I’m not going to go into the awkwardness present at the mention of a Japanese game company making a game based around the Battle of Midway (y’know, one of the battles that pretty much turned the tide of the war in the Pacific theatre during World War II), and just get into the game itself. You’re an American fighter pilot scrolling from the bottom to the top of the screen as you shoot everything in sight.
...no, really, that’s it.
It’s in the style of Galaga or Galaxian, though at a much faster pace. Even in the beginning, the game can be very easily unforgiving. The main objective, as I say, is to get through each screen while trying to destroy every single plane on the screen besides your own. It’s buttonmashing at its finest, but also very satisfying. Things blow up with an awesome effect and it just feels downright good when they do (proper hit detection is important, after all). However, it also gets very tiring just pushing down the button to fire. Again, like my problems with Black Tiger a few weeks back, couldn’t some of these things have been fixed in the port to the 360 - till playing from the Capcom Arcade Cabinet, by the way - so I don’t have to bust my thumbs in order to keep firing?
That’s about the only strategy I can give, either. Just keep shooting until all the enemies on the screen are dead. Again, simple, but it can get a little monotonous as all such games can. So Capcom decided to liven it up. Must like in Contra, your fire can be changed to several different modes. There’s a direct shot, a scatter shot, and a a scatter shot with a wider range. I’ve personally found the direct shot to be the best and just to keep spamming attack until, again, everything on the screen is toast.
But wait! Capcom decided that that would not simply be enough, and gave some special attacks. The first, when down into fighting aircraft carriers mode, sees a tidal waves wipe the entire screen clear of enemies. The second, when up in the sky, unleashes the wrath of God upon anything on the screen, electrocuting them with lightning. So, basically, God was on America’s side in World War II because he gave them the powers of damnation and craziness...at the cost of fuel. Huh.
The player has a constantly depleting fuel meter that drops whether you’re using special attacks or not, though it can be brought back up by taking out an entire group of red fighter planes. Easy enough in the early levels, though later on the sheer mass of attackers will see you neglecting to do that and wondering just why you’ve blown up. Luckily, 1943 doesn’t penalize you for dying (except for resetting your high score to “0”, but who really cares?) and you can start right from where you were, no quarters needed.
So your plane magically reappears in the midst of the Japanese fleet for you to lay a smack down on them once more…
...nevermind, without the arcade stuff you really DO seem to have the powers of God.
Mind you, this game is dated but then...so is Galaga. Doesn’t remotely keep them from being enjoyable. If you’ve got some time to kill, go through the sixteen levels and take on the Yamato (no, not that one!) and save the day. For America...in a Japanese game about one of the decisive battles of World War II…
...the world’s a very strange place, isn’t it? 1943 is now available from Capcom. It can be played from the Capcom Arcade Cabinet, available on Xbox Live, the Playstation Network, and PC. For the latest from the MadCapMunchkin, follow him on Twitter @MadCapMunchkin.