Believe it or not, the fact that someone has taken a beloved, 2D arcade shoot 'em-up and turned it into a turn-based strategy game played on a hex grid is not the craziest thing about R-Type Command. No, the nuttiest thing is just how beautifully the bloody thing works. Borrowing equally from strategy RPGs and Nintendo%26rsquo;s Advance Wars series, this is an experiment thatsucceds beautifully.
The fog of war %26ndash; the game hides enemies until you%26rsquo;re close enough to see them %26ndash; neatly recreates the suspense of playing a typical scrolling shooter and wondering what life-squelching horror is going to slide into view next. You feel a real punch to the gut the first time the fog clears and you see a pulsating, alien-headed space-boss the size of a skyscraper, complete with tentacles that can knock you clean out of the sky. And there's a tangible sense of "Oh, crap" when you tiptoe two little steps ahead and seven enemy ships, including a hulking destroyer, pop into view just a few spaces away.
It%26rsquo;s deep stuff, too. Each craft has a range of powers, from hull-shearing energy beams to the ability to turn invisible or morph into another unit altogether. And you constantly collect materials and plans for newer models - there are more than 80 different units in all. So you can assemble a fleet of fighters, bombers, mechs and %26ldquo;force%26rdquo; units - basically battering rams made of pure energy, which can act on their own or attach to fighter craft for extra damaging beam weapons %26ndash; that%26rsquo;s perfect for your fighting style.
Battles take place in rounds. You move all of your various laser-enhanced death machines, one by one, around the grid and take a shot at any enemies in range. Then, the other team does the same and the process starts over until the match ends - typically when one side's capital ship is blasted into either shrapnel or space meat, depending upon whether you%26rsquo;re the humans or the aliens.