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R-Type Dimensions EX (PC) artwork

R-Type Dimensions EX (PC) review

"Surprise, surprise, there are no surprises here."

Itís R-Type. Whatís not to like? Die-hard fans know that no matter what they read here, theyíre going to buy this R-Type Dimensions EX collection, which is not a collection, since itís only comprised of two games. It reminds me of another so-called compilation of two games, the Silent Hill Collection. With that assemblage of just two titles, the first was a classic, and maybe the best horror game ever, and the second, was, well, the game that came after that one. Similarly, game one here is R-Type, one of the best horizontal shoot-em-ups ever, oh and yeah, R-Type II was also included.

To better explain the disdain which most fans have for the second installment, I like to imagine that Irem developed 14 levels for their seminal first project, and then came to realize that six of those levels were shit, so they didn't make the cut. Those six levels are the second game. Thatís what I like to believe happened. All of the reasons we celebrate Irem's masterpiece: the rock hard difficulty, the insane level of memorization required for success, and then the inhuman levels of eye-hand coordination required to carry out those manoeuvres which you put to memory, thatís the experience. And it is still as addictive as ever for the masochistic set. Confoundingly, chapter two, even for that set, doesn't do it. Itís like the game took everything a step too far -- too much strict memorization, mistakes are too punishing, and in the face of backdrops, musical tracks, enemies and weapons that are simply not as memorable or appealing as the first time 'round.

But for all my hand-wringing about the disappointing B-side, Dimensions comes with R-Type! Thatís all we need to know, isn't it? That the game features an arcade perfect version of a seminal classic which plays as well as you remember would probably be enough; but it also comes with a souped up 3D facelift and similarly and enhanced soundtrack, and you can flip back and forth between the old and the new with the press of a button. It sounds cheesy, but I find myself only playing the enhanced version now, as theyíve done a good job making it look like a modern game, and I only really check out the old paint job when Iím feeling particularly nostalgic.

And yet, one canít help but feel as if this were a missed opportunity. After all, what we are getting here is a re-issue of a 2009 enhanced version of a game from 1987. Couldnít they have added something over the last near-decade? In nine years they couldn't give us even a modicum of expanded fan service? No image gallery, no improved and extended achievement list? Nothing? Itís so very disappointing, because die-hard fans always get screwed. They know they have your support for even the most barebones product, the most phoned-in effort. And in this case, theyíre right. Because this is R-Type.


Masters's avatar
Staff review by Marc Golding (December 23, 2018)

There was a bio here once. It's gone now.

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