Review by waterforprez
Reviewed: 08/12/02 | Updated: 03/22/03
R-Type is really an icon for early arcade shooters. R-Type games have since appeared on the Turbografx, Super NES, and Playstation, and have all (okay, mostly) displayed the quality and challenge the original R-Type presented gamers with years ago. Elaborate you say? Well why not.
Graphics: One look at this game and you'll see why Irem didn't port it to the NES. It's beautiful! When comparing the game to later 16-bit SHMUPs, I can't help but be amazed by the detail. Color is in abundance of course, but the game still retains a ''mature'' feel. The only thing keeping the graphics from perfection is the inevitable flicker, but it's a small price to pay. The flicker is mostly present when your force device has a screen filling weapon, or when there's excessive amounts of enemies. On a positive note, there's very minor slowdown.
Audio: R-type, being a organism-themed shooter, has a suitably erie-ish sort of soundtrack. But I wouldn't have it any other way. 8-Bit shooter music can be grating. R-Type’s soundtrack wisely avoids high pitched and frantic path that many of its brothers chose and stuck to a more cosmic theme. By doing so, it does what music is intended to do: draw you into the game instead of repelling you from it.
Gameplay: The gameplay of R-type is old-school, but not primitive. It introduced many new gimmicks and ideas that no one else had thought to put into a shooter. For starters, R-Type is strategy oriented. The ship moves super-slow, so you can see the formation of approaching enemies and think 'hmmm, should I stick to the top or shimmy on down to the bottom?' There there's the situation of the force device. It's a little red (orange?) sphere that either attaches to your ship to be used as a shield, or can be used offensively apart from your ship to blast evildoers into the next dimension. Then, the enemies themselves behaved in ways that back then, no one had expecting. In level four, enemies scurry about the screen laying pods for you to blast through, and if you wait too long to kill one of them and overwhelm yourself, you’re as good as dead. In the midst of all this, there’s a fellow on the bottom of the screen launching a constant stream of missiles at you! And the entire level three is just one gigantic battleship! You must carefully choose the nature of your force device in order to have the best tactic to take out the turrets directly above you. To say that innovation is in abundance is an understatement.
Fun: R-Type is one of the funnest games in a genre known for its fun factor. Even though the ship moves at five miles an hour, the game still manages to be intense yet not impossible. Whether weaving through a maze of bullets, shooting a path through pods, or cursing out a missile launcher for being too ***** to come up off the ground and FIGHT LIKE A MAN, you won't be feeling an ounce of boredom.
R-type is probably my second favorite 8-Bit shooter (Aleste II is the best) and is definately worth seeking out for anyone with a Master System. It has influenced every shooter from Lighting Force to Axelay and the brilliance was not dumbed down a bit for this port.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
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