R-Type II (Arcade) Review

By Gabriel Jones 08.07.2017

Review for R-Type II on Arcade

In the year 2165, the Bydo returned. Wasting no time, they seized control of many planets, turning them into death stars. Whether this has anything to do with Star Wars is anyone's guess. Before long, all that remained was the planet Earth. The newly-designed R-9C, codenamed "War-Head", has just launched and is now targeting Bydo's base of operations. Once again, a single ship stands against unfathomable odds. It all sounds a little…familiar doesn't it? This is hardly time to sweat the small stuff, because there's a galaxy that needs to be saved.

Released in 1989, R-Type II is a thoroughly impressive sequel. It presents a wealth of new mechanics and challenges, an evolution in every respect. The R-9C has two new weapons available to it, as well as an enhanced charge beam. This spectacular weapon unleashes a blast that spreads across the screen, but it requires a longer charge and specific timing. As in the previous entry, the player's survival depends more on memorization and planning ahead, rather than raw reflexes. Granted, being able to dodge bullets is a handy skill, but unlike most shmups, bullets are not the leading cause of death.

This game is strictly catered to those who have already mastered part one. There are only six stages this time around, but they're more complex and far more dangerous. While some slight concessions have been made, such as the player-ship having a better hitbox, the level of difficulty is merciless. It's very much the "Lost Levels" follow-up. Everyone who isn't already well versed in the original won't even reach the halfway point of this game.

To give an idea of just how diabolical R-Type II is, let's consider the second stage. Early on, the R-9C is accosted by Bydo minions known as breams. When they're shot, these jerks use their remaining strength, to charge forward at their current trajectory. If the player isn't paying attention, they can get blindsided, or worse, trapped in a futile situation. Since they can't be completely destroyed, positioning is paramount when handling breams. The same stage also plays hosts to ovum, which must be dealt with immediately. If left alone, they will float upwards, until they collide with the ceiling, releasing a swarm of deadly creatures.

Screenshot for R-Type II on Arcade

More than ever, this game highlights the importance of the right side of the screen. Typically, players feel obligated to hide out on the left side of the screen, since most if not all enemies approach from the right. The idea is that staying far back as possible will allow more time to react to bullets or other dangers. It seems sensible enough, but this series severely punishes anyone who attempts such a tactic. Staying at the centre of the screen, or even slightly to the right, is usually more conducive to survival. The force pod is there for a reason. Managing both the ship and the pod is a complicated process, but it pays off.

The level of difficulty is also dependent on the strategies the player comes up with. Take the fifth boss for example. It has three weak points, but the player's immediate concerns are all of the walls, which turn whenever they're shot. It's easy to get caught in a hopeless maze. There is an unexpected way forward, but it can take quite a while to figure out. As always, the checkpoint system doesn't make things any easier. Every now and then, it'd be nice to restart a boss fight at the actual boss, and not a ways back. Then again, how else is the player going to obtain some much needed power-ups?

Learning and possibly mastering this tough game is still a very rewarding process. As with many other shmups, there is a second loop. Everything is faster and more prevalent, which forces experts to overhaul their strategies to compensate. With enough time and practice, it's entirely possible to become not just a better player, but also a smarter one. They're no longer reacting to ever-changing situations. Instead, they take the initiative, and are able to plan out a method of attack. That said, taking a moment to see how events play out has its benefits as well. Sometimes an opening can appear at the last possible second.

Screenshot for R-Type II on Arcade

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The muted aesthetics, as well as the more mechanical art direction, make R-Type II a little less "iconic" than its predecessor. Still, that's not much of a reason to pass on a fantastic shmup. The new weapons and more involved stage design lead to scenarios that are very distinct. It's almost astonishing how well various disparate elements come together. The more balanced yet higher level of difficulty is certain to please fans.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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