Sinclair User

By The Hit Squad
Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+3

Published in Sinclair User #106


You know all those horizontally-scrolling space shoot-'em-ups where you collect extra weapons and duff up disgusting end-of-level guardians? You know people refer to them as "R-Type clones"? Do you know why that is? Because they're all rip-offs of this one, the original classic Irem coin-op conversion R-Type. While some of the later imitations are graphically better or maybe faster, few rival the sheer excitement of R-Type.

The R-Type of the title is your space fighter, an initially weedy fighting machine which grows more formidable as you bolt on extra gear. As you'll realise, your only task is to move left right up down and shoot all the ghoulies of the evil Bydo Empire; hoppers, fliers, worms, skeletoids and gun emplacements which attempt to zap you. The trick is to learn their attack patterns, use the appropriate weapons, and save up your super blaster (activated by holding down the fire button to build up power, then releasing a blast) at the correct places.

The graphics are great, and despite a lot of use of colour in the aliens, colour clash is kept to a minimum. Once you have added extra weapons, such as reflection lasers, homing missiles and shield orbs, the screen becomes very busy without the action slowing down. Adding these weapons - and The Force, a sort of forward probe which can be released to fight for itself in tricky situations - means that the tension in R-Type just keeps building up.

Miss this one, and you're a four-headed turkey from Neptune.

Overall Summary

It's a classic. Showing its age maybe, but still a classic.

Chris Jenkins

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