In 1942 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.. Dammit, I always get that wrong. That’s ‘In 1492’ Columbus sailed the ocean blue. What does that have to do with 1942? Nothing except for transposed numbers. That poor segue just led us to 1942, a shooter by Capcom. Originally an arcade release in 1984, it was released over 40 years after the Battle of Midway. It was later ported to a ton of systems, but in particular for this week it was released for the NES in 1986.
You fly a plane that is very similar in appearance to a P-38 Lightning as the nameless, faceless ‘Super Ace’, who has been tasked with flying to Tokyo and destroy all of the ‘enemies’ aircraft. Enemy? Tokyo? I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s probably the Japanese. The
Japanese enemy can’t aim, so of course they shoot a lot and try to fly into you. Wow, this game is historically accurate! 32 stages await you. Oddly enough they are counted down from stage 32. The game ends on stage 1. Awkward. This is another vertically scrolling shooter. I have a soft spot for these type of games, even if I’m not very any good at them. Micronics coded this game for the NES, as well as Tiger-Heli (hence similarities in game speed) even though Capcom released it.
Typical of shooters, you have an unlimited about of bullets with which to shoot at a seemingly unlimited amount of enemy planes. Limited power-ups appear after shooting a ‘red wave’ of planes. One doubles your bullet count from two to four, another gives you pair of small planes that fly along side of you shooting when you do. Another gives you….. points. 1942 is one of those games. At least you can do a loop the loop. Big deal right? The enemy can’t shoot you in this loop, presumably because they are ‘oohing and ahhing’ at your aerobatic abilities. Did I mention it’s one shot-one kill for you and sometimes not them? Those big-ass on screen bullets really tear up your plane, I guess. Planes of all different types will come at you. Mainly what looks like Mitsubishi Zeros but sometimes a jet and a glider will appear. There’s a few larger bombers that take several shots to take down, and occasionally you’ll stumble on a ginormous bomber that takes up most of the screen.
This game moves kind of slow on the NES. Like, skipping-every-other-frame slow. Man this sounds like Tiger-Heli doesn’t it? Except the enemies here do borderline swarm you in later levels. It gets really annoying when they start coming up from behind you. The few power-ups available are a welcome addition. Music? LOL. Music? Combine Morse code with a drum cymbal. There’s you’re music.. Through every level of the game. There’s 32 stages, each starting and ending with a short break as you land, presumably refuel, and take off again. The P-38 here sports white paint, which is probably to give the bad guys a clear target, right?
This is a game I’ve actually never beaten. It’s long for a NES shooter. Like, at least an hour long It’s point based, pointing (ha) to its arcade origins. It also keeps track of accuracy in shooting. Shooters on the NES, for the most part, tend to be quick play through, or repeating stages. 1942 might not be a flashy shooter with tons of power ups, but it does feature long varied stages with lots of variation in how the enemies attack you. Give it the Fair Shake, and help turn the tide of war.