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R-Type III: The Third Lightning Package Art
††Raylight Studios
††Destination Software

R-Type III: The Third Lightning

Three weeks ago a drawer in my kitchen had become stuck. Someone had stuffed a flash light inside that was keeping the drawer from opening. Even when I pulled really hard. I had to pull out the surrounding drawers and use a bent wire hanger to open it. This was more complicated that it should have been. I could barely see into the jammed drawer and I had a nice hook on the hanger, so it seemed like it would be easy to move the flashlight. But no. Instead it was more than an hour of the most frustrating time in my life. I could see what I needed to do, but for some reason my arms or the hanger or the flash light wouldnít get into place and Iíd have to try again and again and again.

The Gameboy Advance port of R-Type III: The Third Lightning has a lot in common with clearing a blocked drawer. The game is based on the old school philosophy of game design that puts more emphasis on memorization than reflexes or any real skill set. This isnít to imply that you should skip the game based on its difficulty in my introduction. It implies something completely different. Read on to find out what, if anything, Iím talking about.


R-Type III looks great. Really. Yes, itís a port of an old SNES game, but that isnít to say it doesnít have a nice mix of colors for the GBA and GBA SP screen. There is a degree of pixelization when you play R-Type III on a Gameboy Player Ė especially if you run your Gamecube in Progressive Scan Ė but it didnít bother me. On the whole, although the design and sprites are simple, it comes together into an authentic futuristic environment.


Can you call the sound effects and music in a game this old generic? Part of me says no because, well, itís old. So in theory this could have been fresh and original when R-Type III was originally released. But then I wonder, are these the same effects and music as the original? Because if not then that means the game really have clichť science fiction sound effects and tinny music. Ultimately the debate led me to conclude cheesy sound effects Ė which usually drown out the wearisome music Ė today cannot be anything other than cheesy sound effects. Even when the sound effects are old, and especially if theyíre not old.


Let me summarize R-Type III. Youíre this spaceship, and you have to fly around without crashing into anything or letting anything crash into you. Thereís space debris, shrinking and swelling tunnels, space debris, gun turrets and some space debris. You shoot things too. The shipís gun, and one of the three assistant ships you choose, can power up to make shooting things easier. For instance, instead of shooting straight ahead youíll be able to shoot diagonally or behind you. You do this until you reach a boss that takes up most of the screen whom you shoot. Afterwards you advance to another level where you start the process again, but with more frustrating obstacles. Unless you die, then you have to start the level over -- or start at the midpoint of the level, if youíre lucky. That, and a password feature that takes away some of the pain by letting you skip any level youíre able to beat, is R-Type III.




You know, I used to play shooters like R-Type III: The Third Lightning. This was before I had responsibilities or many other hobbies and interests besides video games to take up my time. So I could spend hours and days learning exactly how you have to move a little ship around on a screen, when to shoot or when to charge your beam and shoot. Today I donít have the time or desire to memorize games. Then too, modern games have conditioned me to expect a different type of gameplay. One that is based on a lot more than being able to push the buttons fast enough to avoid death and a wicked penalty for death.

That said, you might see my review score and think that, for all the trash Iíve talked about the game, that the 7.5 Iím giving R-Type III a good score because it does what it intends to do well. This is an old school shooter and itís a great example of what an old school shooter is and should be. My tastes have changed, but I know lots of people still love this genre. I can play the game, not have the patience for it, and still appreciate itís a solid shooter.

final score 7.5/10

Staff Avatar Mark Martinez
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"Unless you're being ironic, turn that off."

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