Known for its harder-than-nails gameplay and unforgiving level designs, R-Type is probably one of the most recognizable shooters of all-time. Ported to just about every console system in recent memory, Irem’s shooter has been entertaining gamers for well over 27 years.
With reboots and HD remasters gaining in popularity, it seemed like a natural progression for R-type, and its sequel R-Type II, to receive the same treatment. Tozai Games, the developer responsible for this HD Remaster of R-Type, spent a considerable amount of time polishing the graphics for this release. But the updated graphics, with their bright colors and modern spit shine finish, only account for a fraction of R-Type Dimensions’ features.
For starters, the game contains remastered versions of both R-Type and R-Type II, along with their classic arcade counterparts. While you can choose between remastered and classic from the start menu, R-Type Dimensions includes a feature that has never been used before in an HD remastered title – the ability to switch between both the HD and classic versions of the same game in real-time. While playing, the player can press the Triangle button to have the on-screen action transition seamlessly into its 16-bit arcade counterpart.
During this review, I spent a considerable amount of time using the ‘transition’ feature to see how it functions, and the results were startling. You would expect a feature like this to have some minor flaws (i.e. sprites between both games being slightly out of sync, etc), but regardless of the situation on-screen, the transition between both versions is spot on; a mirror image of the other, including death sequences and enemy patterns.
Again, I must stress – this feature is actually quite fascinating from both a technical and gameplay standpoint, and it really should be explored further in future classic to HD remakes. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself transitioning between both versions of R-Type to compare the shiny spit polish of the HD remake to its classic 16-bit cousin; I did it quite often during this review.
Despite the age of both titles, the gameplay is as challenging as any of today’s shooters. Thanks to the new game mode ‘infinite’, it’s actually possible to play the game without losing any lives (even though the game keeps count of how many times you die, and then ranks your skill based on these deaths and final score). R-Type Dimensions also includes ‘Classic Mode’, a feature that starts the player with 3 lives and then uses ‘checkpoints’ to respawn your spaceship. Moreover, the game supports local multiplayer where you can revive a companion by collecting power ups in Classic Mode. It’s little features like these that enhance R-Type Dimensions’ gameplay.
As a fan of shmups, it was a pleasure to experience the grandfather of all shooters in a remastered format on Playstation 3. If you’re looking to experience a difficult, balls to the wall shooter that paved the way for the genre long before bullet hell shooters existed, then Tozai Games’ re-release of R-Type is definitely the game for you. The only thing missing is the smell of pizza and a pocket full of quarters.
Platform: Playstation 3 (Available on PSN)
Developer: Tozai Games (Original Developer, Irem)
Publisher: Tozai Games
|Smooth 2.5D graphics complimented by large sprites.|
|Destroying the Byod empire has never sounded so good.|
|Classic R-Type gameplay.|
|This is one shmup that every gamer should own.|