R-Type is a classic side scrolling shoot-em up game produced by Irem Corp. The game was first released to Japanese arcades in July 1987. The player controls a spacecraft and is tasked with defending humanity against the alien life forms known as Bydo. R-Type is infamously known for its extreme difficulty.
R-Type was originally released in the Arcades and became a major early hit for Irem. It was eventually ported to many home computers and consoles of the era, with the unusual exception of the NES (a bootleg Chinese cart exists, however). The PC Engine of R-Type was split across two releases, but the US TG-16 version manages to fit the whole game onto one HuCard. This TG16 version is also the one that was added to the Wii's Virtual Console in 2006.
R-Type also saw multiple sequels and spin-offs, as well as inspiring many future horizontal-scrolling shoot 'em ups.
Set in the 22nd century, the game takes place in the Bydo Empire. The player must make their way through the 8 merciless levels and defend mankind from the evil attackers.
The Bydo are biologically engineered weapons created by mankind to be used against their enemies in their quest for universal domination. This plan backfired however and the Bydo began to attack their creators.
The player pilots a ship called the R-9a "Arrowhead". The ship is named for its distinctive shape and is the 9th model of the R series of star fighter.
The R-9a "Arrowhead" can be equipped with an indestructible living weapon called "The Force". The force, a spherical pod that can be attached to the ship, is made of Bydo flesh and can absorb energy in order to increase in power. To obtain the force, the player must obtain a weapon power up. The force will appear behind the players ship and they can obtain the force by flying into it.
The force acts as the ship's weapon system and will fire in the whatever direction it is facing. The force also acts as a shield and can be used to block incoming enemy attacks.
The force has three levels of power. Collecting weapon power ups increases the power level of the force. The forces visual appearance changes as it increases in power.
- Red - A powerful counter-air laser beam that fires horizontally.
- Blue - Three thin laser beams. One forward firing and two that fire at a 45 degree angle from the front of the ship These beams rebound off walls.
- Yellow - Two flame beams that fire above and below the ship. These flames can travel along the ground or walls to destroy enemies.
The force can be controlled by the user by using the force button. By pressing the force button, the user can attach the force to the front or the rear of the ship. They can also propel the force forward to execute an attack called the "force ram".
The R9-a is equipped with a beam weapon called the wave cannon. Holding the fire button will charge up the wave cannon and increase its power.