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    Wednesday, july 2nd : new version online
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    R-Type III for GBA review
    R-Type III the Third Lightninh (Irem) - Nintendo GameBoy Advance

    I am definitely a R-Type person, so when i see just anything bearing the "R-type" logo, i have to buy it and bring it home!
    So when i saw "R-type III - the third lightning" for GBA, and after having a quick look at the screenshots, i forgot that all of the gameboy versions of R-Type had always been quite poor, and i decided to give this new version a chance.

    Well, the first contact is quite good, actually : the game offers 3 different "force" modules to choose from (quite like R-Type Delta, which is a pleasant reference), the ships controls are nice, the shots and collision detection are accurate. The background music is a nice variation on the main R-Type level 1 theme, so all in all the feeling of playing a R-Type game is definitely present. I was not that convinced by any previous r-types version for Gameboy, so it's quite a nice suprise.

    Now, being an oldschool shoot-them-up fan, there are 2 things i *hate* in schmups, and that will be : background starfields and floating rocks/wrecked ship parts. I tend think those 2 "features" often indicate a total lack of imagination in a game design. As a matter of fact, R-type games traditionnally begin with a starfield level 1, but only to manage a transition to a more sophisticated mechanical indoor part of the level. Well, i should have been alerted by the starfield in R-Type III, since after the first few seconds of play, few drawbacks arise as the starfield background appears to actually be the only background in the whole level 1....
    First (and annoying) thing : the sound. If the music itself is nice enough, the sound effects are *way too loud* and very irrititating. Being a R-Type fan, i grew the habit of keeping the "fire" button pressed when i don't need intense shooting, just to have a super-charge ready for the next ennemy wave. Well, if you have this habit, you'll end up either loosing it or turning off the GBA speaker, considering how irritating and *loud* the "full charge" sound effect is.
    That would however make for a minor drawback if the action was a bit more intense... But, i'll make it short : the first level is *very boring*... Based on the Super Nintendo Mode-7 level, this level features moving walls, a few ennemy turrets, and... more moving walls and a few more turrets. Ok, but then again the moving wall could be an interesting challenge, you'll think? Well, not quite.
    As a matter of fact, the only "dangerous" part is when a huge wall arrives at high speed and stops right in the middle of the screen. Should you be on the right part of the screen, well you loose one ship, and back you go and starts the annoying level all over ok. So you'll have to face that high-speed wall again, and i've noticed it's finely tuned so that you're just beginning to fall asleep when it pops in and crashes your ship.
    Where are the ennemy waves R-type made it's trademark of? Where is the intense action and the wicked levels one had to learn by heart to have a chance of making it through?
    Well, the ennemies here are just a few turret that are basically protected by walls, so that it's not a matter of finding the right position to shoot them, but mostly a matter of having the right weapon at the right time.
    Oh, that brings me to the "force" modules. Remember there's a choice of three modules to select from. After a few games, i do not actually see what make them different. In the excellent R-Type delta, the choice of a module had a great influence on the gameplay. In this version however, all 3 modules have different weapons, but those weapons are so very uninteresting that you'll soon forget there's even a choice.

    Now back to Level 1 gameplay. Did i mention how boring this level is? "Mode 7" was impressive back in the days of the Super Nintendo. Now, playing on a 3D capable gameboy Advance, "Mode 7" is very dated. Remember it is the *only* twist in the whole level...

    Well, to be fair the game, i should say that it offers direct access to any unlocked level; provided those level have been actually accessed once, that is.
    So maybe, after getting passed level 1 once, the game gets better, the level designs get more interesting and the action reaches the R-Type standard. Maybe so.
    But the motivation of "checking if the game is better in the next levels" if not enough to keep trying going through the long and oh-so-boring level 1. That's why this review will only be a level 1 review, and that's why i'll certainly never know whether level 2 (and 3, and 4...) makes the game worth buying. As a matter of fact, level 1 definitely doesn't...