In the 8-Bit era 2D shooters were as common as World War II first-person shooters are today. Every month another couple would come out that covered pretty much the same ground as the ones that came before it. This was a genre that was easy to make, easy to get into, generally fun for a small amount of time. But while most shooters were played and then quickly forgotten, R-Type managed to stick around for a couple of decades. Even today Irem is still releasing R-Type sequels that are just as engaging as they once were.
This Sega Master System port of the original R-Type is no exception; it's a fantastic version of one of the most exciting arcade games ever made. The basic set up is nothing out of the ordinary; you play a spaceship with the amazing ability to not only fly straight up and down, but to fly backwards! All joking aside, the main "gimmick" in R-Type is the use of the force, a rather large barrier that provides different weapons and keeps you safe from stray bullets. This is a useful little pod that will help you on the quest, but with a name like the force you have to be a little disappointed you don't get to slay Darth Vader.
Getting back on track, R-Type features a surprising amount of levels each sporting unique (and memorable) bosses. The levels are diverse, each providing completely different enemies and obstacles to overcome. Better yet, instead acting like every other shooter of the era, when you die in R-Type you don't have to start back at the beginning of the level, there are several checkpoints in each area that make the game far less frustrating.
The controls in this Master System title rock solid, although it's really nothing more than a shoot button and your D-pad. If you feel your regular gun isn't going to be powerful enough, don't worry, R-Type gives you the ability to charge up your weapon and put forth a super shot. Your pod also has different weapons that will help aid you on the quest to kill everything on the screen. And you don't need to keep the pod on the front of your ship; you can shoot it off and let it attach itself to the rear to take out the enemies behind you. It's these little things that helped R-Type stand out from the crowd, and when it comes to Master System shooters this is one of the best.
A lot of these older 2D shooters were riddled with terrible slow downs, but not R-Type. Even with a bunch of enemies on the screen at once (including some pretty large 8-Bit bosses) this game manages to keep its speed pretty constant the entire time. Obviously there had to be some sacrifices made to this port in order for it to run smoothly, but outside of a few shrunken enemies and less detailed backgrounds, R-Type managed to keep a lot of what made the arcade game so great.
R-Type is the kind of shooter that is fun to play no matter what system it's on and this Master System version is no exception. This is a fantastic game filled will imaginative bosses, diverse levels, and a whole bunch of enemies to shoot up. While some of the unique game play devices may seem tired, it's hard to argue with the game that created many of the clich?s. If you're looking for a great shooter for your Sega Master System you can't go wrong with R-Type.