Review by KasketDarkfyre
"It's about as aged as you can get..."
Flight action shooters all have to start somewhere, and when a series begins, it has to start somewhere as well. 1942 is what started this series and propelled the feel of aero-fighting in arcades everywhere. Set during World War 2, hence the same, you're piloting a small fighter plane that shoots bullets in an attempt to take down enemy planes! Through this, you'll find yourself facing off against tons of fighter jets, ground targets, and eventually large battle ships to accomplish your goal. Bonuses, heavy boss battles and several stages to blaze through, you'll see that 1942 started an epic, and created a legend. Showing that the series is extremely dated, you’ll find that all of the game play has remained unchanged in future sequels, but the visuals and the audio that you see and hear in this title is less than extraordinary. Throughout the game series, there have been several improvements that have come with the way that the game is presented, but to truly understand where the game came from, you have to start here, and work your way through the other games, including the ultra elusive 19XX game, that I’ve only found in arcades in California!
It's pretty simple and to the point, you pilot your fighter plane through enemy territory and shoot down the opposition while trying not to get yourself blown up in the process. You'll face off against enemy planes of all shapes and sizes as well as fighting huge battleships and trying to avoid getting nailed in the process! There are bonuses and weapon upgrades to be found, but they do little except boost your point score, which is what the game revolves around. Now, you’ll find that the game takes a serious swing for the challenging side once you get into the later stages and where you need to really pay attention to what is going on during the game! With the later stages, the enemies come in at different points, and the real challenge to the game is to memorize the patterns that they take throughout the game. It’s almost a given, that you’ll spend part of your time getting blown up and staring at a continue screen, simply because the game takes that unreal turn for the difficult and really doesn’t stop with it until you’ve either run out of quarters or finished the game. Most beginners to the genre would do well to start here in the arcade series, simply because they can get used to the fact that the game moves slower than the rest, and therefore, there is the ability to learn how to maneuver your fighter in such a way that future games are in fact easier to play!
You move left to right, and use the fire button to shoot down as many of them before they hit you. This can get a little on the hairy side in later levels, when you're strafing a battleship that just refuses to die, and if you get cornered, there is no way out except to take the hit and keep moving when your plane reappears! Gamers who have any sort of experience in this type of game play will find that the game really isn’t all that hard to figure out and play with. Beginners may have some trouble in the later stages when it comes down to actually making it through the incoming enemy shots, but it’s nothing that a little practice and some patience can’t accomplish with some time thrown in for good measure.
A slightly catchy tune accompanies you through ninety percent of the game and only changes when you're getting ready to do battle with the boss ship. The sound effects are standard fare of explosions and droning planes as well as the klaxon sound of alarms going off when you begin your strafing run of the boss battleship. Combine this with the sounds from other games that you find in the arcade, and you may find that if the audio tracks on the soundboard aren’t turned up enough, there is plenty of the music and the effects that you’ll miss throughout the game!
As I said, every game series starts somewhere, and 1942 is it. Giving you the most basic of visuals, you really have nothing to be surprised with or about while playing, save for maybe the different plane designs. You'll have large bombers firing at you, small attack planes strafing the screen, and in the boss battles, you'll get huge battleships! While this may seem like a lot, it really isn't when you boil down that the amount of incoming shots can and will cover up everything that there is to see! This won’t really come, as a surprise to anyone who knows what series improvements is all about, and if you compare this game to other ones, you’ll find that there is nothing here that cannot be improved upon and eventually is.
With most shooter action games, you'll spend your money later on in the game. With the later stages, you'll find that the planes fire off more than you can handle, and the different strafing runs that you go through against the battleships can cost you a couple of bucks if you're not paying attention!
While not the best game in the series, it was the starting point to an amazing series that made people ask just how many games where they going to make. With action shooting, 1942 brought to life an aspect of World War 2 that wasn't available, regardless of the amount of fantasy thrown in for the hell of it. Worth a couple of bucks to play, 1942 is a good introduction to the rest of the series, which spans 5 other arcade games and several home system creations! As time goes on, games such as this, those really are gems to any particular genre are becoming increasingly hard to find throughout any arcade in the country. While not necessarily one of my personal favorites amongst the other games that feature the same style of game play, you’ll find that any money you dump in is worth spending, just on the challenge alone!
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 09/30/01, Updated 01/04/02
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