Release Date: 28th July 2016 (Wii U Virtual Console UK)
The previous two Channel Gaming Turbografx 16 entries were all about the platforming heroes who battled it out with the likes of Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog. But the Turbografx 16’s main appeal wasn’t really the platformers, but the shmups. A shmup, you say? What the heck is a shmup?
Shmup means shoot em up, it’s how you say it. Gradius is a shmup. Ikaruga is a shmup. Xevious is a shmup. Call of Duty isn’t a shmup. Perfect Dark isn’t a shmup. Battlefield isn’t a shmup. All these games involve shooting, but to be a shmup, you have to be side scrolling, be it horizontal or vertical, shooting, and flying around. Those seem to be the requirements, I cant really think of anything that doesn’t feature those things, and piloting a ship isn’t a requirement as there are shmups out there which have you piloting school girls or something else equally bizarre.
And R-Type of course is a shmup. Otherwise these last two paragraphs would have been a massive waste of time.
R-Type is one of the most well known in the genre, thanks to the iconic Alien-esque imagery, plus it’s been around for multiple sequels, on multiple consoles, for over twenty five years. The Turbografx 16 version is one of the best however, thanks to the quality of the visuals, sound and controls. These are aspects the system seems to excel in with many games, but shmups were the kings at the top.
R Type never really did anything overly unique, it just did everything well. The ship handles like a dream, and would no doubt get a five star rating on We Buy Any Car if they dealt with sci-fi machines, and there is a choice of rapid fire or stronger charged shots. Surviving long enough also sees a build up of power-ups, making the tough enemies feel that little bit softer. The most useful is the pod that follows the ship, and can either be attached at the front or back for extra protection, or sent out to do some long distance alien murder.
Though R-Type isn’t always smooth sailing, as things get incredibly choppy come stage 6. Everything that comes before is incredibly tough, but fairly so, with each Game Over taking longer to appear as skills slowly improve. But stage 6 decides to break the smooth learning curve with tricky maze like obstacles, huge speedy blocks of doom, and little room for error. It’s not much fun, and it all concludes with a boss in stage 7 which is out of this world, in appearance and in difficulty. If you can best it, well you are a super player! Or a save state whore.
Still, don’t let that put you off, sometimes it’s good to get an ass kicking. Especially one which won’t leave bruises.