Review: R-Type Dimensions
Any game that takes me back to my days as a young teenager that spent his days loitering in my local 7-Eleven or card shop to play arcade games is a winner to me. So when I heard R-Type Dimensions was coming to PS3 with the original arcade versions of R-Type I and II along with updated visuals, I was instantly perplexed. How does a game advertise itself as having the original arcade versions and also updated graphics?
I’m happy to report that R-Type Dimensions does indeed deliver both the arcade original AND updated versions of R-Type and R-Type II simultaneously. With just one button press I was hot swapping between the two visual styles without pause and without hopping in and out of menus. Honestly, it’s a mind blowing thing to witness. Every object, background, enemy, pickup, and effect is translated perfectly in the updated look with the addition of a 3D option and modern lighting.
There were times where the temporary slowdown that occurred during the transition between visual styles felt like it stuck around for a bit longer than intended. Most often, it was apparent that the retro arcade visuals performed better and the game played noticeably faster. Further exacerbating the visual slowdown was the Crazy camera option, just one of about a dozen visual augmentations readily available within the Settings menu.
In the Video Settings menu, I toyed with Graphic Mode, Screen Display, 2D and 3D Camera options, and Video Effect. Sadly, Video Effect is the worst feature Dimensions offers. The effects render the updated visuals inferior to the original arcade version, and I felt like I was playing the game on a Sega CD or similar platform.
Worst of all was the Arcade 2D Camera option. I nearly threw up in my mouth trying to play within the tiny window of the arcade cabinet all the while pitching and yawing with the movement of the joystick. The only amusing aspect to this camera was imagining what it would look like to be actually playing an arcade game and moving around in this way.
However, being able to toggle between 2D and 3D visuals, and the use of the Crazy 3D Camera option, was a very enjoyable experience. The last point I need to make about all these visual options is the psychology of modern visuals and how they give the player an interesting sense of control. Switching to the original arcade visuals oddly makes the game feel as though it should be harder, but then switching back to the new look feels easier — and yet they are both the same.
I can’t overlook the audio as it too gets the updated treatment and the same transformation occurs when swapping between arcade and new visuals. The arcade soundtrack is classic chip tune magic, while the updated soundtrack parallels the melody while offering more depth.
Of course the gameplay is classic R-Type, which means it’s tough as nails. Fortunately, Dimensions comes with a few helpful nuances including a handy slow motion button and an Infinite Mode that enables unlimited lives, or should I say unlimited deaths? This is a mode that effectively allows anyone to beat the game. Why isn’t this in every game? Developers could in theory get away with making their games more difficult for the hardcore player.
If Infinite Mode isn’t your thing, then Classic Mode offers the original arcade experience. How far can you get with just three measly lives? I lasted about four minutes before getting the infamous “Game Over” screen. Fortunately, it won’t cost you a quarter to continue.
Multiplayer mode offers two players the ability to play same-screen co-op. A minor disappointment is the fact that there is no online multiplayer to be found anywhere. There are two PSN trophies tied to co-op, but they aren’t too difficult and encourage players to not suck at the game if not just a little bit.
Overall, R-Type Dimensions is the complete package containing both a retro arcade and visually updated versions of two classic side-scrolling shooters. I can’t give you a reason NOT to play it. Once your in, so long as you don’t mess with the Video Settings too much, it’s hard to put it down. The price is extremely reasonable, but more importantly – it still holds up to the Sine Moras of today.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Two classic arcade shooters visually reintroduced
- Transition between old and new versions live in-game is a sight to behold
- Online leaderboards and local statistics
- Local co-op multiplayer, would've been a disappointment had it not been included
- Infinite Mode is the bees knees
- Added bonus features including a slow motion button and fully customizable controller layout
- Play using an arcade stick for the full effect
What I Dislike:
- Worst in class Video Effects
- Nauseating Arcade camera option
- No online co-op