Review: R-Type DX (Game Boy Color)

In this review, we take on the Bydo empire in the Game Boy Color game R-Type DX. We find out how well this action game plays.

This game was released in 1999.

This game features 5 different games. There is the original R-Type and R-Type II. Two other games are R-Type and R-Type II enhanced for the Game Boy Color. Finally, there is R-Type DX which combines both R-Type games by making you play both back-to-back. so, ultimately, this game is two games in a couple different states.

R-Type is basically a side scrolling shooter. If you played some games from the Gradius series, the basic concepts of that game are found here. Of course, this game features a number of differences that separates it from the Gradius series.

For what it’s worth, when we played this game, we played the original R-Type first. We then went to the R-Type II original. The rest of the order is the enhanced R-Type game followed by R-Type II enhanced, then T-Type DX. This review will basically follow along on that order.

In the original R-Type, the Bydo Empire is trying to take over the universe. It is up to a single ship to stop this interstellar encroachment.

You start off with just your ship and a basic attack power. There are a few power-ups you can collect by destroying certain enemies. Probably the biggest power-up, however, is the object that you get part way through the first level. This object fires every time you fire. This allows you to destroy enemies in a different manner.

What you can do with this object is collect it with either the front part of your ship or the rear part of the ship. when you and the object are combined, you can fire a special weapon. This depends on what special powerup you happen to collect. Whether this is bouncing lasers or bubble lasers, you’ll be able to use this with the special object attached to your ship. If this object is in front, you’ll fire forward. If it’s at the back, you’ll fire behind you.

Another special feature is the ability to detach it at will with “A”. This will shoot this object forward (or back if it’s on the back part of your ship). Not only will it fire in multiple directions (again, if you got the powerups) so you can clear out enemies without endangering the ship itself. Another added bonus is that, not only is this object indestructible, but it can also damage enemies just by touching them (whether attached or detached). Another side bonus is that it can absorb some enemy fire.

While this object is hugely beneficial, it doesn’t make you invulnerable. Any shot or contact with your ship will instantly kill you, so you are on a one-hit-kill basis.

Another hugely beneficial item pickup is the round objects. These objects float just above your ship. Like the detachable object, these objects are invulnerable and cause damage to enemies that touch them. While it is possible to collect more than two, you can only have two (one above and one below your ship). These objects are extremely useful because it helps hit enemies that attack from above and below. They also absorb enemy fire, but it can be tricky to aim them just right at they have a movement delay.

At the end of every level, there is a boss you must try and defeat. If you take too long defeating the boss, the game will count it as a victory, however, you will not earn bonus points. So, really, surviving the encounter is the biggest concern. Defeat the boss at the end of the game and you beat the game.

This game has its pros and cons for me. One of the cons is that it can be difficult to tell what the power-ups even are. This is because a lot of them are just numbers 1-5 with slight adjustments to the icon itself. So, unless you are big on memorization (in the chaos that is in this game, I wasn’t), you just pick up whatever and hope it doesn’t hurt your chances of survival for the next little while in the game.

In addition to this, it can be difficult to tell if you are causing any damage to an enemy boss. This is because there is very little, if any feedback telling you if you are making progress. While this isn’t as big of a deal for some bosses (where the target is quite obvious), in other bosses, it can be downright impossible to tell very quickly what it is you need to fire on. The level 2 boss is a great example of this. Do I fire on the giant space worm? The entrance and exit points? The bubble on the top (Still not entirely sure, but I think this is the correct answer)? I really doubt I am alone on this criticism either.

One pro is that this game does have a fairly reasonable difficulty. While you are likely going to lose a few ships and may even need to run through a few credits, it is more than possible to complete the game with moderate skill.

This brings me to another critical point: the length itself. If this game was standing on its own, I would honestly say this game is far too short. You can spend a couple of hours running through the game and have your fill of it. Lucky for this game, this one is only part of an even larger package. Still, it is pretty short.

Another annoying feature is that the game doesn’t really feature a high score element. As a result, I couldn’t tell what my score was. I just know that I was warped back to the beginning level and got to continue the game with all of the power-ups I had previously earned from the first run. Wasn’t a huge fan of this.

In the original R-Type II, the game follows the events of the original R-Type. The Bydo empire has returned and is going on the offensive once again. You, as the pilot, immediately jump into your ship and fly into danger for a second and final showdown with this imposing force.

In this game, there are a few small improvements. For one, the power-ups are much more obvious and you can tell what you will get once you pick it up. What is also new is the missile attack which drops and explodes for a short distance along the ground.

One thing I found with this game is that it is more difficult and hectic at times. This is because of tighter confines and the inclusion of water which can affect your ships positioning and speed. While more frustrating, it is possible to beat the game with practice.

A noticeable improvement is the fact that it’s easier to figure out what you need to do to defeat bosses. It isn’t just a big puzzle and a little bit of guessing that can lead to success.

Another improvement is the implementation of the high score system so you can actually tell what you got in the end.

Still, the criticism of the first game still stands, the game is really short and can be completed over the course of an hour or so.

In the enhanced color version of R-Type, the gameplay is pretty much the same. The only real difference is found in the graphics.

The enhanced R-Type II game doesn’t feature and big differences from the original outside of graphics. The only real difference I noticed was that there was some slight editing of enemy formation on a level or two.

Probably the biggest change is the enhanced statistics. You can see your accuracy and ships used. While interesting, I don’t know if this does a whole lot to improve the game.

In all honesty, I was excited to try the R-Type DX game. What I was hoping for was a whole new game that brings things to a whole new level. Instead, what I got is the first two enhanced games combined. You run through the levels in the first game, then run through the levels in the second game. Beat all of the levels and win the game.

The game does take on the item system found in R-Type II for the whole game, but the power-ups are largely the same throughout. There are a few edits such as the second spherical object being moved back to make things more challenging.

Because both games are combined, this makes the game more difficult because you are working from one single pool of ships. Still, the potential to score higher is certainly there.

What I will say is that, with both games combined, the length is actually pretty reasonable. So, length finally stops being an issues. Still, recycling both games like this still feels like a cop out on the developers part. If this was a whole new game with roughly the same length, I think that would have been a real jewel in the crown for this game to make this whole experience exciting.

Generally speaking, while this game does boast of having 5 games, there really is only two games to be found in this game. After that, there is a great deal of game recycling going on – especially with the DX game. Because of this, the game generally has very low replay value because you are basically playing the same two games three times just to get through all the content found in this game. While there is some pretty precarious moments throughout the experience, the game is still winnable.

While it isn’t a bad game in the end, I think the game is a little overrated. While it may be appealing to people already a fan of the franchise, it may be difficult for players new to the franchise (like myself) to get excited with this game.

Graphically, R-Type does feature some impressive detail. The backgrounds are pretty well done and the uniqueness of each level is definitely present. Having said that, the game does struggle with a clutter of enemies and shots as slowdowns and flickering can definitely hamper play somewhat.

The original R-Type II, meanwhile, isn’t that much different. It does feature great variety, but slowdowns and flickering can hamper things.

In the enhanced R-Type game, a few problems have been solved. With the exception of the second level boss, it is possible to tell if you are causing any damage to bosses. This is thanks to the white flashing. While flickering and slowdowns are still present, the game did get a nice amount of polish to make things look better. This includes the ships movement and the full color treatment of the scenery and enemies.

The enhanced R-Type II is the same thing. There is a nice amount of polish added to the game with movements. of the ship you fly. There is also the ability to see damage with the flashing white. So, fairly reasonable in spite of flickering and slowdowns.

The audio is not bad in the original R-Type. While there isn’t much that was memorable in the music, it does fill the roll in a reasonable manner. The sound effects are not bad, but it can be confusing whether or not you are causing damage to something or just hitting something that cannot be destroyed. Another problem is that it suffers from limitations of limited voices because certain instruments cuts out when you are firing your weapon (re: almost all the time). It’s not bad. There is no difference in the enhanced version of this game.

In R-Type II, I can’t say there is much of a difference. I’ll just forgo repeating myself and say that it wasn’t bad either.

Overall, this game is basically three versions of two games. While it may be appealing to people already a fan of the franchise, it may be difficult for new players to really latch on with this game. While it features an innovative weapon system, the length becomes a rather big problem for the game. Because of the recycling of the same two games multiple times, the replay value suffers a great deal. The graphics have a great level of detail, but slowdowns and flickering can be a problem. The audio isn’t bad, but it isn’t exactly memorable. The game also suffers from limited voices as well. So, not a bad game, but nothing to get overly excited over.

Furthest point in the game(s):
R-Type (Original): Won
R-Type II (Original): won. High score: 127,300
R-Type (Enhanced): Won
R-Type II (enhanced): Won. High score: 143,800
R-Type DC: Won. High score: 207,550

General gameplay: 18/25
Replay value: 4/10
Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 64%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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