game Cover
game HuCard
アールタイプ I
©1988 Hudson Soft
Licensed From Irem Corp.
Release : 1988-03-25 (¥4900)
HuCard (2 Mbits) HC63007
Shooter / Horizontal

American Version
Released in America as
( TGX040011 )
R-Type I (aka R-Type Part 1) is a side scrolling shooter and is the conversion of Irem's arcade game originally released in 1987. The Bydo Empire, a mysterious alien civilization, is about to take over the Earth and the solar system. The R-9, powerful star-fighter built on alien technology, is humanity's last stand and is sent to stop the massive threat. The fighter can use an arsenal of weapons including a standard Vulcan gun or long-range ballistic missiles. But the real super-weapon in the game is The Force - the glowing orb is indestructible and its basic function is to float near the R-9 and to protect it. It can however be upgraded throughout the game or charged up to fire powerful blasts of energy. Another important feature of the Force is how it can be thrown at the enemy and inflict devastative damage - this manoeuvre is often necessary in order to take down the large bosses or simply wreak havoc to the Bydo Empire. R-Type I only features the first four stages from the arcade game and is single player only (see the info section below for more information about the two separate releases of the game in Japan).
R-Type II (PCE-Hu) R-Type Complete CD (PCE-SCDRom²)
Super R-Type (SFC) R-Type III The Third Lightning (SFC)
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R-Type - Arcade Game R-Type was first released in the arcades in 1987 (picture on the right) and it quickly became a phenomenon. The game is considered as a seminal work in the shoot'em up genre, and rightfully so. The PC Engine HuCard port was apparently the first home system version ever released in 1988, but numerous home console and computer releases followed - Sega Master System (1988), MSX (1988), Atari ST (1988), Commodore 64 (1988), PC-88 (1988), ZX Spectrum (1988), Sharp X68000 (1989), Commodore Amiga (1989), Amstrad CPC (1989) and Game Boy (1991) to only name a few. Several compilations are also worth mentioning. The first one is R-Types released in 1998 for the Playstation (includes arcade ports of R-Type and R-Type II). Another one is R-Type DX which was released for the Game Boy Color in 1989 (includes colored versions of R-Type and R-Type II originally released separately for the Game Boy). Interestingly, Tozai Game released in 2009 a compilation called R-Type Dimensions for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 - the port features full 3D polygonal graphics with an optional fully arranged soundtrack as well as art/graphics. R-Type Dimensions EX later followed and was released for the Nintendo Switch and Playstation 4.

R-Type I and R-Type II - PC Engine In 1988, the standard HuCard capacity was only 2 megabits and Hudson Soft, obviously, couldn't make R-Type fit in such a small amount of space. Either for technical or marketing reasons, Hudson Soft decided to release R-Type as two separate HuCards in Japan, just a few months apart (picture on the left). The first one, called R-Type I (version tested here) was released in March 1988 and only featured the first four stages from the arcade game (The Encounter, Life Forms in a Cave, Giant Warship and A Base on the War Front). The second HuCard, called R-Type II, was released in June 1988 and included the last four stages (The Den, Transport System, A City in Decay and A Star Occupied by the Bydo Empire). A secret password is given to the player at the end of R-Type I in order to start R-Type II with all the weapons and power-ups slowly accumulated in the first episode. A second password, given at the end of the second game, can be entered in R-Type I to access the second loop (The password menu can be accessed by pressing Select and Run on the title screen).

Don't forget that the PC Engine system was released in Japan on October 1987, and although some of the launch titles (such as The Kung Fu) showed what the PC Engine hardware could actually do, R-Type was probably the first game that really demonstrated the console's true powers. It makes sense that Hudson Soft didn't want to compromise - The PC Engine port of R-Type had to be perfect! I personally still believe, to this day, that R-Type is the game that put the PC-Engine on the map in Japan and showed the little console's true potential.

Interestingly, the American version of the game was released in 1989 on a 4 megabits Hucard (which were more common and cheaper to produce at the time) and included all eight levels from the arcade. In Japan, the full game was only released much later, in 1991, as a Super CDRom² version called R-Type Complete CD, which also featured a redbook soundtrack and exclusive introduction and end animation sequences.

Teaser text copied from the American version:
Bydo is a maniac determined to destroy and rule the entire star world. Who can stop him? Blocking his armies of bizarre mutants is you, Commander of the Nectarian Battle Cruiser. The letter R on the side of your cruiser designates the deadliest type of battle gear: a repeating laser cannon with variable energy control. Good Luck. You're the last hope of civilized universe.


Rtype 1 manual Rtype Turbografx-16 manual
Click on picture to enlarge

R-Type features a second loop! At the title screen, press Select and Run to start the password menu. Then enter the following code :


The PC Engine port of R-Type is magnificent. Thanks to the PC Engine's high resolution, the wide-screen display from the original game is beautifully rendered here and is really impressive. Back in 1988, this game showed what the tinny PC Engine could do, and what a blast that game is! So why only four stars? Well, the game's difficulty is down right brutal and pulls no punches (which was also the case with the original game). Additionally, this port only features the first four stages from the original arcade game and, back in 1988, it would have actually cost you over ¥9800 ($90+) in order to own the full game! But I face a crazy dilemma here - a Super CDRom² version was later released but I personally don't like the redbook soundtrack, it just doesn't fit the game in my opinion. The American port does include the full game, but the box art is atrocious. So here you have it, although this conversion does suffer from distracting sprite flickering in places, it is still excellent and brilliant. But you ultimately only get half of a game...

This gorgeous conversion fully exploits the PC Engine system and it sorts of make sense as it was one of the console's praised launch title. Difficulty is well balanced (sometimes a bit hard though) and this first part can be finished without problems. It is a shame that the second part, despite being as beautiful, is insanely difficult and prevented me from enjoying it...

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