R-Type Delta - IREM

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R-Type Delta - the classic gets a facelift.

Reviewed by Felix the Cat

Everyone should know about R-Type by now. The shooter which arguably pioneered the rock-solid blasterama and controlled game design is back, and in polygonal format. I can hear the moans and groans of a thousand retrofreaks shouting profanities in the region of 'what is this doing in 3D?!'. To be honest, I didn't relish the thought of playing the greatest and best shooter ever in a blocky setting, so I forked over my money with apprehension.

Loading up the disc in my chipped PlayStation, my apprehension was nearly confirmed. The intro FMV was well...really fuzzy (I think that's the style Irem wanted to capture, as in amateur home video style ;) and not particularly inspiring, being all story and all. But then that's the effect Squaresoft have on you in the modern era. The first level was also lacking in interest (just like the rest of the R-Type series) with a few non-aggressive enemies floating into cannon's way.

I nearly made that mistake of relaxing my way into the game, as halfway into the first level the difficulty picked WAY up and threw all sorts of crap my way, which I barely managed to get out of. Huge screen-filling battleships, the classic walking-missile launcher, and a MASSIVE polygonal snake made completing level one so much harder.

And it gets harder still! Level 2, set in a water-filled cavern a-la R-Type 2, bunches you up with the classic ziggy-zaggy moving enemies and lots of protruding obstructions on the floor and ceiling. Level 3...stomping mechs, loads of enemies floating up from behind...

The graphics miss that certain R-Type feel to the game. The polys, although crisp and well-shaped, aren't as detailed as the typical hand-drawn R-Type of old, but still retain enough atmosphere and character to make it instantly R-Type recognisable. Now it reminds meof something H.R.Giger would have loved to play, had he ever heard of importing...

The music takes a turn from the R-Type 3 school of composing and goes all Einhander-like with Japanese ambient and some interesting opera inserted here and there. The music is dark and foreboding enough to make you jump when the tempo picks up and this rather oversized character appears on-screen. Overall the music, although not as interesting as R-Type 3's, still adds that final touch to what is a great whole.

And there are secrets! Like FreePlay, Stage Select, the Gallery a-la Einhander, ending theater, and even the chance to play as the POW Armor! Talk about longevity!

The only bad things that this game has is the also-classic R-Type difficulty, which is good in that it makes the game last, but is BAD in that it can get frustrating, and also you need to have prior knowledge of the game, or incredible ninja reflexes to get past some areas (reminds me of Level 6 in R-Type, where the walkers all drop from the ceiling and fire at a rate of thirty bullets a second...). Also sometimes enemy shots can get obscured by the player craft's pyrotechnics, and can lead to the odd shock-kill, and the odd swearing fit.

I wasn't so sure this game was going to capture my imagination in the same way as the rest of the R-Type games or Einhander, or the other ones I like, did, but after easing my way into it I can safely say that R-Type shooter on the PlayStation by a LONG distance, and most interesting R-Type I've ever got my hands to in a long while. Get this if you want challenge!

R-9 R-13 R-X
The R-9a, modified for this particular mission, carries the classic Round Force. Codenamed Delta, it has an impresive array of weapons reaching back to R-Type 2, with the Charge Bolt and the Hyper Beam. The R-13 (codenamed Cerberus) is a variation on the R-9 design, but instead of utilising plasma power it uses electricity. The Anchor Force, the R-13 Force Device, is connected to the R-13 via a force cable which can conduct attack power from the R-13 and amplify it. The R-X is a new craft in the R-Type Universe, and has many new styles of attack and defense. Codenamed Albatross (for some reason) it uses plasma power to deliver full-on power. The Tentacle Force has a built in homing device which seeks out enemies, locks on and attacks.
The Delta Attack (the smart bomb charged by killing enemies) is a rapid fire explosion filling the screen with immense power. The Delta Attack of the R-13 is the homing shock - a massive electrical discharge which locks onto enemies. The Delta Attack of the R-X is an energy hole which releases massive amounts of radiation destroying everything onscreen.

Starts just like any other R-Type game with some very stupid Bydo enemies wandering into the line of fire. Do them a favour, make their death quick, painless and as enjoyable to you as possible! HYPER BEAM!!

Ooh. Big bad Bydo battleship (lots of B's, must "B" a hive nearby...). This oversized thingy gets in the way quite a lot in Level 2, so take it out early and don't let in stop your Bydo extermination mission. If you have the R-13, release the Anchor Force into it's body and send a few thousand volts into it!

Another oversized obstruction. Giant Bydo Snake makes quite an entrance, levelling a building and knocking over some cars. Aim for the transparent body segment and unleash some force into it!

The first boss of the day. A large tank blocks your way into the next section of the game, and puts up quite a fight too (makes a change from the wimps of the first four games...). Watch out for this large screen-filling laser blast!

More levels this way!....

Once again, that's all the R-Types reviewed (well, apart from Leo)... until R-Type 5: The Bydo Empire Strikes Back (Again) of course. How about an R-Type Gaiden, or an R-Typeodius? Hmmm, nah. Logically, the next R-Type should be R-Type Leo & R-Type III pack, called R-Types's. How about it lads?

Well, Simon le chat, merci muchness for that review! I'd like to re-iterate the astounding beauty of the game, married with the classic R-Type gameplay, fused with outrageous special weapons, and peppered with lovely music and effects. It really is a throbbing lunchbox worth grabbing with both hands, a pool of aromatic turkish delight worth diving into, a... a... well, a damn good game to boot! - Malc


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie