The black sheep in the series known as R-Type Leo was only released in Japanese arcades in 1992. Like Gallop before it, Leo not only lacks Force units, but also did away with Wave Cannons, focusing the gameplay on the Bit Devices. The charge meter still existed, filling automatically, and a full charge caused the Bits to rush off and slam into enemies, dealing a lot of damage. Other gameplay changes include instant resurrection if the ship was destroyed and simultaneous co-op.
Before the R-9, there was the R-9 Leo. Humanity and the Bydo Empire have found peace and stability after much conflict. With this newfound peace, humanity continues to set up Project Paradise, which is the creation of a new planet, called Eden, for human use. Major, the bio-computer responsible for the operation of Eden, takes control over the defense systems and attacks humanity. The R-9 Leo is then deployed to destroy Major.
Contrary to other R-Type missions, TP-2 POW Armor does not make an appearance here. Instead, small satellites call the Pow Box can be destroyed for power-ups.
- Homing Missile
- Laser Crystal: Since Leo lacks a Force, the laser crystals change the R-9Leo's main and Bit Device weapon. Laser crystals change color every other second, so the pilot need only wait until the desired color is showing to obtain the weapon of choice. All laser crystals grant a forward-firing attack for the R-9Leo, and the Bit Device handles the weapon's 'colored' property.
- Psy Bit: Picking up a laser crystal immediately grants the pilot both Bit Devices, instead of the typical one-at-a-time.
- Stage 1: Paradise Planet
- Stage 2: Red Hot Desert
- Stage 3: Tropical Forest
- Stage 4: Floating Continent
- Stage 5: Inside of Ruins
- Stage 6: Core of the Planet
- The same glob-like enemies seen near Major's control room can be seen in R-Type Delta during the stage Evil implying that the Bydo may have assimilated Major. However, this may just be a coincidence.
- R-Type Leo serves to be a possible tribute to Konami's Gradius series due of many similarities in the game, for example, The Ion Ring laser.