R-Type Final, released on the PlayStation 2, was the followup title to the popular R-Type Delta and plays much the same way. Though it was initially planned to be the series' swan song, R-Type Command/Tactics was released a few years later. This game functions as a (sometimes retroactive) series bible for fans of the series.
Final's events take place in 2183, twenty years after the first mission against the Bydo in 2163. However, the game's clock will always be ahead of the current date by 160 years, which would be 2177 at the time of this writing, 2017. The pilot's first mission is to investigate mysterious enemies onside a crashed space colony, the remnants of a large battle codenamed Operation Last Dance, a previous failed attempt to wipe out the Bydo once and for all. This investigative theme is incorporated throughout the game as each level is considered 'research' on the Bydo and unlocks a gallery of in-universe artwork and additional playable ships. Levels are prefaced with hints of the R-Type universe in the form of poetry.
The American manual caused a massive plothole by saying that the game was set 500 years after the original R-Type, in 2663. The main proof the manual was wrong is due to the fact the Bydo were first said to have been sent back in time to the 22nd century from the 26th century. If Final was set in the 27th century, human civilization would look much more different, and the playable ships would most likely be mostly Bydo ships, not to mention the fact that in Stage F-C "Wherever", you would have to travel to the past, in the opposite direction and a shorter distance (162 years to the past, instead of the actual 318 years to the future you travel in both Japan and Overseas versions). The Japanese manual for Final states that this game takes place 20 years after the first mission against the Bydo. This would make more sense in terms of technology, as it would be unlikely for the Arrowhead to still be in use for five hundred years.
Though each mission is largely the same, certain areas can be changed, altering either the current mission or subsequent ones, a switch often possessed by the stage bosses such as Negus O Shim and Fine Motion (further covered under the entries for the bosses and stages). By satisfying certain conditions, different endings can be seen.
There's also a mode where pilots can pit ships against each other, in a sort of simulation mode controlled entirely by AI.
There are three endings to R-Type Final, each with its own final stage.
A. The Bydo Core is destroyed by the Final Wave Cannon, but it is a sacrificial victory as the pilot's ship is too damaged to function from the resulting blast and falls down the Bydo abyss. A victory that ends up being only temporary, as Tactics and its sequel, Bitter Chocolate show.
B. After defeating the Nonemayer, the player's ship is transformed one of two ships: either the B-1D Bydo System Alpha if you fly a normal metal ship or the B-3B Metallic Dawn if you fly a Bydo ship. It is then sent back in time to Stage 1. During this stage, you fight against Earth's defense fleet, ending with a duel between an R9-A Arrowhead. This ending completes a closed time-loop: the B-1D Bydo System Alpha can be seen when starting Stage 1, as it flies past your ship, in the background. If the player is given Bydo System Alpha the ending will have text after it (unlike the other endings). This ending explains why only your ship is sent against the Bydo during the main story of the game (your future self destroyed most of the Space Corp' fleet before you were deployed).
C. This is considered to be a bonus ending. The pilot is sent forward in time to the year 2501. Because this journey is through time, pilots only have one chance to finish their journey home. It is by far the hardest level in the game, as the Bydo will thow everything they have at you.
Final provides 101 playable ships, including altered versions of ships appearing in previous R-Type games, together with many original ones. They are unlocked through a branching system accessed via the R Museum, which was originally featured in R-Types. The Playstation 2's internal clock is incorporated into each ship's development history when the craft is unlocked. For example, ships unlocked in 2008 will be seen in the game as having been released and deployed in 2168, while ships unlocked in 2017 will have the year 2177 . Many of the new ships are pulled from Irem's past, such as the OF-1 Daedalus and R-11B Peace Maker.
Pilots can customize any ships within their Hangar, changing the color scheme, Bit Device, and Missile loadouts (this will return to the default if the ship leaves the Hangar). However, each ship typically only has a couple of choices each; some of the more advanced fighters offer more options, and the Ultimate Fighters are completely customizable, including choice of Forces and Wave Cannons.
R-Type Final greatly expands the standard complement of Bit Devices and Missiles available to pilots. Delta Weapons from R-Type Delta also return and are improved on, but are not noted within the R Museum.
There are 53 Forces with three weapons each, as well as various detached-mode weapons and functions.
Forces have been the prime feature of R-Type series gameplay, excluding R-Type Leo.
- Standard Force: The Force used in the original R-Type.
- Standard Force C: This is a slightly modified Standard Force; the Counter-Air Laser and Rebound Laser are replaced with the Shotgun Laser and Search Laser respectively. These weapons were first introduced in R-Type II, in addition to the Force's original three weapons.
- Standard Force K: Has weapons based on the split laser and shotgun laser from Super R-Type.
- Standard Force DX: Essentially a more powerful version of Standard Force. It uses the same attacks as Standard Force, but causes more damage.
- Standard Force H: Similar to the Standard Force and Defensive Force in the angular ranges of its weapons, but fires an 'energy honeycomb', which looks like a hexagonal pattern of light.
- Defensive Force: Has basic short-range energy weapons covering the range of angles; a powerful forward Red shot, a twin diagonal Blue shot, and a Yellow 'bomb' which explodes into vertical shots (but is also quite good for a short range frontal attack).
- Defensive Force DX: Like Standard Force DX, Defensive Force DX is simply a more powerful version of Defensive Force.
- Camera Force 1
- Camera Force 2
- Camera Force 3
- Spherical Radial Dome Force
- Spherical Radial Dome Force DX
- Fire Force
- Flame Force
- Leo Force: A six-pronged Standard Force specifically designed for the R-9 Leo.
- Leo Force DX: A modified Leo Force made for the R-9 Leo II.
- Shadow Force: First introduced in R-Type III. The only totally man-made Force, with no Bydo component. It resembles a green spinning egg between a pair of rotating blades. It comes with a pair of bits called Shadow Bits - ghostlike turrets which can be turned by the player's movement and fire blasters or lasers. It also has a high-speed return which brings it back to the player's ship at speed.
- Cyclone Force: First introduced in R-Type III. It is a blue, jelly-like orb orbited by two smaller orbs. When detached, three bolts spin around it at high speed with a wide radius, destroying enemies that touch it. The Force does not have a blaster, but can be moved back and forth at will by the player. (The visual effect of this Force is different from its appearance in R-Type III, which showed only two bolts spinning around the core. This made sense if the two small orbs were supposed to be these bolts - the game listed the Force as having 'Cyclonic bits', but does not identify them. If the bolts and orbs are the same, the three bolts in R-Type Final are hard to explain.)
- Gallop Force
- Gallop Force DX
- OF Force 1
- OF Force 2
- OF Force 3
- OF Force 4
- OF Force 5
- Rodless Force
- Cable Force: Also referred to as "Chain Force", the Cable Force is a precursor to the Anchor Force. It cannot grapple like the Anchor Force, but has an energy chain that damages enemies.
- Anchor Force: First introduced in R-Type Delta, as the R-13 Cerberus's Force. When launched, it grapples a target and kills it by sucking all its energy. In certain cases when the Force attaches to a very large target such as mid-level or stage Bosses, it does not let go until the Boss is defeated. The tether begins to move around the screen when the player's craft fires its normal shots.
- Anchor Force DX: Force with a very high Bydo coefficient: if it is left in contact with an enemy for too long, it will briefly turn into a glowing Bydo creature and attack enemies while being totally outside the player's control.
- Tentacle Force: First introduced in R-Type Delta. It has a pair of thick, metallic tentacles, which flex with the player's movement, allowing the player to control the weapon output. The Red weapon, for example, is a huge pink beam that can be concentrated by bending the tips together, while the Blue weapon is a pair of thinner beams that can be aimed by the tentacles. When detached, the Force becomes an autonomous gun turret.
- Flexible Force: This is based on the ship in Irem's 1989 shoot 'em up X-Multiply. It is similar to the Tentacle Force in that it has a pair of metallic tentacles, but they are far longer and, as the name suggests, more flexible. In terms of area covered, it is one of the largest Forces in the game.
- Needle Force: Formerly called the Bydo Force within TP-2 Pow Armor in R-Type Delta. It is a spiked ball that fires in all directions.
- Needle Force DX
- Cube Force
- Drill Force
- Mr. Heli Force
- Shield Force
- Mirror Shield Force
- Beam Saber Force: Available only in the TL series fighters, the Beam Saber Force is a robot that uses a sword when connected to the fighter.
- Life Force
- Flower Force
- Ivy Force: Exclusive to the Mad Forest series, the Ivy Force is similar in function to the Tentacle Force, but has four arms.
- Beast Force
- Bydo Force
- Mist Force
- Metallic Force
- Sexy Force
- Love Force
- Scale Force
- Claw Force
- Gold Force
- Platinum Force
- Diamond Force
A Bit is a small pod that hovers above or below the fighter. Up to two can be equipped. There are 12 Bit Types:
- Standard Bit: Damages enemies on collision, and with some Forces, provides additional firepower with one of the weapons (normally the Red weapon).
- Shadow Bit: Leaves short trails which damage enemies.
- Camera Bit: Takes pictures and collects data on enemies.
- Shield Bit: Has the same defensive ability as a Force.
- Red Pod: Fires a blaster and can be aimed in any direction by movement of the ship. Can also be thrown ahead at enemies, an attack called the Pod Shot. First appeared in Image Fight in 1988.
- Blue Pod: Similar to the Red Pod, but the blaster can only fire forward. First appeared in Image Fight in 1988.
- Yellow Pod: Has no blasters, but is capable of an extra-powerful Pod Shot.
- Green Pod: Similar to the Red Pod, with an extra blaster that fires the opposite way.
- Psy Bit: Only comes in pairs. Has a blaster that fires forward if the ship is moving backward, and vice versa. While the Force is attached, it fires a supporting weapon with the Force's. If the Wave cannon is fired, the Psy Bits detach and home in on nearby enemies, damaging them with an energetic trail.
- Psy Bit +: An enhanced Psy Bit. Operates in the same way as the Psy Bit, but with enhanced weapons. If the Wave Cannon is charged to two loops and fired, the homing attack is longer.
- Bydo Bit: An organic Bit, compatible with Bydo-based ships.
- Mr Heli Bit: A Bit resembling a miniature helicopter. Only available on the TP-3 Mr Heli. It fires a blaster forward if the ship is moving forward, and vice versa.
There are ten kinds of homing missiles and bombs.
- Homing Missile: Two missiles which homes into the enemy and destroys it on impact.
- 4-Way Homing Missile: 4 missiles which homes into the enemy and destroys it on impact.
- 6-Way Homing Missile: 6 missiles which homes into the enemy and destroys it on impact.
- Enhanced Homing Missile: Two missiles which it destroys weak enemies without exploding until it hits on stronger enemies with better firepower. First introduced within the secret ship, the TP-2 Pow Armor in R-Type Delta.
- Eyeball Homing Missile: Same as from the Homing Missile except this is used in Bydo type fighter ships.
- Photon Missile: Launches a single missile with semi-homing ability and is more powerful within impact. First introduced in R-Type Delta.
- Anti-Ground Missile: Launches a single missile which crawls and destroys ground enemies within impact.
- Scatter Bomb: Launches a bomb capsule. When in impact, a trail of napalm explosions crawl on the ground. First introduced in R-Type II.
- Vertical Missile: When on ground, the bomb bounces until it explodes on contact. But when dropped on open space, it will shoot out 5 homing missiles in a spreading upward pattern.
- Depth Bomb: Drops bombs with better recovery time.
There are 83 wave cannons, ranging from laser beams and explosive blasts to pile driver spikes and acid sprays.
Every wave cannon has a number of 'loops' - a loop is when the beam bar is filled all the way. If more loops are available, continuing to charge the wave cannon will fill the beam bar again, increasing the energy of the wave cannon shot. The player will know when the maximum loop has been achieved when the wave meter flashes. Although it takes a long time, with certain wave cannons it is possible to charge a beam so powerful that it can even kill bosses in a single blast.
The most common number of loops is two, but the number varies from one to seven. The loops are labelled Beam - High - Strong - Great - Special - Devil - Bydo.
Stages and Bosses
|1.0 - Metropolis Quietus||Xelf-16|
|2.0-2.4 - Twisted Ecology||Negus O Shim|
|3.0 - Battleship Raid||Warship|
|3.5 - Forest Watchdog||R-13A Cerberus|
|4.0 - Deserted Lab||Dobkeratops|
|5.0 - Dimension 26||Fine Motion|
|6.0 - Floating Graves||Gomander|
|6.1 - Beautiful Erasure||Nomemayer|
|6.2 - Anti-Space||Gridlock|
|F-A - The Bydo...||Bydo (Core)|
|F-B - Summer Night||R-9A Arrowhead|
|F-C - Wherever||None|
- Birashins Sprout
- Birashins Bulb
- Birashins Root
- Birashins Shoot
- Marine Keet
- Keet Colonian
- Asteroid Taran
- Sand Taran
- Aqua Taran
- Taran Colony
- E320 Warship Engine
- E321 Warship Engine
- Planet Buster Wave Cannon
- Land Gains
- Wave Core
- McCarron Class
- Photon Dorney
Irem game homages
As well as featuring many elements of the previous R-Type games, Irem incorporated shout-outs and call-backs to some of their other titles.
Image Fight was released in the arcades in 1988, a year after R-Type. It is a vertically-scrolling shoot 'em up, and is notable for the feature of aimable, blaster-equipped pods (similar to Bits) which the player can launch at enemies. These Pods are available on ships of the OF series.
The ship from Image Fight (identified as the OF-1 Daedalus) is a playable fighter in R-Type Final. As in the original game, its structure transforms at different speeds, and the exhaust from a speed change can damage enemies.
The OF Forces, too, are all based on Force-like devices from Image Fight (the most primitive forms of the OF Forces, which look like a spinning square green gem, were originally in fact the power-up container). All weapons of the OF Forces are taken directly from the Image Fight games.
An enemy from Image Fight (identified as the Photon Dorney) appears several times on stage 5, as does the 'Bat' in stage F-C.
Armed Police Unit Gallop
Armed Police Unit Gallop (also known as Cosmic Cop outside of Japan) is a horizontally-scrolling shoot 'em up, released in the arcades in 1991. The Gallop Force is presumably named for this game. The ship from Gallop (identified as the R-11B Peace Maker) is also a playable fighter. In fact, in the official history of R-Type, Gallop takes place at the same time as R-Type Delta.
Mr Heli no Daibouken
Mr Heli no Daibouken, also known as Mr Heli's Great Adventure or simply Mr. Heli, and sometimes as Battle Chopper outside Japan, is a horizontally-scrolling shoot 'em up released in arcades in 1987. The player's vehicle, a round, orange, almost cartoonish-looking helicopter that bears a striking resemblance to the power-up carrying droid from the original R-Type games, is a fighter in R-Type Final - the TP-3 Mr Heli - although it can only be unlocked using a password. It has its own unique wave cannon, Force, Bit, and Missile.
Tropical Angel is a waterskiing game, released in the arcades in 1983. Presumably in homage to this, one of the ships is designated as the R-11S Tropical Angel.
Undercover Cops is a police action game, released in the arcades in 1992 and featured Matt Gables as a playable character in the Japanese version of that game. The other versions saw his name being changed to Bubba. The Bydo Lab in R-TYPE FINAL lists Capt. Matt Gables as the former pilot of an enemy ship, being the sixth entry in the list.
X-Multiply is a horizontally-scrolling shoot 'em up, released in the arcades in 1989. The Flexible Force is based on the ship from this game, the X-002. The description of the Flexible Force notes that it was not made by the designers of the similar Tentacle Force - perhaps a subtle credit to the makers of X-Multiply.
Zettai Zetsumei Toshi, better known as Disaster Report in the US and S.O.S. Escape in Europe is a survival action adventure game, released on the PlayStation 2 in 2003, which centres around a natural disaster. Presumably in homage to this, one of the ships is designated as the R-9WZ Disaster Report. Appropriately, this ship uses the Cataclysm Wave Cannon, the effects of which are said to be indistinguishable from a natural disaster.
Dragon Breed is a horizontally-scrolling shoot 'em up, released in the arcades in 1989, in which the player flies a large, Chinese-style dragon. The BX-4 Arvanche strongly resembles such a dragon; it is possible, however, that this is merely a coincidence.
Meanings and significances of fighter names
- R-9DH Grace Note: In music, a grace note is a kind of ornamental embellishment. The R-9DH is equipped with a Long Irradiation Beam, which produces a distinctive pure, clear tone when fired.
- R-9DP series: The pile-driver fighters seem to be named for geographical features in Japan. The R-9DP Hakusan has the same name as the town in which Irem is located. Its descendant, the R-9DP2 Asanogawa, appears to be named for the Asanogawa Ohashi bridge in Kanazawa. The last ship in the R-9DP series is the R-9DP3 Kenrokuen, which is likely named for the historic Kenrokuen Garden, also in Kanazawa.
- RX-10 Albatross: Albatrosses are large seabirds; the wandering albatross has the longest wingspan of any bird. Like its namesake, the RX-10 has relatively long horizontal wings. This ship was originally found as the R-X Albatross from R-Type Delta.
- OF-1 Daedalus: In Greek mythology, Daedalus was a great artificier. He is said to have invented images; this may be a reference to the fact that the OF-1 comes from the game Image Fight, in which the first five stages are set inside a holographic simulator.
- OFX-2 Valkyrie: The Macross series' main mecha were fighting machines known as VF-1 Valkyries. These fighters could change from fighter jets to robots, and into a form somewhere in between called GERWALK. The transforming nature of the OFX-2 (and all OF series fighters) is somewhat similar to the Macross fighters of the same name.
- OFX-4 Songoku: Son Gokū is the Japanese name of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King and main character in the Chinese story Journey to the West. Also, it's the name of the main hero of the famous manga/anime Dragon Ball and its sequels.
- OF-5 Kaguya: Princess Kaguya is a character in the Japanese story The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. The OF-5's description in the game itself suggests that it was named for her because the shots of the Green Pod (which only the OF-5 can use) look like bamboo. It stresses, however, that this is merely speculation.
- TP-2M Frogman: A frogman is another name for a scuba diver. The TP-2M is designed for amphibious duty and is equipped with flippers and what appear to be air or oxygen tanks.
- TL series: The transforming mecha fighters are all named for figures from Greek mythology. The first, and ancestor of the rest, is the TL-T Chiron. In Greek legend, Chiron was the tutor of Jason, Asclepius, Achilles and Heracles. The four descendants of the Chiron are the TL-1A Iason, TL-1B Asklepios, TL-2A Achilleus and TL-2B Herakles.
- TL-2A2 Neoptolemos: Named after Achilles and Princess Deidamea's warrior-son, Neoptolemos. In the game, the Neoptolemos is the evolution of the Achilleus, and given the fighter's advanced combat capabilities, only the best soldiers are trained to pilot it.
- TL-2B2 Hyllas: Hyllas was the son of Heracles. The TL-2B2 is the descendant of the TL-2B Herakles.
- RX-12 Cross the Rubicon: To 'cross the Rubicon' is a phrase meaning 'to commit oneself to a risky course of action'. It originates from Julius Caesar's crossing of the River Rubicon, which was said to be forbidden. The RX-12 is the Bydo Coefficient Test Unit, the ship that was designed to break the limit of energy that could be obtained from Bydo organisms, which paved the way for Bydo-based fighters and the eventual creation of the Bydo race itself.
- R-13 series: These are also named for Greek mythological figures. In Greek legend, Echidna is the mother of Cerberus, and Cerberus was the guardian of Hades. The R-13T Echidna is the prototype for the R-13A Cerberus, which is the ancestor of the R-13A2 Hades. The R-13A Cerberus originally appeared as the R-13 Cerberus in R-Type Delta. The R-13's ending in that game is perhaps the darkest of its three endings: It shows the R-13, trapped in the Bydo forest. The R Museum official write up states that it disappeared during the Bydo Seed Incident in 2164, the year when Delta takes place. The R-13B Charon is named after a ferryman who brings the dead to the underworld.
- TP-1 Scope Duck: The Scope Duck's name and faceplate is a homage to the ATM-09 Scopedog battle robot from the mecha anime series Armored Trooper VOTOMS.
- B-1 Digitalius and descendants: These ships all resemble plants. Digitalis is the scientific name for the plant genus of foxgloves.
- BX-2 Platonic Love: Platonic love is a philosophical term for mutual love of a non-sexual nature. The BX-2 Platonic Love has a distinct heart theme, and it is suggested that it somehow utilises the power of love.
- R-9Ø Ragnarok: In Norse mythology, Ragnarok is the name of the battle that is predicted to take place at the end of the world. There is a Ragnarok variant, the R-9Ø2 Ragnarok II, which contains the so-called 'Final Wave Cannon'; a weapon capable of destroying any enemy (including bosses) in a single shot when fully charged. Perhaps also in keeping with the Norse theme, the ship's designation contains the character Ø, a letter of the Norwegian alphabet. This ship, along with the R-9S Strike Bomber and the R-9Ø2 Ragnarok II, is derived from the R-90 from R-Type III: The Third Lightning.
- R-9F Andromalius: This ship was named for a demon described in the Lesser Key of Solomon. Andromalius, the last of the 72 spirits described, is described there as manifesting as a man carrying a great snake, which would match with the R-9F's long beams on the top and bottom, and possibly also its yellow weapon, Tentacle Laser. In an alternative interpretation, the R-9F was the experimental test-bed fighter used to manually hold Force Devices that have yet to be stabilized on their own. In a way, the "great snake" is the true nature of a Force Core: an inhibited Bydo Embryo.
- BX-T Dantalion: This ship was also named for a demon described in the Lesser Key of Solomon. Dantalion is the 71st listed (i.e. a little higher up than Andromalius by some reckonings), and it is his name that is given to the first ship that used Bydo tissue for parts of the ship itself, rather than just the Force. To the humans besieged by the Bydo, this really would seem to be a kind of demon-ship.
- R-9Sk Principalities and R-9Sk2 Dominions: According to Pseudo-Dionysius, the Principalities and Dominions are two of the nine choirs into which the angels are ordered. This is probably in connection with the ships' charge shot, a beam of flame, which could suggest the flaming sword that is often regarded as an angelic weapon (e.g. the sword held by the angel who protects Eden).
- R-99 Last Dancer , R-100 Curtain Call , and R-101 Grand Finale: R-Type Final was initially meant to be the swan song of the R-Type series, and these three ships bear the name of the last things seen in a typical theater or ballet production: the last performers of the production, the curtain call where all of the performers appear to the audience one last time, and the grand finale that ties everything together and ends the show. The R-99, R-100, and the R-101 are the last ships earned in the game (unless you meet certain requirements, in which case the R-100 can be acquired early), and each has a role in the storyline with a distinct air of finality, that of the R-Type series of fighters finally ending. The R-99 is the last ship slated to be used in widespread production, the R-100 was to serve as a machine built so future generations can learn from it and its technology, and the R-101 is the final masterpiece that the R-Type development team made before disbanding. Being the final ships in the game, they are capable of using every wave cannon, Force, Bit and Missile in the game in any combination.
- The Korean version of this game came first into market before the Japanese and then the US version.
- Level 6.0 consists of remains of the moon-sized womb for the first Bydo.
- Interestingly, the English Manual for R-Type Final states that this event takes place 500 years after the first Bydo war. Yet the original Japanese Manual for R-Type Final states that this game takes place 20 years after the first Bydo war. The Japanese manual would make more sense in terms of technology as it would be unlikely for the R-9 Arrowhead to be used for 500 years.
- The ending of the US version of R-Type Final features a song from Blue Man Group, whereas the Korean and Japanese version has a different ending song by Hekiru Shiina. The European version features a completely different song altogether.
- The control rods of a Standard Force are seen resting above the waves on the title screen, in silent homage of the Force's significance and iconic appearance.