Format reviewed: Game Boy
Submitted by: peter maris
Well, this is a mixed bag, R-type was a great game, so making it portable was the smartest decision. And the game kind of holds up well. Sure, if the game had a multiplayer mode where you can hook up with your (as you scone eating, queen hailing, random u’s in words that don’t need them Brit’s call) mate using that dusty old cable in my basement. But it has some good things. It has some of the stages from the original game, plus some pretty nice music. And before I get to the bad stuff, let me get this straight. It’s 1990. This game is great because you weren’t as soft as you are today. Boot error? Ha! It can do better than that!
You can’t really play the game these days because it suffers from the Gameboy’s lack to do movement more than anything I’ve ever played. Also, the sound effects are horrible and it doesn’t have too many stages. In a nutshell, a fun but short game that didn’t live up to its full potential.
Format reviewed: Sega Master System
Submitted by: Ben Lister
The first thing that stands out about this game is what a lovingly crafted conversion it is. The graphics are vibrant, with chunky sprites that ooze character and detail as they zip around at a remarkable speed. Just take a moment to admire the player's craft, the R-9, and the way the force droid rotates smoothly as it idles.
The Alien-inspired bio-mechanoid creatures and caverns are present, correct, and beautifully rendered in this conversion, doing real justice to the arcade version. The boss creatures, perhaps the most iconic aspect of the game, are faithfully represented.
Unfortunately it becomes appparent early on that the sheer volume of sprites moving around are really pushing the Master System hardware to its fullest, and this results in a lot of flickering. This isn't game destroying but it'd be nice if it wasn't there. Also, in the later stages of the game as the enemy count really racks up, some serious slowdown occurs. Given the achievement of squeezing this title onto an 8-bit machine without murdering it, these flaws can easily be forgiven though.
The music deserves a mention for keeping faithful to the original tunes and maintaining the variety of texture and tone associated with it's arcade counterpart. All the while this is on top of the satisfying shooting and exploding noises.
It seems that during the conversion process, the Sega team slightly toned down the difficulty. At times it appears that the R-9's hitbox (the [part that detects collisions) has been slightly reduced in size or sensitivity, allowing the player to slightly graze enemy craft without dying, particularly at the ship's aft section. It isn't too forgiving though, and is still a good challenge.
For owners of a Master System or a Mega Drive with a converter, this game is a technical masterpiece and a must-buy. After all, the game manual says, “When flown by a hot shot pilot like you, the R-9 can cut through bug-eyed monsters like a light saber through butter.” Honestly, who can turn that down?
Format reviewed: MSX I/II
Submitted by: Anthony Staude
Another R-type review, this time for the MSX. Will there be a retrobate for each version?
I initially thought the MSX version would be similar to the Spectrum version, however it's soon apparent that this is not exactly the case.
The MSX version of R-Type features lovely 8-bit graphics with vibrant colors that are authentic to the original arcade.
However when things start moving it's immediatelly apparent that the scrolling and some of the other animation isn't that good – a problem commonly found in other similar type of MSX games.
Enemy ships seem to move around in larger steps than what they should (or could). Conversely, your ship the R9 moves around smoothly. What's going on here? It's the opposite of the Spectrum version!
The difference is that the MSX version is using it's hardware sprites for some of the action and characters for the rest. Objects being animated with the hareware sprites are smooth and the rest are limited to character-sized jumps.
Unfortunately smooth horizontal scrolling on the MSX is rare – and R-Type falls under this category. Other classic horizontal shooters like Gradius suffer from similar problems.
If you can get past these issues you're in for a good game as thankfully the gameplay is intact. The powerups – which are such an important feature of the game are all present. The graphical effects of your weaponry are displayed nicely including my favourite the "red and blue twisty" laser.
Enemy ships are also all present though their flight patterns are a little different to just about any other version I've played. This is okay and makes the game a little more interesting if this is your fourth or fifth different version you've played.
The first end-of-level boss 'Doberkops' can be destroyed with just two powered up plasma shots just like in the arcade version. I quite enjoyed the tweaked difficulty of the Spectrum version but perhaps the MSX version approximates his behaviour more accurately. There are however other differences as I am sure you can obtain some of the powerups earlier than other versions.
All in all, it's another great conversion – honestly I haven't come across a bad version of R-Type. Could R-Type be the most successfully converted game ever?
Format reviewed: PC Eng/Turbografx-16
Submitted by: Alley Kat
R-Type is a game which really needs no introduction. Hitting the arcade like a tsunami in 1987, Irem's instant classic was an inspired evolution of Konami's Gradius, enlivened by even more outrageous weapons and stunningly designed and drawn graphics.
R-Type was also significant as being the game that caused Nec's new PC Engine to explode in popularity in Japan, creating enough of a stir to even be noticed in the West.
Not only one of the first significant console killer apps, R-Type was probably the main reason hardcore gamers began importing the PC Engine- the machine that kicked off the UK's import scene in the first place.
Historical significance aside, R-Type on the PCE is a superb, near perfect conversion let down only by some sprite flicker when things get busy.
Also, due to the small memory of early Hucards, PCE R-Type only contains the first four levels, with levels 4 to 8 released seperately as R-Type 2. A later CD release was to contain the whole game, along with remixed music and cutscenes.
Whichever version you go for, PC Engine R-Type is another classic must-have title and a slice of gaming history.
Format reviewed: Arcade
Submitted by: Mat Corne
In true heroic fashion, R-Type sees you blast off in your R9 fighter on a one man mission to defeat the evil Bydo empire and presumably save the earth. To help you face the seemingly insurmountable odds you have a powerful beam weapon which blasts through everything in it's path (but needs to be charged by holding down the fire button) and can also collect power-ups which give you 'the force' – a pod which fires it's own weapons and can be bolted on the front or back of the R9 as a shield, or detached and sent off on it’s own to do some serious damage to the bad guys.
The basic style of R-Type is no different to the numerous horizontally-scrolling space shoot em ups that came both before and after it but it just has that certain something which sets it apart from the others. The level layouts and Giger-esque biomechanical design have a lot to do with it I think – especially the monstrous spaceship of level 3 – and there are some really memorable end-of-level baddies and superb music. It also helps that you can, with repeat plays, work out a fairly safe path through each level. But there's no doubt that the iconic R9 and it's bolt-ons are the stars of the show, not to mention one of the biggest influences on shmups for years to follow…