Review by Joe Santulli



Graphics: 8

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 7

Before I begin with the details of this fine game, let me first chat with you a moment about all of the things that are inherently wrong with space shooting games. Bear with me for a moment.

Probably the worst job in the whole galaxy is being one of the “bad guys”. They really don’t have a chance. Ever count how many ships you had to blow up to beat a level? Well inside each one is a tiny pilot. And you blew him up too. You would think after years and years of getting blown up by the likes of you, the boss of the bad guys would get some training for them. A few things they could be taught right off the bat: don’t fly in predictable patterns, mix it up… and for God’s sake stop lining up behind one another! Don’t let the “good guy” get all the power ups… grab some for yourself! Another thing the boss of bad guys should consider are some better ships. Usually the good guys take them out with one tiny bullet. You can’t win the galaxy wars with ships like that.

Let’s talk about those “bosses” for a minute. Not very bossy, are they? They are presumably in charge of the whole level and what do they do? Wait until all of their support is destroyed and then hang out at the end for a final battle against an enemy that has had a lot of time to collect extra power. Bosses should show up at the BEGINNING of a level, before any power-ups can be nabbed. Then let the little bad guys clean up. Another thing: never, never FLASH your weak point. And if you’re a giant robot with one huge eye in the middle of your chest that blinks and flashes and hurts a lot when it gets hit… cover it up. With metal, preferably.

How do “power-ups” work, anyway? In my wildest imagination I can only assume that they are intelligent organic machines that can integrate themselves with the good guy’s ship. OK, maybe. If that’s true, then why do these intelligent machines just float around (or remain motionless) waiting for the ship to pass over it? If the thing is smart enough to be able to change a ship’s weaponry from burst-firing bullets to energy-streamed lasers, it ought to know enough to move itself a little toward the good guy so he doesn’t have to kill himself just trying to reach it.

Alright then. R-Type is just one of these games featuring all of the things listed above. Hordes of little ships just flying directly into your line of fire, bosses that tip their hand as to their particular weakness, and power-ups that can drastically affect the type of hurtin’ you deal. And yet, I can’t help but enjoy playing it!

Hudson’s classic space shooter is a side-scrolling visual masterpiece, with levels that mix high technology with organic matter. If you’ve seen the movie Ghost in the Shell, you should have a good idea what I’m talking about. The levels are long, difficult, and rewarding. There are six different power-up weapons plus a variable-strength beam weapon (the longer you hold the fire button down, the more powerful the shot). Did I mention the game was difficult? Maybe that was an understatement.

Everything is perfect here except that even at the easiest skill level, this game is insanely difficult. It’s not so much that enemy ships and fire are coming at you from 360 degrees, it’s that once you’re hit (and only once) you have to start the level over with the lowest level of firepower. This is one of those games that you either get through on one ship or you die so many times you’ll want to crack the durable little card in half. Fortunately, the card is very durable or mine would, in fact, be cracked in half.

If you like tough ones, this is the game to tackle. I can tell you that it’s worth the effort – I’ve gotten nearly to the end of the game and some of the visuals are spectacular, especially the bosses. TG-16 owners were lucky enough to get 8 levels in their game. PC Engine gamers only got 4!


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Last updated: Tuesday, May 10, 2005 07:38 PM