1942: Joint Strike Review
The original Capcom arcade game, simply titled 1942, was a top down Galaga-style shooter that was built around the Pacific air battles in (duh) World War II that popped up in both Japanese and American arcades in the early-to-mid '80s. The game was a fairly basic one-plane-vs-everyone-else shooter, one that hasn't inspired much nostalgia even after a few appearances in Capcom's Classic Collection games. But, in the tradition of, well… everything these days, old is new again and the forgettable 1942 has been remade into 1942: Joint Strike, a roughly $10 downloadable game available on both Xbox Live and the PSN Network. This new version isn't painful to play, but it is seriously short, very, VERY easy and absolutely not worth the astronomically high $10 price point.
There isn't really too much to say about Joint Strike you couldn't get from either trying a demo of the game through your console's download service or simply trying to remember playing the original. You control one airplane (or two, if you've got a friend) in a top down auto-scrolling shooter. Enemy forces use the magic of flying and shooting in different formations to either blast you out of the sky or crash into you, kamikaze-style. You remember Galaga? Yeah… this is just like that with prettier graphics.
There is a reason this type of game is still popular today, as evidenced by stellar titles like Ikaruga, the upcoming English release of Bangai-O Spirits and, to a lesser degree, the recent Space Invaders Extreme games; shooting stuff is fun and being impressively skilled at this type of games can still draw a crowd. But with all those games I just mentioned, the developers took things up a notch, adding new bosses, challenges and gimmicks to make the dated gameplay feel brand new again. Not so with 1942: Joint Strike. It is essentially the same game it was over 20 years ago, but with a new coat of paint and a panoramic display. Attention developers: Need to know a winning formula for remaking old games? Go play FFIV on the DS. That, fellas, is how it's done.
Even though the game is merely a half-hearted remake, somehow it felt even less fun than the original for two reasons: 1.) The multiplayer makes an easy game even easier by adding an extra set of guns and sticking with the same amount of enemies and 2.) The whole thing can be downloaded, beaten and forgotten all in the space of about an hour. I'm not overstating… ONE HOUR. With a nearly $10 download price, the people behind 1942: Joint Strike all but ensured that the game would be enjoyable by no one.
Oh, yeah… I wasn't actually alive in 1942, but something tells me that the soldiers in the Pacific theatre of WWII didn't have access to laser beams, robots or smart bombs. Capcom could have gone with a historically realistic recreation OR a space and technology shooter, but they can't have it both ways and expect that no one will notice; I did and you will too.
1942: Joint Strike wasn't only a disappointment because the game just isn't very interesting or fun, it also served to remind me that I've still got another couple of months until Capcom's remake of Bionic Commando hits the PS3 and 360 for download. What also got to me is the sheer number of other classic games that should have gotten a remake long before Capcom fished out this long-forgotten title. Little Nemo? Kickle Cubicle? Solar Jetman? Power Blade? I could go on for hours and hours. It all boils down to one simple truth – downloading games costs money, and there are dozens of games that should get your cash before this one does.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 43%.