Taking a break from the usual futuristic settings, 1943 is a war-time shoot 'em up converted from the arcade. Choosing to dump the one-hit-kill of many games of this genre, 1943 gives you an energy bar that depletes as you take damage - and the swarms of planes mean that you will need all you can get. Find yourself in a sticky situation? Just hit the button for a quick barrel-roll to take you out of harm's way. The weapon system is fairly unusual for a shoot 'em up of this type - instead of frequently powering up your weapon systems, you collect different weapons that have a countdown timer. The timer can be topped up by collecting the weapon again, but if it runs out you are back to your conventional guns. Occasionally you also get the aid of wingmen who sit along side you until they are destroyed.
The PC Engine version has two modes - Arcade and Original, which switch over half way through the game. The Original levels bring in more powerful weapons, more varied levels, better music and a whole load more enemies to wipe out.
1943 starts out as a fair shooter. The arcade levels are fun, if a little simple, and the music is nice enough. But this completely changes when you hit the Original mode. This is just plain awesome. The music is suddenly fantastic, with my favourite sampled drums of any Engine game, and the graphics are turned up a notch too. At times there are so many sprites on screen that you can barely keep track of things, and while this does make the game a little more luck than skill in many places, it's still a whopping big bag of shooting fun. It may have aged compared to later titles, but it remains one of the most frantic and sonically pleasing shooters on the system. Buy it.
Max credits: Play music tracks 3, 4, 3, 8, 0, 1, 4, 1, 14, 14
Original Mode select: Play music tracks 7, 7, 7, 7, 9, 3, 10
HP Max: Play music tracks 3, 7, 3, 5, 1, 8, 2, 1, 9, 8, 4
Super fast: Play music tracks 7, 5, 8, 4, 1, 10, 5, 1, 10, 8, 5, 1, 8
Normal Speed: Play music tracks 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
Choose weapon with SELECT button: Pause game then press UP, II, LEFT, II, UP, I, RIGHT, I
Freeze weapon timer: Pause game then press RIGHT, LEFT, II, I, UP, DOWN, I, II, UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN
Infinite Mega-Crash (Smart-bomb): Pause game then press RIGHT, I, II, LEFT, I, II, UP, I, II, DOWN, I, II, SELECT, UP, DOWN
Infinite rolls: Pause game then press UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN, RIGHT, RIGHT, LEFT, LEFT, II
Invincible side fighters: Pause game then press UP, RIGHT, DOWN, LEFT, DOWN, RIGHT, UP, LEFT, I, I, II, II, SELECT