by MJM, Mark Tait
Crash Issue 57, Oct 1988   page(s) 87

Chocs Away!

Producer: Capcom
Out of Pocket: £8.99 cass, £12.99 disk

Time moves more slowly in software-space - it's almost two years after 1942, yet we've only just reached 1943. The former game (Issue 33, 63%) appeared on the Elite label, Capcom, producers of Bionic Commando and Street Fighter, now bring you the sequel as unsurprising as its title.

The war in the Pacific Ocean is really hotting up, a message comes through that the Japanese battle fleet, including the Battleship Yamoto is in the vicinity of the Midway Islands. The order is given: destroy the Yamoto at all costs.

So a lone P38 fighter is prepared, now all it needs is a pilot. As you were Top Gun at the academy, and read all of those Biggles books in your youth, you volunteer.

You can't blame the Japs (who haven't got into arcade games yet) if they want to stop you from sinking their lovely new battleship, and so you're not startled when they throw every weapon at their command at your airplane.

The P38 is armed with standard machine guns, but by destroying certain of the enemy planes that attack you in droves, icons are revealed. Shoot the icons to select one of the six super weapons with which you can kick some yellow backside, or the POW icon which increases your energy levels. Such luxuries the guys would have loved, back in '43!

Run over the chosen icon to access it, but beware, although bullets for the standard weapon are unlimited, a super weapon only lasts for a short while. You only have one life, represented by the energy bar in the status panel. As the variety of enemy fighters, bombers and ships try to zap you, the energy level drops. Collecting POW icons replenishes it, but trying not to get hit by too much flak in the first place is probably the best way to keep energy intact, because if the level drops to zero, it's a long swim back to shore.

Once all the defences have either been dodged or blown to dross, Yamoto can be faced, and I warn you, it's one tough tomato.

I am not impressed with 1943's graphics. The sprites are nicely drawn and indeed animated, but the choice of the blue monochromatic colour scheme makes the whole presentation look bland. The sea looks more like a snow field than the middle of the steamy Pacific Ocean.

The game's content held my attention little better. I've never been very fond of these 'Biggles'-ish games, and sadly 1943 has not changed my feelings ... dakka, dakka, whee, boom, splash, over and over again.

MARK [51%]

Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
Graphics: monochromatic planes on a dazzling background
Sound: what there is isn't very impressive
Options: definable keys

Oh no, it's 1942 all over again! if there was ever a game which required the brainpower of a peanut to play, this is it. There's just nothing to it - all you do is blast the enemy planes to smithereens. OK, so you can collect extra firepower, but this only serves to fill the screen with a hail of bullets.

You can even collect two planes to fly by your side, making you virtually invincible as you can fill up about half the width of the screen with bullets. The only real hindrance to progress is the off-putting, dazzling white and blue background. When flying over an area of blue, it's almost impossible to see enemy bullets. 1943 is just not up to scratch - there are so many better shoot-'em-ups around.
PHIL [47%]

If you ought that bad, you haven't played the year that comes next. The planes are detailed and so are the backgrounds they fly over - great, you can't see what's going on half the time in the colour-clashless blue! And the sound is just a blip when you fire.

Decreasing power as a game element is all very well, but as this can always be topped up, it's almost impossible to die unless you are completely hopeless at shoot-'em-ups. I wasn't very pleased with this coming from Capcom, after all, they did the great Bionic Commandos didn't they?
NICK [41%]

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Presentation: 49%
Graphics: 55%
Playability: 45%
Addictive Qualities: 41%
Overall: 46%

Summary: General Rating: A poor sequel to the equally dull 1942.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 34, Oct 1988   page(s) 84

£8.99 cass/£12.99 disk
Reviewer: Ciaran Brennan

'Son of a gun!' Problem? Yeah, Mac, I'll say we've gotta problem? I need a pilot, Purple Heart and all that - yeah another Tom Cruise you might say ('cept he ain't born yet) - to go on a suicidal solo mission over Jap-land (ptui!) and guess what? Captain Scarletjaw has gone to London to get in the way of commuters, talk loudly and take pictures of the GPO tower - that means we ain't got nobody with an ego big enough to go. Hey, your head's a little on the swollen size, d'ya fancy biting the dust - as a hero mind - over the south Pacific in your lil' ol' Mustang? Yo Mac! You've gone blue as blueb'ry moonshine. That's a pretty good goddamn idea, now the slants won't be able to see ya up in the sky. Good initiative, Mac, damn good initiative.

And that's the story: a mad suididal mission across crazy enemy terrain, resisting attack from psycho pilots - a bit nutty really. Yes, it's another monochrome vertically scrolling shoot 'em up - not in space or in the orbit of the mechanical planet 'Sheapdro Ping' this time, but above the clouds in down town 'I'm gonna' wash that man right outa ma hair' land.

The landscape oozes downwards (it's slow y'see) while you, a spanking double-engined bomber plane, cut a swathe through attacking waves of enemy fighters and resist attacks from yellow aircraft carriers. At the end of each section there's a massive bomber to blam out of the sky, and then, when you reach the end of the level, there's a mega-big bomber to blow up which is so huge it can hardly move. To help you in your awesome task are the occasional extra-weapon icons (surprise, surprise) obtained by shooting the occasional enemy fighter. These add-ons can be anything from extra-energy to double firepower or spraying bullets. Good eh?

Well, yes and no. The graphics are good, clear crisp military fighter-plane graphics, and the big-bomber is very realistic and vivid. The scenic 'over cloud' view graphics are a bit bland and the steady blue/white monochrome doesn't help. The fighters move in straightforward patterns, simple and easy to anticipate. The only one that gave me real hassle was the figure-of-eight path.

But where the game really falls down is on gameplay. Not because the responses are sluggish, or the enemy too fast, but because the game is soooooo easy. I didn't even break out in a sweat or swear once as I annihilated the enemy. Either this game is a cinch or I'm an expert gamesplayer with split-second reflexes and psychic anticipation. Make your own decision. And remember... never give a Kit Kat an even break.

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 6/10
Value For Money: 6/10
Addictiveness: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Summary: A novel approach to a shoot 'em up. Good graphics but far, far, far too easy...

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 53, May 1990   page(s) 43


Another delve into the recesses of Speccy softstuff with Dr Marcus "stand very still and try not to scream" Berkmann.

Reviewer: Marcus Berkmann

"A novel approach to a shoot-'em-up," we said last time round. (At least I assume we did - that's what it claims on the cassette inlay.) Personally I've not seen this before - I've heard of it on reputation - and in fact I was a little disappointed. Taking the vertically-scrolling shooter format, Capcom adapted it to a World War II scenario, and the Battle Of Midway in particular. Not heard of the Battle Of Midway? Tut tut. Charlton Heston was in it, as any fule kno. In this version there aren't any ships as such, just loadsa planes, one of which is yours and the rest Japanese. Unfortunately they're not of a kamikaze inclination, and are just as keen as you to stay alive, but unlike you they have only one life (you seem to have loads), which is rather tough luck on them. This interesting new angle aside, though, what we have here is very much a standard shoot-'em-up. Knock down the waves, collect extra weapons, then, after you've disposed of all the little nasties, a great mothership turns up and fires billions of bullets at you. Sounds familiar? It's only the plot for every shooter in the past four years, that's all, and 1943 (not forgetting the ™ - this year's got a copyright on it, folks) differs from it not a jot. Fab, therefore, if you've always wanted to play a space zapper in World War II clothing, but rather dull if you were looking for, say, a new idea. Nicely programmed, but in this case that's not enough.

Overall: 67%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 79, Oct 1988   page(s) 30,31

Label: Capcom
Author: In-house
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Yes I know I know. Flying Shark. I know. Well shut up because it's not exactly the same. It has to be said, though, you'd be mad to buy them both.

You'll never guess what year it is. Yup. That's right. And you're in charge of a US bomber on your mission to destroy the Japanese cruiser Yamoto, shooting down all of its support vessels and planes along the way.

As you can see, it's a top-bottom scroller without a great deal of colour. The scrolling is by no means the fastest I've ever seen but at least the enemy planes move at a reasonable pace.

The most interesting aspect of 1943 (and the only difference between it and the previous game - 1942) is the 2 player option which means that you can team up with an ally in the fight against Tojo and fly side by side against the enemy.

This feature works better in 1943 than in many other games. Since it is possible to find yourself flying around with your engines on fire and completely out of ammo, it's damned handy to be able to rely on a mate to help you out of a tricky enemy-approaching scenario.

The bad guys come at you in ridiculously tight formations - completely unrealistic bearing in mind the capabilities of the planes - and bomb and shoot for all they're worth. So you break out your ultra-astonishing 30 mm cannon and wipe those suckers out! You can disperse whole waves with a frantic burst on the fire button. Your main worries come while trying to take out the battleships which lurk in the water (Really - GT). They're armed to the teeth with guns and cannon and will make a very nasty mess out of your plane if you stray into their line of fire. As a result, you end up darting in and out, slinging shells in their direction. It gets pretty blummin' exciting actually.

Should you be fortunate enough to clear a whole wave of fighters, an icon will appear. By collecting it you can add some useful artillery. Spray bullets are the best; as they simply fire in a whole bunch of directions which depletes the necessity for dodging left and right all the time.

1943 is definitely nothing revolutionary. Indeed, it must be one of the few games around this month using only two colours (still) but it's quite fast and pretty difficult and the two player option is fun. If you've got access to two joysticks you can have a great blast flying both planes at the same time, swooping over each other and winning the war all over again.

Graphics: 67%
Sound: 55%
Playability: 70%
Lastability: 60%
Overall: 68%

Summary: Slightly outdated but nonetheless worthwhile WWII blast.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Issue 14, Nov 1988   page(s) 49

Go! Fly a kite.

P38s did sterling service for the American forces during WWII, and now's your chance to pilot one and take on the might of the Japanese navy and air force in the battle for Midway.

Not surprisingly, this game's the sequel to that other highly successful coin-op 1942. As such it's - not surprisingly - very similar to the earlier game. You've got to pilot your plane through four increasingly difficult stages of vertically scrolling shoot-em-up action. The enemy spend most of the time attacking you in aeroplanes, but the occasional battleship makes an appearance and will use it's gun turrets to try and blast you out of the sky.

Again, not surprisingly, the game offers you some extra weapons - six - to pick up. Simply destroy certain waves of aeroplanes and the last one leaves a "POW" symbol behind. Fly, over the symbol and your "hit meter" is replenished a little (taking hits from the enemy during the game don't kill you outright, it simply reduces a meter at the side of the screen. When the meter runs out, it's game over). You can shoot the symbol to cycle through the extra weapons and pick up which ever one takes your fancy. The extra weapons include three-way shots and extra-large bullets, both of which make your life a little easier. After a few goes though, you'll soon discover that staying alive's not too difficult if you keep your meter topped up. In two-player mode you'll probably see everything the game has to offer during the first sitting. This means you'll soon get bored of playing the thing and will be looking for a new challenge.

Reviewer: Andy Smith

Spec, £8.99cs, £12.99dk, Out Now
Ams, £9.99cs, £14.99dk, Imminent
C64/128, £9.99cs, £14.99dk, Imminent
Atari ST, £19.99dk, Imminent
Amiga, Price undecided, Imminent

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 65/100
1 hour: 80/100
1 day: 50/100
1 week: 20/100
1 month: 5/100
1 year: 5/100

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Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 4/10
IQ Factor: 1/10
Fun Factor: 6/10
Ace Rating: 428/1000

Summary: Fun while it lasts, but it doesn't last long.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 84, Oct 1988   page(s) 53

MACHINES: Spectrum 48/128/+3, Amstrad CPC, C64/128, Atari ST, Amiga
SUPPLIER: US Gold/Capcom
PRICE: Spectrum 48/128 £8.99 cass +3 £12.99 disk, C64/128 £9.99 cass £14.99 disk, Amstrad CPC £9.99 cass £14.99 disk, Atari ST £19.99, Amiga £24.99
VERSION TESTED: Spectrum48/128

Anybody who's been a computer gamer for any reasonable length of time will remember that 1942, Capcom's original (and ageing) coin-op was licenced and converted by Elite quite a while back. 1943 was released by Capcom fairly recently and was snapped up by US Gold as part of their mass-licencing deal with Capcom.

1943 is basically very much in the same mould of its predecessor so much so that its almost exactly the same game, albeit with several improvements and gameplay tweaks. The game is set in World War II and recreates the famous Battle of Midway. Taking control of a fighter bomber, the player's mission is to fly deep into enemy territory and wreak havoc.

Scenario aside, 1943 is a vertically scrolling shoot 'em-up with some novel twists, the most notable of these being the simultaneous two-player option that allows you to team up with a mate and cause twice as much damage.

Planes fly down the screen and are easily disposed of by letting rip with a quick volley of machine gun fire. Slightly more difficult to hit are the formation planes that spiral around the screen. Shooting an entire wave of these leaves behind a POW symbol which can be collected to upgrade the plane's weapons. Fortunately, unlike it's predecessor, 1943 works on a system whereby crashing into an enemy plane or getting hit by a bullet won't kill you. Instead you're given just one life that is represented as an energy bar which is depleted every time you take a hit; when the energy hits zero, the game is over.

At the end of each level you must attack a fleet of heavily-armed warships by blowing away the symbols on the decks of each. Managing to do this completes the level, boosts your score and energy and sends you onto the next level. Later levels see the unwelcome arrival of huge megabomber planes that take up almost the entire screen, spewing out bullets with gay abandon and requires continuous machine gun fire to shoot it down in flames (a very satisfying experience).

1943 is very good game indeed, but doesn't offer enough improvements over the original. Graphically everything is fine, although things can get a bit confusing at times. Sound is adequate and there's certainly enough gameplay to keep you going, although it is a mite easy due to the new 'energy bar' system. The two-player option is well executed, but even so the game overall is a bit dated. One for the younger garners perhaps?

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Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 5/10
Value: 6/10
Playability: 7/10
Overall: 6/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 12, Nov 1988   page(s) 40

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £8.99, Diskette: £12.99
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99


The follow up to Elite's 1942 arrives via Capcom's coin-op conversion label. In it, a long P-38 Lightning pilot is sent to battle the overwhelming odds of the entire Japanese air and sea forces, and ultimately the mighty Yamato battleship herself.

Taking off from the American carrier, it's into the air to face squadron upon squadron of enemy aircraft looping, rolling and weaving around the sky. Destroying a special formation of enemy planes reveals one of six weapons to collect, among them heavy duty bombs, three-way firing guns, rapid-fire cannons and wingtip which mimic the P-38's actions. Collected weapons have an infinite supply of ammunition but are immediately lost if the plane takes a hit.

With masses of flak and bullets flying about the main concern is to stay alive. Fortunately the fighter can take several hits before going down in flames. Any damage taken can be negated by collecting a POW icon. A limited number of smart bombs are available and if it gets too crowded the plane can perform rolls to dodge the flak.

As well as the fighters buzzing around, large bombers fly up from below to attack the P-38, requiring several bullets before they explode. Making it through the aerial attacks takes the player onto the second half where the primary target awaits, alternating between warships and a massive bomber. Failing to destroy a sufficient percentage of the enemy means its back round to try again. Succeed and it's onto the next level and eventually the Yamato herself.

The dual-player option and the different weapons to collect provide variety in the gameplay but the program suffers from repetitiveness and ease of play. The unchanging nature of the game means it's a case of too little, too late.

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Overall: 47%

Summary: Although there is a good deal of on-screen detail, the bland playing area only reinforces the overall dullness of the game. All too often bullets and planes merge with the background, proving impossible to make out text.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 55, Jul 1990   page(s) 33,34,35,36,37


Where'd we all be without shoot-'em-ups, eh, Spec-chums? Well, we'd all have much smaller games collections, that's for sure! Join MATT BIELBY for an epic blast through nearly a decade of firepowered Spec-fun...

Blimey! The complete guide to shoot-'em-ups, eh? A bit of a mammoth task you might be thinking (and you'd be blooming right! It's taken me absolutely ages!). It's so blinking gigantic in fact that we've had to split it in two to save the whole ish from being packed to the gills with ancient shooty-shooty games and very little else!

So how's it all going to work? Well, this issue we spotlight those hundreds of games where you control a little spaceship, aeroplane or what have you, while next time round we'll be wibbling on for ages about those blasters where you command a man, creature or robot - things like Operation Wolf, Gryzor, Robocop (the list is endless, I'm sorry to say). Yes, I know it's a bit of an arbitrary way to divide the whole subject up in two, but it's the best I could come up.

Anyway, if you 're all ready, let's arm the missiles, oil the cannons, buckle our seatbelts and go kick some alien ass! (Or something.)


Well, at the risk of stating the obvious, it's a game where simple reaction times count for (almost) everything, and the actual shooting of various baddies constitutes the major part of the gameplay. It's just about the oldest form of computer game going (Space Invaders was pure shoot-'em-up, for instance), short of mad Victorian chappies crouching down inside big wooden cabinets and pretending to be chess machines. It's one of the most enduring forms too - hardly an issue of YS goes by when we don't review at least a couple of newies, and it's the rare arcade-style game (sports sims and puzzlers excepted) that doesn't include at least a small shoot-'em-up element in there somewhere as part of the gameplay.

But back to the case in hand. What we're talking about here are the pure shoot-'em-ups - games where the wiping out of waves of aliens or other baddies is everything (though let's be fair, the violence in most of these is very abstract and minimal). They easily divide into four major types, depending on how you view the action. And you can read all about them over the page.


Goodness knows - Space Invaders is the obvious answer, but most of the other early arcade games were shoot-'em-ups too - Defender, Asteroids, Galaxian and the rest. To find out what made it onto the Speccy first, well, we'll have to look back in the vaults and see what we come up with, shan't we?

Right, here we are with the very first issue of Your Spectrum (later to evolve into Your Sinclair), cover date January 1984. Flick to the review section and we have two Space invaders-type games, both from long-forgotten Anirog Software - Galactic Abductor and Missile Defence. The second issue (Feb 84. believe it or not) brings us such delights as Xark (Contrast Software), a Defender-type game and Alien Swoop (a Galaxians rip-off), while in issue three had Bug Byte's Cavern Fighter (a tunnel-based jobbie, like an early version of R-Type).

Hmm. Let's go back a bit further, shall we? All the early computer games mags were listings based (ie had lots of crap Basic games printed out line by line over oodles of pages, as if Program Pitstop had run rampant over the whole mag!) so we might find something in there. Believe it or not find something in there. Believe it or not, I have the very first issue of the very first computer games mag in the country sitting right here on my desk, cover-dated November 1981. There's only one Sinclair game in here (for a ZX80 or 81 - a Speccy forerunner - and taking up a whole 2K!). It's called City Bomb, and it's a sort of shoot-'em-up. Apparently you're in a plane at the top of the screen and have to bomb the city beneath you, flattening out a landing strip so you can put down safely. Thrilling stuff, eh? As for commercially available stuff, it's all lost a bit too far back in the mists of time to be sure. Still, shoot-'em-ups started emerging for the Speccy pretty soon after the machine came out, certainly by the end of '82. Throughout 83 people like Quicksilva and Bug Byte were churning out Space Invaders, Asteroids and Scramble clones advertised as 'being in 100% machine code and in colour' too, so perhaps it was one of those. Exciting stuff, eh?


In the great YS Guide To... tradition, for a one-off-only special occasion we've adapted our normal rating system to accommodate the shoot-'em-up theme. Here's how they work...

Alien-Death-Scum-From-Hell Factor
Are there oodles of inventive, nasty and extremely difficult-to-kill baddies all over the place (including the biggest, meanest muthas ever at the end of each level) or do you end up fighting a fleet of Trebor Mints?

Are there oodles and oodles of well-thought-out and spectacular weapons available to pick up and use, or do you have to make do with the same crap little peashooter throughout the game?

Copycat Factor
Unusually, the lower the score the better here. Basically, is this exactly the same as every other shoot-'em-up ever (in which case it'll get a high score for being chronically unoriginal) or does it have something innovative and special about it to set it apart from the crowd?

Visibility Factor
Does everything make a degree of sense in Speccyvision, or is it all a jumbled mass of pixels, with bullets, missiles and even little spaceships winking in and out of view willy-nilly?


A good example of the World War II aeroplanes school of vertical (and occasionally horizontal) scrollers, of which there are oodles. 1943 features lots of little fighter planes, the occasional giant bomber and the odd power-up. Sadly its pale, bland graphics, easy attack patterns and a general slowness make it a less than spectacular experience. Still, it is out on budget so you won't be blowing too much dosh.

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Transcript by Chris Bourne

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