Scrolling shooters are one of those games that I think everyone is exposed to at some point. 1942 was one of the earliest examples of those types of games, and the NES version was a port of the arcade version. But can this port hold up without the constant need to input quarters?
Platforms: NES, Old Computers; Gameboy Colour; PS2, Xbox, Wii
Price: ~$20.00 on eBay
1942 is set during World War II, in the Pacific Theatre. The player controls an aircraft called the “Super Ace”, and is tasked with destroying the entire Japanese airforce. Upon starting the game, the screen displays “level 32” and the game counts down from there. Along the way, there are four evenly-distributed boss fights.
The game consists of shooting down enemy aircraft, and occasionally shooting down a formation will result in a power-up, such as two planes joining you or an extra canon. The gameplay is wonderfully simple, and is executed well, but it is the other aspects of this game that bring it down.
The graphics are average, but the biggest graphical problem was the difficulty in distinguishing between planes and the occasional island that appears on the quest. Bullets and green planes especially fail to stand out on the sand or grass of the islands, and for a game built on dodging those things, that’s a pretty big problem. Additionally, I found that enemy aircraft would clip into the background, and sometimes the game itself experienced lag when there were a great deal of enemies on-screen.
The music is pretty bad. It consists of a militaristic march-like rhythm played on a single note and a snare drum. The only musical variation occurs when the player dies or when the player completed a mission successfully. Although the rhythm was a little catchy, it got boring pretty quickly. Something with more variety would have been better suited to this game.
The difficulty level in this game is also bizarre; it’s generally slowly rising, but I found the last boss to be the easiest and the final level was comparable to the first in terms of difficulty. When I got stuck, I found I could leave the game for an hour, come back to it with a refreshed mind, and then sweep through the level I was having trouble with as well as the next few levels. You have three lives in this game; if you lose all three you can continue from the title screen, which starts you at the last level you died. As far as I know though, You can’t save, so if you want to get through the whole thing, you’ll need to leave your console on.
1942 wasn’t the worse game I’ve ever played, but it wasn’t very good either. I give it 2/5 objectively and 3/5 subjectively
+ Simple yet effective gameplay
+ Arcade fun
– Graphical issues
– Awful music
– Occasional moments of boredom in the 32 levels