, a sci-fi side-scrolling shoot em’ up, hit arcades in 1987. The game was designed and developed by Irem of Japan and the machine was manufactured by Nintendo.
At the time, R-Type
brought some innovative ideas to the genre. For starters, its bizarre (if not grotesque) style of sci-fi channeled H.R. Geiger’s vision of alien biological technology, popular for creating the creatures and overall look in the movie franchise Alien
also brought new ideas to how weapons and even defensive “helpers” could be utilized during the course of a game. The little metal orb called the “Force” is especially cool, as it can be converted from a shied, to a battering ram, to a very unique and useful detached weapon.
As is par for the course for the genre back then, R-Type is brutally difficult and, frankly, dying was an expected part of the experience. Somewhat like Dragon’s Lair
, players were expected to die over and over in order to learn the narrow path to success (and feed more quarters into the game). Masters of the game can finish the Amiga version of the game in just over 20 minutes.
The Amiga conversion, which hit shelves in 1989, is quite close to the original arcade in terms of looks and quality. It’s not a perfect port, but most ports from arcade versions never are. The graphics are quite nicely detailed and, side by side, look pretty good. There is no pause, so capturing screen grabs was quite difficult (hence no pics below with actual battles in progress).
-) The original game featured parallax scrolling backgrounds, which provided an interesting sense of depth and movement. Those didn’t make it to the Amiga version, unfortunately.
-) The music in the Amiga version is based on the same original tunes, but seem to lack depth and the instruments are more shallow.
Overall, however, out of the many of the platforms R-Type was ported to, the Amiga must be considered one of the most true, if not the best.
Notes about the game itself:
-) The copy I used had an intro screen letting users know that, even though the Amiga game was developed in Germany on PAL systems, players should use an option (provided by the hacker) to enter into NTSC mode, as it provided a smoother gaming experience.
-) My copy also provided “cheats” which could enable unlimited lives as well as a level jumper to help you train for levels before you try and do a complete long-play. Very handy indeed.
The game is available for free download from Factor 5's website
to this day.
All in all, it's a fun (and frustrating) game especially when you load up on the Force and upgrade your ship to the max. Beware: the anguish you feel when your souped up ship dies from a “cheap” hit can be intense.
Back of the box:
It's your only defence [sic]
It's mechanical. It's biological. It's behind you.
Space was ripped by hatred and desire to counterattack and take revenge...
The Empire revived. It had gained new power and rapidly evolved in another dimension. To save the Universe from fear and horror of the Empire, Mankind dispatched a remodeled "R-9" StarFighter to the front. Check the counter-offensive by the evil Bydo Empire!