With Nintendo Releasing Classic Arcade Games On The Switch, Why Not Include ‘R-Type?’ – Forbes


Credit: Irem

Classic shoot-em-up games like the ‘R-Type’ series would be ideal for the Switch.

Back in the July of 1987, a new and unique shoot-em-up was released in the Japanese arcades, the majestic R-Type. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the series and it is about time these games got their chance on a console like the Nintendo Switch.

We know that Nintendo is planning an Arcade Archives service for the Switch and while these currently focus on Nintendo arcade games, it’s likely the service will branch out at some point. This is because we already have a similar precedent for this on the original Wii, with the Virtual Console Arcade game releases.

So with that in mind and the fact that this year is the 30th anniversary of the R-Type series, having these classic shoot-em-up games comes to the Switch would be rather marvelous.

The original R-Type pitched the player in the R-9A Arrowhead fighter against the Bydo Empire. On its mission, it would use a mysterious device called the Force comprised of impenetrable Bydo flesh. This could be affixed to either the front or the back of the R-9A, as well as roam about on its own.

The result of this setup produced some fascinating and very different level design for a horizontal shoot-em-up. With the result being an intricate blend of skilled player input and a more cerebral aspect of navigating the levels themselves.

Over the course of the series, numerous arcade and console games were released. In my opinion, the arcade releases are the ones that need to be preserved, as they act as the functional pivot for much of the series that followed.

So here are the R-Type arcade releases that I would love to see come to consoles like the Nintendo Switch.


R-Type (1987)

The first in the series and probably the best. You pilot the R-9A Arrowhead and fight the Bydo Empire across multiple levels, all of which are incredibly varied in terms of what the environment throws at you. This game also set the framework for the titles that followed and had a few distinct safe paths through each level. What was interesting was that the paths differed depending on whether you had the Force equipped or not, with the latter option being noticeably more difficult.

R-Type II (1989)

This built upon the first game and had the player use the updated R-9C Custom against a newly resurrected Bydo Empire with all new enemies, stages and weaponry. The charged Wave Cannon also received a two-stage makeover, where you could unleash a huge spread blast if charged up sufficiently enough. R-Type II was definitely a major challenge though and it is definitely one of the best games in the series.

R-Type Leo (1992)

This was not actually developed by Irem but by Nanao, though Irem did publish the game. It was also not originally meant as an R-Type game but that changed later on in development. The reason why this becomes obvious is that the new R-9 Leo had no real Force power-up but instead had two new homing Bits. The result was that the game felt more in line with Image Fight, an earlier Irem game, rather than classic R-Type. That said, R-Type Leo is still a fascinating and well-wrought game.


There are a fair few other games I have omitted here, with Armed Police Unit Gallop being notable. Technically speaking, this is set within the R-Type timeline and has the player control the R-11B Peace Maker but the game itself is wildly different. With the focus more on high high-speed chases and wanton destruction rather than careful negotiation through complex levels.

You also have the various console only games, such as R-Type III and R-Type Delta. While I am not a fan of the former, the latter is arguably one of the best games in the R-Type series.

While I would love to see all the R-Type games re-released on modern hardware, having these three arcade games come to the Nintendo Switch would be great. We already have some interesting Neo Geo shoot-em-ups available on the system but those are already derivative of the R-Type games.

Considering that the R-Type series is now 30 years old and these classic shoot-em-ups have not dimmed with age, I only hope that they get another chance to enthrall newer players on modern hardware because at some point we all need to blast off and strike the evil Bydo Empire.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. I also manage Mecha Damashii and do toy reviews over at hobbylink.tv.

Read my Forbes blog here.

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