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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 Delta (アール・タイプ デルタ) - PlayStation, PSN (1998)

Japanese PlayStation Cover

European PlayStation Cover

Japanese OST Cover

R-Type Delta is the first in the series use polygonal graphics, even though it keeps the 2D gameplay of its predecessors. Similar to R-Type III, you can now fly three different ships, each with their own unique Force pods and weaponry. Even cooler is the "Delta" power-up - the more enemies you defeat with your Force, the more energy you gather. Once you've built up enough, you can unleash a bomb to attack on everything on the screen. One might think this would make the game easier, but it really doesn't - it's still as difficult as ever, and you start with limited continues, though you gain more as you play.

While the visuals aren't quite as clean as other similar PlayStation shooters like Einhänder and G-Darius - the game is overly dark and some of the textures are rather pixellated - the amount of detail put into each and every corner of every stage enhancers the overall look of the game, and puts R-Type Delta in a class of its own. Occasionally it uses the extra dimensions for dramatic effect, when the landscape flips and turns, or when gigantic mechanical worms leap out of the background. The music has a significantly different feel than the other games, consisting mostly of atmospheric techno. Like R-Type II, there's a level that's submerged in water - whenever you dip beneath the surface, the music changes to a spacier version of the stage theme. It's hard to say it's the best of the series, but it certainly ranks up there.

R-Type Delta

Some of the other levels are pretty damn cool too. Echoing the legendary battleship stage from the original R-Type, there's one stage devoted to taking down a huge walker, similar to the AT-ATs from The Empire Strikes Back. Another is a destoyed biological wasteland where you see remnants of old R-Type bosses, and even a run in with the Dobkeratops again. And remember that one episode of The Simpsons with the baseball players, where Ozzie Smith fell into a mysterious vortex filled with floating mathematical equations and other bits of general weirdness? The final level is just like that, complete with evil crystal-encased babies, giant strands of killer DNA, and images of astronauts and chemical formulas float by - all the while, you're behind attacked by what seems to be a gigantic red egg that attacks with malicious sperm. Bravo, Irem, you've earned your place in history. Even weirder, while you get the usual happy ending with two of the ships, the third one will remain trapped in the Bydo universe - and you get to fight it in one the hidden stages in R-Type Final.

R-Type Delta (PlayStation)

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R-Type Delta (PlayStation)

R-Type Delta (PlayStation)

R-Type Delta (PlayStation)


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R-Type Final (アールタイプファイナル) - PlayStation 2 (2003)

American PlayStation 2 Cover

Japanese PlayStation 2 Cover

A couple years after the release of R-Type Delta, Irem developed what was to be the last in the R-Type series - R-Type Final for the PlayStation 2. R-Type Final's big claim to fame - as evidenced on the cover - is the absurd amount of ships you get to pilot. While you only start with three, through extended play and reaching various goals, you'll unlock many more. There are over 100 total, and some of them are even customizable - altogether, there are 10 missile types, 10 bit types, 84 cannon types and 53 Force types. The amount of weaponry is absolutely absurd, ranging from joke weapons to homages to other Irem shooters like Gallop and Mr. Heli. Obviously, many of them vary only slightly, but it's an astoundingly cool feature. The super charge beam and the Delta attack from R-Type Delta are back too.

The actual game itself is only half as ambitious. Much like R-Type Delta, this installment is very dark, but the environments here tend to look very sterile and washed out - in other words, it's basically the same issue R-Type II had. In spite of this, there's still a ton of detail put in the backgrounds of the stages, so it still looks fairly decent. The best is when you refight the battleship from the original R-Type, except it's being fought in the city. You begin in the sky, miles above civilization, until your approach slowly brings you next to the surface, as the battle is fought between skyscrapers. As cool as this whole stage is, it's filled with a ton of slowdown.

R-Type Final

Plus, while R-Type has always had creatures that looked a bit sexual, R-Type Final really takes the proverbial cake. When you come upon the alien Gomander in level 6 (the boss of level two in the original R-Type), you reach its interior by what seems to be a gigantic alien vagina. And in an attempt to usurp R-Type Delta as having the strangest final stage ever, Level F-A has a pair of shadows in the background that slowly embrace before finally going down on the floor for the course of the level. Either the designers are trying to be daringly artful, or the people at Irem just have some strange issues.

The level designs themselves are lacking in some aspects too. Some stages seem strangely empty, and there's too much dead time between enemies, or simply the same waves of enemies appearing over and over. This is standard for a regular shooter, but the meticulously planned levels that distinguish R-Type are, for the most part, mostly missing. It doesn't help that the music is mostly quiet - the soundtrack is more atmospheric, and concentrates mostly on setting the mood. On one hand, it lends a bit of gloomy oppresiveness to a game that's already pretty downtrodden - each level begins with little quotation that basically states how overwhelmingly powerful the Bydo are - but it's a big change from not only previous R-Type games, but most shooters in general.

R-Type Final

In some ways, the stages themselves are a bit too easy - while there are multiple difficulty settings (the easiest allows you to keep weapons when you die and kill most of the bosses in a single charged up hit), only the absolute hardest seems to challenge you like the old games. That's not specifically a bad thing though - since it's easier, it makes it more replayable, which is the whole point of the game with the massive amount of customization options.

Additionally, there are a couple of branching paths throughout the game. For instance, one level is half submerged in water. If you hit a certain spot on the boss, it'll change the water level next time you play, so it'll either be dry or completely underwater. One stage only opens up when you're piloting a specific ship. There are three different paths to the ending, depending on how you fight the boss, and completing these is the only way to get the best ending.

In addition to all of the ships, there's also a useless AI battle mode, where you equip various crafts with items and have the computer duke it out with itself. It's not particularly exciting, but it's a bit fun to play around with when you've unlocked enough stuff. Overall, R-Type Final is certainly overflowing with ambition, but it would've been nice if the levels themselves were a bit faster paced.

The Japanese version actually had a weird vocal song as its ending, while the overseas version (brought out under Eidos' Fresh Games label, replete with ugly yellow cover framing) used a song from the Blue Man Group. This may sound like heresy, but the replacement actually fits better.

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R-Type Final (PlayStation 2)

R-Type Final (PlayStation 2)

R-Type Final (PlayStation 2)

R-Type Final (PlayStation 2)

R-Type Final (PlayStation 2)

R-Type Final (PlayStation 2)


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R-Type Command / R-Type Tactics (アール・タイプ タクティクス) - PSP (2007)

American PSP Cover

Could anybody have predicted this? After "finishing" the series with R-Type Final, Irem resurrected the series as a tactical strategy game. How? Maybe the AI fight sequences in R-Type Final reminds the developers of the battles in Military Madness / Nectaris? Who knows, but it's a really fascinating game.

As one can expect, you play the role of the humans fighting against the evil alien Bydo empire. The game is turn-based, with a hex-based grid with a sideview perspective of the level. It's comparably to Advance Wars or Nectaris, with one main difference - you're only allowed to take a limited number of ships into each stage, and you can't produce any more once you've entered. So if a fleet is destroyed, it's gone for the rest of the level. (Although nothing is permanently destroyed - you'll get everything back when you win.) Each level usually has bonus items which, when captured, allow you to create new ships. Pilots also gain experience over the course of the game, and can be shuffled around to different craft at will.

There are tons of ships, each with different capabilities. Some work as scouts, allowing you to cut through the fog of war that blanks out most of the stage. Others are bombers that allow you to attack from a range. The standard R9-style ships will charge up their laser automatically over the course of a few turns - if you build it to max, it can be unleashed with devastating effects. However, if this ship gets hit, it loses its charges. Many enemy ships work the same way - using this to your advantage is the key to many victories. There are also Force Pods, which can either fly independently around the screen, or can be attached to fighters for extra firepower. Most ships have limited ammo, so it's a wise idea to keep around supply ships to restock and repair. You also control a command ship, which will instantly repair any ship, but these are remarkably slow, and if it gets destroyed, you lose the stage.

In many ways, it's remarkable that the designs are still basically the same as they were back in 1987. Stylistically, it mostly resembles R-Type Final, with its dark graphics and moody soundtrack, and while it's clearly not a high budget game, it still looks pretty decent for a PSP title. Unfortunately, it's a bit on the slow side. The cinemas that show your fleets doing battle are impressive, but they take forever to load and execute. Similarly, each ship is so slow that it tends to take forever to move across the field - even the earlier stages take at least half an hour. It doesn't help that the game, especially in its early stages, is brutally difficult. There's no real tutorial, and you'll probably end up failing the first few stages before you learn how to properly play the game. (For example - your charge shot will take out both friend and foe, so be careful.) You might lose too many ships at the beginning of the level, which then makes it impossible to finish - it doesn't help that each stage has a turn limit too. Given how slow the game is, it gets frustrating replaying the same stages. In many ways, it's as brutally punishing as the shooters it spawned from, but in a different way.

Even still, once you get over that (very large) hurdle, there's a lot to see and enjoy with R-Type Command. It's particularly cool to see how a real time shooter is crunched into a turn based game, especially when fighting a boss like the Dobkeratops, which requires that you attack multiple weakpoints while avoiding its tail, which switches positions every few turns. It's also a huge game - there are well over 30 missions for the human side, and once you complete it, you unlock the Bydo campaign, complete with another set of missions and completely new units. It's basically a game aimed at both R-Type enthusiasts and hardcore strategy fans - a niche audience, to be sure, but that niche audience is going to enjoy the hell out of this game. Casual strategy fans should probably stay away, and R-Type fans should know that even expertise in shooters means little for a tactical commander.

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R-Type Command (PSP)

R-Type Command (PSP)

R-Type Command (PSP)

R-Type Command (PSP)


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Additional 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