Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
R-Type has been a favourite of arcade players for about a year, and now it' s finally arrived on the Sega - complete in every detail.
If you've had your eyes and ears covered for the last few months, you won't know that R-Type is a horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up with extra weapons. You wouldn't know that the game has eight levels, each populated by hordes of homicidal enemy craft and a giant guardian, and the objective is to destroy them all and confront the evil Bydo at the end of the last level and blow him away to save the day. But I'm sure you have had your ears and eyes open, so I won't bother to tell you.
Obvious comparisons are with the current crop of computer conversions, and I'm glad to say that the Sega version puts the 8-bit versions to shame, and while it doesn't quite have the graphic finesse of the ST conversion, it's far more playable.
The alien patterns are almost identical to the coin-op, and the end-of-level guardians are despatched in exactly the same way, so you can come straight off the coin-op and play it in the same way - something I always like to see in a conversion.
The game is addictive from the outset, with blasting galore as you take on the might of the Bydo empire. Things get even better once you start picking up the power-ups. with wholesale destruction when you get hold of helix and reflecting lasers - fleets of aliens are blasted with a single shot. Very satisfying!
The graphics are very good throughout, with detailed and colourful sprites - the end guardians are exceptional, especially the snake and heart at the end of level two. It must be said that the game does flicker a bit when things get busy, but it doesn't detract from the gameplay (anyway, even the coin-op slows down at times!).
R-Type is by far the best blast available on the Sega, so it goes without saying that no shoot 'em up fan should be without it.