R-Type Final (アールタイプファイナル Āru Taipu Fainaru?) is a horizontally scrolling shooter video game by Irem for the PlayStation 2 video game console originally planned as the last game in the series; however, R-Type Command was released for the PlayStation Portable in 2007.
Final takes place after several long wars against the Bydo, the main antagonist in the R-Type series. The player's first mission is to investigate a mysterious enemy inside a crashed space colony, the remnants of a large battle codenamed Operation Last Dance, a previous attempt to wipe out the Bydo once and for all. This investigative theme is incorporated throughout the game as each level is considered 'research' on the Bydo and unlocks a gallery of in-universe artwork and additional playable ships. Levels are prefaced with hints of the R-Type universe in the form of poetry.
The level physicality and enemies change size and character depending on the difficulty setting chosen by the player, providing different flight paths and playing experience for each level.
Final provides 101 playable ships, including altered versions of ships appearing in previous R-Type games, together with many original ones. They are unlocked through a branching system accessed via the R Museum, which was originally featured in R-Types. The PlayStation 2's internal clock is incorporated into each ship's development history (shown through a commemorative plaque) when certain in-game tasks are completed. For example, ships unlocked in 2008 will be seen in the game as having been rolled out in 2168.
At the beginning of the first level, a partially organic ship flies past the player's fighter. In one of the endings to the game, the player becomes that ship, traveling back in time and fighting against both the Bydo and the R-fighters.
In addition the names of some of the R-Type ships are references to other Irem games such as Tropical Angel which alludes to the 1983 arcade game of the same name.
There are 53 Forces with three weapons each, as well as various detached-mode weapons and functions. Forces have been the prime feature of R-Type series gameplay, excluding R-Type Leo. Every Force Device fundamentally consists of a core, which is the glowing body within the device, and an external, artificial mechanism called the "control rod". The control rod's purpose is to function as an inhibitor for the core. Control rod components can also be equipped with extra cannons similar to the R-series' default weapon. Some Force Devices, such as the Shadow or Cyclone Force, are even equipped with their own Bit Devices. Thrusters within the control rod direct the movement of the Device, and relays connect the device to the control of the R-craft's onboard computer. The computer automatically handles the maneuvers of the Force Device, and detached Devices will perform differently according to their unique programming. Some will attempt to match the altitude of the R-craft, while others will avoid the altitude of the R-craft. While the computer handles these movements, the action of Recalling, Docking with or Releasing the Force Device to or from the R-craft is under the direct decision of the pilot.
The glowing orb in the center of every Force Device hides its terrible secret: This core is essentially a flesh sample of the Bydo. Bydo flesh has the unique property of being neither matter nor energy, but in a state of constant flux between the two. As such, it becomes a catalytic converter for energy weapons. By concentrating certain wavelengths of energy and subjecting the sample to the beam, new energies are created at wavelengths that are effective against the Bydo. Different energy injection wavelengths are achieved through the use of the colored lenses of the Power-Up Laser Crystals. Essentially, the R-craft is the energy source of the weapon. This energy is refined after passing through an equipped Laser Crystal, and finally, the Force Device, if docked to the R-craft (in most cases) converts the energy into a wavelength that is able to cancel the Bydo molecular structure.
The control rods interface with the organic Force through synaptic roots that extend into the sphere of the core, much like the dendritic extensions of neuron cells. For the Standard Force with four control rods, these roots are hidden beneath the points of attachment of the rods to the Force orb. During the opening sequence of R-Type Final, a synchronization sequence between the control rods and the Force Core was shown. As the dendrites from the control rod made contact with the dendrites offered by the inner nucleus of the Force, %100 synchronization occurred. Without an inhibiting restraining device or control rod, the Force Orb has the capability to mature into a full-fledged Bydo. The orange ball is merely its embryonic form.
For their crucial significance to the R-Type series, a dormant Standard Force is seen resting beneath the waves on the Final title screen.
Every wave cannon has a number of 'loops' - a loop is when the beam bar is filled all the way. If more loops are available, continuing to charge the wave cannon will fill the beam bar again, increasing the energy of the wave cannon shot. The player will know when the maximum loop has been achieved when the wave meter flashes. Although it takes a long time, with certain wave cannons it is possible to charge a beam so powerful that it can even kill bosses in a single blast.
The most common number of loops is two, but the number varies between one and four, with a single wave cannon having seven loops. The loops are labelled Beam - High - Strong - Great - Special - Devil - Bydo.
There is also a VS AI mode, which allows the player to specify attack strategies and pit their ships in a duel with computer-controlled opponent fighters.
The score of the game was written by former Capcom composer, Yuki Iwai. The ending of the US version of R-Type Final features a song from Blue Man Group, whereas the Japanese version has a different ending song by Hekiru Shiina. The European version features a completely different song altogether.