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Page 1:
Introduction
R-Type

Page 2:
R-Type II / Super R-Type
R-Type Leo
R-Type III: The Third Lightning

Page 3:
R-Type Delta
R-Type Final
R-Type Command / R-Type Tactics

Page 4:
About the Bosses
Clones and Rip Offs

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R-Type II (アール・タイプ II) / Super R-Type (スーパー・アール・タイプ) - Arcade, Amiga, Atari ST, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, PlayStation, SNES, XBLA, PSN, Wii Virtual Console (1989)

Japanese Arcade Flyer

American SNES Cover

Japanese SFC Cover

Realizing the success of its pioneering shooter, Irem cranked out another one shortly thereafter. The overall improvements are pretty minor - you can now charge your beam up for an even more powerful shot, and there are a few new weapons, but otherwise, it's pretty much the same deal. While it maintains the same excellent design of its predecessor, the learning curve is even steeper, as it gets remarkably difficult in just the second stage.

The stages themselves are technically just as well constructed as the original game, but they seem to be lacking something. A large part of this is due to the darkened color palette, which consists mostly of dull browns. Most of the designs are also more mechanical and most stages lack the biological influence of the earlier game. There are a number of cool moments, at least. The third stage puts you against a minor fleet of gigantic battleships. Taken separately, they're smaller than the cruiser in the third stage of R-Type, but it's really harrowing to fight them two at a time. The second stage is a cave, with the lower half filled with water, with similar levels featured in later R-Type games. The most frustrating part are these creatures which zig and zag diagonally in a haphazard manner. Once you shoot them, they immediate careen straight in the direction they were flying it. Very tough indeed. There are also only six levels this time around, although the heightened difficulty makes up for it. It's still a fairly alright sequel, but it lacks the same prestige as the original.

One of the earlier SNES titles, Irem ported R-Type II to Nintendo's fledging system, dropping the numeral and adding the moniker of "Super", as was the style at the time. It's really not so much a port as a "remixed version". There are seven levels in total, three of which are brand new, four of which are from R-Type II. There are new bosses for each of these stages, although they don't quite measure up to the quality of the original arcade version. Various other changes have been made in the stages as well - the cave level (stage two in the arcade version, stage three here) is completely missing water, for example, but has different (and new) bosses. The music quality is better, taking advantage of the superior SNES sound chip, though many of the actual songs have changed entirely. There's the slowdown that exists on nearly every SNES shooter, and the intro was changed to something crappier as well. None of these would matter that much, except for the biggest flaw - they took out the midlevel check points. All of them. No matter where you die in a stage, even if you're at the boss, you're tossed way back to the beginning. R-Type II was difficult, but making the game even more stupidly hard was not the wisest of moves.

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R-Type II (Arcade)

R-Type II (Arcade)

Super R-Type (SNES)


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R-Type Leo (アールタイプ・レオ) - Arcade (1992)

Japanese Arcade Flyer

R-Type Leo is considered the bastard stepchild of the series... not because it's particular bad or anything, but because it barely plays like an R-Type game. The biggest change? There's no Force pod. Instead, you have two satellites that hover above your ship. As you move forward, they aim backward; as you move backward, they aim forward. Technically your charge shot is gone - instead, the satellites can be fired forward once your power meter is full, which charges automatically. They'll home in on a foe and do a ton of damage, before almost immediately returning back to your ship. The weapons are all new, although there's a reflecting laser similar to the original R-Type games. Additionally, you resurrect automatically when you die, and there's two player simultaneous play.

Even though it lacks the strategy of the previous R-Type games, R-Type Leo is still damned good. It runs on a more advanced board than its predecessors and looks pretty damn gorgeous, especially the luscious (yet intimidating) plant level and the desert stage. The final levels take place in a series of ancient ruins, although some of the later bosses rip off just a wee bit too much from Gradius. Unfortunately, R-Type Leo was never released in arcade outside of Japan, and has never been ported to any home platforms.

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R-Type Leo (Arcade)

R-Type Leo (Arcade)


Additional Screenshots


R-Type III: The Third Lightning (アールタイプ・スリー ザ・サード・ライトニング) - SNES, Game Boy Advance, Wii Virtual Console (1993)

Japanese Super Famicom Cover

American SNES Cover

American GBA Cover

R-Type's first console exclusive outing also happens to be its best. The biggest addition is that there are now three different type of Force pods to choose from. There's also an alternate charge mode that lets your ship go into "Super" mode and allows you to fire fully-charged power shots for a few seconds. The graphics lose the washed-out look from R-Type III, replacing it with brighter, more detailed scenery that manages to beat the original, even though it's not quite up to par with R-Type Leo. There's some excellent music as well, including a remix of the first level from the original R-Type.

R-Type III

There are now three different Force pods to choose from, each with different weapons. However, the real star of the game is its outstanding level design - and in a series known for cool stages, that's an amazing accomplishment. One of the coolest moments is right in the first stage. After shooting down a few mechanoid robots, you encounter a strong one that doesn't seem to want to die. You dodge his shots and keep firing, in hope that eventually you'll take him down - until, without any fair warning, he crashes right into the stage background. R-Type III never loses this charge - the rest of the level puts Mode 7 to good use with some tricky rotating backgrounds and a boss that scales in and out from the background. A later level takes place inside some type of giant engine, complete with moving pistons that try to crush you, and even further down the line you face a stage where nearly every bit of scenery is actually a shape-changing alien. The only real drag is that, like R-Type II (and Leo), there's only six stages, but this is otherwise the most impressive R-Type game out there.

R-Type III

The Game Boy Advance also got a port of R-Type III in 2004, sporting a crappy 3D rendered cover and ported by Italian team Raylight Studios. While graphically the game is mostly intact (although the cool scaling launch sequence is gone), the game is a bit on the buggy side. There's no customizable controls, and using the shoulder buttons to launch and recall the Force Pod is a little weird. The music is also completely terrible. While there's a password option, there's no more difficulty select option, and when you run out of lives, you have to start from the beginning of the level - not the checkpoint. It's certainly not the worst SNES to GBA port - at least it plays okay for the most part - but it's still pretty lackluster.

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R-Type III (SNES)

R-Type III (SNES)

R-Type III (SNES)


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Comparison Screenshots


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Introduction
R-Type

Page 2:
R-Type II / Super R-Type
R-Type Leo
R-Type III: The Third Lightning

Page 3:
R-Type Delta
R-Type Final
R-Type Command / R-Type Tactics

Page 4:
About the Bosses
Clones and Rip Offs

Back to the Index