Review by Psycho Penguin
"Capcom proves that they are humans... if Street Fighter III didn't prove that already."
I don't know what Capcom's thinking sometimes.
I really don't.
They make all these great games, but yet they still feel the need to waste their time making subpar efforts that are not up to their usual high quality. Of course, every company seems to do this from time to time (Exactly what was Square thinking when they made The Bouncer, anyways?), but Capcom seems to do this a little more often than other great companies do.
Case in point, 1942. This was before Capcom scored their first big hit with Mega Man, but they had released several quality efforts already. Trojan and Section Z were underrated arcade games that fared well into a conversion to the NES console. Of course, Capcom had several other Arcade games to port over, so they chose a shooting game called 1942. Sadly, it was a mistake on their part, since 1942 is a really average game that pares in comparison to a majority of shooters released since.
There isn't much of a storyline behind it, basically you are a war soldier in the World War 2 and you have to save your country. You'd think they would have given you some help in forms of planes to back you up, in case, you know, you died or something, but I'd leave that to Epoetker and his Nintendo Logic magic (if he ever reviews this game).
It wasn't even that good of a game when it first came out. Being a shooter, it involves all the basic ideas and gameplay that every game in the genre brings: you shoot down enemies using weapons. You don't even get a variety of weapons to choose from. Well, you do, but only to a certain extent. Shooter fans are going to be bored with the lack of awesome weapons, and casual players are going to see these little bullet guns and wonder why they aren't playing Half Life.
It's your typical boring shooting game that were a dime a dozen on the console. And it doesn't even do the simple things properly half the time. You fight in a vertical mode, going from bottom to top, and as you proceed through the game, you fight new enemies and bosses. However, the enemies come in waves, and the waves are so predictable and boring after a while. Also, new enemies are a rarity, as you face the same old enemies time after time.
The stage designs are also substandard. There really isn't much innovation, every stage has the same basic look and feel to it. Most of the game will have you hover above the same boring landscape fighting the same enemies. There's no enemies on the ground, all the enemies are in the air, which really takes away from the game, since a lot of shooters have enemies in the ground which require you to use different weapons, but not this game.
The game doesn't even look that good. I know it came out in 1987, so I will be fair and say that it doesn't look too bad. Before all you fanboys (of 1942? HA!) email me whining about ''how the game is so old and therefore graphics don't matter'', let me explain something. Most games released around this time at least had the common courtesy and decency to change their backgrounds once in a while. But no, not the almighty 1942! I don't know who at Capcom thought ''let's put the same design in every stage'' would be a good idea, but I hope they're collecting unemployment checks now.
Otherwise, the graphics aren't that bad. The enemy designs are pretty solid, the big green planes look especially nice, and were improved in the follow up, 1943. I especially loved how each enemy had a different design, and some of the enemies were especially detailed. The bosses were especially good looking. It's just a shame the backgrounds looked like boring crap, because the rest of the graphics were pretty good.
The music is not that bad, and I must admit it is pretty catchy. It does get annoying quite quickly, though, as the music, just like the graphics, never really changes throughout the game. Fortunately, the song is pretty catchy, it just would have been nice to hear more music. It's like they added one stage and decided to just repeating the same thing over and over again, which gets annoying. Taito should be sued then, since Tiger Heli had the same problem. The sound effects are decent, the few that are around anyways.
I don't even know if its humanely possible to beat this game, because it just keeps going on and on, but that's the only real reason to keep playing the game: to see if it can be ended. Otherwise, there's no replay value whatsoever. No secrets, no bonuses, no clever ideas, no fun factor, nothing. It's pretty sad when the only reason to play a game for a while is to see it's actually possible to complete it.
Like I said, it has a LOT of stages, but most of the stages are boring, basic, and pretty easy. The enemies never really attack you in any intelligent manner, instead, they just fly at you once in a while, and shoot once in a while. It gets so predictable that eventually you'll know ahead of time if the enemies are coming or not. Some of the enemies are a little hard to kill, but only because they take a bunch of hits to kill.
I may have been hard on 1942, but the truth remains it is a decent game. It just doesn't have anything that makes it stand out, in a positive way, anyways. It repeats the same graphics and music far too much, and it may not even be possible to complete. The enemies are stupid and the stage designs are boring. However, there are worse shooting games out there, and this being one of only two Capcom shooters (that I know of), it may be worth checking out based on historical value alone.
Just don't say I didn't warn you.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 07/11/02, Updated 07/11/02
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