Written: 9.24.06 Acquired: 9.7.06 Status: Cart only Price: $90
Publisher: Virgin Interactive
Developer: Rainbow Arts
In early September I sold PSYCHIC ASSASSIN TAROMARU, one of the rarest most expensive games on the SEGA Saturn. It sold for $147 and I used $90 balance to buy one of the rarest most expensive games on the SNES... was it worth it?
Some quick background check...
This game went nearly THREE years in the making
It went through cosmetic changes and was reworked mid-way through
It received a very limited release (word has it, in the few thousands)
EDGE Magazine labeled it "the rarest and most expensive SNES game ever released"
It commands well over $100 seemingly every time, even hitting $200+ CIB
Developed by Turrican creator Manfred Trenz, R2 originally started out as a pure horizontal space shooter. Some time during development they worked in run 'n gun stages due to the popularity of the genre. They felt a pure space shooter wouldn't sell real well. R2 is a mixture of Contra (or Turrican) and R-Type
So, is it...
It's not great, but it's more than a "collector's piece." It's a visual tour-de-force. "This is the Super Nintendo?!" was my reaction multiple times. In certain sections I even thought, "You could pass this for a Sega Saturn title!" Even when the screen is swarmed with countless sprites, there's no slowdown... none!
As for if it's worth getting, ask yourself these questions:
Do you have spare cash to throw around?
Do you like these two genres?
Are you a collector, collector-gamer or simply gamer?
I almost passed out when I saw the "low" Buy It Now on R2 of $86. Right place right time! Essentially, I swapped Taromaru for R2 and 50 bucks
Let's check out some of the action...
STAGE 1 (RUN 'N GUN)
Lots of planes and debris zip by in the background. Mid-way through a huge plane crashes in Mode 7, destroying half the tracks
These flying foot soldiers make up the bulk of the enemy line in level one
It's fun to watch them flash before exploding
Stay underneath and away fom the flaming pod. These suckers sure take a licking
Two flame throwers...
Bombs will make quick work of him
STAGE 2 (RUN 'N GUN)
A quick jaunt outside, before entering the enemy base
Take the lift down. As you descend, flames and drillers attack. Make your way deeper in the base. Doors fall down (reminded me of the classic HANGAR stage in NES Contra). Blow 'em up. Stationary machines hang off of the ceilings and threaten with their deadly flame throwers. No boss here. Board the space ship...
STAGE 3 (SHOOTER)
Talk about a HOT intro!
A bit reminiscent of the legendary THUNDER FORCE III if I do say so myself.... sweet!
Enter the giant asteroid field and mow down anything that moves
Be careful -- the big ones segment into four smaller pieces
This guy doesn't mind showing off its Doctor Octopus-like grapplers
Claustrophobic freaks need not apply... this is strictly F.H.O...
For Heroes Only!
[I thought you meant For.. oh nevermind... -Ed.]
This guy has two forms, the bugger!
There's one of your bomb options on display. I like this particular one because of the wide range it covers
Nice graphics, huh?
STAGE 4 (SHOOTER)
Trekking deeper in the outer reaches of space, there's no turning back now. To call the graphics here "mind blowing" would be a gross understatement
My goodness... this is NOT the Super NES!
Reminds me ofRADIANT SILVERGUN
Huge fleets of ships attack at all times
You really have to see it running to comprehend the sheer power the game possesses
It's truly remarkable!
Oh my... here comes "The Golden Wonder"
Blast 'im with all you got!
He's ticked off!
SAY HELLO TO MAH LITTLE FRIEND!
WHO'S DA MAN?!?
STAGE 5 (RUN 'N GUN)
After a spirited battle in the air we're back at it on foot
More doors await to be blown to bits
There's something oddly satisfying about the flashing effect before it blows up in smithereens
This gun works well in these tight corridors
Stage 5 has not one, not two, but THREE bosses! Plus one mid-boss. Be grateful they're all easy! Here's a look at one of them...
STAGE 6 (SHOOTER)
Back to those so-called "friendly" skies
Intimidating fortresses must be dissected section by section
Stage 6 really reminds me an awful lot of SENGOKU BLADE (Sega Saturn)
The end-level guardian is breath-taking!
STAGE 7 (SHOOTER)
Best stage intro ever
An ominous swirly almost mirage-like image of a gargantuan crimson demon skull fades in and out...
This dip from outer space to the metropolitan city at night was worth my $90 dollars alone!
"This is the Super Nintendo!?" rings through my head for the umpteenth time
Boss is a golden fleet which retreats after a quick melee
STAGE 8 (SHOOTER)
This is where the game decides to knock you down, kick you, then point and laugh
An evil descent sends you through a lengthy force-scrolling section with VERY tight turns and small openings
IT SCROLLS REALLY FAST!
Even the most clairvoyant gamer will find himself at the Game Over screen in no time
These stones make matters even worse -- if you have weak guns fudgetabudit
Suffice it to say.... GOOD LUCK!
Misc. Notes --- -Whether on foot or in the air, you can take 5 hits before losing a life (3, 5 or 7 lives)
-8 character passwords
-3 bars allow you to use 3 bombs. The bars are regenerative and slowly refill once used
-Each gun has its own unique bomb (i.e. wave, sphere, etc.) Some are more effective than others
-Various container units hold invaluable powerup goodies or energy refill
-There's not a lick of Japanese, though there may be in the ending
-Not really difficult.... until stage 8, then things just get crazy
-When you lose a life, the gun you were last holding will be downgraded. So if you have a weak level 1 weapon, make sure you switch to that when your health is really low
-Did I mention the graphics are really amazing?
The first stage is kind of dull, but it really picks up after that. It's not a masterpiece (sans graphically of course) but it's very playable and the bosses are great fun to dismantle bit by bit. The password feature is nice since the levels are REALLY long. Mostly thanks to the fact that some of the bosses take FOREVER to kill. Rendering Ranger: R2 may be the classic love or hate game. I know many people who love it, and many who feel it failed to meet the hype
Flat out incredible visuals!
If you got the means, go for it. I don't regret it at all
If you ever see it under $100, don't hesitate. It might not happen again for some time...