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Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

Other Links

Matt Bielby
Chris Bourne

Originally brought out for Christmas '88, R- Type is still probably the YS all-time shoot-'em-up champion. Certainly Duncan and David swear by it, and who am I to disagree? It's got everything really - bright, colourful and rather chunky graphics, pretty backdrops (but with the main play area left black for ease of vision) and playability coming out of its ears.

For those not familiar with it (where have you been?), it's a left-to-right horizontal scroller of a type we've seen millions of times before, but rarely (if ever) done this well. There's hardly any colour clash, some gorgeously designed graphics (something we have the coin-op to thank for) and it all moves beautifully - just check out the famous mechanical snakes on the first level for proof. Then there's the weapons system - some of the best add-ons in the business. Lots of little frog-like robots bounce along just waiting for a bit of encouragement to release oodles of extra weapons, including three-way lasers and a little remote droid that sorts of follows you around, mimicking your every move.

But best of all, the learning curve is pitched just right too, and the play-on option means you don't have to go straight back to the beginning again each time you die. A true classic and, what's more, the Speccy version is significantly harder to complete than the arcade machine ever was. It's an absolute corker!


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