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1942 Review

I finally got a Nintendo over the weekend, but needed a fun Game Pak to play. Being an avid fan of arcades, I was already familiar with Capcom’s 1942. I can’t tell you how many quarters I’ve pumped into that machine at The Gold Mine Arcade. Of course, the game came out three years ago, so it’s old news, right? Wrong! This updated version of the game can be summed up in one word: amazing.

In 1942, players take control of a plane during World War II – the Super Ace – in 32 action-packed levels, which are more like waves than actual stages. Each wave sees the Super Ace fending off a barrage of attacks from small forward-moving gray aircraft, erratic green aircraft, power-up supplying red aircraft and other larger aircraft coming from behind.

The waves get more challenging as the game progresses. By the fifth or sixth level, I was already using up continues like quarters! Power-ups are scarce, drastically increasing the challenge. I enjoyed the game immensely, but I’m having difficulty figuring out just how the loop-de-loop is useful. Is it for avoiding enemy fire? It seems to work for that sometimes, but for the most part, it just seems like a superfluous aerial maneuver.

The graphics in this game are simply amazing, some of the best we’ve seen this year, by far. The terrain, while boring at first, rapidly changes from ocean to island, to desert, enhancing the experience. The planes are easily distinguished from one another and come in a variety of forms. Some of the larger planes are quite intimidating. It’s neat to see what Capcom is trying to do with larger game characters and I look forward to what’s coming next from the company. It felt as if I were playing the game in an arcade again. The only concern I have in the graphics department is when – in later levels, especially – the Super Ace is flying over forested terrain and simultaneously being assaulted by the spiraling green planes. The green-on-green effect makes the enemy difficult to see during these situations.

The major shortcoming in 1942 is the sound. The same variation of a beeping sound – more like an Atari 2600 soundtrack – occurs throughout each level. The only time the player hears anything remotely resembling a tune is when the Super Ace lands on an aircraft carrier at the end of each wave and a brief melody at the title screen. This is especially disappointing considering other games from Capcom, like Ghosts ‘N Goblins, have a great soundtrack. The sound effects are pretty neat, though. I would rather listen to one of my favorite records with the TV turned down while playing, to avoid the random beeping throughout the levels.

1942 offers a single-player and two-player mode. In single-player mode, one person takes on an entire air force all by themselves, while in two-player mode, you and a friend can take turns competing for the high score. The play control is simple enough: “B” fires your weapon and “A” has the Super Ace perform a loop-de-loop. Response is good, but sometimes the player will have to pound the “B” button to shoot fast enough to destroy the enemy. The loop-de-loop doesn’t seem to serve much of a function, except a futile attempt to help avoid enemy fire. The direction pad moves the Super Ace with ease all over the screen.



As part of Captain Commando’s “Challenge Series,” according to the instructions, players can expect a hearty challenge. The game is tough, but offers near-unlimited continues, which will more than likely be needed by all but the best players in order to finish the game.



1942 Review
  • 8/10
    Graphics - 8/10
  • 3/10
    Sound - 3/10
  • 8/10
    Gameplay - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Lasting Appeal - 8/10

Final Thoughts: GOOD

Overall, the game is fun, challenging, with exceptional graphics. Despite the sounds issues, 1942 on the Nintendo Entertainment System is a real winner and should be in any arcade or shooter fan’s collection. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to see if I can’t finish Wave 20…


1942 Instruction Booklet




Computer Entertainer Logo

Taken from the December 1986 issue:



Computer Entertainer awarded 1942 a 3 out 4 for graphics and 3 out of 4 for quality of game play and entertainment value. It received a Recommended rating.

Computer Entertainer Review Guidelines:






♦ = ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMS (1st set of diamonds = quality of graphics; 2nd set = quality of game play and entertainment value)

Any program for a given system is compared only to other programs for the same system. In other words, all C64-compatibles are judged separately from Apple. Some programs, which are virtually identical for multiple systems, will be so noted. When we review software for more than one system, we will note differences and which system we reviewed.


Taken from the December 20, 1986 edition of the Milwaukee Journal:


David Buck

Based in Colorado, David Buck is an author, musician, and media specialist. In his spare time, he composes music, writes science fiction, and builds scale models, mostly starships and movie cars.

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