The coin-op classics, R-Type and R-Type II, are together at last in R-Type Dimensions! Fight through all 14 Bydo-infested stages in original 2-D or all-new 3-D graphics, and swap back and forth on-the-fly. Pull yourself together, save the Earth, and strike down the evil Bydo Empire!
Reviewed March 2009 by Keith Murray.
Few games can really claim legendary status, but without question or hesitation, R-Type deserves that moniker. Across numerous platforms and some sterling sequels, it holds affection in many gamers hearts, spanning many different generations. Now the first two games in the series are re-imagined in the form of R-Type Dimensions for the XBLA.
The original R-Type was the brainchild of Japanese developers, IREM, but for this release Tozai Games were handed development duties. At this juncture, it should be noted that IREM didn’t provide any source code, so Dimensions is a recreation rather than a port, coding everything from scratch. This is no mean feat considering the scrutiny this release would be put under from the more rabid R-Type fans out there. Thankfully the final results are of a truly high standard.
In this package, two titles are available, R-Type 1 & 2. Both offer up large helpings of original sprite based, side scrolling shooting action. In addition to this, a new 3D mode has been made available, which is easily accessed with the press of the right bumper button. This new way to play R-Type is handled in a smooth and classy manner, with the transition between old and new graphics flawless in its execution. To add to the impressive visuals, a set of filters can be applied to the 2D mode. From Retro, Retro 8-Bits, Retro 2.0, Retro 2.0 8-Bits, there should be a setting that will appeal to diehards and newcomers equally.
The game can be played in two ways: normal and infinite mode. Infinite Mode respawns your ship instantly upon destruction, so there are no checkpoints required. While the lack of a difficulty setting might seem glaring, the game is still as punishing as it was back in the day, so the ability to continue is a welcome addition. For those who misspent their youth, and no doubt still have muscle memory lurking in their fingers and hands, they can test their skill on normal mode with limited lives to negotiate the various levels.
Another new addition is cooperative play either locally or over Xbox Live. Teaming up with friends to work together goes a long way to extending the life of the title. Included in this are a set of well thought out achievements which will provide a stern test of skills and provoke fond memories into the bargain.
R-Type Dimensions is a perfect example of how to re-create a classic but make it relevant today. While the slightly steep price of admission might put some off, there is a lot to admire in this release.