An option is a power-up that spawns a small pod along side the player character that conveys different abilities in almost every game it is in. This item is most often seen in side scrolling shooters, providing assistance in the form of blocking enemy fire or adding extra attacks. Two great examples of differing Options are found in Life Force and R-Type.
In Life Force, the option is basically nothing more than a second cannon alongside the player's ship, much like when players retrieve a captured ship in Galaga. It will fly with the player's ship and fire the same type of ammo that the player currently posseses. This is help in almost every situation, as it doubles both the player's firepower and range.
In R-Type on the other hand, the option plays a much more prominent role. After the first power-up is picked up, the option appears from off screen. At this point, players can either attach it to the front or back end of their ship, or it can fly by itself. The option fires every time the player fires, regardless of whether or not it is attached to the player's ship, and does not take damage from enemy fire. The catch is that while it is off by itself players cannot take advantage of power-up abilities or use it to block incoming fire. This calls for a much more strategic playstyle with the option than in most other shooters, as the game encourages players to consider it as a second character rather than just a power-up.