Master System
R-Type is one of those games that has appeared in one form or another on almost every gaming platform in circulation since its coin-op inception in 1987. Normally this would mean a load of badly converted software cashing in on the name with maybe one or two conversions actually being of playable quality. Unusually, the R-Type brand seems to have escaped this fate and has been converted rather well on most platforms (including the humble Gameboy and even more humble ZX Spectrum) and has even been at the centre of some software plagiarism court action following the release and subsequent recall of Katakis, a (very good) Commodore 64 clone.

Among shmup fanatics, the arcade original has quite a following. Its excellent H.R Giger inspired graphics, tough but rewarding gameplay and awesome bosses put it streets ahead of similar games, despite it being yet another horizontal-weapon-collecting-big-boss-at-the-end-of-every-level-space-based-shooter. But how good is Sega's conversion on the Master System? Pig's ear or dog's bollocks? Let's find out ...

The tricky hidden level complete with flying, green,
headless chickens. Don't know how to access it?
Go here to find out.

The big boss himself. At this point only him and his swirly beachballs stand between the player and a very, very crap end sequence ...

So, Sega somehow managed to squeeze everything from the coin-op onto a tinsy Master System cartridge then eh? Hmmm? But did they? Well, yes and no. After hearing great things about this conversion, I was quite looking forward to playing it. I have to admit that i was a bit disappointed. At first. Be warned - the graphics are very flickery and in some parts of the game, slowdown is quite noticeable. However, when you take into consideration the Master System's (lack of) power, flickery graphics and slowdown are inevitable if the end result is going to resemble the original. And believe me, remarkably it does! Sega have done a splendid job here - the fantastic gameplay that gave the original its legendary status has been ported across almost perfectly. I'd almost forgotten the joy of controlling that damn satellite thingy - very satisfying when used properly and mass destruction ensues :O). So in a nutshell, amazingly accurate conversion job by Sega retaining every ounce of classic blasting action. And the flickery graphics? Well, predictable as it may be for me to say so, you really don't notice them once you're in the thick of the action. On the other hand, the slowdown problem is noticeable at times, but that's not always a bad thing. Especially if you're as lacking in the reflexes department as I am :O)

Graphics: 82%

Sound: 90%

Gameplay: 92%

Overall: 90%
Well, when static they are of exceptionally high quality and mimic the original very accurately. Once the action hots up the graphics do start to flicker and slowdown, but this is the price we pay for such a precise conversion. Pretty decent spot effects and the music has survived the transition well. Spot on. Like shooters? Play this. Sega are to be applauded for a job well done. A brilliant conversion of a brilliant game. In short - brilliant. I'll stop saying brilliant now.
R E C O M M E N D E D   A L T E R N A T I V E S

O T H E R   F O R M A T S
R-Type (Arcade) • Parodius (PC Engine) • Gynoug (Megadrive) • Nemesis (Arcade)

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