previews\ Jan 27, 2004 at 7:00 pm

R-Type Final - PS2 - Preview

Something old is new again.

There has been a marked resurgence in the return of the arcade game. In some cases, the latest release of old stand-bys is merely that – a somewhat straight port of a classic game to a new platform. But in some cases, the old arcade title is undergoing a facelift for the next generation console systems.

Take R-Type for example. This was a solid arcade side-scrolling shooter that consumed quarters almost 20 years ago when it was introduced. If you ever visited the arcade, you remember the game. Up, down, accelerate, brake, and shoot at enemies, dodge asteroids, and other airborne junk.

Well, it’s baaaaack!

Fresh Games, Irem Software and Eidos Interactive have teamed up for the February release of R-Type Final. If you want to talk about a serious graphical upgrade – this game has it. And yes, it is still somewhat mindless, challenging and time-consuming fun. This game promises a lot of innovations to the title to move it away from the ‘just another retread’ category and into a title that borrows heavily from the original, but still manages to create its own space.

There are several ways to play and several difficulty levels. The game sports the tutorial (which is a quick overview of the control set-up, so don’t expect too much there), then the main game mode, a Versus AI mode, and the Score attack. The difficulty levels show off a little attitude and challenge players as well: there is Baby, Kids, Human, Bydo and R-Typer.

The game employs a Force System to power up ships, which are sent into battle against the evil Bydo. There are more than 100 ships available and each, after you unlock them, can be customized with weapons upgrades and paint jobs.

The basic set up is this, you select your ship, launch it and then sit back and get ready for a terrific piece of eye candy. The levels are imaginative, and though this is still a side-scrolling game, the environments and ships look three-dimension. Not only will you have floating mines, but also giant bots armed with big guns and rocket backs to fight.

The audio track features pulse-pounding music, and the usual array of space-blasting effects.

While the game play is generally simplistic, the game is challenging. This is a game that looks terrific and plays very well. Don’t expect rocket science with this title. This is an old-arcade game that has undergone some major changes and steps bravely forward into the next century with a look that will be totally at home.

This is billed as the final release of R-Type. If you are a fan of classic arcade shooters, and don’t mind that they have been upgraded to embrace the graphical capabilities available now, then pick this one up fast.

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