Also available for Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amiga, PC-Engine, Saturn, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, Xbox One, and arcade
I had trouble sleeping last night (mix of too much caffeine too late and some hamburger I *probably* should have cooked or thrown out a few days ago), so I was up in the early hours of the morning playing 1943 just kind of for the lulz, and I managed to get to the "false ending" after level 17 before I died. That made me think "You know, I can beat this. If I keep at it (and use my NES advantage for the turbo fire and a more arcade feel), I can totally beat this."
Here's the NES version I played this morning
Thus began my 5+ hours of (nearly) uninterrupted gameplay. Now I'm a HUGE fan of the arcade original, especially 1943 Kai. Every time I see it in a multicade in a bar or restaurant, I spend at least a couple dollars playing it, and I frequently play 10 or 20 minutes of my NES copy here and there, so I'm no stranger to 1943, and it always felt like one of the easier vertical shooters on the NES to me (though that may be due to my relative familiarity with it). Inevitably, though, I always make a careless mistake and bite it. Finally, however, through perseverance, dumb luck, and turbo fire, I managed to conquer one of my favorite shumps this morning.
This isn't about my conquest, however; I want this to be a glowing recommendation for those of you (if there are any) who haven't played 1943. It's not an obscure title by any means, and Capcom isn't exactly a small-time developer, but it's a damn good shooter worth playing. It's also fitting since the day I played this and am writing this review is the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day invasion (wrong side of the world and wrong enemy empire, but hey, at least it's the same war, right?).
Obviously, being an arcade port from the late 80s, the arcade version is far superior in every way, but what makes the NES version stand out is just what a faithful and competent port it is. It doesn't suffer from the weaker hardware; Capcom did an excellent job of making it work on the NES. The controls are extremely tight and responsive, the game looks great, and it sounds fantastic. The only complaint I have is that there tends to be some pretty big slow down in the boss battles against battleships when there's a LOT going on at one time on the screen, but if you've played older shmups you probably know that slow down can be as much a boon as a bane.
You start the game with a standard two shot weapon which (unless you're a cheeky dick waffle who uses turbo fire) needs to be repeatedly fired. You can upgrade that to a number of other weapons, my favorite being the shotgun (which is REALLY useful for defense since it can destroy enemy bullets), the four way shot, the rocket launcher (not sure if that's what it really is, but it shoots giant bullets that tear through enemies, so that's what I'm calling it), and my favorite - the cat laser. It's two huge laser beams that go through enemies and damage everything its path, and the pick up sprite is - for some reason - a cat.
There's not a whole lot else to say about it. Each level is divided into three stages - fighting planes in the air, fighting planes and ships near the water, and the boss phase. The game has 24 levels - each one taking approximately 5 or 10 minutes, I'd guess, to finish if you don't die - but you get a "false" ending after level 17 where it says something to the effect of "Yay, you destroyed the enemy! The war is over! Oh shit, nevermind, here's their real fleet." The seven more levels. Great game. Go play it.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm Mr. Deck
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach history at a high school in central North Carolina; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.