Out of Pocket: £8.99 cass, £12.99 disk
Time moves more slowly in software-space - it's almost two years after 1942, yet we've only just reached 1943. The former game (Issue 33, 63%) appeared on the Elite label, Capcom, producers of Bionic Commando and Street Fighter, now bring you the sequel as unsurprising as its title.
The war in the Pacific Ocean is really hotting up, a message comes through that the Japanese battle fleet, including the Battleship Yamoto is in the vicinity of the Midway Islands. The order is given: destroy the Yamoto at all costs.
So a lone P38 fighter is prepared, now all it needs is a pilot. As you were Top Gun at the academy, and read all of those Biggles books in your youth, you volunteer.
You can't blame the Japs (who haven't got into arcade games yet) if they want to stop you from sinking their lovely new battleship, and so you're not startled when they throw every weapon at their command at your airplane.
The P38 is armed with standard machine guns, but by destroying certain of the enemy planes that attack you in droves, icons are revealed. Shoot the icons to select one of the six super weapons with which you can kick some yellow backside, or the POW icon which increases your energy levels. Such luxuries the guys would have loved, back in '43!
Run over the chosen icon to access it, but beware, although bullets for the standard weapon are unlimited, a super weapon only lasts for a short while. You only have one life, represented by the energy bar in the status panel. As the variety of enemy fighters, bombers and ships try to zap you, the energy level drops. Collecting POW icons replenishes it, but trying not to get hit by too much flak in the first place is probably the best way to keep energy intact, because if the level drops to zero, it's a long swim back to shore.
Once all the defences have either been dodged or blown to dross, Yamoto can be faced, and I warn you, it's one tough tomato.
I am not impressed with 1943's graphics. The sprites are nicely drawn and indeed animated, but the choice of the blue monochromatic colour scheme makes the whole presentation look bland. The sea looks more like a snow field than the middle of the steamy Pacific Ocean.
The game's content held my attention little better. I've never been very fond of these 'Biggles'-ish games, and sadly 1943 has not changed my feelings ... dakka, dakka, whee, boom, splash, over and over again.
Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
Graphics: monochromatic planes on a dazzling background
Sound: what there is isn't very impressive
Options: definable keys
Oh no, it's 1942 all over again! if there was ever a game which required the brainpower of a peanut to play, this is it. There's just nothing to it - all you do is blast the enemy planes to smithereens. OK, so you can collect extra firepower, but this only serves to fill the screen with a hail of bullets.
You can even collect two planes to fly by your side, making you virtually invincible as you can fill up about half the width of the screen with bullets. The only real hindrance to progress is the off-putting, dazzling white and blue background. When flying over an area of blue, it's almost impossible to see enemy bullets. 1943 is just not up to scratch - there are so many better shoot-'em-ups around.
If you ought that bad, you haven't played the year that comes next. The planes are detailed and so are the backgrounds they fly over - great, you can't see what's going on half the time in the colour-clashless blue! And the sound is just a blip when you fire.
Decreasing power as a game element is all very well, but as this can always be topped up, it's almost impossible to die unless you are completely hopeless at shoot-'em-ups. I wasn't very pleased with this coming from Capcom, after all, they did the great Bionic Commandos didn't they?
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