In its long and unhappy history, the Bydo Empire has never ever won an award for niceness. Not once. Zilch. It is evil, horrific and deadly. Not altogether surprisingly, war has been waged by them on the planet Earth. The battle has raged for some time, and now Earth is fighting back - with your help as pilot of the R-9 fighter plane. All you have to do is grind the star-hopping monsters to pulp (blow-'em away) using every dirty trick in the book (or not in it) and every weapon you can get your grubby hands on. Save the Earth or die trying.
There are many levels to play through, each one being loaded in separately from tape or disk as the previous one is completed. Each level scrolls horizontally from the right, and the Bydo hordes attack from all sides.
Below the playing area is a score and lives panel, along with a beam indicator. The intensity of the beam fired from your ship depends on how long you keep the fire button depressed (talk to it about the meaning of life and the futility of it all, that should do the trick). A long press gets you a very powerful beam, but you can't fire as often.
Your ship initially only has the beam weapon, but extra ones can be collected by shooting certain alien types and then flying over their deposits (jewels). Three types of laser, homing missiles, extra speed and shield orbs can be added. When the first jewel is collected you also get a special weapon called "the force" which can be fitted to the front or rear of the ship. It can also be left flying around to act as advance or rear guard.
When it's fitted to your ship it stops all bullets from the front or rear, depending of course on where it's attached. Reflection lasers bounce all over the screen destroying everything that they touch. Anti-aircraft lasers and ground lasers fire up or down respectively. Homing missiles are fired in pairs and go for a suitable target on screen. Extra speed, fairly obviously, makes you move faster and shield orbs drift alongside your ship destroying whatever they hit.
At certain sections of a level you'll encounter some very big and nasty aliens, and you'll need all of your arsenal of weaponry to stand any chance of survival. The first biggie is a caterpillar-like creature going around in circles. Its outer surface is invulnerable and the only way to get at it is by going into the centre of the circle.
Unfortunately it's armed on the inside and if you don't take care you'll end up dead instead of it. The end of level one is guarded by the fearsome alien on the cover of the box.
This guy takes some killing and if you lose a life all special weaponry is lost. When (or if) you get past him you'll go onto the second level and things start getting even tougher.
First, the good news on the graphics front: the scrolling is smooth and fastish. The bad news, however, is that there's very little colour and the sprites aren't exactly what you'd call overly detailed. Sound effects are limited to a handful of explosions and they're nothing to write home about.
R-Type has all of the features of the arcade game except for the graphics, speed and sound. It's a dull, slow game with poor sound effects. Not a good example of an arcade conversion.
I don't reckon R-Type is as poor as Gary makes out - but then I was never as addicted to the original R-Type arcade experience as he was! The fact is that people do buy conversions, and this one will be no exception. Just hope they're not too disappointed.
No more exciting.
Graphics 48% P. Good scrolling. N. Lacking in colour and detail.
Sonics 29% N. Futile effects.
Grab Factor 62% P. Plenty of strap on weapons. N. Slow paced.
Staying Power 54% N. End of level guardians make progress tough. N. Tedious maximus.
Overall 57% Another disappointing arcade conversion.