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R-Type Final
Review By: Jared Black
 
Developer:  Irem
Publisher:  Fresh Games (Eidos)
# Of Players:  1
Genre:  Shooter
ESRB:  Everyone
Online:  No
Accessories:  Memory Card
Date Posted:  3-12-04

One of gamingís most revered franchises passed away last month, and you probably didnít even notice or (unfortunately) care about it.  The ďFinalĒ in R-Type Final really does mean that this is the last game in the revered R-Type series, unless Irem changes its mind of course.  Although this is my first experience with the series, Iíve played several other shooters before and can certainly understand how sad fans of the series must feel.  Fortunately for them R-Type Final proves to be a worthy send-off for the franchise.

If youíve played any of the previous R-Type games or most of the shooters inspired by it, you know what to expect here.  The action takes place on a horizontal plane, with enemies coming in swarms from all sides of the screen.  These enemies range from swarms of bug-like ships to huge monsters that fill up the majority of the screen.  Progressing through the game takes a mixture of quick reflexes and a good memory, since battles against bosses and mini-bosses can only be won by taking advantage of attack patterns and counter-attacking when possible.  The player is pushed through each level automatically, with the world rotating around the player as he progresses.  Get hit by virtually anything (building, enemy, bullet, etc.) and he must restart from the last checkpoint.  Checkpoints are plentiful, but the player never knows where the last one was until itís needed (thus keeping the tension higher).

Although the game only features six levels in all, each level is fairly lengthy and most have several different routes that can be taken.  R-Type Final also features over 100 different ships, each of which can be customized with different color schemes, secondary weapons, and bits.  The downside is that only three of these ships are initially available, and many can only be unlocked after accomplishing some Herculean feats.  Iím not against making the player earn bonuses, but with so many ships it wouldnít have hurt to be a little more generous with them at the beginning of the game.

Graphically, Irem pulled out all of the stops and it shows.  Enemies and ships alike are detailed (especially for this kind of game), and there are a ton of lighting and other explosive effects throughout the game.  Bosses are huge and imaginative, usually filling up most of the screen and forcing the player to navigate tiny spaces.  Each game world is very detailed; with some stunning backgrounds full of new details to discover each time you play.  There is a bit of slowdown, but it never really hurts gameplay and itís definitely worth it.

The music is a mixture of slow, groovy tunes which oddly enough reminded me of those in todayís racing games (particularly Gran Turismo 3) and electronic beats reminiscent of the 80ís.  On the whole itís really only average: good enough to fit the mood but not so good that it actually increases enjoyment of the game that much.  The sound effects are better, with a wide range of enemy, weapons, and other sounds to compliment the blazing action onscreen.  However, I recognized several sound effects from other games (I couldíve sworn that was Lavosí [from Chrono Trigger] yell I heardÖ), which means I either play too many games or theyíre using a sound library a lot of other developers use.

HIGHS:

  • Outstanding graphics, perhaps the best yet in the genre.

  • A ton of different ships to unlock and alternate paths mean plenty of replay value.

  • The enemies are definitely imaginative, particularly boss characters

  • Stays true to the seriesí roots instead of bowing to the gimmicks used in a lot of todayís games. 

LOWS:

  • If you arenít an old school gamer and/or fan of the genre, the gameplay will probably come across as basic and archaic.

  • Fitting, but decidedly average musical score.

  • A bit short for veteran players, even on the harder settings.

FINAL VERDICT:

The R-Type series goes out in style with a finale thatíll please old-school gamers and shooter fans alike.  Buy this game; enjoy blasting stuff and pay tribute to one of gamingís most influential franchises at the same time.

Overall Score: 8.0

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