Review by Psycho Penguin
"This game can change your mood.."
When I was a little penguin reviewer many years ago, one of the main things I did was try to collect as many Nintendo games as I possibly could. I also played a lot of them. To call me a Nintendo freak would be a severe understatement, quite possibly one of the biggest understatements that can ever be uttered. I also played a ton of Nintendo games as a kid. While I only remember several of them by heart, one of them is a game called 1943.
Released by Capcom, 1943 is, quite simply, one of the most interesting games to ever come out for the console. I had many fun days as a kid playing this game, and I still find myself playing the game from time to time, when I have some spare time. It is truly one of the more classic games to be released for the NES, although it is not perfect. Let me give you a little background story to the game. It is a vertical shooter. You go around killing enemies (various planes, helicopters, etc.) and collecting very power up items, which I will explain in a little bit.
If it sounds a lot like 1942, well, it is. In case you have not figured it out by now, 1943 is none other than the sequel to the classic vertical shooter 1942. 1943 shares a lot of similarites with its predecessor, but it has enough differences and innovations to make it a really classic game, and it also enables the game to stand out from 1942, but also allows it to stand out from a wide variety of shooters that have been released over the years.
Here's a little background information about this game. You are basically an American war plane, going into Japan for World War 2. You have to defend your country against the evils of the Japanese war planes. There is a wide variety of bosses that you have to destroy. Most of them are your basic war planes, but some can be ships. There is definitely an interesting story to this game, because it is historical. This story actually happened, so it's like you're playing a part in history. I really enjoyed this aspect of the game.
The game is basically just like all the other vertical shooters you have ever played, but it has some nice little additions that separate it from the pack, which I will explain in the next paragraph. I really enjoyed this game. You are a plane, and you go up the screen, shooting at enemies. You can get different power ups, by either destroying a set of planes (you will see five or six planes coming in at one time, destroying them will enable you to get a power up). Once the power up comes out, you can shoot it to get a different power up.
There is a nice variety of power ups, ranging from cannon missiles to a rapid fire shot. I really enjoyed the variety of power ups, and you could use different power ups for different situations, which added a degree of strategy to the game, which is something that is lacking from a lot of shooters. You can also use a special power, lightning, to kill all the enemies on screen, and do severe damage to bosses, but you only get a limited usage of those.
Now what makes this different from a lot of shooters? Besides the innovative power up system, you can also fine tune your airplane to get different things. At the beginning of the game, you get a certain amount of points, which you can then allocate to different aspects of your plane. Throughout the game, there are hidden sections (usually found by shooting at clouds or water) , which enable you to power up your plane even more, and by the end of the game, you could be a serious ass kicking machine. You also can find little hidden power ups in the clouds, which range from a cow head to a barrel. No matter what they look like, they basically all give you the same thing: points.
Yes, you earn points in this game. Each enemy gives you a certain amount of points. Killing a wave of enemies earns you more points than by killing each enemy individually. You can get bonus points by finding some of the bonus items I just pointed out, and you can also get bonus power items (POW) which gets you a nifty 5,000 points. There is really no reason to get points, besides getting 1 Up's from them, but getting points is definitely a fun pastime, especially trying to get the highest score you possibly can.
One of the more interesting aspects about the game is the time meter. You only get a certain amount of time per stage. Using your special power takes off time off the meter. That is why it is imperative to only save your special power for when you get to a boss, and you have some extra time. Once you run out of time, you get blown up and the game is over. You know, I actually got more game overs by running out of time, then by getting killed by an enemy or boss. I think it is a really cool feature to the game, and definitely makes it more challenging.
Controlling your plane in 1943 is really easy to do. You may think with your variety of power ups, it would be kind of complex, but then once you realize this is a NES game, it isn't really that complicated, right? Good, because this game is a joy to control. One button is for shooting, and the other is for using your special power. Sometimes, it is easy to get confused which button is which, and then you waste all your special powers, and then you run out of time, getting a game over. However, once you get used to the control scheme you should really have no problem. Capcom did a really solid job with the control setup.
Graphically, 1943 is stellar. The backgrounds are very colorful and very nicely designed. Everything animates really nicely. The game looks 10 times better than 1942. The enemy designs are really good, especially the green planes that look like they are wearing glasses. The enemy designs definitely blended in very nicely with the backgrounds. I cannot say enough about the backgrounds. The water looks like very real, as do the clouds. The clouds seem to move with the water sometimes, which is just awesome. The boss designs will blow you away with how detailed they are. You can make out each individual gun on them, especially on the boss planes, where they start to break apart, and you see fire shooting out of them. I really loved the graphics in this game.
I can remember most of the music in 1943. I think that is probably the best thing I can say about the game. It is kind of difficult for me to remember the music of the games I played in the old days, for the most part, and the fact I can remember most of the music in this game is a testament to how good the music really is. There is not too much of a variety of it, but the boss theme is really good. It is one of the better music themes I have heard in a video game, especially a NES game released around the time this one was. Sound effects are really solid. Most of them are your basic war shooter fare, but there are some nice ones, like enemy plans dying, and your gun makes a different sound depending on what weapon you have, which I think is a nice touch.
You will want to play this game over and over again once you get into it. There is so much innovation here, and the game is so fun. Shooter fans especially will have a blast playing this game. There is a lot to do here. Once you complete the game, which will take a while, since there is a lot of stages, you can always go back and try to improve your score from last time. Finding all the hidden secrets and power ups is also another reason to go back and play the game again. Most of all, the game is just plain fun. You will definitely find yourself drawn to this game once you get into it some.
This is one of the more challenging games you can find on the NES. The enemies get tougher with each stage, and you will find them to start shooting more, and as the stages go on, there are more and more enemies to kill. This is definitely a challenging game. Adding to the challenge of the game is the fact that the time meter can cause you to get a game over. This game would be challenging enough without the time meter, but the addition of it just gives you another way to die, and that makes it even more challenging than it already is. Those looking for a good challenge can look no further than here.
I had a blast playing this game, and I am sure you will, too. It is simply one of the greatest games to ever come out for the NES. I have never played it in the arcade, but it seems to me that Capcom did a very nice job porting the game over to console. I am not 100 percent sure on that, though, so don't quote me on it. Everything about this game rocks. The music is awesome, the graphics are amazing, it's challenging, it has replay value, and the game is just plain fun. What more could you ask for in a video game? Shooter buffs and average game players alike will both love this game for being the classic that it is. I love it, and you will, too!
-The music is some of the best I have ever heard in a video game, especially the amazing boss music.
-The variety of enemies and power ups has to be seen to be believed.
-The choosing of options for your airplane was a novel idea and adds to the interactivity you get with your plane.
-The storyline is historical, which makes you feel you are doing something that happened.
-It's challenging. Nuff said.
-You'll want to come back again and again.
Not So Good Points
-Okay, so the sound effects could be a little bit better.
-The game can be a little too challenging.
-Maybe a save system would have worked better than a password system.
-There is sometimes graphical breakup when there's a lot going on, on screen.
I Rate This Game, Psycho Penguin Style!
Storyline - 8.8/10
Graphics - 9.7/10
Music - 9.8/10
Sound Effects - 9.4/10
Control - 9.7/10
Gameplay - 9.8/10
Replay Value - Above Average
Challenge - Way Above Average
Rent or Buy? - Buy!
Overall - 9.7/10
Psycho Penguin Lays The Smackdown
The Bottom Line is: This is one of the best shooters ever. Get it today. It's innovative, fun, addictive, and has a lot of good qualities. I guarantee you will like it.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/02/01, Updated 11/02/01
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