Review by PickHut

"P-38 and Its Amazing Friends"

19XX: The War Against Destiny is a good shoot-em-up. It does a nice job at keeping you on your toes throughout its six stages with the amount of candy-coated bullets that gets thrown your way. However, when compared to the game it followed up, 1941, you get this overwhelming feeling that 19XX took a step backwards. After that highly enjoyable game, this title seems to pale in comparison as it doesn't actually have many significant upgrades or differences that make it stand out.

But it tries its best. This time around, instead of only having to control the lovable P-38, you get the opportunity to choose two other fighters before you start your suicide mission. The Lightning (P-38), Mosquito, and the Sinden have differing attributes (like strong firepower or speed), making for a slightly varied playing experience. So, once you pick a plane and hastily escape from a burning aircraft carrier, you expect to kick the crap out of an intense-filled army, right? Well, not really. When you start stage one, you won't get much resistance. Planes will appear on screen and act more like target practice than a threat. If you get shot down in this stage, then you REALLY suck. To make matters worse, the stage only lasts about three minutes long. I was shocked when I was already going up against the boss, the Ayako Special, who, by the way, wasn't that much of a threat, either.

I was hoping for a complete turnaround when entering the second stage, just like what happened in 1941. Things did get a bit better as I flew into a docking base filled with giant ships waiting to blow me out of the sky. There were times when things got pretty heavy when flashy bullets filled the screen, but I wasn't really feeling the heat until the third stage. At that point, dozens of parachuting tanks attacked, rocket launchers went nuts, and a huge helicopter gave me hell as we both descended down a waterfall. Things were starting to look up.

The following stages didn't offer much different, throwing the exact same machines of doom down my throat, only in different settings. After playing a little more, I realized that 19XX followed a theme that the earlier games in the series followed: more of the same. Except, you get a hell of a lot more of them here later because each stage kept increasing in length. The last stage is obviously the worst offender, by being the longest and repetitive stage in the whole game. By the time you went up against the fourth boss encounter in that stage, you wanted the damn game to end, already. Talk about overkill. That's not to say the whole game suffers because of this. I was just hoping for a little more variety.

There are some standout moments in 19XX, however. One such moment occurs when confronting the fourth stage boss, a giant, grey submarine. After a few minutes of dodging and pounding the thing with everything I had, it gets destroyed.... or so I thought. The sub started to turn over, and silly me thought it was sinking. Imagine my surprise when the thing completely turned over to reveal another side with more turrets and heat-seeking missiles. Another neat moment was this section in the fifth stage where you descend down to a long railroad track. Once down there, you'll get to blow up the various armed trains that are speeding right along. At the end of the same stage, you'll go up against this cool boss that's basically a giant machine gun. What's interesting about this is that after it's done shooting off rounds, giant, empty shells come out and fall toward your plane. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Despite those short bursts of awesomeness, it's really a shame 19XX: The War Against Destiny didn't go the distance, because it had the most potential of any of the games in the series. With a theme of a fictional war at Capcom's grasp, the possibilities were endless. Instead, they ended up pumping out a pretty normal shoot-em-up. That's not exactly a bad thing, but I was hoping for something just as good as, or better than 1941. Like I said, it's a good shoot-em-up, but if you want to spend your Wednesday with a really enjoyable "19" game, you're better off with 1941.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 08/24/06

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