I was very much relieved when I learned there was going to be a Commodore 64 version of an arcade game I rather liked. After playing the downright dreadful 1943: One Year After, I was also rather hyped. This was the game that was going to make things right again.
And, indeed, 1943: The Battle of Midway didn't suffer from 1943: One Year After's problems. No, it had its own set of problems to contend with.
For one thing, the game is a whole lot easier than One Year After. While the plane of The Battle of Midway is about as slow as the one in One Year After, this becomes less of a problem, because: 1. Your fighter has an energy bar. And: 2. Enemy planes don't move nearly as swiftly as the ones in One Year After, nor do they fire constantly. But more importantly: 3. You get powerups that do things. Already we are heads and shoulders above One Year After, right?
Yeah, mostly. I said that The Battle of Midway had its own set of problems, right?
Well, one of its problems -- and you might find me a little strange for saying this, but -- the game has no multiload. Does it need one? Maybe not -- after all, Bubble Bobble made it just fine without one -- but I'm still thinking the game could've benefitted a little from using more of the Commodore's memory to expand on the stages and given the planes more details. The game does look better than One Year After, but that's like comparing turds; only for the especially interested.
Furthermore, the stages are so short. As slow as they're moving, they're also over before you know it. It's all the more egregious when it means you'll be losing whichever powerups you just collected, only to have to suffer through a rather obnoxious short tune while your plane flies up, followed by typewriter-like noise while the game tells you to "commence attack" or whatever. Sure, the arcade version had short stages too, but not as mercilessly brief as this.
All this means that 1943: The Battle of Midway is never really frustrating, but it's not particularly rewarding either. I imagine gaming pros will have no problems completing this game on their first try, especially if they play the game with a friend. I do applaud Tiertex for including the co-op mode, but in this case, it only means that facepalms will be made in stereo every time the game interrupts your fun with another mission briefing.
|GRAPHICS - 4/10|
|The game looks a bit blocky, and could've done with more variations of backgrounds than "seas". The halfassedly made clouds and land areas do make up for that a little, but the reigning star of this game is nevertheless the boats and the gigantic planes you face from time to time.|
|SOUND - 3/10|
|The sound effects aren't quite as tinny as with 1943: One Year After, but there's still not a whole lot of it. To make matters slightly worse, there's also no ingame music. Just that short piece that plays each time you complete a stage, and it will eventually get on your nerves.|
|PLAYABILITY - 4/10|
|The game isn't completely awful, but it shares none of the arcade version's ease of controllability or levels of fun. It's like they included all the elements of the arcade game, but ignored playtesting it to adjust it to an approximate of everything the arcade game was. And that includes making the game an actual challenge.|
|OVERALL - 3/10|
|I wouldn't say this game was made with the same kind of scorn that gave birth to the abomination that was 1943: One Year After, but there's so much more that could have been done with this game to make it a better experience for everyone involved. It's a shame, really.|