War continues to be hell in Capcom’s 1943: The Battle of Midway.
GENRE: Slightly historical shoot-em-up
RELEASE DATE: October 1988
Truthfully, I wish my grandpa – a WWII vet who conquered 1942 – would have been able to tackle 1943. Its no-nonsense approach would have impressed him. One life with continues, your health is constantly depleting, and best of all, the planes actually have strategic tactics instead of simply whirlybird-ing all around you like in ‘42. The smaller insect-like planes are the greatest nuisance, with their kamikaze maneuvers and bird-like patterns, but let’s not discount the big boys, oh no! They can switch between “three-dimensional” planes (avoiding your fire while doing so) and heat-seeking missiles are a double-dose of obnoxiousness. Oh, and if you fail to destroy the last boss before the screen scrolls completely up, you have to try the level over again. This is war. 1942 was a schoolyard scrap compared to this apocalyptic year-after.
Does anyone else find it odd that Capcom, a Japanese company, would produce a series of shooters called 19XX, where you play as a top American pilot going up against the Japanese? Perhaps there’s some sort of self-loathing in the subtext of these games. Perhaps they’re the ultimate revenge for WWII: a series of shooters designed for Americans that are so ridiculously hard, only crazy war psychos will be able to beat them. The rest of us will just get frustrated and put up our white flag in defeat, while Capcom laughs all the way to the bank.