If you plunked a stream of quarters into an old arcade game called R-Type, then Fresh Games, Irem Software and Eidos Interactive has just the treat you’ve been waiting for. R-Type Final, a PlayStation2 release, captures the joys and essence of the old arcade shooter while bringing fresh environments to the effort.
For those blissfully unaware of what this title is, here is a synopsis. You have a ship that moves up and down, left-to-right-left-right on the screen. Enemies pop up in your path, some shooting at you, some laying down debris and mines that will damage or destroy your ship. You shoot them, avoid the obstacles when necessary, and move as far right as you can until you reach the end of the level. Load time – new level, repeat, though against tougher opposition.
The enemy is the Bydo, a living weapons system that has self-replicating properties. Almost 500 years have passed since the first encounter with the Bydo. Four wars were fought and in each instance, humanity was victorious. But the Bydo kept returning, stronger than before. And now it has returned, for a fifth and final showdown.
But humanity has a surprise in store – new ships and weapons. This war, the final battle, will either see the Bydo destroyed, or humanity.
The game itself is a progressive romp through levels that will challenge, whether at the ‘baby’ difficulty setting or all the way up to the R-Typer (most difficult) setting. Ships can be customized with color, missiles and Bits. (Bits are combat support units that attach to your fighter.)
As the game begins, you have the option of selecting from one of three ships. As the game is also about collecting data of the Bydo, you can select from scout ships to collect data faster. The progression is quite simple – the further into the game you go, the more data you collect on the Bydo, and the better equipped you will ultimately become.
Weaponry ranges from the wave cannons, and force weapons, as well as missiles, POW armor power-ups.
From this point, the game becomes a simple affair: enter a level, destroy everything you can without having your ship destroyed and traverse the field all the way to the right to fight through to the next level.
The game’s sound is well done, and a nice adjunct to the action, but that is not the real star of this title.
Remember, this is a side-scrolling title, and in spite of that, R-Type Final sports wonderful three-dimensional backdrops. The effects are also very nicely done.
Ok, R-Type Final, in many ways, harkens back to the old arcade days, but this game looks very good and plays well. It is a great diversionary title, rife with action and some minor strategic gameplay. If you want to relive the days of yore, when you gathered around the huge arcade machines and frantically pounded fire buttons and slammed the joystick around like a jackhammer, then this game is perfect. Yes, the control elements don’t require that manic manhandling and abuse the big arcade machines took, but this game captures the spirit of the old titles while upgrading it graphically for the next generation of gaming systems.