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Reviewed by: Rob StrangmanMedia: CD
Released by: ASCII EntertainmentStatus: out of print
Platform: Sony PlayStationNumber of games: 2
Year released: 1999Players: 1-2 (alternating)

Games included:
R-TypeR-Type II

ASCII Entertainment was nice enough to release the R-Types compilation in the U.S. back in 1999. Finally, arcade-perfect R-Type and R-Type II for a home console! They had both been brought home before to varying degrees of success, but this was the first time their original arcade forms had been made available to the general public. Naturally, I snapped this up as soon as it became available. I had played a Japanese copy of R-Types a few months prior, so I immediately noticed one thing that was missing: the Japanese version has a preview video of R-Type Delta. Why ASCII removed it, I'll never know, but it may have had to do with not wanting to spend the time/money to translate it. Ultimately, it's not important. An opening FMV introduces new players to the story of mankind's war against the Bydo Empire. It's nowhere near as impressive as the opening FMVs for Konami's Gradius Deluxe Pack and Salamander Deluxe Pack Plus, but does give us a nice look at some of the more iconic characters from the R-Type series.
R-Type: The first boss, the Krell... or Doppelganger... or Dobkeratops... geez, what the hell is this thing really called?

Once the title screen comes up, you're presented with the choice of selecting R-Type, R-Type II, an option menu and something called "R's Library Ver. 1.0", which I'll talk more about in a minute. R-Type and R-Type II each have their own separate option screens. Sound tests for each game are included, along with difficulty, button and volume options. If you pause either game in play, you're presented with an additional menu that lets you adjust the display - for example, deciding if you want a transparent status display or a solid one like the original arcade. Should you decide on the solid status bar, the playfield will scroll as you move around. Personally, I find that distracting, so I keep it on transparent. As you pass each stage, the game saves your progress, allowing you to go back and access any level you've completed from the in-game menu. That's a nice touch, especially considering how difficult the R-Type games can be.
R-Type II: Zabtom? Subtom? Subatomic? Whatever it's called, it's the first boss of R-Type all over again, just Robocop-ized.

R's Library Ver. 1.0 is something unique, the likes of which I've never seen on a classic arcade compilation disc before. The guys at Irem have created a comprehensive, incredibly detailed backstory to the entire R-Type saga, right down to describing the entire history of the "R" series spaceships from their initial development. The Genealogy section lets you look at all of the "R" series ships up to that point with fully rotatable 3D models. Zoom in, zoom out, check out the different components (including the Bit and Force units) and so on. The History section lets you read the backstory devised by the guys at Irem, and a lot of the entries include pictures you can toggle on and off. The Data section gives you detailed files on all of the enemies from both games. It's truly a massive amount of info, akin to a bonus features disc on a DVD or Blu-Ray. The only thing R's Library is lacking is *actual* historical info, like Namco presented in the Museum sections of the PS1 Namco Museum comps. There are no flyers, no merchandise scans, no concept art... nothing. But with everything that was included, you probably won't miss those. The R's Library would later resurface in R-Type Final for the PlayStation 2, and a lot of the ships shown in the Genealogy section of R-Types also would appear in Final - except in that, you'd actually be able to use them in the game, as opposed to just rotating a 3D model in the Library.
R-Types: The Genealogy section of R's Library Ver. 1.0 (click image to enlarge).
R-Type and R-Type II made the jump to the PlayStation beautifully, with no emulation issues at all that I can tell. The visuals, audio and speed all survived the transition intact. There is a bit of load time that is slightly distracting, but once the games start, they're gone. A nice added feature to both games is rapid fire, which comes in handy when knocking out swarms of smaller ships. R-Types is nearly perfect, and would be an R-Type fan's dream disc if it wasn't for one thing: there are only two games here. Irem created two other R-Type games during the ten years between the release of R-Type II and this disc, the Japanese-arcade-only R-Type Leo and the Super Famicom/Super NES exclusive R-Type III: The Third Lightning. I don't believe all of the info in R's Library takes up all of the space on the disc, so surely those two could have been squeezed on. Hell, there might have even been room for the arcade-only Armed Police Unit Gallop, which Irem says is a part of the series. Why none of these games were added is beyond me, especially since this disc was the perfect opportunity to give R-Type Leo a worldwide release. After all, emulating arcade games was already easy enough, and the Super NES had been emulated on the PlayStation before (Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts on the Capcom Generation Vol. 2 disc).
R-Types: The 3D R-9 model, as viewed in the Genealogy section (click image to enlarge).

Even with the lack of the additional R-Type games, this is still a solid purchase for any shooter or R-Type fan. You get two of the greatest shooters in history for the price of one, plus all of that extra info in one package. Granted, R-Type Dimensions is out for XBox Live Arcade, and that does have those nifty new 3D modes, but all of the extra stuff is missing. If you just want to play the games, go for that (admittedly, it is cheaper to get that than it is to buy this disc) - but if you're an R-Type fan, you want to hunt this down ASAP.
R-Types: Some of the enemy characters as viewed in the Data section (click image to enlarge).

Worth the purchase: Absolutely, even if you have R-Type Dimensions (XBLA). There's a wealth of info on here that any serious R-Type fan will eat up.

Diversity: Not very diverse. Irem could have included R-Type Leo and R-Type III: The Third Lightning to make this a true R-Type anthology.

Playability: It's damn near identical to the arcade with a boatload of extra options to make your experience even more enjoyable.

Hidden gems: None, sadly.

Gameplay screenshots courtesy of Hardcore Gaming 101.