on them. Beat a criminal's stage and they are "arrested" (as is shown when you beat the stage).

I like how the criminals give a short spiel before the stage starts, and then say something after you beat them (the latter of which can be quite funny). Incredibly, these are some of the most polite criminals I'ver ever seen compared to today's no manners group. Simple things like "Show me what you're made of" or even "Honey, show me how good you are" (yep, that last one came from the only female criminal in the group). Defeat lines include "Enough. My hat's off to you," "Hey Ace, take it easy," and even "That's enough, young man. You're crazy." Gee, makes me thing we are having a simple competition instead of an interstellar crime chase.

Sound: Regular effects here. Keeps the action loud enough not to put you to sleep. Weapon #2 almost screams, so it'll definitely be an ear-opener. The music in the game is very nice. Techno effects if I'm on target. Most pleasing.

Control: R-Shark is one of those games where you get speed powerups to increase your fighter's speed movment. Get about 3 and you are comfortable. Get 5 and you'll zip all over the place. Control seems quite tight.

Difficulty: R-Shark possesses the rare ability here to select the difficulty at game start (you can also select the first stage you wish to start on). You will find that this game does not spam you will a gajillion bullets like more modern 2D shooters (Ikaruga, Giga Wing). Enemy fire is much more practical and will do a reasonable test of dodge skills. Ace pilots should blow through the game.

Ok, let's look at unique features.

Throughout the game you will come across small icons with numbers in them (1,2,3). These are your weapon options. Not many to choose from, but they do a nice job for this game. Weapon 1 is what you start with (laser and homing missiles). Weapon 2 is a more stellar laser weapon--and a loud one. Weapon 3 is a missile weapon. Get the same number several times to power up the weapon. I must say I'm a fan of Weapon 2. Those laser effects are dazzling, and the noise--while grating--kept me awake while playing.

The most noticeable thing concerning R-Shark which is really neat is that your fighter changes forms depending on the weapon you get. If you get Weapon 2, your fighter gets larger wings (and seems to move faster). Weapon 3 gives you a bulky looking fighter.

Another nice thing is that your bomb changes depending on the weapon you have (just like in Geki-Oh Shienryu). While the bomb is not a screen-clearer like in other games, it does smash out nice damage and puts great firepower on the screen. Weapon 1's bomb fires large rockets, Weapon 2 fires a large laser, Weapon 3 shoots large rapid-fire missiles. It all seems complex because when you hit the bomb button, this large ship-thing (also excellently detailed) attaches itself to your fighter and then proceeds to dish out the bomb firepower. After a while, the ship goes off. Adds to filling the screen with extra objects, that's for sure.

Explosions are done in a standard fare, but are nice and large to keep your attention. Something which is sort of distracting and confusing is that when you hit targets that require much damage to kill, you see a constant trail of explosions coming off them as your firepower hits them. You can get confused as to if you have the killed the enemy or not, but it is a nice effect.

Speaking of explosions, if you really want to deck the screen with light, smash a bunch of foes and die. When you die, a line of explosions go up the whole screen, destroying or damaging whatever they hit. Ha! Going out with a bang! How sweet it is.

Any shooter fan will enjoy R-Shark. The design is simple (as shooters should be), and it is a fun testament to a dieing breed of great games. A worthy play indeed.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/29/04

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