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Game Info:

R-Type Dimensions EX
Developed By: Irem Software Engineering/Tozai Games, Inc./ESQUANDRA, Inc.
Published By: Tozai Games, Inc.
Release Date: July 1, 1987 (Arcade)/February 4, 2009 (Xbox 360)/May 20, 2014 (PS3)/November 28, 2018 (Windows, Nintendo Switch)
Available On: Windows, Switch, PS3, Xbox 360
Genre: Arcade Shoot 'em up
Number of Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: E for Mild Fantasy Violence
MSRP: $9.99 (Xbox 360, PS3), $14.99 (Windows, Switch)

 

Thank you Tozai Games for sending us this game to review!

R-Type Dimensions is a modern collection of the first two classic R-Type games from the late 1980s. As an emulation of those games, it works well. There is also a welcome addition of an HD graphics mode that is a nice touch. But what surprised me was the realization that the classic R-Type games that I played as a kid were not these arcade games – those were the significantly rebalanced console editions. These arcade classics were designed to eat quarters – and they no doubt did that with aplomb.

While I consider my skill at shoot 'em ups to be above average (but by no means high end), it quickly became apparent after about the second level that this game means business. It didn't take long before I started racking up double and then triple-digit deaths on each level.

You see, this game has two modes: a Classic mode where you have 3 lives and can continue after certain checkpoints, and Infinite where you have unlimited lives, and your score can be sent to leaderboards if you do well enough. Suffice it to say that while I did get to complete each game after a few short hours in one sitting, my scores were laughably bad.

R-Type Dimensions EX
Highlights:

Strong Points: Two arcade classics rolled into one package; various video options to suit your preferences; a few extra options compared to the Xbox and PS3 ports; will work perfectly on any modern PC; the game is faithful to the source material
Weak Points: The resolution options top out at 1080p; the game is faithful to the source material
Moral Warnings: Arcade violence; a few enemies look like fetuses

For those who have never played R-Type, you are trying to save humanity from the Bydo threat. It is a 2D horizontal side-scrolling shoot 'em up. Your ship is equipped with a unique Force Pod, which can take various power-ups. You can also blast it forward in front of you, behind you, or attach it in either place as well. You can also prepare a charged shot for a more powerful blast. R-Type II has a super charged shot, but I find the release window required to be frustrating to pull off consistently.

Most of the time I was playing, I used the new HD mode. The graphics look pretty good here. But there is a button that is all too easy to hit, that switches you between modern and classic on the fly. While that may sound neat, and it was, it can be distracting if you hit it on accident. On PS3, I noticed that the HD graphics mode felt a bit laggy. I did not notice that on the PC version, which was a big complaint I had on the PS3 version. Not that I expected issues, but this game ran just as well on an Intel iGPU on my GPD Win 2 as it did on my higher-end gaming desktop. There are also nice sounding musical upgrades to go along with the graphical improvements. When you press the button to switch between 3D rendered and pixel graphics, the music and sound effects also switch between remixed and classic chiptunes. I like the new music much better.

R-Type Dimensions EX
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 78%
Gameplay - 13/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 96%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 9/10

The new PC/Switch version also adds a few more subtle features to what is otherwise the same game as the PS3 version I reviewed those years ago. The first, and perhaps simplest, is that the game now renders at 1080p rather than 720p. It’s a notable improvement, though why it doesn’t support 4K (or even better, simply scale to your screen resolution) is a mystery. Also, they made Infinite mode easier by offering the player the choice to press a button to automatically and instantly max out their power-ups. Given how difficult the game is, and how certain bosses are quite difficult to hit without some power-ups, it can help quite a lot. They also added fast-forward and rewind buttons. Finally, you can choose whether or not your co-op partner can be damaged by you in two-player mode or not.

I would say that if you like classic shoot 'em ups, especially ones as important to the genre as R-Type, you really can't go too wrong with this collection. There is also a co-op mode, which is a nice touch. Other than the odd fetus enemies, and blasting aliens to bits, there is not much to complain about morally. Just don't be surprised if you die a whole lot because you did not fly the level in the perfectly prescribed method that you are expected to find by countless repetition. No matter how perfect the port is, nothing can save you from the pitfalls of classic game design.