Anyone who's ever finished an R-Type game with limited lives deserves a medal. They should be knighted and heralded as a fine example of human life. R-Type doesn't mess about.
Up now on Xbox Live, R-Type Dimensions brings the first two games of the nut-stomping series together in one tidy package, while mixing it up a little with questionable 3D visuals. Here are some videos of it in action.
The core gameplay itself hasn't changed and if you're a fan of the series you'll recognise the guns and enemies instantly. New to this version though is the option to change all those pixels into 3D polygons.
To be honest though, we prefer the way it looks in 2D. We'd have expected it to look at least as good as the brilliant R-Type Final on PS2, but the 3D mode in this - which can be switched on and off in-game by tapping the right bumper button - looks washed out and plain.
You can add touches of retroness to the 3D graphics though. But for us the old-school 2D sprites have more character.
Switching to the "crazy" viewpoint, which gives you a slight left-to-right viewing angle, just makes precise movement tougher to judge.
On a more positive note, a new Infinite mode makes R-Type a lot more accessible to humans who don't have the reactions of Luke Skywalker. In Infinite mode, not only do you have unlimited lives, but also when you die you just respawn and continue as normal - you don't start from the previous checkpoint.
So the challenge instead is to finish that game using the least number of lives as possible, and get a high score on the Live Leaderboards.
The traditional die-and-you're-screwed mode is still there, but you'll need the patience of a world-class angler and the pure blood of Bruce Lee to get through it.
The hit box around your ship seems to be pretty forgiving too. We're absolutely certain, on occasions, that bullets or parts of the scenery passed through the outer layers of our ship without killing us.
That's normal for most shooters, but the hit box in R-Type games usually match the ship. Even the slightest graze of something would kill you.
Besides all that, new added online multiplayer is the icing the cake for an update to a classic that we reckon is well worth getting. If you think you're good enough.