1942: Joint Strike Review
UPDATE (3/22/10) VFH Classic is dead:
I have always been a fan of the 1942 series. So needless to say I was pretty excited when I heard about Joint Strike. A friend of mine and I played through the entirety of the arcade version of one of the games, and I just completely fell in love with it. So how does a “next gen” 1942 hold up? Well... read on!
As far as I can tell, the game really doesn't have a story. You vs. them. This is the way it should be with this type of game in my opinion, maximum gameplay, minimal story. So 1942 does this right for a classic arcade shmup style game.
The gameplay here is classic Shmup goodness. There are 3 planes with varying stats, and separate obtainable weapons with various upgradeable levels of power and each with unique abilities. Such as the ability to shoot through a enemy, or shoot in 3 separate directions. For me this is one of the most entertaining parts of the game. Trying to get your weapon to full power before you die and lose it.
Which brings me to my next point. You have a health bar. Yes, in a shmup, a health bar! At first I was completely set back by this. I'm a fan of the one hit kill style of most games of this genre, but for this game, I have to say that it retains some challenge even with this system, so its no real setback. Even if you are looking for a challenge, there's four difficulty settings that can be chosen from to suit your skill.
There are special co-op abilities that change things up a little, but for the most part the gameplay area plays it safely, not mixing things up too much. Depending one who you are this is a good or bad thing. But to sum up the gameplay, it's just classic fun. Nothing amazing and innovative like Ikaruga, but fun none the less. The online co-op worked fine from my experiences, even although I had to create my own matches to find a partner, it still was generally quick and painless.
The effects and general graphical presentation worked very well for the game. The water effects were very nice, the plane models were easy to see, and for the most part the enemy bullets where recognizable, which is about all you can ask from a shmup. To be able to recognize yourself, and the enemies bullets. Both of those things are taken care of in 1942:JS.
On top of that, the game goes for a 1940's style with the menus, and certain cutscenes even have a old film filter on them. This is quite nice and if nothing else gives you some amusement while traversing the menus or waiting for the action.
The music in JS helps set the mood a little bit, but most of the time you'll be too into the game to really notice that too much. The gunshots don't get too annoying and the explosion sounds are very... explosion like. Nothing spectacular in this area, but for a shmup the music was pretty decent, so I'll give that a nod.
Conclusion: Try It First
While overall, the game is very fun, I'd recommend you give the trial a download before purchasing this game. Their isn't too much for innovation here, but if you enjoy the core gameplay and feel of the game then buying it will give you quite a few hours of very enjoyable gameplay. Just be warned, this is a very short game and can be beat in a hour or so, with only 5 levels. But this is the type of game that you may come back to, to get better and better at until you have mastered. So if that sounds like fun to you, go for it, but if you're not big on high scores and shmups, stay away from this one.