R-Type is one of the most popular side scrolling shoot 'em up games developed by Irem for the arcades in 1987. It became popular for its creative world-view and game system and was converted on various video game consoles and home computers!
STORY / GAMEPLAY The story takes place somewhere in the 22nd century! You fly a futuristic fighter craft called the R-9a "Arrowhead". The craft's name is based on its shape and because it is the ninth model in the 'R' series of fighter aircrafts. The main mission is to blast and destroy the evil Bydo Empire (and its fleets). Basically, you have to shoot everything that moves -with most aliens shooting back at you while others just get on your way to instantly kill you upon contact. The backgrounds look like tunnels (or caverns) that have a "ceiling" and a "floor" outcropping in places! These can also be dangerous since you can easily crash your R-9a. Some of the sprites are pretty large, like the giant spinning wheel monster that awaits near the end of the first level where you actually have to get your ship inside it and shoot it in the eye to close its account. And be sure that there are a lot of even bigger (and far more difficult) alien monsters to confront! The rapid presses on the fire button produce standard laser bursts, but should you require a bit more firepower you must hold the button for 3 seconds to charge and blast a bigger shot which will pierce and kill everything into its range. It is absolutely necessary to also collect an extra bonus shield (a sort of a second aircraft) that shoots and can be unleashed to kill everything on sight. Overall, R-Type is extremely difficult (frustratingly difficult actually) since you can easily lose lives and -the worst of all- if you are shot down, you re-spawn at the beginning of the level (very unfair in my opinion)! Actually the whole game is unfairly tough!
GRAPHICS / SOUND The developers tried to create a pretty faithful conversion on the Amiga which offers some good graphics. But, they could do much better here I think. The Amiga conversion offers 32 colors on screen but they are not quite similar to the original, especially the backgrounds. The sprites themselves move beautifully and some of them are really big, especially the end-level bosses! Surely, Ridley Scott's Alien was a source of inspiration here (check the Level 1 guardian). Also, the game's speed does not seem to be affected by the massive end level guardians. Overall, the Amiga conversion offers more detail, more colors and smoother action compared to the Atari ST's R-Type (which actually is bad), but fails to reproduce the quality of the X68000 and the PC (MS-DOS) conversion which are almost identical to the original. Soundwise, things follow the same standards and each level "carries" its own tune (composed by Darius Zendeh) and the Amiga conversion offers sound effects during gameplay (which are missing on the ST). Note that the great intro tune was written by the great Chris Huelsberg!
In-game music sample:
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CPU: Motorola MC68000 7.16 MHz MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM. GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once). SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs