The time for the final battle with the sexually active Bydo Empire has come. Let Operation Last Dance begin.
Itís sad to see an always excellent and influential game series come to an end. If you somehow missed the last part of the title, this is the final R-Type game. Please, a moment of silence if you will.
Thank you. R-Type Final brings the R-Type series to an unbelievable close. No other shooter compares to what Final gives the player.
For starters, R-Type Final easily has the largest number of playable ships of any shooter. Ever. An insurmountable total of 102 unique ships are docked in the hanger, waiting to be unlocked. All have that signature R-Type styling which extends from the original R-9 and its many upgrades, to extremely powerful and deadly ships, a funky flying tank or two, and to useless surveillance ships that scan enemies instead of shooting them. There are even ships that use the organic Bydo technology, and look like something you should be killing, not piloting. You are able to customize the coloring and weapons of every ship, allowing near limitless possibilities of ship choices. Each ship has a code name as well. Many have normal names like Delta, War-Head, Albatross, and Digitalius II, while many others have rather odd names like Cross the Rubicon, Sweet Memories, Platonic Love, and Dinner Bell. There are so many different ships; most are serious R-Type ships while others are obvious jokes, like the one that shoots loving hearts. Aw, how sweet.
With the cornucopia of crafts offered, piloting each ship through the stages can give you completely different experiences with all of their varied weaponry. Using certain ships will require very different tactics while tackling the stages brimming with Bydo and the gargantuan bosses.
Continuing the style R-Type Delta, Final is a 2D shooter in a 3D world and serves up some great looking visuals in the process. Except Final looks so much better than Delta. Irem really took some care in making sure the beasts and ships of the Bydo Empire looked exactly as they should.
There are a few different ways through the game and three final stages, each with their own cryptic and incomprehensible ending. Since this is the final R-Type, it should wrap up the war against the Bydo right? There should be a grand ending that brings closure to the entire series. Well, there isnít as the endings are very, shall we say, bittersweet. Irem went all out on the rest of the game and youíd think the endings would match, totally explaining the ins and outs of the R-Type universe, but they donít explain a damn thing. The brief verses at the beginning of each stage are vague and only give a tiny hint of information that should have been greatly expanded upon in the endings. All I wanted was some closure!
Which ending you get depends on the stages you visit and which stages you visit primarily depends on certain things you shoot in other stages. Confused? I was too, until I figured out what I had to shoot, or not shoot, to fully explore each and every stage. The stages get pretty wild, especially the crazy flight path in the first stage. The movement of the stage doesnít seem to go with the position of the ship, but the camera does spin around at one point during, showing off the chosen ship in all its glory. During the big ship stage, the camera rotates to the top, turning into a top view side scrolling shooter for a little while. Stage two comes in five seasonal flavors which completely alters the look of the stage and requires slightly different tactics to traverse.
One stage takes place in an alternate dimension of neon blue lights that pulse to calm trance music. Another stage is practically a giant dryer with a monster stuck inside. Thereís even a stage that can only be explored by using one specific ship on a certain stage. As for the final stages, the first is a maze where Bydo eyes are watching you, followed by silhouettes of a man and a woman in various sexual positions. Nice to see they were able to pass that right by the ESRB, since the game is rated E. I suppose though, since this is the last R-Type game, the developers can do whatever the hell they want.
While emerging from the great space dryer, your ship passes through a force field that transforms you and your ship into a Bydo. This brings you to the second final stage, which is actually the first stage during a sunset, where your fellow R pilots are fighting you. They think youíre a bad-ass ace Bydo pilot and are reaffirmed to the fact when you start blowing away your comrades. This stage is a hell of a twist that I didnít expect. The final Final stage is after the acid trip of the blue trance dimension. Somehow you were thrown hundreds of years into the future (donít ask how). The only way back to your own time is through the biggest onslaught of Bydo ships youíve ever seen. Oh, and you only have one chance. Thatís one life. You better hope your skills are top tier if you want to see the final ending.
There are a few points in the game where I question the sanity of the Irem developers. One of them is the sexual escapades of the already mentioned silhouetted couple. Another is the boss of stage four; a Bydo breeding tank, complete with giant Bydo sperm trying to penetrate your shipís outer shell.
If you think youíre not any good at the R-Type games then youíre in luck. Final has five different difficulty settings. There are the insulting Baby and Kids difficulties, the normal Human setting, the harder Bydo, and the near impossible R-Typer. No matter what your skill level, youíll be able to enjoy the game.
Something new to not just R-Type, but to all shooters, is a separate shooter/strategy/fighting game mode. In it, you choose your desired ship to fight it against other R ships. You give it a general battle strategy before the round begins and the ship battles the other ship while you watch. Itís a very different, very strange experience which can be played by two players, each cheering on their ships. Or not. Iím still trying to figure out exactly why this exists.
Aside from the extra of the bazillion playable ships, there is a virtual encyclopedia of all the ships and enemies in R-Type Final. The R Museum is the showcase for all the ships and the Bydo Lab contains data and brief descriptions and histories of the Bydo. Youíll know more than you ever wanted to about the Bydo and the R ships. The game even keeps stats on hoe many times youíve destroyed each enemy, the date each stage was discovered and other, I guess, notable accomplishments in the game. There are also unlockable R-Type pictures featuring the R ships in battle scenes or parked at a fancy restaurant.
R-Type Final has everything youíll ever need in a shooter. Irem put forth a great deal of effort and gave us so much more than we ever asked for or deserved. Goodbye my friend, I shall never forget thee.