Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
The evil Bydo Empire is attacking the Federation and the only thing standing between them and victory is you and your R-9 fighter. This highly maneuverable attack craft is the apex in modern space fighter technology, and is well equipped to take on anything anybody throws at it. And the Bydo Empire are certainly throwing plenty!
The mission of mercy takes place over eight horizontally scrolling levels, each packed with vicious and highly aggressive alien beings and craft, and each with a horrible guardian waiting at the end. The Bydos are certainly not renown for their good looks, and these guardians are revolting, ranging from a giant heart-type organism complete with a slimy robo-snake living at its core to a giant multi-eyed sponge monster.
The R-9 is a multi-role craft, and accepts bolt-on weaponry, available by shooting one of the many supply drones flown in by friendly forces. There are a variety of different weapons and some are better suited to certain battle situations than others - it's up to you to find out which.
At the end of the eighth level is Bydo himself, and he must be confronted in a one-on-one battle. There can be only one survivor...
The single-seater R-9 is a multi-role space fighter, fully adaptable and upgradable in battle to become the most fearsome attack machine ever devised by the Federation!
The Sega version of R-Type features a whole new secret level that never appeared in the arcade game. It's hidden on level four and is activated by flying up into a secret exit at the top of the screen. Can you find it?
The R-9 is a very adaptable craft and is capable of taking a wide variety of extra weapons - here's the list.
Normally the R-9 shoots short bursts of plasma fire, but keeping the fire button depressed for a second or two powers-up the plasma gun, indicated by a bar at the bottom of the screen. When you take your finger off the button a massive power-bolt is unleashed which destroys virtually anything in its path!
Irem's R-Type coin-op appeared in 1987 and wowed arcade goers with its great graphics and superb playability. The sequel, R-Type II was released last summer, and was basically very similar, with extra power-up weapons and a whole new Bydo fleet to blow into oblivion!
The lack of good shoot em ups on the Master System was redressed when this was released; it's one of the best blasters around on any system. Like Julian, I find the slowness of the game a little irritating, but that doesn't really detract from the high quality of challenge here. The range and variety of the power ups gives this extra oomph, and I'm happy to recommend this to any Sega owner. Watch out for the end-of-level guardians though!
Despite some minor flaws, R-Type is one of the finest horizontally scrolling shoot 'em ups available on the Sega. Virtually all the features of the coin-op have been crammed into this excellent conversion, with all eight levels (AND a secret one) and identical game-mechanics! The graphics are stunning, and are about as close to the coin-op you could possibly get on the Master System. The sound's a bit wobbly, but nevertheless manages to add atmosphere to the action! The price you pay for this amazing accuracy is that the game plays a little slower than it does in the arcades, and there's also a bit of flicker when things get very busy. However, the challenging and highly addictive gameplay coupled with the superb visuals more than makes up for those deficiencies, and the end result is an exciting and rewarding blaster with plenty of long-lasting appeal. If you're a shoot 'em up fan and missed this when it was released, make sure you add it to your cartridge collection at the first available opportunity.