R-Type Leo (Arcade) Review

By Gabriel Jones 12.07.2017

Review for R-Type Leo on Arcade

The year is 2163 and the war with Bydo has just ended. In this short-lived era of peace, the citizens of earth focused their efforts on "Project Paradise." The goal was to colonize a new planet - one without war, pain, or sorrow. Everything from its topography to its atmosphere is the result of incredibly advanced technology. Appropriately named Eden, this planet is operated by a bio-tech super computer. Sadly, "Major" has started malfunctioning, causing the defence systems to target humans. A variant of the R-9, code-named "Leo," is deployed to sort out this disaster.

R-Type Leo presents a unique take on what has already become an established formula. Unlike other R-9 models, Leo doesn't have a force pod. Instead, its offensive and defensive capabilities are tied to psy bits. On one hand, losing a shield capable of protecting either the front or rear of the ship is a heavy blow. On the other hand, the psy bits don't require nearly as much babysitting in order to be used effectively. Their charge attack homes in on enemies and ignores terrain, which almost makes for a "fire and forget" weapon. Although, it's important to recover the bits after their energy is spent, since the Leo is very weak without them.

The rest of the game plays out in a manner that's very much unlike traditional R-Type. Each stage is filled with the typical menagerie of enemy ships and troublesome obstacles. This time around, there's less of an emphasis on rapidly devolving situations. The player's sole obligation is to simply go with the flow. There aren't any complex strategies or soul-crushing checkpoints. Knowledge of what to expect helps, but it isn't a requirement. In other words, this STG trades away the methodical pacing for something a little more accessible. Two players can even team up - a rarity for the franchise. It's actually…pleasant.

To be sure, pleasant is a rather odd description for a shmup. After all, this game is part of a genre rife with screen-cluttering bullets and one-hit kills. Still, it's hard to shake off the thought that R-Type Leo feels like a peaceful Sunday afternoon. It's like sitting in the patio and watching the rain. There's a gentle downpour, with no thunder and lightning. If only moments like these could last forever. That's not to say the game is easy, but… Well, okay, maybe it is a little on the easy end.

Screenshot for R-Type Leo on Arcade

First off, it's important to note that there are two versions of this arcade game: World and Japan. The World version is the one most of everyone is familiar with. It allows for instant respawns and a two-button weapon system. Indeed, this could be considered an R-Type with no checkpoints. How wild is that? The Japan version makes use of a one-button system, so the Leo can't fire while the psy bits are out. Oh, and there are checkpoints. Everyone has their preferences, but shmup veterans are more likely to choose the Japan version, due to the higher difficulty.

Even so, this entry is quite a bit easier than its predecessors. Although I play a lot of STGs, I'm a mediocre talent at best. Imagine my surprise when I was able to 1CC the World version in less than five attempts. Keep in mind, a 1CC means one-credit clear, AKA no continues. Of course, that still leaves Japan's version, but the checkpoint system doesn't make too drastic a difference. Most players shouldn't have too much trouble reaching the later stages, without accruing a single death.

The game plays well enough, and anyone can appreciate the eye-popping colours and funky tunes it outputs. Moreover, there's a sense that the developer wanted players to actually feel good about their selves. It's uncharacteristic of Irem, since their arcade games have a habit of putting gamers through all sorts of hell. Think of it as a vacation - a vacation away from the likes of R-Type II, X-Multiply, or Image Fight. The difficulty is a bit lacking, especially compared to those notorious titles, but Leo isn't a bad game by any stretch of the imagination.

Screenshot for R-Type Leo on Arcade

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Interestingly enough, R-Type Leo was the last R-Type released in arcades. It was also the only one to never receive a console port. It's a shame that this entry has gone relatively unnoticed for so long. Sure, without the claustrophobic and convoluted level designs of its predecessors, this STG doesn't really stand out, but it's still mechanically solid and fun to play. The lovely visuals and groovy soundtrack are also quite nice.

Developer

Nanao

Publisher

Irem

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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