Sam takes a look back at R-Type Final in this issue of Modern Classix.
R-Type is one of those games I think every gamer should have played sometime in their life. Along with Gradius, R-Type was one of the best known and most important franchises in the Shmup (shoot ‘em up) genre.
Throughout the years, the core gameplay has barely changed – which in this case is a good thing. The concept is as simple as you can get: avoid death whilst inflicting it upon everything else on the screen. Where R-Type does differ slightly is the ‘force’ item which, when picked up, drastically improves your odds of survival. You’ll pick one of these up pretty easily and once acquired you can attach it to the front or back end of your ship. Your new found friend is capable of absorbing any standard shots and also damaging any enemies it comes into contact with – a skilled player will constantly be switching which side of their ship is shielded and using their forces to ram enemies. You can also fire your force away from your ship at any time using it to remotely shoot at thoshe hard to get places. Anyone can play R-Type – but what separates the boys from the men is how confidently they make use of their force.
Graphically, R-Type Final may look simple to gamers used to as many polygons and bump mapping as they can handle, but the game is still beautiful. The graphics are always clear and each stage has its own mood and atmosphere. There are many subtle effects going on and the colours and lighting are fantastic. I especially love the organic quality and little touches like the water level changing depending on how you played the level before.
Unfortunately the game isn’t flawless, and slowdown does make a couple of appearances which really should not happen with this type of game running on something like a PlayStation 2. You have to bear with it though, and it’s only during certain parts of the game. If you’re a die hard Shmup fan, it’s nothing you haven’t had to deal with before and you’ll make do.
Aside from that, it’s all good. R-Type Final has thousands of secrets and extras to unlock. How does 101 ships to earn sound? The difficulty level can be ramped up to the traditional levels of ownage, and most importantly the controls are just perfect. Just make sure you find the gamespeed button straight away. The first time I played the game, I of course skipped the manual and wondered why things seemed a bit stale – crank it up all the way!
R-Type Final at the moment shouldn’t be too hard to find and can be got for some bargain prices. Picking up this title adds a lot of culture to your PlayStation 2 library. I wouldn’t say it’s the definitive R-Type, but it’s certainly not a weak title in the series.