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R-TYPE Series

By Irem Arcade 1987-


R-Type's dazzlingly imaginative, semi-organic creations
betray the influence of HR-Giger - but Irem had other sources
of inspiration too (above). It's graphics, however, were only
one of a series of breathtaking innovations.


Ten examples of how Irem's designers
seemingly stopped at nothing..

The stylish, understated nature of the title
screen. Coin-ops were
never understated.

The magnificent design of the R9 itself -
beautifully realised and impossibly detailed.

The light-sourced, semi-organic scenery
created by some intelligent use of colour (in
a simialr fashoin to the Bitmap's
Xenon 2.)

The tractor beam that sucks energy into
the nose of the R9 while holding down fire.

The hollowed out explosions which
became an industry blueprint. R-Type
is where they started.

The huge range of catchy and unusual
sound effects (such as the twinkly, bleepy
enemy explosions) that denote player
rewards superbly.

Subtle animations such as the way
the R9's shields flatten out when the
ship accelerates.

The realistic stream of bubbles that trails
behind the submerged R9 in R-Type II stage 2.

R-Type's rotating ring of enemies on
level one that the R9 enters and duly
detonates (above)

The different coloured canopies on
the fleet of R-9's in the first game's

The cult shooter to end all cult
shooters, the influence of Irem's classic
R-Type titles can still be seen in many shoot 'em ups to this day..

April 1998 - and much-admired UK next-gen gaming mag 'Edge' surprises all by running a cover-feature on a decade-old game, which, what's more, belongs to the highly 'unfashionable' shoot 'em up genre. Well, that's the reason it caught my eye and
I bought it! Here's the full article from this unusual yet excellent issue for your delectation! Mike

In recent years the re-release of so-called 'classics' from the annals of coin-op gaming history has, more often than not, been a desperately sobering experience. Many games once revered as distinguished examples of a genre, simply can't cut it in today's polygon-obsessed games market. A common problem is that simplistic and dated visuals can now undermine the desire to progress through a game's levels - the goalposts have been shifted and a whole new set of expectations are in place. Ultimately though, the intervening years have seen a progression in certain types of arcade-style gameplay and nostalgia is often the only motivation left in retrogaming.

R-Type is a thorougly overqualified exception to this trend. Released in the autumn of 1987, Irem's blaster was one of the early breed of games to utilise 16-bit coin-op technology - something immediately borne out by the sheer quality of its graphics. But its visual sophistication was underpinned by some ideas that would change the shoot 'em up for years to come, despite the fact that few coin-op designers mimicked its innovations with any degree of success. R-Type had done everything perfectly, and the hordes of inferior, rival clones that appeared later, merely reinforced this. A cult was born.

Irem's classic shooter may now be a relic from a dated genre (with an inherently simple game structure to boot) but it pioneered graphic and game design blueprints that set incredibly high standards - standards that were so far ahead of their time that they still impress today. It's difficult to think of another game that so vividly exemplifies a developer having strived for perfection in every vital area of a game's creation.

R-Type's first four levels, including level three's famous mothership encounter, one of the most memorable boss-clashes of all time.

R-Type's success in the arcades meant that conversion to various home computers and consoles was a certainty, and it was NEC's diminutive but potent PC Engine (aka Turbografix 16) console that first played host (the pictures on this page are from this version- Mike.) Fortunately for NEC (and thanks to the skillful conversion team at Huson Soft), PC-E R-Type was virtually arcade perfect and was released on two seperate 'HuCards' - each containing four of the game's 8 levels. Despite this, the leap in performance over the most popular consoles of the day, such as the NES, was all too apparent and R-Type was the 'killer app' NEC needed to transform its machine into a gameplayer's dream. PC Engines flew off the shelves, and many even made it over to the UK, kickstarting the grey import market in the process. (continued..)

R-Type I and II (below left & middle) can aslo be enjoyed in the M72 and Rage emulators on PC,
however the third arcade sequel, R-Type Leo (below, right) is unfortunately as yet unemulated.

Next page : R-Type series (continued)

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