Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All

foe_en_s4_b22.jpg

R-Shark (Arcade) artwork

R-Shark (Arcade) review


"In R-Shark the background scrolls to the right but the bullet remains on screen, keeping the same trajectory. The results are utterly bizarre. Weaving through waves and flurries of enemy fire, enemy ammunitions fly yet “flutter” like pitched knuckleballs, the swaying background tricking the eye into thinking their trajectory is shifting with your craft. But it’s not. Your craft shifts the background, but isn’t shifting with the background. And the bullets aren’t shifting at all. "



This may be difficult to describe. Vertical scrolling shmup R-Shark’s most defining characteristic is merely an optical illusion. Worse yet, the root cause of its trickery is merely complacent programming.

Surely you’ve played shooters in this style before -- Raiden, Truxton, even DoDonPachi subscribe – where the playing field displayed on screen is slightly narrower than it actually is. You move to the left and the background shifts left just a bit before coming to its edge. Veer right and the same effect occurs. The result is a neat little phantasm, enduing such titles with a greater illusion of motion. In fact, vertical shmups that don’t induce this effect often look silly and dated.

R-Shark has this same effect. Sorta.

Picture an oncoming bullet moving perfectly vertical down the far left side of the screen, parallel to the edge. Maneuvering your craft to the right, you would expect said bullet to be eclipsed from viewpoint and fall off screen as the scenery scrolls to the right. The bullet’s still there; you just can’t see it anymore. This is the normal way these games work, you know, because it makes sense.

In R-Shark the background scrolls to the right but the bullet remains on screen, keeping the same trajectory. The results are utterly bizarre. Weaving through waves and flurries of enemy fire, enemy ammunitions fly yet “flutter” like pitched knuckleballs, the swaying background tricking the eye into thinking their trajectory is shifting with your craft. But it’s not. Your craft shifts the background, but isn’t shifting with the background. And the bullets aren’t shifting at all.

What this means is when toward the left-hand side of an airfield, it’ll be much easier to dodge a bullet to your left than your right; choose to swerve in the opposite direction and you’ll have to veer a little further to compensate for this strange effect. The same applies for the right hand side. It doesn’t make the game that much more difficult – maybe an added death here or there – but it does seem completely unnecessary. It doesn’t make sense. It’s the work of a programming team unwilling to go the extra mile, and it’s far too obvious.

For a little while I thought it might just be MAME; the utility does report that the visual emulation may not be 100% accurate. But this isn’t the problem (or if it is, it’s been incorrectly reported). With a little research, it turns out this effect was a problem that reared its head in a lot of Korean-made shmups of the era. And unfortunately, aside from this newfound bit of optic chicanery, R-Shark is the most generic, copycat shooter I’ve ever played. It has nothing else to hang its hat on.

It’s not awful; it just doesn’t have a single idea of its own. Its generic steel-hulled space stations and even the color scheme of its enemy crusade are reminiscent of Blazing Lasers. Its rocky, lifeless soils of roving tank enemies seem reminiscent of Truxton. Name any single space shooter released in the six years before and I could draw at least three different parallels between it and R-Shark. Where they would differ would be in your choice’s originality, what makes it unique. R-Shark doesn’t have anything that makes it unique. It didn't just plagiarize a few ideas, but copied word-for-word from the playbook.

You’ve dodged these same glowing orange pellets before. You’ve fought these same bosses: the twin mechs; the crab with steel pincers; the oversized carrier that zooms down to crush you; the enemy base on rails. You’ve utilized these weapons: the single laser with homing missiles, the stronger red and blue streamed double laser, and the cluster of missile fire. Levels meld together into a sea of lifelessness. It drones on. There’s not a single defining moment at all.

This war has already been won, boys, and I’ve never been one for reenactments.

Even its theatrical aspects are uninspired, a direct rip-off of games like AeroFighters (as if that game was bursting with originality). As a bounty hunter on the prowl for eight fugitives occupying eight stations throughout the galaxy, each level begins and ends with a quip. “Are you a man enough to fight me?” “Today’s your day, but I’m a crazy man.” “Hey ace, you’re the best.” Thanks for this spectacular addition, fellows. But yet again, it’s been done.

Here’s the kicker, the ultimate way to describe just how generic R-Shark is: I didn’t realize it never ended – just the same eight levels repeating on a constant loop – until I was partway into my third trip through. It’s so blah it will lull you into a listless trance. Its scoring system is so ill conceived it doesn’t even reset each time you continue; pay, don’t play, for the top of the charts. And its only novel (albeit stupid) feature – the only thing I never saw before – was a commonplace programming lapse shared by its Korean genre peers.

Thanks for the recommendation, EmP!

Rating: 3/10

Leroux's avatar
Staff review by Winston Wolf (October 01, 2010)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by Winston Wolf
New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U) artwork
New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)

New Super Mario Bros. U isn't just a bad title for a game but a misnomer as well.
WWF No Mercy (Nintendo 64) artwork
WWF No Mercy (Nintendo 64)

It is a timeless wrestling game -- one with a still faithful following, one with a generation of devotees steadfast that it has not yet been eclipsed -- that reminds us how mortal we are.
Donkey Kong Junior (Arcade) artwork
Donkey Kong Junior (Arcade)

With all respects to Ms. Pac-Man, you've heard of Donkey Kong Junior because it is perhaps the first great sequel to advance the original concept, cleverly reworking the formula while at the same time feeling immediately familiar to dedicated Donkey Kong players.

Feedback

If you enjoyed this R-Shark review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

board icon
EmP posted October 01, 2010:

Still welcome, buddy!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Advertise | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. R-Shark is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to R-Shark, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors.