1942 x RepliCade (Arcade Game) Review

Ned Jordan
In Short
You won't have to dedicate a corner of your room to this 1/6th scale recreation of an arcade classic because it will look great just sitting on your desk.

New Wave Toys has been recreating classic 1980s arcade cabinets in miniature form through its Replicade Amusements collection. The arcade cabinets are faithful reproductions of the originals recreated in 1/6 scale, so it’s the perfect size for Barbie’s or (classic) GI Joe’s game room. These aren’t just faithful recreations of arcade cabinets, though, they are fully functional, playable games.

The newest entry in the series is Capcom’s 1942, a game first released in arcades in 1984. 1942 introduced the shmup (shoot-‘em-up), aka bullet hell, gameplay to arcades and gave birth to a genre that still continues to inspire games to this day. You’re given control of a P-38 Lightning (that launches from a carrier, but this aviation enthusiast can look past that) and must survive against waves of enemy aircraft that come flying across the screen, unleashing steams of bullets that can fill the screen in the game’s most manic moments. You’ll need to dodge both the bullets and the enemies to survive, using both the joystick to maneuver and the loop button to take you briefly up and above the danger. You can fire back to take out enemy planes, and when you down enemies they occasionally drop power-ups that increase your weapon’s fire rate or spread, or add a wingman to fight by your side. This will all be familiar to anyone who’s played bullet hells games before, and 1942 delivers shmup action in its purest classic form.

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The Replicade version of the original 1942 arcade cabinet pretty much comes with everything that you would have seen on a 1942 cabinet in an arcade in the 1980s. The cabinet is made of wood and feels solid. You’ll have no problem with the cabinet moving around or tipping over while you’re playing the game. The marquee panel and coin slots light up, and the side panels and screen frame are adorned with the original artwork. It looks great on display, especially if you leave the power on since it will run in attract mode, just like it would be sitting in an arcade. The game even supports the operator’s menu that came with the original game, giving you access to game settings such as the game’s difficulty level and the number of lives. Visiting the operator’s menu is worth your while even if you don’t want to change the settings because you’ll find that the cabinet also comes loaded with another game – 1943: The Battle of Midway. (Yes, the Battle of Midway really took place in 1942, but let’s not confuse the matter more at the moment). 1943 was the sequel to 1942, and the gameplay is similar to 1942 with the biggest difference being that 1943 gave you a single life and a health bar.

This version of 1942 does include some modern updates, though. The cabinet is powered via a USB cord, but it also has an internal battery and can be played untethered when charged. The cabinet’s internal speaker is much larger than scale, and a wheel on the back of the cabinet can be used to control the volume. If you prefer to play the game with a stick and buttons that are a bit larger than scale, there’s a separate controller provided that has a cable that plugs into the back of the cabinet. The back of the cabinet also features an HDMI port that will allow you to play the game on your TV or monitor.

None of these features will matter of you don’t enjoy playing shmups, so unless you want more than a conversation piece 1942 won’t be for you. Otherwise, the Replicade version of 1942 comes highly recommend – it’s fun to play, true to the original, and looks great sitting in your game room even when it’s just running in attract mode. It’s a great collector’s item for anyone with a soft spot for the golden age of arcade gaming.

Final Rating: starstarstarstarstar

Note: A review unit was provided by the company for this review.

Transmitted: 12/2/2023 8:38:50 AM