Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Retro Game of the Day! Super R-Type

Ah, Super R-Type - history has not been so kind to you, my friend. Granted, it's not been horrible - you ARE a shooter (and not of the FPS variety) and a lot of folks still remember your series with some admiration, but you, this particular installment, the 2.5 version of the series, you've been largely raked through the mud. "Too Slow. Too hard. Not as fun as the first, or third." Don't worry, Super R-Type, I still remember you. I still remember drooling over your pics in EGM prior to the day they put you up on the shelf in Electronics Boutique (we called it "Electronics Bou-geek," back in the day, clever 17-yr-old's that we were). I remember bringing you home shortly after your release, in 1992, and being so happy to finally have an R-Type of my own.. Me, with no Sega Master System or TurboGrafx-16...

A little interesting note, this game's predecessor was developed by Irem (it's pretty much their flagship title, after all these years) and the original coin-op was distributed in the States by Nintendo. So strange to see it on the Sega Master System, and TG-16, but no Nintendo entry - until now. After playing dozes of Sega Genesis shooters (and not complaining), the world of Super R-Type was popping with color, and after all - they started the whole "floating powerup helper-option thing" craze (well, aside from the ones in Gradius, but those were wimpy compared to the R-9's Force unit!)

As a series, R-Type had some things going for it - it was insanely challenging (but not TOO hard) - it had really gorgeous detailed graphics, they did NOT skimp there - their aliens were cool biomech designs, sci-fi mixed with a bit of Giger here and there - and the music was always funky and cool. Also they always put a "giant spaceship to destroy" level in the middle of their games, these were all notable trademarks of their series. Many other comers tried to step up, but R-Type just blew most of the others away.

Of course R-Type also had the charge shot, the aforementioned Force Unit, and the other little helper bits.. yeah, all that stuff was nice. But whatever - the game looked GOOD, and Super just stepped it up a bit from the previous installments. This stuff was just FUN, man.

Super R-Type had a pretty glaring flaw on the SNES - this machine was built for RPG's, not intense shooters. As this was an early entry into the system's lifespan, it looked great but it came with a cost. When the action got intense, the game would c-r-a-w-l, and this is what it is pretty famous for. Yeah, a drag (literally), but it did help to even the odds out a little. Unless you were one of the wusses who played this bad boy on a baby difficulty (anything less than hard), you were just going to die. A LOT. Slow down, or no.

I am a little ashamed to admit I have never finished an R-Type. I loved my shooters back in the day, and like any good shooter-lover I REALLY enjoyed the R-Type games, but I never had enough patience to stick it through to the end of these games. Too punishing, and I was too proud to try the easy route. I felt guilty/losery enough for cheating my way through Thunder Force II, for crying out loud. Someday I will have my revenge on the Bydo Empire. Someday...

P.S. These guys do a wonderfully rockin' jam rendition of Level 7 from this game. Hopefully they can be persueaded to put a recording of it on their website...

1 comment:

  1. Could not agree more, R-Type was the one and only shooter worth playing back in the day. and i still say to this day nothing has come close to the R-Type feel.