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Super R-Type (SNES) artwork

Super R-Type (SNES) review

"No mid-level checkpoints. "

No mid-level checkpoints.

No. Frigging. Mid-level. Checkpoints.

Why did it have to be this way? Why do I have to do an entire level over again no matter where or when I die? Get hit once, and faster than you can say "You stupid piece of **** game!", back to the start. Hit just one of the final boss's endless barrages of projectiles or projectile-spewing underlings, and you're looking at five solid minutes of deja vu in the last level before it inevitably kicks your ass (again) for the umpteenth time. Super R-Type is generally looked upon as the bastard child of the R-Type series, and it's for this one simple reason.

It seems like such a pointless design choice. Being a slightly refurbished port of the decent-but-all-too-similar-to-the-original arcade shooter R-Type II, a game that already has mid-level checkpoints, there is absolutely no reason for them to be missing here. Oh, sure, you could say that the designers were giving the game "a decent level of challenge". I'm sure you could point out that this flaw is non-existent when using save states on an emulator. And, at least on the latter point, you'd be correct. But since Super R-Type isn't a great game anyway, and it's so damn irritating to begin with, this is a moot point.

It's ironic, then, that Super R-Type is a relatively easy game once you take away the lack of checkpoints. Most enemies can be defeated with a single shot, and a fully-charged blast will make a one-hit wonder of almost any of the game's bosses. The game is also quite light on environmental hazards; you won't find anything like dodging massive laser beams in tight passageways (ala R-Type III) here. However, it should be said that all of this only applies to Super R-Type's Easy mode; I admit that I have never played the game on any of its higher difficulty levels. But considering how frustrating the game already is on its lowest setting, I see no reason to torture myself by making it even more stupidly hard.

If you still want to play the game by this point, then know that the game plays like a standard horizontally-scrolling shooter (meaning it provides some decent twitch action as you dodge projectiles left and right), but with the ubiquitous gameplay twist of the R-Type series: the Force Pod. Near the end of the first level, you'll obtain this handy tool, and immediately marvel at the simplistic elegance of it. Attach it to the front of your ship to give your heavy artillery a boost. Stick it on the back to give your ship's caboose some cover. If neither of these suit your fancy, just let the Pod float around by itself, and it'll fire upon enemies via rudimentary AI. Collect powerups like fireballs and a circular laser beam to upgrade its abilities. In a better game (like, say, R-Type III, hint hint), this would be a great feature, but since you'll be too angry while playing Super R-Type to notice, it will likely go unappreciated. Throw in some decent graphics and a forgettable soundtrack and you've got yourself a game with mild potential.

Also worth mentioning is Super R-Type's propensity for slowdown. This is a common problem in early third-party SNES games, and while it's not as bad here as it is in Gradius III (where just moving seems to slow the game to a crawl), it's still quite noticeable. If there's ever more than couple of enemies onscreen, or if there's a particularly large sprite present, or if you fire a fully-charged shot, expect the game's performance to be hindered. However, due to the extreme difficulty of the game, having some slow moments here and there is probably more help than harm anyway, so it's no big deal.

Don't play Super R-Type. The game will probably just make you angry. Nothing else really needs to be said about it, and as a result, this is a short review. If you need an R-Type fix and you need it on your SNES, R-Type III looks better, sounds better, and plays better. Most importantly, R-Type III doesn't make you do whole levels over again when you die. An easy choice? I think so.

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Featured community review by phediuk (March 27, 2006)

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