The whole space invaders scene from the 70s had a lot to answer for ten years later, and nearly 25 years later, it still does. Irem Corporation took a turnaround in the arcades when R-Type was released, going straight from beat-em-ups such as Kung Fu Master and Vigilante to one of it's finest creations as far as arcades were concerned. It was one of the quickest conversions to make it over to the home machines. R-Type, the intro says it all. Blast off and defeat the evil Bydo empire. The world's under threat from Bydo and his cronies and you have to take control of the R9 and prevent disaster. Activision were the ones to do the honours in converting this. As the tape loads up, I get my trigger fingers ready.
Avoiding the enemy!
Try to find the weakspot!
A horizontally scrolling shoot em up is what we have on our hands. Eight levels of well planned out alien attacks and monster enemies at the end of the levels. Help is at hand though as the amount of power ups that are scattered around are enough to keep any trigger happy fanatic going. From lasers, to side pulses, to a very effective scissors type laser. You can also get a good blast at the enemy by holding the power button for about five seconds before releasing. So you have a lot in your arsenal. Mind you, the aliens aren't just going to sit there and take all of this either, they have a pretty heavy weaponary range too and they don't hesitate to use it at all. So R-Type does give you a lot to do, and no time limit leaves plenty of time to do it in.
So for the game alone, it boasts a lot, the arcade did and it lived up to it, but the CPC version of it is a little disappointing with Captain Speccy getting his mits on this one. It might move a little on the slow side, but don't worry about this as the arcade did that as well. Sound is a letdown as well, but again, the arcade version's sound was pretty minimal as well and was nothing to write home about, in fact the lack of the tunes for the CPC version could be a good thing. All this aside the game's still immensely playable as the tactics are practically the same as whats used in the arcade. It's not too difficult, until you get past the mothership on the third level, which I too had problems with on the coin-op version.
Scenes from Aliens.
It's too bad really, an excellent game with the ass torn out of it thanks to poor presentation. It's not every day that we get a shoot em up with this much potential, so many enemies, power ups and ones that present a challenge or that can actually hold interest. Frustrating because unlike Wonderboy, the last Activision game I reviewed, this is pretty much the spit of it's arcade parent but the speccy graphics just give it the proverbial kick in the guts to drop it down a couple of levels. Activision did a fair few conversions in a speccy and we're getting a bit tired of it. Quartet and Super Hang on were all their pieces of work and all speccy ports. Maybe someday they'll be able to finish the job properly, but R-Type slides a little over Activisions negligence.
THE END RESULT:
Slowish speccy port and bare minimum effects.
Almost matches the arcades gameplay.
Difficult to let go of the joystick with this one.
Disappointing conversion perhaps?
THE BOTTOM LINE: 72%