The R-9A Arrowhead is the result of a line of prototypes made in order to combat the enemies of Earth. The inception of the game commands the player to "blast off and destroy the evil Bydo Empire", and strike they must with their one-ship army. R-Type was a game released when scrolling shoot 'em ups were in their prime, and Irem's product brought forth several features that set it apart from the competition.
The Arrowhead, while a small ship, had many a weapon to even the insurmountable odds stacked against it. While the standard attack was a pulsing laser, holding down the fire button would unleash larger fireballs of various sizes depending on the charge time. A host of power-ups could be gained so as to be used against the Bydo armada — the key of which was a piece of the enemy's flesh called The Force. Described as "an indestructible living weapon", the quasi-satellite object would attach to the front of the Arrowhead and fire devastating bolts of reflecting lasers, arcs of red energy or crawling yellow energy that would follow the top or bottom of the screen, destroying anything in its path. Its strength could also be used as a shield when under fire by the bosses the game threw at you, while desperately trying to hit the coloured jewel that signified its weak spot. And many bosses there were, a highlight of the R-Type series and a challenge to take down using the Arrowhead.
While the original game offered little detail in terms of the story, the sequels on later systems expanded on the events more. As it turns out, the Bydo were made by humans four centuries in the future, but had miscalculated in sending their grown army to an enemy solar system. Stuck in a wormhole, the evil entities traveled through time to the 22nd century, ready to attack their creators' ancestors.
Selected game appearances
- R-Type (1987)
- R-Type II (1989)
- R-Type Leo (1992)
- R-Type (1988)
- Super R-Type (1991)
- R-Type III: The Third Lightning (1993)
- R-Type Delta (1998)
- R-Type Final (2003)
- Wikipedia - "R-Type"
- Hardcore Gaming 101 - R-Type by Kurt Kalata and Brian Gazza
- Hyper magazine #128 - "Classics - R-Type"