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R-Type Logo.png

R-Type is a horizontal shmup developed and published by Irem in 1987. Alongside Gradius, R-Type has a legacy as one of the earliest and most popular examples of a shmup, helping pave the way for the genre today. R-Type takes place in the 22nd Century, and puts the player in the seat of the R-9 Arrow Head as they fight against the Bydo, a race of hybrid machine aliens. It is well-known for its punishing difficulty which relies heavily on routing and memorization, and for its distinct visual style and enemy design, with many of the more organic creatures bordering on the edge of terrifying.

Game Title
R-Type Title Screen.png

Title screen

Developer: Irem
Music: Person A
Program: Person B
Art: Person C
Release date: Release Date
Previous game: Previous game of the developer
Next game: Next game of the developer

Gameplay Overview

In R-Type, the player uses two buttons, with one controlling your standard shot and the other being used to control your Force Pod (if you have one). The standard shot is equipped with a charge function, with three strengths of shot possible. Levels scroll horizontally and make use of lots of environmental hazards, requiring the player to react quickly and establish routes through stages that allow them to navigate safely. The player will be dodging bullets, enemies, walls, and all sorts of objects that move all over the screen.

R-Type contains eight stages, with a second loop that has more aggressive enemies -- making for a total of 16.


Joystick (Two Buttons).png
  • A (Press): Fires a Shot
  • A (Hold): Charges a Beam, release to fire
  • B: Controls the Force Pod. When equipped, this button shoots the Pod off the ship across the screen; when operating on its own, this button slowly calls the Pod towards the player's ship


R-Type features three types of shot weapons, which are fired from the Force Pod when it is attached to the player.

Force Pod

R-Type Basic Force Pod Animated.gif

Details about Force Pod here. Note that it is detachable, fires its own shot stream which is upgraded by collecting weapon pick-ups, is invincible, and can be launched from the ship as a weapon or used as a support turret. Allows player to shoot from behind by attaching the Force to the back of their ship.


Items are released from the mobile POW Armor.

R-Type POW Armor .png
Item Image Effect
Laser Crystal Example Example
Speed Up Example Example
Bit Example Example
Missiles Example Example

Stages and Loops

There are 8 stages in R-Type.

R-Type features a second loop with more challenging enemies. There are no other major changes in the second loop.



See R-Type/Strategy for stage maps, enemy and boss descriptions, walkthroughs, and advanced play strategies.

Dying in R-Type is extremely punishing, as you are thrown back to a checkpoint with no weapons, Force Pod, Bits, or speed-ups. Because of this, players are typically encouraged to avoid death in any way possible and to play very safely. Practicing checkpoint recovery is a critical aspect of success in this game, as some checkpoints can prove to be highly challenging at low power.



Development History


Version Differences


  • The PlayStation ports of R-Type and R-Type II (as R-Types) run at 60 frames per second, whereas the arcade PCB runs at 55FPS.

R-Type Dimensions

R-Type Dimensions is a port of the first two R-Type games released in 2009 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms. It was re-released as R-Type Dimensions EX for PlayStation 4, Steam, and Nintendo Switch.

  • One of the highlight features of this port is the ability to switch between the original 2D graphics and an exclusive visual mode rendering all of the game's assets in full 3D.
  • Dimensions is based on the World romset. While this has little to no effect for the first game, the second game is much easier than the Japan romset.
  • A unique bug causes your Force pod to deal contact damage equal to the charge beam, making point-blanking twice as powerful.
  • In R-Type 2, some bullets fired by one particular enemy in one particular stage will not be absorbed by the Force Pod.



See R-Type/Gallery for our collection of images and scans for the game.

References & Contributors