1942 - Nintendo Entertainment System (Nes) Classic Video Games
An Early Classic
1942 is an original release that came out soon after the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, and it's great for an early game. Sure, by later standards, the game is pretty clunky and atrocious. However, in 1985, it blew minds that you could have an almost arcade quality game to play at home. Capcom released 1942 in the arcades the year before the NES was released in North America.
1942 takes place in the Pacific Theater during WWII. You take command of an Allied plane or planes and stomp some Japanese butt. Simple to understand, easy to get into, hard to master. It's a long game, too. People were used to shorter Atari point-based games at the time, and Capcom over delivered with this one.
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Simple Yet Effective
The game is just a simple overhead shooter, but there really was nothing else like it at the time. This is during the era when Excitebike was... well, still exciting. People were used to Atari 2600 games that consisted of a single screen, or series of screens. Now, there were 32 levels of sidescrolling mayhem to uncover with 1942 on the NES. It was mind blowing. People didn't even know you could do this sort of thing without a giant arcade cabinet and lots of computer stuff inside.
Of course, looking back, the game is extremely primitive and even obnoxious. For some reason they programmed this beeping sound that keeps happening. It's supposed to be music, but it's just annoying as all hell. There's no real music to speak of at all, and the game really needs some. Faint drums and beeps in military time don't count.
There is definite slowdown when too many planes are on the screen, and the game can be a tad on the difficult side at times. Well, maybe frustrating is a better term. You have to memorize a lot of stuff, but it's hard because the backgrounds all seem to look the same.
Some Low Points to the Game
1942 is pretty stingy with its powerups for your weapons system. Sometimes you desperately need a powerup but the game just won't give you one. The powerups do get pretty cool though. Eventually you end up flying in formation with other planes, and so on and so forth.
One big down point to 1942 is that the scenery gets pretty bland. It's all mostly just water and islands. They really needed to mix things up a bit somehow. 32 levels of water and beaches starts to get on your nerves after a while, not to mention making it much harder to memorize the patterns of planes that you will be facing. Eh, but that makes for a better challenge, too. You don't know what's coming next a lot of the time because it's all just water or a beach.
Overall, this game is a classic. It came out early, so programmers hadn't mastered the nuances of the Nintendo yet. 1942 showed developers what was truly possible for the system, and we have it to thank for many of the games that we hold dear. I'm sure developers would have been making stuff like Excitebike and Balloon Fight for quite a while if this hadn't been made early on. Thanks, 1942.
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