Sure as hell glad this didn’t require quarters. My wife would have killed me.
You never truly understand the joy of arcade life until a company comes along and does a re-release/remix/redux of a popular arcade machine from the 80s. When I say ‘joy’, what I really mean is ‘How in the hell did I survive those times without anger management issues?’ Thus, we have R-Type Dimensions. A game that is so insanely difficult from level to level that you’re only measurement of how good you are at it is by recording how many times you die during the entire experience.
No, seriously, the game actually displays those wonderful stats. And don’t worry, everyone sucks at this game.
In its original state, its purpose was to get you to spend as many quarters as humanly possible. Arcades thrive(d) on your money to stay alive, so you failing multiple times means you’re getting them closer and closer to paying off their electric bill each month. Anyway, let’s shift from a failing industry that is merely a dinosaur buried deep in the ground and let’s look at the game that made it out of its burial sight.
R-Type Dimensions contains both R-Type arcade games — R-Type (1987) and R-Type II (1989). Each game contains two modes: Classic Mode and Infinite Mode.
The ‘Classic Mode’ of the game is how it was originally put out there in an arcade cabinet. It gives you three lives, beautiful pixelated graphics and a soundtrack that would make any MIDI musician happy as a LucasArts team who just developed the iMUSE music engine. When you play the classic mode, you can hear your quarters from the 80s hitting the drop box of the arcade cabinet. The game throws everything at you from the first stage and beyond, and every time you die you start back at a particular checkpoint. If any of you were looking for a challenge in a side-scrolling shooter then you need to spend the $9.99 and get this. For me, I was frustrated as hell, but enjoyed every moment of the curse fest. Having a true arcade experience is worth its weight in gold for me.
Now, for you gamers out there that need crutches, there is an ‘Infinite Mode’. This mode allows you to die as many times as you want and respawn as the level keeps going. This means no checkpoint restarts and you get to see every bit of this arcade classic from beginning to end. As I stated previously, you get a wonderful numerical representation of how bad you stink at the end of each level, with a total of loss lives at the end of the game. Infinite Mode is fantastic if you want to see how tough this game can get in later levels (it’s insane). It also allows you to blow off some frustration from the classic mode.
Modes aside, the upgrade for R-Type Dimensions is the ability for you to jump from the traditional arcade look of the original game to an updated 3D look of the game. The soundtrack is also updated into more of a softer techno composition, and the sound effects are also updated. While the updated versions of both games is nice, the original games are so much better. They look better (especially R-Type II, which has a lot more crisp animation to it) and the soundtracks just sound much cooler. Of course, I was raised during the arcade zenith in North America, so originally arcade games always sound much better than other games today to me. It’s a personal preference, nothing more.
In short, you do get some beautiful visual upgrades, but there really isn’t anything like the original versions.
So, is this game worth your time and attention? If I hadn’t already received it for free, I would drop $9.99 for this in a heartbeat. It contains two classic arcade games with a revised version of each that can be changed instantly during gameplay (you can switch back and forth with the touch of a button). The games are challenging, engaging and absolutely insane to play. Honestly, you may not fall in love with them because of their difficulty, but you’ll find some entertainment, especially if you do local co-op. Two-player arcade games were a blast in the day and make the experience that much better.