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  • Game Review: 1942: Joint Strike (XBLA / PSN)

    1942: Joint Strike
    Publisher: Capcom
    Developer: Backbone Entertainment
    Genre: Flight Shooter
    Players: 1-2
    Price: $10
    Platforms: XBLA (Version reviewed), PSN

    Namco's recreation of the classic 1942 is less then perfect.

    No one will argue that top down shooters are one of the greatest classic game types ever made. Still no one will argue that they can be fun to play. Take Ikaruga for example; its a top down shooter and uses a classic formula like all the rest. But tweaks and extra stuff make the game much more enjoyable, though its still tough like many 1942-esqe shooters. Nanostray is another example of how the classic can still be good today. 1942, the cult classic that inspired all of this, had you back in WWII fighting off Japanese bombers, and it was a great arcade game back when it first debuted, and an even better Co-op game. So here we are today with Capcom's remake of the classic dubbed as 1942: Joint Strike. As far as classic remakes go this is pretty well done. But Capcom might well have made it a little too faithful to its roots. Read on...

    When you start up the game you'll see what may be the most annoying part of the game. The menu screen. Don't get me wrong, the menu screen is fantastic; the effects and old style mission cards are great. However, every move you make in the menu is marked by the absolutely annoying roar of airplanes flying in from the side of the menu, which at first is kinda neat, but after the twenty-seventh time, I've more then heard it enough. And here is the next problem; if you don't have anyone to play local co-op with you like I didn't, then you will miss the best part of the game. After uncountable attempts to find someone over XBL to play, I couldn't even finish the game because the connection timed itself out and made both of us log off. Since that one time I've never been able to find another gamer to play the game out co-op with, and even though I got enough in to write the co-op section of the review, no one is gonna buy this for single player. No one with sense, anyway.

    The graphics had a major overhaul, and they are pretty nice.

    Co-op is what this game is made for. Hence the name "JOINT" strike. (Which I never actually could do, btw....) As far as co-op goes this game is fairly impressive. 3 ships and 3 special Joint possible attacks add a bit more game time after you've played through the 20 minute campaign mode with a friend. Taking down bosses together is always fun, and if both you and your friend get the dual lasers power-up then you can basically keep a constant blue streak going across every part of the screen, eradicating most enemies before you even see them. No special modes, but 5 difficulty levels and some "decent" achievements. As for the difficulty levels...without a buddy, you almost can't beat campaign mode, period. No continues whatsoever, and you can't save the game at any point. This game can be even more frustrating then Ikaruga, believe it or not. And when you can't beat the game when you don't have a companion, and trying to find a fellow gamer on Xbox LIVE is like trying to find one on Space Giraffe, the games "game" falls flat. Co-op is the saving grace, but thats only even "good". The gameplay itself isn't broken, but this game has just enough problems to ensure that it breaks most of the fun the gameplay can offer.

    The graphics aren't really too bad for a remake of an old sprite based game. 3D models for most enemies and environments, and they don't look very bad either. A good color pallete of pastels gives the game a lighter feeling, as opposed to a dark and serious feeling. I unfortunately can't rant on and on about the animations and character models as I would like to since there really aren't any. This is planes we're talking about after all. Screen tearing does occur, and it is a bit noticeable since there is usually not too much variety in the things going on on screen at any one time. The one time I was able to play online the framerate was pretty messy at some points, specifically during the 1st and 4th levels. The weapon effects are bright and neat though, but when you drop a bomb the explosion sometimes clips through the level. Overall though, the revamped graphics aren't too shabby. The old style DANGER screen is pretty cool too. Really though, this a top down shooter. How much more is there to say?

    On 2 stars or higher, you will never make it here on singleplayer.

    Wow...this is one of my shortest reviews I think I've made in a long time. But really theres not much to say about this game. Except maybe that for the value this game really isn't worth it. $5 maybe, but $10 is just cruel. If you've got a friend whos willing to purge the money with you, it may be worth it, but otherwise its just another shooter, and one thats almost impossible by yourself.

    Story: N/A
    Its not gonna be added to the score because its not supposed to be about the story.
    Graphics: 3.5/5
    The graphics had a huge overhaul from the arcade days of 1942, and it really does work. Minor issues are still present though.
    Sound: 3/5
    The menu airplanes drove me nuts, and all around the music is bland and the sound effects are decent.
    Gameplay: 3/5
    The game is all about co-op, and quite frankly it does it well. However, single-player is boring and unfair, and there isn't a single soul to play against on XBL.
    Replayability: 2.5/5
    If it wasn't for being able to go through it many times with a friend the score would be much, much lower. Campaign is only about 20-30 minutes long.
    Value: 2.5/5
    $5 and we'll talk, but for $10 this game will rip you off. Ikaruga is a much better choice at the same price.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Game Review: 1942: Joint Strike (XBLA / PSN) started by Shadowblind View original post
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