1942: Joint Strike Review

Firing up 1942: Joint Strike conjures up fond memories of virtual journeys through the Pacific Theater, when Capcom’s original arcade version (and subsequent ports) of 1942 gave us an early dose of classic top-down vertical shooting action. With Joint Strike, that core experience has been carefully maintained, but expanded upon and brought up to speed for the XBLA and PSN generation.

This sixth entry into the 19__ series focuses on multiplayer action, where the titular joint strike attacks let two players work together to vanquish foes quickly and efficiently. Any of the three joint strikes allows players to deal critical damage to whatever lies between them, making communication between wingmen a key ingredient for success.

Other than this unique tag team mechanic, Joint Strike remains standard, yet enjoyable, shooting fare. Players choose one of three planes to pilot up against the game’s five stages. In each of these missions, hordes of land, sea, and air units attack from just about every direction in a variety of formations. A massive boss craft awaits at the end of each level for players to pick apart piece by piece while avoiding a healthy arsenal of machine guns, cannons, missiles, flamethrowers, etc. Through all of this, Backbone has managed to keep each level feeling fresh without also feeling artificial.

The good guys have a number of weapons at their disposal, as well. Each plane begins the game with what can best be described as a pea shooter, but can later pick up machine gun, spread shot, and laser power-ups, each of which has two levels of destructive power. The time-tested screen-clearing bombs that gamers have grown to love are also available in limited quantities.

Players must make good use of these tools of the trade, because on any of the game’s four difficulty levels, there are exactly zero continues. Each difficulty level grants a different number of initial lives (more are earned by racking up points), but no coin insertion will keep the game going once those run out. Game over means it’s back to stage one, which is so unforgivingly retro it hurts…especially on Wing King difficulty.

1942: Joint Strike is a sweet, albeit short gaming experience for fans of classic top-down shooters. Those who have friends to play with will obviously have the most fun with the game, but even solo pilots will find plenty to enjoy here.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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