R-Type Dimensions is a graphically updated version of the classic R-Type and R-Type II, which has just been released on the PS3. This was released a few years ago on the Xbox 360. Why it has taken so long to get to the PS3 is unclear, but one thing is clear this game is as frustratingly hard as the originals I remember. The original R-Type game was released in the arcades in 1987, the follow up- R-Type II arrived two years later in 1989. The 25 odd years since then, these games have been ported countless times and Dimensions is the latest, so what makes it different?
The main difference is the ability to change the look of the game, from the new modern looking HD visuals with the press of just one button, back to how it looked in the late 80’s. The ability to do this in game is great and certainly had me switching between the two comparing how the game looked. The modern look is smooth and beautifully realised in HD with bright colours and sharp backgrounds, what we expect now from modern games. But I have to say I preferred the ‘classic’ look of the game. It still has a slight tweak to make it look crisp and sharp on modern day TV’s. The 16 BIT era graphics looked superb back in the day and added charm that I wanted when playing what is effectively the classic game I used to love. The classic sound also seemed far more immersive for the game I was playing, but perhaps this is due to the nostalgia of playing it when it was released, if you had never played R-Type games before, maybe you would prefer the modern updated version.
To make sure this isn’t just a visual update the menu gives you two different ways of playing the game: Classic Mode- which well, is the classic mode. Here you just have three lives to get through the game. I will be honest I found this impossible, but I always have found R-Type games impossible to complete. Even with the new slow-mo mode, when you hold down R2 it just becomes too frantic and you seem to have no chance with the vast array of enemies on screen, how games have changed. The other option is the new Infinite mode which gives you (as the title says) infinite lives to get through the game, but this effects your final score. The more lives you lose the more points gained, the object being to have as few points as possible. Playing it this way I found more enjoyable as I could actually get to the end!
Playing it this way did seem far too easy. It felt as though a third mode is needed, one in between classic and infinite, as it was impossible on classic with just three lives. It took me about thirty on the final boss alone, but took only twenty minutes on infinite and had no challenge, especially if you don’t really care what your score is. It did remind me of just how hard and frustrating games were when I was growing up, the first level took me around three minutes on infinite mode yet I just couldn’t complete it on classic, just the first level had me beaten and frustrated. How did I play these games twenty years ago!
R-Type Dimensions is a great trip down memory lane, but it is also more than that, the updated visuals bring new life to a classic. The ability to get to the end thanks to Infinite mode is a very welcome addition but it certainly needs some middle ground in difficulty to make it more long living. If you love playing through retro games like me, then you will love this. Comparing the old with the new with just a touch of a button is great. Overall for the price of 7.99 this is good value, you are getting two classic titles with enough options to make them feel different.
Reviewed on the Playstation 3
Developed by Irem, Tozai Games
Published by Tozai Games