1942: Joint Strike (XBLA)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Graphics: 9.00
Sound: 6.50
Gameplay: 9.00
Replays: 9.00
Gamelength: 5.00

At last, Capcom’s re-do of the old shoot’em up title, “1942: Joint Strike” has hit Xbox Live Arcade.

You know, there was a time when arcades were the only place to check out the majority of the hottest shoot’em ups. All of that has changed with Xbox Live Arcade because, as the name of the platform states, developers are bringing us that arcade-like feel and experience straight to our homes through the use of the Xbox 360 console. That may be old news, but the simple fact is this: Arcades are dying in the USA and as sad as that may be, it’s games like “1942: Joint Strike” that make us forget about that for a moment. Choose your ship, start it up and fly straight into the fray of endless enemy ammunition by my side as we fight for our lives in “1942: Joint Strike”.

Wow. Just…Wow. This game is absolutely gorgeous. If it weren’t so short with such limited content, I’d assume this were a retail DVD title. The textures, water, explosions and virtually every other detail on-screen is next generation at it’s finest. For a shoot’em up, I don’t think there’s ever been a more beautiful title. The only nuisance is a moderate amount of slowdown at several points in the game, but the FPS drop doesn’t even really impact gameplay. Unless you’re the kind of person who sits there waiting for a framerate drop just so you can scream about how bad the game looks, there’s no reason to complain. In short, I’m very impressed.

Generic. That’s the first word that comes to mind when I hear the explosions, music and sounds of ammunition in “1942: Joint Strike”. The actual quality of the sound effects and music is up to all next-gen standards, but there’s nothing here that we haven’t heard before. I wouldn’t say that this is a completely bad thing, though, as the game does remain true to the original in that aspect, just with a major overhaul of quality.

Okay, so for those of you who haven’t played a shoot’em up, here’s the lowdown. In this particular game, you pick 1 of 3 combat planes, then you’re sent off to the first mission. During the missions, the screen automatically scrolls and enemy vehicles automatically fly or roll onto screen, depending on if it’s an aerial or ground vehicle. Your goal is simple: destroy everything in sight, including the massive bosses and live to tell the tale. You have 3 types of weapons, 2 temporary super weapons, bombs, joint strikes and the ability to bring a friend along in either local or Xbox Live co-op play. Collect power-ups, destroy things and try not to get hit. That’s the goal. Fans of the original game should be pretty happy with this remake because for the most part, the game is a lot like the original material. Most of the enemies and bosses are spot-on and the levels, while different to some degree, are pretty damn similar. The same can be said of the weapons and power-ups, which are all in-tact, from your favorite classic bombs to the destructive straight laser beam. This game is highly nostalgic and anyone who gets sucked in will find plenty of ways to enjoy the game. There are 4 difficulty settings and 3 different ships to choose, so you can effectively play the game through to completion 12 somewhat unique times. The hardest difficulty will take a whole lot of practice, so look out, hardcore gamers! It’s also worth noting that the Xbox Live co-op is very smooth and has nearly no lag or framerate issues. This game is simply awesome. I’m in love.

Overall, there is no other way around it: Capcom did a truly wonderful job with this remake. It’s hard to find a remake of this quality that still retains the nostalgic feel of the original title and I’m proud to say that “1942: Joint Strike” is a great replacement for the original game for both younger and older gamers. Thank you for remaking one of the most nostalgic shoot’em ups ever, Capcom!

Pros:
-Gorgeous visuals.
-Nostalgic, but fitting sound.
-Lag free Xbox Live co-op.
-All of the original power-ups are here for your enjoyment.
-New difficulty levels for both novice and veteran gamers.
-Simple, yet effective interface.
-Boss fights are always very fun and feel as big as they look.

Cons:
-Still a very short game.
-Aside from the hardest difficulty, the game seems pretty easy if you try.

Bottom Line:
Anyone who has an interest in shoot’em ups will definitely want to buy this title. In fact, most people in general will probably get some enjoyment out of this title for a while. If you’re not sure, try the demo. In this case, the demo is a perfect representation of what this game offers.

Overall Rating: 8.00

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