If I have any aspirations of being a journalist, then it's only right that I occasionally steal from my inspirations, especially when those inspirations come from the very era I'm writing about!
That inspiration is ZZAP! 64, and its writers. I read it religiously every month back in the day, and for a long time it was simply amazing. I even applied for a Staff Writer's job when I left school... I was rightfully turned down (by Phil King, I think... the swine!). Anyway, enough about that... I remember they used and re-used the pun I've used in the title of this post. Not just about R-Type, though... about any clone of R-Type. They even reached a point where they would take the mickey out of their own use of the pun!
This post isn't about ZZAP! 64, though. It's about R-Type... and not even the Commodore 64 version, either!
Nope, this is about the Spectrum version of R-Type. You've played it, haven't you? It's amazing. Far beyond what anybody thought or hoped could be achieved on the humble Speccy, it's a conversion that received plaudits at the time but still marvels today. Just how on Earth did the author manage to create such an incredible version of the coin-op on the Spectrum?
Well, now you can find out. Programmer Bob Pape has written a book on the process. At 138 pages long, it looks incredibly comprehensive given how long ago this actually took place. There are a few pages devoted to one of Bob's previous conversions, Rampage, which is an added bonus, but the meat, potatoes, bread rolls and gravy is the R-Type content.
Having scanned through it, there's everything any of us geeks could ever want. It's got detailed technical passages; it's got screenshots (including comparisons, sprite rips etc.); it's got behind-the-scenes info. It's brilliant. And it's free!
Bob Pape only wrote a few Spectrum games, but they were all of a very high standard and are highly thought of today. I certainly intend to cover them in my They Were Our Gods book, but I could never hope to be as comprehensive about any one game as this book is (and of course, that's not really my aim). I highly recommend you check out this work. It must have taken Bob some considerable time to write, but it's been well worth it.
Download "It's Behind You - the making of a computer game" right now, for FREE, here: