After battling in arcades with the CPS in the early nineties, SNK's system had since 1993 to face its successor, packing more powerful capabilities than those of its elder. The two competitors waged a war without mercy during this decade, and on several fronts: puzzle games, sports, Beat them Up, Shoot them Up... the epicenter of the battle still remaining the VSs fighting in all its glory! After the opposition between 1941 and Ghost Pilots, it was not until 2000 that the two systems were found to compete again on the same type of production: vertical scrolling Shoot 'em Up, featuring WWII aircrafts. This time, it's Psikyo who fights against Capcom. In the past, the editor made Sonic Wings 2 & 3 on the Neo Geo, two Shoot them Up in this very same genre. We know that the CPS-II is slightly more powerful than the MVS in terms of pure power, with its processors clocked a little faster using a slightly higher resolution. SNK's machine, three years older than Capcom's one, compensates this with its phenomenal cartridges size. For this duel, Strikers uses 681Mb memory against 226 for 'The Loop Master'. Now, who's gonna take the lead?
Psikyo wanted to keep "vertical" aspect ratio for this episode. So, two panels adorn the screen to the right and left, leaving the good size for the action at the center. Noble initiative, but the size of the playing area is thereby somewhat penalized and so are graphics. 1944 cheek to Ghost Pilots, using the full width of the 4:3 display. The action is at once broader and the gameplay a little different, without being better. Graphics side, this characteristic provides some advance to the game of Capcom. 1945 offers sumptuous landscapes with realistic colors, which is also the case for aircrafts . Anyway, it's a bit dull at times, and if those of 1944 are more flashy and less realistic, they're still more pleasing to the eye, colorful, varied, and offering more relief than its competitor. Advantage Capcom!
STRIKERS 1945 ................. 87%
1944 LOOP MASTER ........ 95%
Both titles have a good dynamism, with intense and quick enemy fire, variable speed scrollings, beautifully animated sprites and no slowdowns: a feat on both sides, with all these loaded screens all along the levels! The Loop Master takes advantage on the vivacity of its backgrounds: they are more lively and better integrated to the action those of Strikers... but this one is a cut above for the fluidity of the animation, as well as the quality and decomposition of everything that moves, particularly explosions, better designed than those of its competitor. A short advantage here for Psikyo.
STRIKERS 1945 .................. 96%
1944 LOOP MASTER .......... 93%
Very different in their styles, the soundtracks of our competitors are both well crafted: Strikers 1945 Plus offers themes worthy of a military parade, though sticking nicely to the WWII atmosphere. All right, well orchestrated, but moderately original: if the musics are varied, all are not that good. 1944 TLM dares the use of punchy hard-rock themes with cool electric guitar riffs, and catchy melodies! Boldness paid, the music takes precedence over the less inventive competitor. Side effects, the quality is close, with a slight preference for 1945 which features better sampling and more appropriate choices for explosions, fire and other effects.
STRIKERS 1945 .................. 89%
1944 LOOP MASTER ......... 91%
The replay value of Shoot them Up games is often controversial: some are short but offer great replay pleasure, others are long, but once completed lose most of their luster. With the games in this match, great ideas give long life to one and another, and a depth that keeps the player playing for a long time. 1944 packs sixteen stages not necessarily super long, but still! This is an amount rarely seen in this kind of soft to have sixteen Bosses to beat. It's a great challenge, because the game is not easy! 1945 also offers a sky-high challenge -so to speak - with eight long levels you'll have to clear twice to see the true endings! Admittedly, it's much less varied and somewhat more artificial than its competitor, but the game gets richer with the seven different aircrafts and as many different ways to play! Here the duel is very tight, and our two titles can boast excellent replay values.
STRIKERS 1945 .................. 88%
1944 LOOP MASTER .......... 90%
The gameplay is somewhat the same for our two rivals: a fire button, special attacks limited in number during which the ship is invincible, and a "charge" attack when depressing the A button. The action is fun and taking in both games, with Strikers being more manic-styled than 1944, requiring even more accuracy. The game systems are similar, providing a basic shot than can improve by picking power-ups and in-game bonuses. Players can use different strategies in both titles to reach the farest stages, but let's say it will be hard to clear those games in one credit. Strikers is in the end more complete with its seven different aircraft and that awesome 'manic' atmosphere, and wins this race by a nose.
STRIKERS 1945 .................. 96%
1944 LOOP MASTER ......... 94%
The gameplay and replay values are almost the same level, but a small advantage over the graphics and soundtrack is taken by 1944, as well for the variety of these. While the animations of the two games are similar quality, Strikers is more sharp and deep in gameplay thanks to the seven vessels. We must recognize that on the merits, our rivals are at par: if Capcom wins this comparison in the end, it's only thanks to the realization of its game, a bit more convincing.
1944 LOOP MASTER