I remember growing up with the classic R-Type by Irem back in the day, as it definitely helped shape the side-scrolling 2D shooter genre for years after it was released in 1987. It was only natural that many sequels followed, but Tozai Games took the original game and it’s first sequel, R-Type II, and remade them in 3D with their release, R-Type Dimensions. Now a whole new generation can experience two already classic shooters that are made even better.
There’s not really much of a plot when it comes to the R-Type series (or most shooters for that matter), as it pretty much follows the “evil aliens are attacking and your powerful ship is our last hope” kind of deal. The aliens in this case are called the Bydo, who seem to be some sort of weird bio-mechanical beings looking to take over the galaxy. Now it falls on you to take your technologically advanced spaceship called the “R-9a Arrowhead” and destroy the Bydo. As with most shooters, you start off with the weak but reliable energy shot that you can fire repeatedly or charge up to fire the Wave Cannon that tears through enemies. There’s plenty of power ups for you to collect, but your main one comes in the form of the Force Pod, which is a ball-like object that can be attached to the front or rear of your ship and shield you from small fire. When attached to the front of your ship, any power ups you get will cause your Force Pod and shots to become more powerful, such was lasers that criss-cross in a wide arc, homing missiles that seek out enemies and more.
These weapons will come in handy as you fight your way through both games, each offering two ways to play. There’s classic mode where you get three lives and having to start from the last checkpoint when you die, and infinite mode that gives you infinite lives and giving you the option to start where you died with your Force Pod intact, but with its power reduced by one level. This makes the game easily accessible to newcomers and hardcore shooter fans looking for a challenge. For even more fun, there’s also multiplayer you can play both online and offline with a friend in either classic or infinite mode.
Now to address one of the coolest features of the game, the ability to switch between the classic 2D graphics and the new 3D ones. Even though the original 2D mode holds up pretty well, the re-done 3D visuals make everything look shiny and cool. While in 3D mode, there’s even a weird but neat option to play with a tilted camera angle that gives an added sense of depth to the game, as though you’re really playing it in 3D. To be able to switch between any of these modes at the press of a button is pretty awesome and makes you wish more remade games would feature something like this. The audio is just as awesome, as typical upbeat shooter tunes get you into the action and keep you there throughout.
Shooter fans and anyone looking for a fun game to play can’t go wrong with R-Type Dimensions. With classic solid controls and power ups, catchy music, on and offline multiplayer, and the awesome ability to switch between old and new school visuals on the fly is sure to make R-Type any gamer’s type of fun.