1942: First Strike Review

Imagine how different history would be if the Axis powers had developed auto-fire technology before the Allies. If 1942′s version of World War II is factually based, and we have no reason to doubt that it is, it’s a good thing our side was spewing bullets non-stop while the Germans fired carefully chosen but strangely slow-moving projectiles.

At least, we think we’re fighting Germans. 1942 is intentionally vague in everything from its graphics to its level descriptions. Who can forget the historic battle of “Ocean Environment”, or the tragic bombing of “City Environment?” 1942, for a game based on an arcade classic and Xbox Live Arcade remake, is strangely lacking any personality.

Stay frosty, team.

There are glimpses of character, though: You can choose one of three different planes, switch between missile and bomb special attacks, and each level is introduced by about two seconds of CG animation. Most of the time, though, it’s a tedious experience as you demolish the enemy’s planes while taking very little returning fire.

Shooters like Espgaluda II and Assault Squadron make you work for your victories, but in 1942, they’re handed to you with a shrug. Towards the end of the game we had completely maxed out our weapons, special weapons, and lives, and losing never seemed like a remote possibility. Not every shooter has to take you to “bullet hell”, but 1942 is completely devoid of challenge or variation.

1942: First Strike is a nice-looking game, with art assets pulled from the Xbox Live Arcade version, and it runs smoothly as well. But the game design seems to be pulled from an era of mobile games when challenge and excitement couldn’t exist due to hardware limitations. It’s just not fun to sit back and watch this game mostly play itself. We’ve come to expect a lot more from iPhone games, and we think Capcom can do better.

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