R-Type hold fond memories for me, hearing that theme tune as I entered the beach front arcade and knowing that I was going to spend a lot more money than I should have trying to beat the Bydo Empire again.
It wasn’t until the home computer release on the ZX Spectrum that I was fully able to beat the game (thanks to some *ahem* use of a bit of trickery), though and now the classic has returned, alongside it’s equally impressive sequel in the Dimensions collection.
Dimensions isn’t a new game, though, it appeared back on the Xbox 360 and PS3 but this new EX version adds a few bells and whistles to an already impressive package. The 2 R-Type games are fully complete here with all levels available in their original graphical glory. With the touch of a button you can change this to a new polygon-based version with a new remixed soundtrack, though and boy, is it impressive. There’s even a semi-3D angled camera to play around with, though it tends to feel more like a gimmick and I quickly turned it back off.
The biggest change to the original games is the inclusion of the extra Infinite Mode, which lets you play the games with as many lives as you like, continuing from where you finished when you die. Given R-Type’s notorious difficulty, this is very welcome indeed, even if it’s still a bit of a slog to try and get through those huge bullet-spewing bosses. There’s even a slow-down option to get around the particularly busy battlefield should you need to ‘cheat’ a bit more!
The game doesn’t let you get full bragging rights in for completing it in Infinite Mode, though, as it displays just how many lives you got through on the attempt for all to see. The fun comes from replaying it to see if you can get through on less next time.
Alongside a new co-op mode, which is very welcome in itself, the new features help to make this a perfect package for both newcomers to the R-Type games and those looking to rekindle their nostalgia for the series. The fact that you can take this out and about with you (maybe to the beach where that old arcade once stood?) makes this a must have for fans.