Commodore User

1943: The Battle Of Midway

Author: Bohdan Buciak
Publisher: Capcom
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #61

1943: The Battle Of Midway

1943: The Battle Of Midway is Capcom's sequel to the successful 1942 coin-op, which also appeared on the C64 many moons ago. The bright idea behind the new version is to retain the familiar format but to make a few enhancements. In short (and why be charitable), they're squeezing more juice out of an old lemon Not that 1942 was a lemon, the analogy just seemed to fit.

The new version retains a great deal of the 1942 formula. You get the same downward scrolling seascape, with you in charge of the now-familiar twin-propellered sea-plane. It even performs the obligatory loop-the-loop immediately after taking off from the aircraft carrier. Like the original, there's not much in the way of strategy. You simply try and blast everything that comes down the screen at you.

But the similarities end there. The new version sets out to be more of a prolonged blast. In 1942 you could lose all three lives within minutes and get sent back to the very beginning - which is slightly more annoying than missing Brookside.

1943: One Year After

1943 still gives you three lives but they don't seem to disappear as quickly. Each life is dependent on a damage meter at the bottom left of the screen. When enemy planes bump into you (some of them don't even fire) the meter goes down a little. At rock bottom, you lose a life. Some planes, though, do fire and will lose you a life immediately. The damage meter can be made to go up again by collecting the occasional POW symbol that floats down the screen.

Changes have been made on each level too. Now you have two phases per level to contend with. Firstly, you must destroy the attack waves of enemy planes before going on to the second phase which involves inflicting damage on enemy shipping as well as their protecting waves of planes.

If you don't manage to knock out all the gun turrets on the enemy vessels, a "mission unsuccessful" message appears on-screen and you go back to the beginning of that level - thankfully not to the beginning of the game. As you progress up the levels, there are more enemy vessels to blast before your mission has succeeded.

1943: One Year After

Anyway, back to those POW symbols. In 1942, you could zap them by mistake. Not in this version. POW symbols change into one of four other symbols when hit. Collect one of these and you enhance your firepower in one of four different ways. Shooting at the symbol changes into another one. So you can choose the weaponry you'll get simply by firing until you get the right symbol.

This is tactically important because you'll need the right kind of weaponry for different situations and for blasting different planes and vessels. Oh, and by the way, there's a welcome two-player option thrown in as well.

1943 is less of a manic blast than its predecessor in the early levels and accomplished zappers might get bored wading through the simple stuff before the real skill begins. Apart from that, 1943 is well up to standard, although I can't help feeling this kind of game is well past it. So if you've never done that loop-the-loop, this game's worth a try, but try to stifle those yawns if you have.

Bohdan Buciak

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