the resigned gamer, everything I hate about the thing I love the most

R-Type Command: Don't Look Back

Posted by Sir Cucumber at 10:12 PM on Sunday, August 1, 2010

WARNING! This review contains spoilers...As if you were really gonna play R-Type Command...

Halfway through it, all I'd intended to write about this game was that it's a polished and perfectly competent turn-based strategy that made one glaring omission:

R-Type Command - you can't turn around!
In the mission pictured above, you start at the top of a column and work your way down. Those ships are not running away from that wormy monster- they're about to fight it. Poorly...

And we're not talking about some constantly-walking japanese icons that are just going to swing a sword in any direction and jabber on anyway. Combat in this game is driven by charging big blast weapons, originating from the nose of one's ship.

But after playing through the whole game, this excessive linearity actually seems quite intentional and, I have to admit, rather clever.

The premise of the game is that a young commander is sent on a journey across the galaxy to find and destroy the source of the Bydo, an alien race (originally created by man, to serve man, blahblahblah) whose fleets are approaching Earth in a seemingly endless stream. All previous attempts to stop them have failed.

After 30 missions of mind-numbing Japanese exposition, the commander reaches the Bydo Core, and his entire armada is promptly mutated into Bydo. Somehow they don't notice. They just want to go home.

And thus starts another 27 missions as the other side, going right back the way you came, and every mission not understanding why all the other humans are trying to kill you. I've got to say it got old after the 10th pre-mission monologue, but it was compelling enough that I had to see what happened at the end of the loop.

R-Type Command - When will it end???Yeah, actually you've got about another 12 missions to go...

To make a painfully long story bearable: you finally get back to Earth, blow up a couple buildings, figure out you've become the Bydo, get sad, fly around all depressed while the credits roll, and then run away.

They could have gotten to the point much faster, but so could my mother...Granted, Commander Cucumber could have just picked up a mirror, but how much of ourselves do we ever truly see the way that others do? How often do we acknowledge that we're part of the problem, and do we ever get outside the glass house?

...Also, yes, that picture really does say "Untouchable Sergeant Cucumber's Residual Sanity."