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R-Type Delta
Platform:  Playstation
# of Players:  1
Developer:  Irem
Publisher:  Agetec
Features:  Dual Shock Vibration
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
One of the hardest (if not THE hardest) arcade games ever was Irem's R-Type, a shooter that I despised due to it's great difficulty, but always went back to because I wanted to see what was going to happen next, that is, until I got blasted to space dust! Of course I was never able to finish the game (I'd always run out of quarters!), and it wasn't until some years later, while playing the TurboGrafx 16 version, that I saw the ending, only to find out that there was an R-Type 2 out there!! Needless to say, I didn't exactly jump at the chance to play THAT one, as my fingers were still hurting from the first game, but eventually, I got around to it.

Fast forward to today, and Irem's new polygonal update for the PS, R-Type Delta, brings that same digit-destroying action to you at home, so you don't have to worry about running out of change, or some little Poindexter-type shooter king looking over your shoulder, telling you what to do next! Even on the easy mode, the game is quite a beast, and the developers have taken advantage of the Playstation's power to bring you some really jaw dropping "what the hell was THAT!!" shooting action. Even though the game's graphics have been updated in 3D, the game plays like the old one, in terms of most of the weapons and enemy wave patterns. There are two new ships to go along with the R9 from the first two games, and if you're an R-Type veteran, you'll want to give them a quick spin through a level or two to see if you like them. One uses an anchor-type weapon, and the other has a sort of laser whip thing.

So, once you've picked your difficulty level and ship, then what, you ask? Well, you try to survive the game, is what! The game intros each level with the 3D graphics segueing into the old-school 2D gameplay, a la Squaresoft's shooter, Einhander, and things heat up very quickly, if you know what I mean. For those of you out there who've never played any of the R-Type games, strategic placement of your ship and its "bits"(which act as backup firepower) is just as important as firepower, and being fully powered up means almost nothing, if you don't memorize the enemy's patterns.

One thing is certain while playing this game: you will die. A lot. There is so much going on, from huge, twisting mechanical snake mid-bosses, to ships coming from both foreground and background, that one gets easily distracted, and goes out in a ball of flame more often than one should. While the original arcade game had simple controls, RTD uses almost all of the buttons on the PS controller, which is more than a bit annoying at first. But, I've noticeds that each person who plays has their own style. Some use all the buttons, while others rely on the rapid fire and power shot. The controls can be configured somewhat, which is also a plus. The funny thing is, the game's speed is pretty lackadaisical for all the blasting going on, after twenty minutes or so, you develop a sort of Zen like concentration, moving up and around the screen, slipping into a corner to avoid death by a hair, or taking out a particularly large cannon with a well placed shot. Some might consider this frustrating, but those are the easily frustrated, I suppose. Me, I'll just be grooving on the excellent music and cool vibration function (with the Dual Shock controller) while trying to beat my old scores and open up some more pictures in the Gallery mode

In any event, R-Type Delta will probably not be your cup of tea if you hate shooters, really hard ones in particular. But if you're looking for a very challenging, pull your hair out by the roots game that you'll have a love hate relationship with, and this is a recommendation, by the way, pick up R-Type Delta, you'll thank me later...

Greg Wilcox

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