Joint Strike works. The gameplay hasn’t changed since 1984 and this is a good thing, if you’re making a 1942 game. This is a classic vertical shooter, waves of planes swirl and spin from all areas of the screen, red planes offer powerups, bombs and health; standard planes offer points, lots of points. Combos are awarded for continuously shooting waves of the little fellas and add to your Strike weapon – a rocket barrage that can be powered up to eight shots. So, the more you shoot the more Strikes you can launch and the better you do. It’s a nice addition that keeps you pumping bullets and makes progress a skilful journey.
Just like the old games, the action will vary between attacking ground targets and surviving aerial attacks. Bosses are big challenges that fill the screen and offer some tactical thought. Like the old classics, you’ll want to survive long enough to reach the next giant tank, airship or installation. Develop some interesting attack patterns, challenging enemies and a fun weapons system, then throw it all at one little plane trying to survive amid a screen-full of dangerous dots. It’s a fun and engaging game.
Where Joint Strike does slip-up is in its ambition and attention to detail. The power-up and Strike system could have been taken a step further, the bosses have some serious flaws – sit over a central turret of the ground vehicles and blast away unharmed as their attacks all spray out from the center. There is a sense of deja vu about the whole thing, but hey, this is a retro game. 1942: Joint Strike is a fun rehash of an old formula that isn’t a perfect example of the genre, but won’t offend. There’s some skill to completing it and unlike Commando 3, a real challenge in racking up a hi-score thanks to a decent points combo system. Our childhood memories are bruised, but intact.
Jul 29, 2008