The grandmother of all (vertical) battles
by Tibe (2018)
For the youngest among our readers (I really feel like an old punk when I write this, especially since I know how many they are) who did not know 1942, the game, at the time of its release, you may be wondering what is this fucking review is doing there. Most articles and reviews on Neo Geo Kult deal with 16-bit systems and arcade games that are at least able to trigger dozens of epileptic seizures. So whats is this old three-simultaneous colors-shooter-released-at-the-time-of-videocassette-recorders doing here? For the simple reason that it is one of the first big hits of the arcade made by Capcom, ported at the time on all domestic media. Any player a little in the game in those years has spent a lot of credits on this great vertical WWII shoot 'em up, pioneer of a style that was going to last for several decades.
Thirty-two missions of a titanic difficulty face you. If you love arcade games that make you suffer, get ready for running a marathon on crushed glass. At the controls of your Lockheed P-38 Lightning, you will have to stuff the entire japanese aviation, including kamikazes. How strong were these ricains anyway. Moreover, it's still paradoxical that a japanese videogame company puts the players in command of a US plane to defeat the army of their own country. That is surely self-flagellation. Well yes, the darkest hours, the shoah, all that, it's still their fault eh. After all, they were the ones who received Uncle Adolf with great fanfare while cooking sushi, and who in return were eating ravenously german sausages made from deported children when they were invited to Berlin. Then Camembert the gnakoués, otherwise I call the licra.
The controls are somewhat simple but perfectly set, with our gorgeous P-38 featuring a power-up system to collect as well as "side-wings", in other words escort planes. This is a very interesting weapon bonus, that boosts our firepower and can incidentally be used as a shield on either side of the aircraft. In addition to the standard shot with A, the B button is used to perform a loop to get out of a bad pass or avoid too many enemies. This maneuver is however limited, being able to be carried out only three times. The interesting scoring system is all what an arcade fever wants, with extra-lives and weapon bonus based on your results. If all this may sound old-fashioned today, at the time, this was one of the best-designed shooter ever: the gameplay of 1942 is, so to speak, the cream of the crop back in 1984.
Similarly, the realization that probably have young players sneer (and I must admit I do a little too, now) was quite remarkable then, with flawless animation, colorful graphics we had fun discovering by (hardly) advancing in the game. Music and sound effects were nowhere revolutionary on the other hand! They just accompany fairly simply the game. It's not easy to overcome 1942 with a single credit, but even with many, even the good players will have a tough time! A checkpoint system systematically puts you back on the difficulties that you have not been able to overcome. Like in Ghost Pilots, once acquired the power-up and side-wings, the best tactic is to fend off a maximum to try to keep this advantage as long as possible. I encourage curious players to retrace the history of the shoot 'em up game by playing 1942, one of the most important creations of this genre.
|There's still a lot of water! But to appreciate the variety of environments, you have to get far in the game. The planes are finely designed.|
|No slowdowns, a catchy action and well made explosions... for a 1984 game, of course.|
|The soundtrack is... how to say, a little bit simplistic! Based on pew-pew, beep-beep and kre-kre, we already guess that Capcom does not bet everything on music.|
|1942 is not about to reveal all its secrets: with thirty-two stages, you're not close to see the end.|
|The controls respond well, with precise collisions and a gameplay including power up and bonuses. The two-player game is icing on the cake.|
|Pioneer of the WWII vertical shoot them up, 1942 is a legendary title with iron gameplay!|
SAME ON THE NEO?
Ghost Pilots is inspired on many points from 1942 and somehow makes an hommage to it. The SNK soft will please the gamer who loved 1942, because the gameplay is very similar and the "retrogaming sensations" are there!