19XX: The War Against Destiny

David Yun David Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-02-17 12:21:22

19XX: The War Against Destiny - Rank A

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ROM Filename: 19xx
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Date: 12/7/1995

This is my personal favorite in the series. The mechanics are still the same: you move with the stick, hammer a button to shoot, hold it for a charge shot, and clear the screen with your bomb button. The charge shot also sets up homing fire. You also have your choice of three different planes with different characteristics, and three different weapon upgrades. Make sure you understand how the charge/homing mechanic works, as it definitely affects enjoyment of the game (if you hit an enemy with a charged shot, it lets you lock on).

19XX also offers varied enemies and environments through six sprawling stages, without overwhelming you. It is particularly understated for an example of this genre. The effects and flashing lights never overwhelm you, nor is it masochistically difficult like many top-down shooters can be.

What I like most are specific design elements. For example, portions of the game scroll backward, like when you fight past a massive waterfall. Or in that screen shot above, you're fighting aircraft at night high above twinkling city lights. Then you begin descending in a nifty depth of field effect that takes you down on a strafing run against a speeding military train. It's a huge leap visually over its predecessors. 19XX is colorful and detailed without being overly animated. The enemies are interesting without being too over the top. You fight planes, tanks, ships, subs...you name it. The huge bosses range from massive air and seacraft, tanks and robots, one of which is several times larger than the screen itself.

Track down a copy and crank up MAME. I can't seem to find a retail release that includes 19XX.

Also, a revamped semi-sequel was released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as 1942: Joint Strike.

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