R-Type Dimensions Reviews

  • PeaceSquidPeaceSquid494,526
    09 Aug 2009 16 May 2017
    20 5 4
    This generation of gaming has been full of plenty of ‘Oh my God’ moments. It’s to be expected now that we’ve got consoles full of dual processors and super-duper graphics chips. Be it a particularly big boss in Gears of War 2 or a nice vista in Assassin’s Creed, gamers today are a tad spoiled which means that a lot of really great work ends up being instantly forgotten once the next grenade is lobbed at you.

    Back in 1988 things were different. Hardware was limited and 3D hadn’t really happened. Sprites had to be drawn and animated with old-fashioned hard work and artistic skill and levels were designed by specialists rather than getting your online community to do the work for you. So, if you wanted to drop someone’s jaw it’d take both artistic vision and programming ability to make things really come to life. If you were lucky, they’d throw in some inventive game design as well.

    R-Type was released that year as an arcade title by the Japanese manufacturer Irem. It was a horizontally-scrolling powerhouse of a game that combined stunning 2D visuals, fiendish level design and excellent game mechanics to make a bonifide classic title. For the uninitiated, the game sees your solitary R9 fighter going up against the biomechanical beasties of the Bydo Empire. An intergalactic race of bastards who want to destroy the Earth.

    Amongst their ranks are fighter ships, turrent cannons, organic aliens and huuuuge bosses all thrown at you in sufficient numbers to make the game one of the most challenging shooters of all time. Thankfully, the R9 can be pepped up a bit by collecting a power-up known as ‘The Force’. The Force is a detachable orb that can be used as a shield, an eight-way firing drone or as a weapon enhancer that allows you to fire hugely powered-up laser weapons. It’s one of the best power-ups in the genre and adds a strategic depth to the gameplay as often your placement and use of The Force is the difference between life and death.

    R-Type Generations is a near-perfect Xbox Live Arcade port of the original game and its 1989 sequel R-Type 2 which increased your arsenal whilst also ramping up the difficulty. Both games can be played in the, lovingly-recreated, original 2D (which still looks mint, especially in high definition) or can be switched (on the fly, impressively) to modern 3D versions. There are also a couple of novelty options, one surrounds the 2D version with a virtual arcade cabinet (useless) and the other tilts the 3D mode by fifteen degrees so that you are flying slightly into the screen (not at all helpful). A bit pointless but switchoffable.

    New inclusions aren’t just limited to the visuals though as the game’s classic mode is also accompanied by a new ‘Infinite’ mode. This mode feeds you with infinite lives and doesn’t send you back to a checkpoint when you die. The emphasis is on getting big scores and not dying too many times. It’s a nice inclusion, especially as most mortals won’t see the latter halves of either R-Type title.

    Also new is the online co-op mode. They’ve thought this mode out very nicely as you can play either game in classic or infinite mode and players can revive each other, Aegis Wing style, by picking up powerups. It’s not too confusing and is a welcome addition. Unfortunately it’s rendered useless most of the time due to lag and disconnections. A shame really as you get the feeling that it’s more a Microsoft issue than that of the devs.

    Staying with the annoyances for a while, the game could have used an option to redefine the controls. X for detaching the Force? Ugh. Also the ‘rapid fire’ (mapped to the B button) is anything but, coming in a lot slower than the maximum manual repeat speed for the normal fire button. This is made even more annoying as there is an achievement for solely using that button for an achievement.

    By far the worst oversight of the game is the lack of difficulty options combined with the fact that the game’s difficulty seems to be set a little higher than the already savagely difficult arcade original. A mean trick for sure. Fair enough, the Infinte Mode is a concession to the less Japanese amongst us but even so, it does tend to discourage attempts to master the game. Especially when you get deeper into the game and are expected to combine the memory of chess computer with the dexterity and skill of Billy Mitchell.

    That said, it’s still R-Type and therefore still a great example of the genre. If they can sort out the net-code a bit and maybe tweak the difficulty down a notch, this could be one of the leading lights of the XBLA scene but, for now, it’s less impressive, less clever, less varied and less fun than Omega Five. At 1200 M$P (£10.20) it’s also less cheap. Know what I mean?
    3.0
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    crowbo 360Excellent review! I am assuming that like me, you grew up playing this in the arcades and on your home computer (Spectrum for me if memory serves) and spending hour upon hour mastering the levels, and remembering where every alien and enemy popped into screen. When I saw that this was coming to XBLA I got very, very excited but perhaps I was looking back through rose-tinted spectacles. The game does indeed seem harder, and the issues with lag bugged the tits off me so much I only tried it online a few times. In regards the new 3D features they are indeed a bit gimmicky and add nothing to the gaming experience (i only ever play it in 2D). Still, it is R-Type and nostalgia is clearly getting the better of me because I do load it up every so often for the odd hour, here and there. 3 out of 5 stars is a spot on score.
    Posted by crowbo 360 on 21 Jan 10 at 00:16
    PeaceSquidThanks Crowbo (and KM). Your memory didn't cheat you though - the Speccy version was tremendous!!
    Posted by PeaceSquid on 21 Jan 10 at 00:17
    G3n3ralG3n0c1dEA very well-crafted review indeed but I guess you guy's aren't as die-hard as I was. :-D

    This was one of the ONLY games I had to play as a poor kid on SNES so I didn't have the luxury of letting difficulty scare me off. The only "difficult" part of the XBLA release is the laggy servers...I SMOKED the achievements and wish it would have offered slightly more challenge/replay a la Galage Legions. Now THERE'S a ridiculously hard game!
    Posted by G3n3ralG3n0c1dE on 16 May 10 at 14:48
  • Tuvix519Tuvix519657,762
    23 Jan 2013
    9 0 1
    R-Type was originally released in 1987, followed by R-Type II in 1989. Both games were received exceptionally well in arcades across the world and ported to many home consoles over the years; from the TurboGraphx16 to the Sega Master System. It is hailed by some as the definitive arcade side-scrolling shooter, and stands next to such arcade classics as Galaga. Both the original and sequel have been bundled together into R-Type Dimensions for XBLA users to enjoy in their home.

    When it comes to graphics, this game has a quite unique quality. The original '80s arcade graphics are there for nostalgia. As a bonus, the graphics have also been updated to full HD quality. Switching between these graphics can even be done on-the-fly during gameplay. It is a great feature that allows little details to be appreciated.

    The gameplay is what any old arcade junkie will enjoy. The original gameplay has been preserved beautifully and it brings back many memories of spending lots of quarters and sipping on cheap, watered down pop. It's a genre that is classic.

    The game controls as well as is can with current-gen controllers, but at times, you do feel that you were using a classic joystick.

    Story? What story? You blow s**t up, power-up, then go to the next level.

    Another great addition is mutiplayer. Two peoople can partner up and blow through the space debris just like your friend who followed you to the arcade in the old days. However, it's an obscure title, regardless of the stern quality it displays. So, unless you are boosting here, you won't find any games to join.

    Ah yes, the important part, achievements. I got this game before I was an achievement junkie, as part of a free promotion. So, I had it on my profile over a year before completing it. I am an average (for this site) player. As of this point, I'm at about 72,000 GS. I can honestly say that this game is the hardest one I have ever completed. I am sure that some people can breeze through it. However, the game logs your time played.... over 100 hours for me. That was all do to one achievement - Dare Devil. "Using rapid-fire and no power-ups, complete stages 1 & 2 of R-Type in a single game of 1P Classic". Just play one level and you will understand. Only true arcade masters will be able to call this "easy".

    Overall, it's a great game. A VERY difficult 100%, but a proud one I have under my belt. Don't expect it to change your life though.
    4.0