Oldie but goodie: If the pod power-up(s) is invincible, why don't they build the whole ship out of that material?
Because the pod is made out of Bydo flesh. If the entire ship was, there would be risk of psychological damage to the pilot, stated in R-Type Final.
Not to mention the fact that if the entire ship WAS Bydo flesh, it's just one twitch away from being a Bydo itself and turning on all the allies around it. The Anchor Forces from R-Type Final have such a high Bydo percentage that they actually turn briefly into rampaging Bydo monsters if you let them clamp onto targets for after a certain amount of time.
Plus some of the Bydo armored ships need a special nutrient solution in Final, or they will whither. Mass production, or taking it further, may not be practical.
I did some further research in the wiki, and according to it, the force eats energy that enters it, and anything that's not eaten falls through it. So there would be no way to include systems or pilots in the material, as they'd all either be eaten, or fall into space.
Here's one: did anyone else feel that Final was mainly telling us that the war with the Bydo was really all over bar the shouting, with Last Dance just being a mopping-up operation after the discovery of the original Bydo? It seems to be implied several times that the human race is already gearing up to go back to killing each other, with one of the ships noting it's weapon has been classified as 'inhumane' or similar. As well as this, many Bydo are seen acting like normal animals [the strutting creatures in stage 2, the worms infesting the Bydo Lab's boss acting like parasites rather than symbiotes] rather than the unified military force they were previously, as if the original Bydo was the only thing holding the 'empire' together at all.
Even if the war was all over but the shouting, the Bydo still had to be entirely destroyed. And humanity still seems to be on the rocks, since Last Dance was implied to be, well, the last dance; the final opportunity to destroy the Bydo once and for all, or the end of humanity would result. As far as the normal animals, they are still very dangerous (think ecological terms instead of shooter terms), and may reveal the most recent attempt of the Bydo to take over Earth: change the ecology to something inconsistent with human life, and triumph in the long run. The R-Type pilots had to strike at and destroy the original, controlling Bydo, or lose everything.
And also, as they evolve so rapidly and can convert other lifeforms via waves, they may only be animals at the moment, but theres no telling when an intelligent leader will develop. It could be a century, it could be multiple in ten minutes.
See, I can't see it that way. It seems more like simple mopping up of the remaining large Bydo creatures prior to an attack on Bydo itself, followed by two attempts to send a ship through the Bydo realm into the future and prevent the war entirely by stopping the creation of the Bydo. Which presumably fails even in the Final-C ending, since this universe could only send a ship into it's own future, not the future that actually created the Bydo.
This editor has seen an epileptic tree that all three of the final two-level sets are experienced by the same pilot, with the Final-C ending being the pilot's arrival at the 6-A asteroid and the Final-A ending's tumble into the Bydo Abyss ending with the pilot arriving in the 6-B blender, creating a perfect Stable Time Loop to provide the basis of the Bydo's creation to this timeline's humans. This also requires the R-9 fought at the end of Final-B to be someone else, though, which raises the question of how it liberated the transformed pilot's Force unit...
The R-9A you fight at the end of F-C is a different ship than yours. You pass yourself leaving the colony afterwards at the very beginning of the game.
I see it more as the story of four attempts: First the R-9, with the pilot killed. Second would be, I imagine, the Ragnarok II, since it has the appropriate wave cannon for Final-A. Third would probably be the second Pile Bunker ship, since it's said to have the second 'Final wave cannon;' that was the first attempt to send a ship to the future to stop the Bydo ever being created. Last is most likely Cross the Rubicon, which made it only to find it couldn't stop the Bydo after all. This is supported by there being lots of Fine Motion capsules in Final-C.
I mostly agree with the above troper, but I think that a more likely candidate for the pilot/ship that experienced Final-C was the R-100 Curtain Call. The museum in FINAL mentions that it was designed to transmit the technology to future generations. The R-Type Wikia says—and I don't know if it's Canon or Fan Wank—that the R-100 wasn't meant to "actually serve in combat." It would seem more likely to me, at least, that the R-100 was part of a secret attempt to stop the Bydo from ever being developed in the first place, by traveling forward in time to the 26th century.
From the main page Timey-Wimey Ball: The implications are far worse. The 26th century people use the ship and the pilot to finalize the creation of the very first Bydo. To boot, they ignore the pilot's advice and still banish the Bydo.
There's another possibility to that; if you regard the Bydo as having changed history by travelling through time, they get to the future and find nobody has actually made the Bydo because they remember the Bydo war. Hence, Bydo invited you into its dimension because it was tired and near defeat, so that humanity would destroy the only thing left of the future that it came from, and the last evidence in the universe that it's creators had ever even existed. It won, and it did it using your hands.
Continuing the above: the way I see it, Final's theme is the end of Bydo's control over what was once an Empire; it's old, and it's dying (as a metaphor for Irem's series itself; they mentioned that the reason for winding the series down was that their once great enthusiasm for it had all but vanished). Everywhere you see what was once a united force becoming simple animals; the once symbiotic creatures that lived within Dobkeratops are now devouring it from the inside out, the fearsome army that took the docks is turning into an ecosystem of creatures with little in common. It lets you find it because it wants to make the humanity of the past destroy all that remains of the humanity that made it, as a final act of revenge. And in the last moment, it taunts the righteous pilot who came to kill a monster by showing him what humans were prepared to do to infant Bydo. The shower of Force Pods is a question: "are you really so very different?"
My own take on it is similar to this; Humanity would never have created the Bydo after experiencing the Bydo, and knowing what it did. For that matter, humanity had weapons that could annihilate the Bydo after the Bydo attacked the past. The Bydo essentially wrote themselves out of the universe by going back into an (Alternate dimension's) past. They erased the need for the Bydo in this Bydo-attacked timeline. You can't tell me that a humanity backed by Pseudo-Force R-series and derivatives, with all those Wave Cannons, wouldn't be a threat of some sort to this threat the Bydo were created to face. Not when the R-Series has defeated multiple Bydo incursions. The pilot that was sent forward, if he followed the Bydo to their source, would have only ended up helping to create the Bydo in that timeline. In other words, it's only a Stable Time Loop if you consider that there's at least three different universes in play. Universe A, which created the Bydo. Universe B, which the Bydo were exiled to, and universe C, which is the one the Bydo attacked. Bydo Bydo.
Why is the Bydo even called an empire? Is it... Oh. It's because the Bydo is composed of creatures made and ruled by the Hive Queen (also called Bydo) and that they have conquered a solar system, isn't it?
No, not a solar system. An entire freakin' universe.