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1943 - The Battle of Midway

The cover art for 1943 as it was when ported to the NES.

1943: The Battle of Midway is an arcade game released in 1987 by Capcom as a sequel to the hit flying shooter, 1942. The game follows the same basic plot as the previous title; it is set a year later, still during World War II, where you again play as a P-38, but are required to fly against more planes as well as a series of mother planes that need to be destroyed.

You may be wondering why I'm doing another classic game. Well, there are a few reasons. The foremost is that I wanted something quick to review, as I hate posting reviews after midnight. Another reason is that I want to put up lots of famous classic games to provide a sense of appreciation for gaming roots, which is why I'm putting up things like Donkey Kong Jr. The third and final reason is that I reviewed 1942 a while back, and in the process I saw that this game had an arcade sequel, so I thought it would be fun to see what it would be like on nintendo8 and review it.

I tend to find this game more fun than 1942, not only because of better graphics, but also because while there are more planes (I think...), their patterns are simpler and more predictable earlier on, which makes it a simpler matter to work with the same gameplay.

I also think the power-ups in this game are better, because instead of just getting a few more bolts, your gun turns into a spreadshot (or shotgun if you want to be technical), meaning that you can cover more of the oncoming planes with fire, and you also have a counter of how many upgraded shots you have left. Plus, these upgrades come around more often, which I enjoy because of the fact that it's way too hard trying to take on so many planes with a smaller gun for very long.

A big thing that I find to be cool about this game is the fact that before every game start, you get four points to upgrade the stats of your P-38, to improve offensive capability, defensive (armor) ability, time amount, etc. You have to be strategic with these points to give yourself the best shot at victory over the enemy. Still, the tradeoffs you have to make can get annoying after a while.

There are a couple of negative aspects. The game remains incredibly hard no matter how you look at it, which is something that makes the game as a whole frustrating due to a couple of aspects. The biggest aspect is that in this game, you don't have the luxury of three lives. Although you can upgrade your armor, you have to use points for it, and if you don't, it's game over in one hit. I realize this is an arcade game, but come on! For a sequel, you should have a little bit more bang for your buck than that. It ends up being a waste of quarters after a while if played on the arcade.

The good news, however, is that you don't have to pay to play this game. You can play it free on nintendo8.com or any other emulator site that has it. In fact, you can even download it. This game is not yet available for the Virtual Console, but I assume it will be soon enough, seeing as how 1942 was just recently added. If it comes on, I don't think you should buy it unless you get a knack for it first. So, my advice would be to play it online and see what you think.

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