Friday, August 23, 2013

Nerdicus NES Reveiw #2 - 1943 : The Battle of Midway

(Well at least the box art is better this time around)

Title : 1943 : The Battle of Midway

Release Date : June, 1987

Publisher : Capcom


I was seriously hesitant about taking on the next game in my NES collection, but like I said I am going to try my best to do things in order. Even if it kills me, which it very well might. After my horrendous experience with 1942, I couldn't imagine the sequel being much better. I know I shouldn't have been judging the game before I even tried it, but 1942 had left such a bad taste in my mouth it was hard to think otherwise. But, I sucked it up, popped in the game, and started playing. And I can safely admit, I was pleasantly surprised with the results!

(1943 title isn't much diff than 1942)

The first thing that hit me was the music. No more grinding sound in the background, but ACTUAL music. Of course, I wouldn't consider the music good at all, especially when you compare it to some of the amazing soundtracks that you find on the NES (DuckTales, anyone?) but it was a mass improvement from the sounds coming out of 1942. It wasn't only the music, but the sound effects were drastically better. The best part was, I didn't want to jab something into my ears as I played the game.

(Overhead vertical shooter game....level up?)

Before you start playing the game, you are introduced with an interesting option of upgrading your plane's stats. Whether its your planes offense, defense, energy level, special weapon, or special weapon time limit. At first, I didn't understand how this type of game was going to implement a point system, especially after playing through 1942, but 1943 is an entirely different game. There's no longer one hit kills with your plane, and instead you can take multiple hits and recover damage through power ups. You have a "fuel" based system on the right side of the screen, which acts as your life bar, which you constantly have to refill. Power ups for weapons are now timed, and you can see that on the left side of the screen. All in all, it's not a bad system to have, and it gives the game a little bit more flexibility than its predecessor.

Gameplay wise, it's the same game. Blast your way through the stages, collect power ups, and rack up a high score. There is a little bit more variety with the planes you encounter, but all that is really happening in each level is the sheer number of planes you're encountering.  One thing they did change was giving you the ability to actually destroy incoming enemy bullets by shooting at them. In terms of challenge though, from the first level, until the last, it's all about creating as much lag on the screen as possible. And that's really the only way you can die, is by lagging out. But, still not as bad as 1942.

With the visuals, there are some minor improvements. The planes don't look much different than they did in 1942, but the backgrounds have gotten quite a bit better. The clouds actually look like clouds...somewhat...The ocean doesn't look like a pixelated mess, and when you start flying over land it doesn't look like something vomited on your TV screen. Whatever adjustments they made to the planes were okay. A few additional colors here and there, but the bosses look pretty impressive for what they are. Which brings me to my next point. BOSSES!

That's right! There are actually boss battles in this game! Compared to the first game where you are basically trudging through each level, and only encountering an end game boss, 1943 actually divides each stage into two sections. In the first section you find yourself battling through the enemy fleet, gaining some power ups and refueling your plane when needed. The second section is usually chaos, with more planes filling the screen as well as ground forces barraging you with bullets. Then comes the boss battle. Thank god for boss battles to break up the monotony of battling the same plane over and over again. Too bad the bosses were absolute push overs. Not to mention there are only really two bosses. Either a giant plane, or a giant ship with just more guns and back up planes added to the mix. Still, at least it gives you something to look forward to at the end of each level.

There are 24 levels in this game, and I was able to breeze through it in roughly an hour. Not too bad, and I have to say it was pretty enjoyable. Unlike the 1942, this game provided more of a challenge with a bit more enemy variation. Not to mention they broke up the game a bit with goals for each level, and the nice ending screen to show you how you did. My one problem was that the power ups were a bit OVER POWERED. I didn't even notice that there was a time limit on them since I was getting constant power ups throughout each level. The same idea with the POW text, but you just shoot at them until you get what you want.

So that's about it for 1943, but I do have one last question though - WTF is up with the COWS?! You get bonus points for shooting COW HEADS?!!?!? That's just sick Capcom. Plain sick.

(yes, that's a the middle of the pacific ocean...during world war II)

Until next time folks. Keep on retro gaming.

Don't forget to sign up for the raffle on the right side if you haven't already. You don't want to miss your opportunity to expand your NES RETRO COLLECTION with a copy of THE LEGEND OF ZELDA!



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