Developer: Sega
Publisher:  Sega

I've always been a fan of Irem's R-type series. The concept of a lone spaceship fighting hordes of alien invaders wasn't exactly new at the time, but R-type perfected it.

It's brutally difficult, but vastly rewarding as players carve a path through the Bydo empire. Enemy design were varied for the time, including space ships, cruisers, organic monsters, giant worms and even some truly H.R. Giger-esque designs. It may seem commonplace now, but back in the late 80s, interesting monster designs would give you a definite advantage over other SHMUPS.

R-type's strong points don't end there, it features an iterative power up-system. Each weapon power-up can upgraded twice and is aimed at different situations, smart players are advised to balance these accordingly. What really set R-type apart however, was the series' trademark orb. It can be used as a shield, thrown against enemies and detached from players to provide secondary firepower. This added an element of strategy and planning that was really never seen in games of the genre up to this point.

Stages are designed to take advantage of both the orb and power-up combinations, they key often being discovering the appropriate time for each combination, including the boss fights. Speaking of them, the bosses are awesome! The first one looks like a super sized version of Ridley Scott's "Alien" while the third level is basically just one big boss fight, making it my favorite stage in the game.

Unfortunately the Master System can just barely handle the game, you'll come across a fair amount of slowdown, but the real offenders here are the flickering graphics and the gutted soundtrack.

Trivia: Did you know the Master System version of R-type has a secret level? You access it on the fourth level, by ramming against a specific pillar, oddly enough this level has the best song in the game.

- The orb power-up gives makes the game stand out from anything else in the genre
- The bosses are fun and original (and Level 3 is basically one big boss fight)
- One of the best SHMUPS on the master system

- Between flickering graphics and relatively poor music the Master System can just barely run the game

Final Grade: B

The packaging for this game is above average for the time and definitely leaps and bounds ahead of most Master System games, I love that 80's sci-fi artwork and amazingly, the grid background doesn't really clash with it.

The Manual doesn't really say much though, it gives you two short paragraphs for backstory, one explaining who your enemies are and the other giving you details about your ship, the rest is just item descriptions, points you get for each kill and a small detail of what each level layout is.

My version also came with a Master System Catalog, and it's without a doubt the most interesting part of the packaging, I just love reading about all of the games that I own and still hope to own.

Packaging Grade: B


  1. Seems interesting.

  2. When I was younger, i had the Master System II console. At the time it was like the best xmas present ever. Now, its merely a treasured relic. id still play it though; if only i could find it :) This game looks pretty cool for it's era.

    1. Depending on where you live Master System consoles and games can be either dirt cheap or terribly expensive, it's usually easier to find games for it in South America and Europe.

      As for the game, I've always been a huge fan of R-type, this version is far from perfect, but the secret level alone makes it worthwhile for any fan