It's a little bit strange looking back at the long list of "194x" series of games, both official and not, and try to imagine how a game built around the same concept can cover such a wide range of qualities. 1942, the arcade game, is a pretty good game. Flawed, yes, but generally entertaining. 1943, the arcade game, is, perhaps, a more lighthearted approach to the genre, throwing in coop modes and powerups aplenty.
And then there is this... this.... game! I can only wonder how many -- and hope there weren't a whole lot of them -- who bought this game expecting the arcade version, only to end up feeling betrayed in the worst ways. Because what you get with 1943: One Year After is a cheap cash-in. A ripoff. An insult to good games everywhere. And I was one of the people who liked the Commodore version of 1942. It wasn't fantastic, and it was certainly teeth-gnashingly frustrating at times, but at least it wasn't THIS!
As you may have noticed in the screenshots, the playing area of 1943: The Year After takes up about half the screen. I generally don't have any beef with that sort of thing; many, if not all, of the arcade shooters in the 194x series were vertical monitor shooters. The info bar on the left, detailing your fighter's progress, is actually a rather nice touch too. Sure, it's a long blue bar with large green dots on it, and it doesn't really represent the backgrounds of the game, but credit where credit is due; it was a good idea.
Sadly, that idea is spent on an ass of a game. Your plane controls rather slowly, which comes across as somewhat unfair, seeing as enemy planes are nimble and quite generous with their gunfire, represented by small, black pixels that will kill you and kill you often. To make matters worse, it won't take you long to wish for nothing but open seas for backgrounds, because any patches of land you encounter makes enemy bullets that much harder to see.
I also have to wonder about the role of the POW icon. Shoot the white plane, and it drops one. Unfortunately, due to the relentless nature of the game, you'll more often than not end up shooting it, which... kills all onscreen enemies. Which is kind of useless when you realize no enemies spend more than maybe three or four seconds onscreen. Can it be picked up, though? I have no idea: as mentioned, the game is so frequently relentless that the thought of stopping the gunfire for a second and diving straight into a flurry of planes doesn't seem like much of a plan of action.
Of course, Tiertex would later go on and make the version most people probably wanted in the first place... only to disappoint them as well, but even the Commodore 64 version of 1943: The Battle of Midway plays better than this piece of shit!
Downloads: Music, Advert
|GRAPHICS - 3/10|
|The plane looks somewhat nice when it loops, which is the only nice thing that can be said about this game. The background graphics are dull, the regular enemy planes are all as black as the bullets they shoot, and the bullets are hard to see.|
|SOUND - 2/10|
|The monotonous stutter of your plane's pea shooter is only drowned out by an equally monotonous piece of melody as dreary and drab as the game itself.|
|PLAYABILITY - 2/10|
|The only thing worse than playing a game that's slow and cumbersome is playing a game where ONLY YOUR CHARACTER is slow and cumbersome. The damning thing is; you keep wondering what's going to happen once you reach the end of that status bar, but there's no way you're going to suffer through it just to find out.|
|OVERALL - 2/10|
|They say the first casualty of war is innocence. Well, the day I played 1943: One Year After is the day my innocence died with a blood-curdling scream.|