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R-Type Command Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . You're not going to find a perfect game in R-Type Command, but what you will find is an engrossing tactical role-playing game that turns the genre on its side. While some long-time fans of the franchise may be disappointed by the slow-pace, R-Type Command is the type of crazy mash-up I want to see more of in the future! Rating: 64%
R-Type Command
R-Type Command R-Type Command R-Type Command R-Type Command
  • Review Score:

  • B-
If the 21st century has given us anything it's the ability to mix and mash completely disparate art forms together. One has to look no further than the record industry to see popular "Mash-Ups" that involve taking a little Jay-Z and mixing it with The Beatles. And the movie industry is no different, I can't even begin to count how many YouTube clips I've watched of two different movies being mixed together to make something beautiful. So maybe I shouldn't have been all that surprised when I first started playing R-Type Command, Irem's first attempt at a mash-up video game.

Like all good mash-ups, R-Type Command takes elements from two products that are as opposite as they come. Instead of just make another 2D shooter, Irem decided to mix their popular shoot-em-up franchise with a tactical role-playing game. In other words, they successfully managed to take the R-Type we all know and love and mix it with Final Fantasy Tactics. And the most shocking thing of all? Irem's potent concoction is actually a whole lot of fun.

Long time R-Type fans should use extreme caution when going into this spin-off, because R-Type Command is unlike any other 2D shooter on the market. Instead of weaving in and out of enemy fire and plowing through a level in a matter of minutes, R-Type Command requires you to actually plan your attacks, move slowly across the board and take the logical approach. Instead of being the smart-mouthed pilot you take the role of commanding officer, literally telling every other ship what to do while you sit back (in relative safety) watching it all play out. For some R-Type fans this slow-paced take on the series will drive them crazy, but as a long-time champion of slow-paced tactical role-playing games I found this to be a real shot in the arm for the genre.

The one thing I wasn't expecting was the amount of story introduced in this game. While I have played dozens of versions of R-Type in my day I had never really sat down to think about the story. Where do all of these creatures come from? Why are they here? How is it even possible that one guy is able to kill every bad guy and then come back for multiple sequels? These are questions I just never pondered, for better or worse. And now I realize it was for good reason, because the R-Type story is actually a lot more heavy-handed than it needs to be. At its core this is a story about the evils of man messing with science, which is told through a series of painfully boring text-based log entries.

But like all long-winded tactical role-playing games, R-Type Command's writing is just there to get you from battle to battle. For the most part gamers can completely skip the tedious story, which is for the best because the real excitement comes from the actual gameplay. While a bit on the simplistic side, R-Type Command manages to combine the chess-like gameplay of a tactical game with that of a 2D shooter, something that doesn't sound like a very good combination. But they make it work ... for the most part.

If you've played any of the other tactical RPGs on the PSP (Jeanne d'Arc, Final Fantasy Tactics, Dungeons & Dragons Tactics, etc.) then you'll feel right at home with this game. Instead of being set in some fantastical world full of dungeons and, well, dragons, R-Type Command is situated in space, high above planets in the middle of stars and other space debris. But don't let the different location (and time period) fool you; this game is still played by moving a different characters one at a time through a grid preparing to kill enemies and defend your home base.
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