Tuesday, September 1, 2009

R-Type Complete CD

Super CD-ROM

R-Type fans in Japan must've been thrilled with this when it first came out, as it eliminated the need to mess around with two separate HuCards, not to mention that it features cinemas and a remixed soundtrack (as a CD remake should). Of course, as a longtime owner of the R-Type TurboChip, I already had access to the entire adventure without having to resort to any card-swapping stuff, so my acquisition of this disc was based solely on curiosity regarding its intermissions and audio. The core game itself is the same, with the same memorization-based gameplay and the same famous bosses.

I knew coming in that the cinemas wouldn't exactly put all other PCE cutscenes to shame, but I'd actually set my expectations a bit too high by believing they would be dull, basic products of obligation. They're actually bad enough to warrant derision at times, especially when the horrifically ugly human-character designs are involved.

The "scenery" shots aren't quite as laughable or repulsive as the people-plagued ones, but they're crude (check out the rough borders of the water and clouds). At least the space-battle scenes, while simplistic, are fairly cool; I just wish there were a lot more of them.

Quality music might've made up for the poor interludes (which can be skipped entirely), but R-Type Complete's racket seldom approaches any level of goodness. As soon as I heard a robotic voice droning "AR-AR-ARRR-TYPE" over upbeat mutilations of Stage 1's classic melodies, I knew I was in for something wholly inappropriate. The "dance" takes on these tunes fail for the most part, though the boss track is, uh, "kickin'" aside from its gratuitous "vocals" and sirens. Oddly enough, the tunes I feared would be affected most adversely actually turned out all right: the Stage 2 and Stage 4 themes, effective originally because they created feelings of suspense with relatively slow progressions, serve a different purpose in their sped-up forms, as they make the rather rigid action seem more spontaneous than it really is. But only the Stage 6 track was done full justice, as it's the most traditional red book remix of the lot. Even then, however, I prefer the chip number.

Being that I was let down by both the cinematics and the soundtrack, I had to get whatever enjoyment I could out of the best part of the package: the good ol' game itself. R-Type fans will certainly want to check this out and might even find the cutscenes and tunes quaintly appealing. Those who aren't quite crazy about the game should stick with the US chip version, as the original music is far superior to the new nonsense, and the gathering of ships at the card adventure's conclusion is much cooler than any of the cinematic "drama" presented by the disc.

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