Retro: VC Weekly #155

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe's guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo's download service. Written by Sam C Gittins.

If you like Capcom titles then you're in luck again this week as two more titles have become available. Anyway enough from me and on with the games!

Available for download this week we have...

  • 1942
  • Black Tiger

Points: 800
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Released: 1984
System: Arcade

Quite simply 1942 is a quintessential classic scrolling shooter that was particularly popular during its decade of release in the arcades, the machine would swallow many a coin thanks to a simple yet addictive formula. However many years have passed since then so does this title still have what it takes to remain enjoyable? Read on to find out.

Starting off on a ship you take off in your plane as you attempt to gun down waves of enemy pilots with your basic double-fire shot, as you progress you will gain points bonuses for destroying whole waves plus even the odd upgrade which seem sparse but are still well worthwhile picking up. The first upgrade gives you a wider quadruple shot which makes targeting planes easier while the second main upgrade grants you two wingmen who will fly directly beside you in smaller planes adding two extra bullet streams to your already capable arsenal.

Controlling your plane(s) is reasonably straightforward as the d-pad is satisfyingly responsive while the only other thing you have to worry about is keeping your trigger-finger poised. You'll know when you come to the end of a stage as you'll fly over a ship as your scores are tallied, your plane does a loop and you carry on; things gradually get more challenging as the waves become bolder with enemy aircraft becoming more cunning in their attempted gunning down of your plane.

Everything looks pretty solid with some reasonable animation but the backdrops only really come into their own after you've cleared a few stages, the sound is solid and definitely adds to the experience but definitely seems somewhat dated decades on. It's not the hardest shooter you'll play but the difficulty level is still challenging at times and will keep you coming back for a good while.

While there are better shooters available even within its very own series there's no denying that 1942 is still a solidly enjoyable title within its own right and while it may seem a little simple to some it shouldn't be passed up if you've never played it before. For anyone else who has played it before though you may wish to wait for the inevitable sequels which seem to have faired better over the years.

Verdict : Still a solid shooter some decades on.

Points: 800
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Released: 1987
System: Arcade

While many gamers will no doubt be more then familiar with Ghosts 'n Goblins you'd perhaps be forgiven for not hearing of Black Tiger even though it's essentially the spiritual successor to the aforementioned classic. It's essentially a very similar game with a few new bells and whistles added on for good measure and was very much a testing ground for a sequel to Ghosts 'n Goblins that would come mere years later.

You take control of our titular hero who is by profession a Barbarian who has been tasked with saving his kingdom from being overrun by a plague of monsters oh and there's also the small matter of defeating a dark dragon in order to save the princess and restore peace to the land because let's face it these are staple elements that a clichéd plot cannot exist without.

As you make your way through the epic eight stages that the game contains you'll notice how similar things are to GnG slaying seemingly endless spawning waves of enemies and defeating a behemoth-sized boss at the end. However where the platform element was quite muted before, here it takes a more prominent place and adds a less predictable pace to the proceedings which is good as the constant running, jumping, climbing and swinging adds depth to the experience even if the controls can be slightly frustrating at times.

There are plenty of items to acquire which is good because you're going to need them as everything from armour upgrades to potions play a vital role in your survival due to everything being hell-bent on killing you; there are also several stone statues of wise old men scattered throughout the levels and rescuing them is important because they will aid you in your perilous quest. From a visual standpoint everything looks pretty decent but there isn't a huge amount of variation between levels bar a few colour changes, unfortunately the music is nothing more than complementary and could have done with some magic that's sadly lacking here.

How good this game is will depend largely on how skilled you are at it because there are many instances where you will most likely die repeatedly and have to continue which basically means you need to play the game until you memorise the level layouts before you start to get any real enjoyment from it. So if that sounds like your kind of game then you'll most likely enjoy it but if you're the kind of gamer that likes to play, complete and be done with a game very quickly then this quite simply isn't for you.

Verdict : A fun but frustratingly flawed alternative to a better game.

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

Sam Gittins
[email protected]

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