|System: X360 (XBLA)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Tozai Games / SouthEnd Interactive||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Microsoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 4, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Instead, they only provided one mode besides classic: infinite, or unlimited lives. This completely removes every incentive not to die, draining every sense of fun and tension. It kills the core challenge of the game, that of figuring out the "right" path by which to navigate the levels. Given how hard these stages are, it usually feels like you're just watching yourself die until the level runs out. Essentially, you can choose between smashing your controller to pieces and having your eyes glaze over as life number 22 goes by. Neither is what modern gamers are looking for.
To be fair, there are a few new features that mitigate the difficulty a little. Once you clear all the stages, even if you do it with infinite lives, you can start on whatever level you want. This lets you learn the later stages without playing through the early ones first every time. There's also a checkpoint system, so a "game over" screen doesn't mean you have to start from the very beginning. There's also a two-player co-op mode with a revive system, available both locally and online.
Finally, before hardcore R-Type fans start bursting blood vessels and sending us hate mail (if they haven't started already), it should be made clear that there is a certain genius to these games that's evident even in 2009. Where most game designers struggle to walk the line between challenge and frustration, R-Type's original teams sought to carve out one way to make it through hazard-packed levels, and to make pretty much any deviation from that path fatal. If one accepts this as a legitimate goal, the level design is superb: you can beat these games, but only if you memorize them and play them exactly the way you're supposed to.
R-Type Dimensions is an attempt to appeal to both retro gamers and newcomers. It's an unmitigated success when it comes to the former, and an unmitigated disaster for the latter. Anyone who wants the old games will get exactly what they're looking for, but those who want something that'll compete with modern shooters should stick to, well, modern shooters.
CCC Freelance Writer