Old Made New: R-Type Dimensions

By Robert Workman, May 23, 2014 9:45am PDT

While R-Type Dimensions isn't a brand new game – it initially released on the Xbox 360 over five years ago – it is new to the PlayStation Network. It finally providing hardcore "shmup" fans the opportunity to play both the original R-Type and R-Type II any way they see fit, either in a "get as far as you can in one credit" mode or turning on some options and conquering both games like a champ. That said, does the game still have some worth all these years later? It sure does.

Developed by Tozal Games with a little help from the original team at Irem, Dimensions allows players to tackle the Bydo Empire, an evil alien group hellbent on taking over the galaxy. Of course, it's inexplicable why only one fighter is being sent to take on such a massive force, but, hey, at least they picked the right pilot for the job.

Throughout both R-Type and R-Type II, you'll run into enemies big and small, from tiny rabbit-like robots that spew bullets at you to larger, tentacle waving aliens with Godzilla-like atomic breath. Fortunately, you have some tools of the trade to help you out in the form of power-ups. These aren't your usual lasers, but rather crafty little tools that can get you out of a jam, including ground beams that obliterate cannons and walking enemies; a large circular laser with plenty of power behind it; and the ever-helpful bouncing lasers, which reflect off of surfaces and hit anything they come into contact with. These are probably the best of the three, mainly because of their range.

In addition, your pod can be detached and reattached to your ship at any time, which adds a layer of strategy to the gameplay. Do you want to stay attached and get the most firepower out of your one ship, or separate and get some extra bullets flying where your spacecraft couldn't normally reach? The choice is yours, and it's a good option to have.

As far as gameplay goes, R-Type Dimensions is still challenging and frustrating in areas. Tozal knows this, so it added a new Infinite Mode, where players could continue right from where they died within the game, without having to worry about restarting the stage. This is a blessing and a curse. The good news is that they can finally beat these games, albeit by cheating. The bad news is that, when they restart, they do so with minimal firepower. Considering the enemy forces roaming about, they may be scrambling to snag what they find.

Fortunately, the game's more good than bad as far as play value is concerned. Plus, there's a neat little twist with the presentation, as players can select between the classic 80s arcade graphics and new, revitalized 3D visuals with the press of a button. At some point, you can also unlock a new isometric angle that makes the game feel even more 3D, but doesn't take away from the classic gameplay. How you choose to play is completely your call, and we're grateful for it.

R-Type Dimensions remains one of the best "shmup" collections to own on PlayStation Network. Sure, you could blow through both games in an afternoon, especially with Infinite Mode turned on, but Tozal has given both of these arcade classics the treatment they deserve, and now PSN owners can experience the same shooting delights that Xbox Live subscribers got long ago. My big complaint? There's no sign of R-Type Leo. Maybe next time…

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