R-Type Leo - Irem

R-Type Leo

Reviewed by Simon Coong (Felix the Cat)

Well it's been a long time coming, but we emulation retrogamers finally have the holy-grail of shootemups - R-Type Leo. Many of us have been after this little classic for a long time now, and for me in particular I'll bet you lot were waiting with baited breath for the (now non-existent) M72 emulator with this emulated. We'll, it never happened, and like Lethal Thunder, I waited until MAME emulated this. And here it is.

Enough retrobabble, what is R-Type Leo? Well, it is the last R-Type in the arcades for one thing, and it's pretty much the last Irem arcade (or so) before Irem went all wank and started churning out pachinko machines and kiddie things. It's also the only R-Type NOT to feature the Force Device weapon of old, and as such the R-Type hardcore screamed 'BLASTPHEMY!!!', before slamming repeated amounts of loose change into the machine.

From a gameplayer point-of-view, this isn't so bad. It's fun to play, easy to pick up, and enjoyable. The weapon system - without the Force Device - is relatively recognisable. The Option Pods fire forward or backward depending on the direction you're travelling in. The gems are still there - Red gives you the Ripple Laser, Green gives you a Homing Laser and Blue gives you the standard Reflective Laser. Charge Beam is no longer existent, instead the Options home into enemies when the fire button is held down. The levels are nicely set out, and although they don't exactly adhere to the level design of the previous R-Type games, they are hard to navigate, and require expert gaming to get through. Bosses and enemies require decent amounts of pummeling to beat, and everything barges on at a fair pace.

There are some bad points though. Leo seems to owe more to Raiden and Thunderforce than it's predecessors with the 'fill the screen' gameplay. What makes it worse is that at certain sections there are bullets everywhere and you're in small winding tunnels, so cue major wall smacking and lots of frustrated screaming. The weapon system, although different, isn't exactly intuitive, and a pain in the arse to get used to (in my case). Bosses are overly frustrating at certain times, and you really need to know what you're doing to get past. Minor niggles maybe, but problems all the same.

Leo isn't all that bad, and it is fun, but R-Type hardcore and elitists beware! It's not all that good either. Good for hour long blasting.


Stage One
Typical space level...

Stage Two
Sahara revisited...

Stage Three
Never visit the Amazon...

Stage Four
The Floating Island...

Stage Five
At the Greek Ruins...

Stage Six
Blobs and aliens ahoy!

The R-Type series is nearly fully chronicled. Leo is great for a while, but does get boring. All we need now is someone to do R-Type DX (hint hint hint)...



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