David Yun David Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-02-07 18:41:03

1942 - Rank D

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ROM Filename: 1942
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Date: December 1984

Also available in Capcom Classics Collection (Xbox, PlayStation 2) and Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded (PlayStation Portable)

I almost skipped 1942 because it's so primitive, but thought better of it, as it is a fairly significant game that spawned a long running franchise. 1942 is an archaic vertically-scrolling shooter that helped establish the foundations of the genre. The controls are concise and responsive: move with the stick, mash the first button to shoot, and use the second as an "oh shit" button that allows you to do a loop, during which you are safe from enemy fire. There are the requisite power ups that range from added machineguns to a couple of escort planes that flank you and provide additional firepower. It must be noted that the audio is gratingly awful.

I find the setup interesting: 1942 is a game, made by a Japanese developer, in which you play as an American fighter shooting down wave after wave (32 levels) of Japanese planes. This is something of a digression, but Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (where you play as an American soldier shooting Japanese enemies) was considerably more successful in Japan than it was stateside. This phenomenon is something of a mystery to me, as I can't imagine that many of my fellow Americans would enjoy any game that involved fighting against our own nation.

In any case, 1942 is mildly charming in a nostalgic fashion, but is probably of value only to those who are interested in expanding their grasp of videogame history. Everyone else can safely move on to the next title in the series. Also, a revamped semi-sequel was released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as 1942: Joint Strike.

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