SNES Reviews
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Planet SEGA Saturn
Magazine MADNESS
Retro Fire

Written: 9.24.06
Acquired: 9.7.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $90

Publisher: Virgin InteractiveReleased: 11.17.95
Developer: Rainbow ArtsScarcity: 5

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...

  • Any good?
  • Worth buying?

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?
  • A lot?
  • 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...


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


Four turrets...

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

                                     Mid-Boss Mania!

                                     This guy doesn't mind
                                     showing off its Doctor
-like grapplers

                                     Claustrophobic freaks
                                     need not apply... this
                                     is strictly F.H.O...

                                     For Heroes Only!

                                    [I thought you meant
                                    For.. oh nevermind...


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
would be a
                                    gross understatement

                                    My goodness... this is
                                    NOT the Super NES!

                                                                             Reminds me of RADIANT 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!

                                      BOSS 3

                                      Oh my... here comes
                                      "The Golden Wonder"

He's here....

Blast 'im with
all you got!

                                               UH OH...

                                               He's ticked off!



                                                                                        WHO'S DA MAN?!?


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...


                                     Who knows........


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


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....

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

-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...

Graphics: 10
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8
Longevity: 7

Overall: 8.0

Silver Award