There is a button that is buried deep within the
quivering bowels of some of us. This button should never be pushed, but when it
is, we are compelled to shun society and shame-facedly collect every last car
in Gran Turismo or enslave legions of Pokemon. R-Type
Final is a fantastic game that repeatedly presses this button, taking
the addictive qualities of the aforementioned titles and seamlessly joining
them with a rock-solid shooter experience that will appeal to anyone who is a
fan of the genre.
The R-Type series is unique among
shooters, as it typically encourages you to run head-first into enemies and
bullets. Once you collect your first power-up (red, blue, or yellow), your Force will appear and anchor itself to the front of your ship. The
Force is an invincible, bullet-hungry construct that unleashes more and more
firepower as you level it up with additional power-up collection. You have
limited control over these Forces, and you can attach them to the front or back
of your ship, or even let them roam free, as each Force has its own behavior
when cut loose. If you use your Force to block and absorb bullets, it will
gradually store enough power to unleash a screen-clearing barrage. In other
words, the Force is the best thing you’ve got going for you in worlds inhabited
by the evil Bydo.
Initially, you are faced with a choice between three space
ships. Easy enough, right? You pick your ship, change up the colors if you see
fit, choose your missiles and bits, and you’re off to show those Bydo (who
presumably use babies and pieces of the Constitution as fuel) a thing or two,
and wipe out some peace-loving indigenous life while you’re at it. More often than not, the Bydo will belly-laugh
as your flaming wreckage plummets from the sky, and you’ll find yourself back
at the ship selection screen. This is not a bad thing, as your journeys will
inevitably unlock different ship types and refinements of your currently used
ship, and the resulting upgrades in firepower are oftentimes awesome to behold.
You can keep track of the ships you’ve unlocked in the
museum screen, where a simple flowchart shows your progress. This screen also
hints at what you must do to unlock the next ship, which can range from logging
more time with one of the ships to clearing a certain stage. You can also head
into the gallery screen, where you periodically unlock spaceship artwork that
you can then screen capture, print, put in your wallet, and then brandish
whenever anyone asks about your significant others.
– Memorization is key! Like most shooters, you’ll have to identify patterns in the boss’ attacks and use them to your advantage. Detach your Force and let it do the dirty work during the first boss, while you avoid the laser blasts and its other attacks. Most Forces, when released, will home in on the weak points of the enemies; as long as you’re making sure you hold down the rapid-fire button, they can do some serious damage while you’re relatively safe elsewhere.
– If you haven’t unlocked a ship in a while, take a trip to the R-Museum, which has a flowchart that can often give you a hint about the prerequisites for the next ship. The two most common prerequisites are more combat experience with your current ship and defeating a certain stage, though there are others.
– Know your Force intimately (wink, wink). Your selected Force type will have a profound change on your experience, as they harbor more abilities than can often be seen at first glance. One of my favorite Forces is the drill-type, which, when detached from your ship, will latch on to the enemy and drill all up in their grill, which is particularly effective.
– Swap ships! If you get stuck on the same part of a stage over and over again, try swapping ships entirely. Different weapon/Force/bit combinations often yield surprising results and some excel in certain circumstances.
– Play in an isolated location. You will be cursing and screaming a lot, mostly at the screen or your clumsy, clumsy hands. You don’t want people to see you like this.
R-Type Final is the definitive edition
of one of the most beloved shooters of all time, and the gameplay, stage
design, and imaginative ship models all help to make it an instant classic.
It’s hard to find a better shoot-em-up bargain, and you owe it to yourself to cede
all control to your collector half and give this one a whirl. Tell the Bydo I
Omega 5 (XBLA), Gradius, Ikaruga