One of my favorite shoot ‘em games from the past was R-Type. Granted, I was more of a fan of Gradius but R-Type was a close second. When I heard that the first two games in the series were being re-released on the PlayStation 3 as R-Type Dimensions I naturally got very excited.
This game was actually released on the Xbox 360 some time back. Unfortunately, not being a 360 owner I had no idea that it came out.
This collection contains R-Type and R-Type II and each game now has new graphics and music, which gives it a more modern feel. It also has the original versions for those of us who want to relive the glory days. You can even set it up to look like it did in an arcade monitor for that extra kick of nostalgia.
Gameplay is straightforward; you control a spaceship and must kill everything on screen that moves. As you progress, you’ll shoot robots which give you power-ups. These power-ups enhance your offensive and even defensive capabilities. If you manage to collect all of the power-ups in a level then your ship will be nearly unstoppable as you’ll have shields on both side and be able to shoot missiles, lasers, bombs and napalm all at once.
Of course, getting to the point where your ship is maxed out is damn near impossible due to the high difficulty. The term “Bullet Hell” definitely applies here. At any given moment you will be bombarded by a torrent of enemies and their attacks. Dodging can sometimes be futile and you will die A LOT. If it wasn’t for the infinite lives mode then I wouldn’t have been able to complete either game.
The game is unrelenting but that is part of what makes it so much fun too. With that said however, I have to admit that R-Type II was really unfair compared to the first one. There were a lot of instances where I yelled at the game for putting me in instant death situations. I’m not knocking it for that since this is a quarter-muncher at its core but it still annoyed me from time to time. How anyone can escape some of these scenarios unscathed is beyond me.
The updated graphics and music are really nice. While it may not look as impressive as a modern day shoot ‘em up like Resogun, it’s still eye-candy-ish. The updated graphics make it so that what the original art design was going for is fully realized. This is great because the alien worlds in the game are really twisted and deranged and we can now see them in their full glory.
This isn’t to take away from the original game’s graphics, which can be turned on and off by pressing the Triangle button. Part of the fun of old games was that you had to use your imagination to fill in the blanks. With such diverse planets it’s easy to let your imagination run wild. The graphics used for the classic look are from the arcade version and not the console version. While they may seem archaic to some, they’re still very impressive.
Although the graphics and music have been updated, the most important part of what made the R-Type games fun — gameplay — is still fully intact. All of these years later, this key part of the game is still what defines it. It goes to show that some games hold up perfectly, even decades after they’ve been released. R-Type and R-Type II have definitely passed the test of time and R-Type Dimensions is a testament to that.