1942: Joint Strike Review | Is it worth playing now?

This is the classic 1942: Joint Strike review for an upward-moving shoot ’em up the game, first made by Capcom for arcade games back in 1984. It has gone through many updates and has appeared on early home consoles like the Amstrad and the Commodore 64.

Set in the Pacific during World War II, it was interesting because, although developed by a Japanese company, the goal was to get to Tokyo and take out the entire Japanese air fleet.

The latest version of this arcade classic is called 1942: Joint Strike, now available for download as part of the Xbox Live Arcade remakes. And in this article we’re doing an in-depth 1942: Joint Strike Review.

The main idea of the game is pretty much the same, featuring an overhead view of your airplane and hordes of enemies bringing a storm of bullets to your screen. But, the game has been updated a bit in terms of the story – now it uses the popular “alternative universe” setting. However, the key difference lies in the visuals.

Visuals in Joint Strike

joint strike review

As with many Xbox Live Arcade remakes, the graphics have received a big upgrade and now appear in shiny HD quality.

Die-hard fans of the old arcade games might start to question how modern wide-screen TVs could accommodate the upward-scrolling shooter. Surprisingly though, you barely notice the altered screen orientation. The game’s levels and enemy movements have been changed to make great use of the extra space on the sides.

In fact, the wider setup even works well in Joint Strike’s two-player cooperative gameplay (for two players either sitting next to each other or connected via Xbox Live) as the broader play area allows one player to take each side.

Players can pick from three different fighter planes (“The Lightning”, “The Mosquito”, and “The Shinden”), each one with its own special abilities and attacks. For instance, the Mosquito plane has less strong armor but is very fast and easy to control.

Joint Strike Review – Planes

The planes vary in terms of their health, speed, strength, and weapons, making it simple to find the best plane to match your play style. Joint Strike prompts you to play the game with all three planes, but in my opinion, the Mosquito appeared to be the most effective.

Besides the standard, upgradeable weapons in the game, there’s also the powerful Joint Strike attack, after which the game is named. This attack pairs two planes to form a super-weapon that can wipe out lots of enemies at once. The visual effects are impressive, thanks to the detailed graphics, including one version that creates a twisted lightning bolt between two players that destroys anything it touches.

Unlike the original game, players no longer die with a single hit. Now, you have a health bar that lets you endure some damage before losing a life.

But the ability to do a loop-the-loop is still there. This special move lets the player dodge enemy bullets by doing a quick flip with your plane. All of this means that the game will feel familiar to fans of the original. Each level consists of wave after wave of enemies, ending with a big boss fight. However, Joint Strike includes slight twists in the gameplay that involve elements of chase sequences and trying to pick up objects while avoiding enemy bullets. In total, there are five levels in the game, each with its own environment that will have you flying over erupting volcanoes or a war-torn London.

Joint Strike Review – Visuals

The game’s backgrounds are stunning, but few will even see them due to the massive amount of bullets, missiles, and destruction happening in the foreground.

Although the gameplay is limited and only lasts about 30 minutes per playthrough (per plane), 1942: Joint Strike is still a fulfilling gaming experience. The ongoing upgrades throughout the levels keep you engaged and the game features a wide array of weapons and tough enemies. Die-hard fans of the game are likely to try all four difficulty levels (this game is difficult even at the medium level) and across all three planes for leaderboard bragging rights. Other more casual gamers should enjoy this as a nostalgic piece – a simple shooter with upgraded visuals.

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