I LOVE R-Type. It has been one of my favorite space sidescroller shoot-em up franchise for decades. I played it in the arcades, on my Commodore Amiga, Sega Master System, the Super Nintendo, and on Playstation. Irem, the company that created the franchise, was able to create new games in the franchise and somehow keep the series from going stagnant as the years went by. In 2009, we were graced with the release of R-Type Dimensions on the Xbox 360, but I never got around to buying it. R-Type Dimensions is a remake of the first two games in the series, following in the vein of other upgraded classics like Bionic Commando.
R-Type Dimensions brings the first two games in the series into glorious HD with new 3D graphics, a widescreen aspect ratio and even gives us a new 2.5D perspective view. The soundtrack was also remixed, and a slowdown button was added to the game as well. R-Type has always been a beautiful looking game, in my opinion, in regards to 2D shump games. The redone graphics truly add more to the game’s atmosphere and gives us more eye candy to follow. Sometimes, however you will accidentally get caught up looking at all the new stuff and let yourself get hit by a projectile or an enemy ship. Thankfully, if you find things to distracting, you can easy switch back to the classic graphics with just the press of a button. I kind of got a little obsessed with pressing that button, constantly switching back and forth between graphic modes. It was kind of fun being able to do that on the fly.
R-Type Dimensions also allows for you to switch the aspect ratio from the classic 4:3 screen to a widescreen 16:9. This is a welcome change, and perfect for anyone that has a particular preferences to either play the game old school or to give yourself extra screen room to maneuver. The oddest addition is the 2.5D perspective view, which changes the angle at which you view the game. In hindsight, it seemed like a good idea, probably, but it just feels unnecessary. It’s an interesting angle, but doesn’t really provide any new elements to the game.
The tight controls that R-Type is known for are still here as well. I had the fear that the game would feel kind of floaty and slow to respond when playing with the updated graphics, but that turned out to not be an issue. Your ship in both games still moves at the flick of the thumb pad or analog stick and moves with no detectable lag whatsoever. The rest of the game still plays out the same, with the powerups, the add-on weaponry, and charge cannon. The only gameplay element I wasn’t fond of was the slow motion feature, which really doesn’t slow the game down so much as it nearly brings it to a snail’s pace. The idea of this mode was for those tight spots where you don’t have the reflexes to dodge incoming fire fast enough. However, it really plays more to your patience than anything, as just slowly moving about can be annoying.
There are two new gameplay modes that were added, giving more replaybility to these already legendary games: Infinite mode and a brand new multiplayer mode. The infinite mode is a straight forward version of the arcade game where you have unlimited lives and you can post your score onto an online leaderboard. Beating each stage allows you to unlock them and choose it as a starting point for either Classic Mode or Infinite Mode. The Multiplayer Mode allows you to play with another person, on the same screen, at the same time. Yes, no longer do you have to take turns playing R-Type, now you and a friend can take down the Bydo Empire together. This is a mode that I was hoping to have some twenty years ago on the Super Nintendo ports of the series, but that never happened. This truly helps makes R-Type Dimensions worth buying to relive all those classic moments all over again.
R-Type Dimensions shows that it offers quite a lot for just a simple update. Sure, there isn’t any new content, but what we have is a very solid and fun game. Decades after the originals came out, they managed to breathe new life into these games and reintroduced us to some classic gaming fun. The twitch gameplay, wonderful weapons, intense levels, challenging bosses, and great music are all solid reasons to warrant this being a definite purchase.
Short Attention Span Summary:
R-Type Dimensions offers a lot to the player besides a facelift. The solid gameplay mechanics that won us over years ago are present and still as addicting as ever. The ability to change graphic styles on the fly should be a crime because it’s just too damn fun not to do it constantly. The addition of same screen multiplayer gives us something we’ve been waiting over 20 years for, and it delivers. I highly recommend picking up R-Type Dimensions if you haven’t done so already.