Ah, them were the days, queuing up to get a go on R-Type, pushing past the big boys who smoked Rothmans and sported love bites. Actually I'm a bit too old to have been doing that, but swap R-Type for Scramble and you get the idea.
The upshot is that shoot-'em-ups were my first arcade love, and they remain to this day a great source of amusement and irritating in equal quantities. I actually bought a copy of R-Type Delta for my PlayStation - it was great, but over too quickly, so I needed a new source of blast power.
The new consoles and the PC just aren't very good at this sort of game in the main. They want to add spurious 3D objects in (mainly because it's hard to scroll smoothly), or convert the whole thing to polygons and 3D in a kind of souped-up-
Give me a home where numerous baddies roam and the scenery scrolls by all the day and I'm a happy bunny. Better yet, if there are numerous power-ups to be had and occasions when there's so much going on on the screen you can't see what's happening and have to rely on the Force to guide you - that's my kind of game. In fact, that, T-zer0.
One of the best things about this game is that, unlike earlier shoot-'em-ups on the Amiga like Project-X, X-Out or the like, there are moments when there are just far too many things flying around the screen - with no slowdown! This also means that because this is possible, the authors do it, making the game very hard for beginner players.
Even so, after a few goes you should be getting used to the organic way baddies appear instead of regimented waves that can be learned, and deaths are more often caused by foolish jiggling of the ship at the wrong time than by taking a bullet in the gob.
There are numerous power-ups to be had and occasions when there's so much going on on the screen...
One of the differences between T-zer0 and other blasters is the fact that you need to be more discerning about just which power-ups you pick up - leaping about the place collecting everything will not only get rid of the guns you'd built up, but also give you a crappy laser that's back on power level one.
There are also bonus items you can pick up, and in story mode the number you retrieve determines which path you'll take through the game. The only bad thing about the power-ups is that you never get to the kind of gratuitous outrageousness that you got in Gradius or the like, with your weapons basically clearing all before you.
In fact, there are very few areas we could complain about T-zer0 on. The whole game saving thing is a bit weird to work out, and the pixel perfect positioning of your craft to escape the hail of bullets is sometimes unforgiving, but then, that might be our shoddy joysticks.
It's also hard to keep the power-ups you like since they often get dumped one on the other, meaning that it's hard to separate those homing missiles from that front-
The single best bit for me has to be the extras. The CD track listing hints at extra secret levels; there are several ways to play the game (arcade or story, easy or hard and more) and, as we said before, there is at least one extra ship to be gained.
In addition to all this in-game excellence you can even design levels of your own with the included (Blitz Basic-
In short, this is a great game. It may not be revolutionary, it might not run on graphics cards, but it is absolutely chockful of addictive elements and great fun. Our recommendation? Buy it immediately.