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R-Type

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R-Type SpectrumThere are a great many superb arcade conversions available on the ZX Spectrum, but one of our favourites is this stunning port of Irem’s hit shoot-’em-up that came out in 1988.

Programmer Bob Pape recently revealed the creation of his epic conversion in an online book called It’s Behind You: The Making Of A Computer Game. It’s a fascinating look, not only at the creation of Bob’s epic conversion, but also of his time in the games industry and the many other games he worked on. It also explains why the original version of R-Type was missing the eighth and final level. In short it’s an essential read and I recommend you head on over to Bob’s site now at www.bizzley.com and download it.

Even with the hindsight of Bob’s account of how he pulled off all the graphical trickery found in his conversion, R-Type remains an astonishing adaptation, accurately capturing all the major points of the game and marrying them to smooth scrolling and large, detailed sprites.

The multiload is a pain, but it remains an incredible achievement that captures all the thrills and spills of the original arcade game. Huge bosses including the mothership on the third level, excellent hit detection and accurate use of the Force power-up makes R-Type an amazing Spectrum blaster that deserves to be in everyone’s collection. R-Type was apparently quite rare where Bob lived, but I have fond memories of playing it in the Poole arcades before nipping around to my friend’s house and continuing the fight against the Bydo enemy there. Thanks Bob, you’re the best.

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