Wednesday, January 7, 2009

R-Type I - PC-Engine


I've been on a bit of a PC-Engine kick (if you didn't notice already) and have been picking up a number of games for the system, including Sapphire, Dracula X, Gotzendiener, Valis IV & II and R-Type I.

To tell the truth, I never got into R-Type back in the day, mostly because it was hella difficult, at least for my younger self. I also never got a chance to play it in the arcade and was then just subjected to some bad ports, hence the lack of interest in the game, until I spied some gameplay footage on

First of all, the music hooks into me right from the start up. Ther's a kind of building rush of electronic sound that then launches into the stage 1 music and it never fails to get me stoked to play, just like the stage 1 music from the Cave masterpieces Dodonpachi Dai-Ou-Jou and Ketsui.


The graphics are excellent 2D fantasticness with beautiful level design. There are so many sections where you get a chance to spy the level design as you try and find a path through the stage that you can really appreciate the work that went into it while you play.

Progression through the stages is also near perfect, with a gradual difficulty curve and great progression in design as well, opening up the stages from the early claustrophobic feel to the later open-space feel.

The R-9 ship controls very well, with good tap-tap-tap imputs possible to dodge around enemies and their fire. But what really makes it shine is the organic nature of the detachable weapon, which you can fling off the back or front of the ship and ram it to reattach it. It fires on its own while detached and also works as a bullet absorbing shield, which you most definately need in the later levels.

I find myself playing the hell out of this when I play my PCE-Duo R, which is very often these days. After an hour or so of Valis IV, this is a perfect, short explosive burst of shmup goodness that always satisfies.

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