After spending a few weeks reading through all these posts, there is a lot I agree with.
R-Type is simply flawless. It drags you to hell and back because you know exactly what to do, but something (no matter how much you expect it) catches you off-guard. And the mounting tension of knowing how far you are through it, and how much you are going to die after you die once because your power-ups are pants.
I'm also very much into Gradius Advance on the GBA at the moment. I never played Gradius the first time around so I'm sure I really missed out.
I can't agree with a lot of the 'Radiant is overrated' talk, because I find it extremely difficult to fault and it's definitely one of the best of the genre. The same goes for Ikaruga. Playing that on my Dreamcast absolutely blew me away. Both games are so similar yet so very diffferent and they both take hours from your life. You never realise how long you've been playing until you realise it's getting light outside and the word chain is impregnated in your brain.