BingeGamer's 1942: Joint Strike Review
1942 was a classic overhead view shoot ‘em arcade game by Capcom in 1984, it was ported to numerous systems and loved by many. Today, it is brought to us via XBLA and PSN with a complete graphical rehaul and a few new touches not found in the original. The game takes place during World War II but offers no real storyline other than that, but that is okay, as this game is the definition of a shoot ‘em up and a story would just get in the way of that fact.
Keeping with its roots, the game uses the same overhead view (now with a wider view area) and puts you right into battle to shoot everything on the screen that you can without dying. You are given the choice between three different ships (varied by speed / power / health). With only four levels to complete, Capcom ensures you will have to replay over and over to memorize enemy positions to get through such few amount of levels.
Enemies range from having your basic small annoying planes that are easily shot down, to medium sized tanks and larger sized planes that will annoy the hell out of you with their maneuvering or highly powerful and hard to dodge arsenal. Each level brings something new to challenge you and bosses are ‘take up the whole screen’ huge with many parts you have to hit to win.
Co-op play is offered both on the same system or online. I was able to play through three levels with a random person with no headset, he couldn’t keep up with my awesomeness, but still the game offered much enjoyment having a second person there (lag free as well). I have read about some glitch issues on the Xbox 360 version, but I did not run into this problem (solution just in case: If the sync messes up, just keep playing until the level is through, sync will restore on the next level).
Visually, Joint Strike is awesome. I wish all older titles were given the reworking shown here. Everything is 3D but the game plays completely in 2D. Colors are fitting for the time period and theme of the game. I do want to make a note that at one point there was so many enemy planes and bullets flying that I did get some slow down, only once though and just for a second, still it was noticeable. Gameplaywise, the game offers very little difference from what was offered in the original arcade classic. This may be the games only weak point. I started playing at 2:40am and by about 3:10 I was already hitting up the last boss. Length is not Joint Strike’s strong point. In fact, I does make me ponder about the cost of the game being $10, and if I would have spent that much in quarters beating it in the arcade.
This game will make a man out of you as far as having to earn everything, from power ups to health to extra lives. Also you will find by the end your right thumb will be huge because you will have hit the ‘A’ button non-stop for a half hour straight (I envy you people with the Hori Arcade Sticks). No other XBLA game has given me the feeling that I am playing an old school game like Joint Strike has, which I have mixed emotions on. However for any retro gamers, this game calls out for you to buy it right away. If you are into games like Triggerheart Exelica or Omega Five, this should definitely be something you pick up if you would like to see the roots to this genre.