Naxat Soft / Capcom
1991I psyched myself up for 1943 more than I should have. The screens I'd seen were nice, and the reviews I'd read were enthusiastic, but I probably should've known better than to get all pumped up for a vert that hails from the Sky Shark era. I ended up extremely disappointed with the repetitive gameplay, lackluster soundtrack, lame enemies, and dull scenery. A trip back to the shooter stone ages wasn't what I'd had in mind, but that's what I got, with little pink planes to evade, bland warships to annihilate, and boring seas to soar over.
To be fair, while it's quite terrible at first, the game does get better... eventually. After I'd played through countless primitive lookalike levels, a brief "cinematic" sequence relayed the fact that my plane was being reoutfitted.
Once combat resumed, I was greeted with snare-drum battering and dealt a heck of a lot more bullets to dodge and large craft to obliterate. The action picks up significantly, the visuals make quite a leap, and the repetition is alleviated somewhat once you reach Kai's "new" stages (levels that aren't in the original arcade game). Trains and neat little gunboats break up stretches of jets-and-ships tedium. Scenery thankfully strays from dull waters, consisting at times of caverns and lava flows.
Sadly, the journey tends to drag even after you've reached the "good stuff." Weariness felt during the later stages certainly is attributable in part to the doldrums levels that must be endured early on. But while the new-board projectile counts run high, the challenges still fail to indicate that any actual thought was put into them. Ingenuity is absent in the enemy designs and level constructions. There's a lot of dodging to do with nothing present that's really worth remembering.