Catalogue of Arcade Emulation Software - the Absolute Reference

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R-Type (World)

R-Type (c) 07/1987 Irem.

A legendary game that revolutionized the genre and completely changed the way players viewed the humble shoot'em up. R-Type is an incredibly difficult game but, due to the superb graphics, breath-taking level design and never-before-seen gameplay, the game was a huge success, and is still regarded as being the finest of its genre.

R-type's real stroke of genius was in the innovative weapon system the game introduced. The first is the beam weapon : when the player presses and holds the fire button, a beam 'power meter' starts to charge up, once the meter was full, releasing the fire button unleashed a very powerful 'plasma burst', capable of destroying most of R-type's enemy ships. The trade-off was that charging the weapon took up valuable seconds, giving the Bydo ships time to attack.

The second and perhaps most significant innovation was R-type's now-legendary 'Force Pod'. This takes the form of an invincible, detachable laser-firing pod that can be attached to either the front or rear of the player's ship, or can be detached completely and sent forth into the enemy ships. The pod laser was a stroke of true genius and, coupled with the superb level design, gave the world its first 'strategic' shoot'em up.


Irem M-72 system hardware

Main CPU : V30 (@ 8 Mhz)

Sound CPU : Z80 (@ 3.579545 Mhz)

Sound Chips : YM2151 (@ 3.579545 Mhz)

Screen orientation : Horizontal

Video resolution : 384 x 256 pixels

Screen refresh : 55.00 Hz

Palette colors : 512

Players : 2

Control : 8-way joystick

Buttons : 4


Licensed to Nintendo for US manufacture and distribution.

R-Type is one of the most famous of all scrolling shooters. Its impressive graphics, detailed animation, inventive features and simple yet surprisingly involved gameplay made it a huge success for Irem.

The first boss, as well as some of the stages, seem inspired by the artistic works of H. R. Giger (of 'Aliens' fame). He makes a brief cameo in the TV sets in "Undercover Cops".

Alfa Records released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (R-Type : Irem Game Music - 28XA-199) on 25/01/1988.


At the title screen, the prototype version says 'Play and enjoy the game' instead of 'Blast off and strike the evil Bydo empire!', as it does in the final version.


1. R-Type (1987)

2. R-Type II (1989)

3. R-Type Leo (1992)

4. R-Type III - The 3rd Lightning (1994, Nintendo Super Famicom)

5. R-Type Delta (1999, Sony PlayStation)

6. R-Type Final (2004, Sony PlayStation 2)


* Consoles :

NEC PC-Engine (1988)

Sega Master System (1988)

NEC PC-Engine Super CD-ROM2 (1991, "R-Type Complete CD")

Nintendo Game Boy (1991)

Nintendo Game Boy Color ("R-type DX")

Sony PlayStation (1998, "R-Types")

* Computers :

Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1988) : a mastering error on this port meant that level 8 didn't appear on the tape - level 7 was recorded twice, followed by level 9, meaning that players who completed the first 7 levels could get no further.

Commodore C64 (1988)

Amstrad CPC (1988)

Commodore Amiga (1988)

MSX (1988)

Atari ST (1988)

Sharp X68000 (1989)