Released in by Capcom in 2000 , this is the 5th in the 194X series of shooters and…look, you know the drill by now. World War II. Pacific Theatre. Fly a P-38. Collect Stuff and shoot the japanese out of the sky without a care in the world (and thus making an empty place at the dinner table this Christmas despite the Japanese not being a Christian country and not celebrating it anyway). And as I’m becoming a bit sick of this series by now and I’ve got another two to play after this so lets crack on shall we…
The current MAME world record is 2,880,520 and was set by Robert Flynn. When I stated above that this installment was released by Capcom I wasn’t telling fibs however unlike the rest of the series this was developed with the help of a 3rd party, namely Eighting/Raizing. This is apparent from the get go. Gone is the traditional long screen shmup. This time we’re going widescreen. The jury’s still out on this decision. You have less time to see your enemies and a wider area to do it in. It doesn’t detract too much but hey if it’s not broken don’t fix it eh. When starting you’re informed of the 15 remaining levels and then it’s business as usual. Shoot wave after wave of planes. Collect the power ups. Kill the end of level boss. It’s nice to see the energy bar remain rather than a one shot kill and to be honest you’d struggle to survive without this. When faced with enemies the size of the boss at the end of level 2 boss (pictured) you need all the energy you can get. One new addition is the charge. Hold fire to charge guns. When they become fully charged, release fire and your plane rises up, becomes invincible for a short period of time and fires powerful shots at all below. Useless things then overheat however so you can’t use them again but it’s better than nothing I guess.
First go and I surpass the 1,000,000 level. So the high score might not be too far off.
1,123,740 – 12th in the World. A few more goes and I’m making it through to level 3 every time. What this game is is far from generous with the power bar increases. The first one you come across is in the third level and you don’t get your power bar generously replenished at the end of each level either. Getting past level 2 boss unscathed is essential. Without that your chances of progressing well into level 3 are close to zero.
1,524,770 – 8th in the World and I’m beginning to think no one can possibly go through all 15 levels on one life. As expected, a quick check of Robert Flynn’s screenshot over at Twin Galaxies shows that he only managed to make it through to stage 6.
2,217,540 – 4th in the World and I make it through to level 5 for the first time. With no energy to speak of though which means I last all of a few seconds into the level. If I have any criticism of this installment it’s that the levels are too short. They must only be a couple of minutes long each and there are no hidden powers up in the Capcom tradition. Capcom should have had it in the contract for Eighting to do the decent thing. Twunts.
OK. After a few more goes I take my last point back… If you use your charge and take out select ground based enemies, you are rewarded not with the standard gold items but with a strawberry per 1943. This gives you two gold as opposed to one and what does gold mean? Prizes !! Well more wingmen. I guess it’s kind of like a prize… Use the charge on other particular enemies too and you’re rewarded with power ups, energy refills and in one case with one million points. All traditional Capcom items too. Weird Pine Cone thing. Mosquito. I should have never have doubted the…erm…twunts.
2,666,900 – 2nd. The humongous end of level 5 boss is an absolute bastard. Nothing more to be said really. If I get past that then the record is mine but my patience is wearing very thin… I’d like to play something other than a shoot-em-up now…
3,261,520 – 1st. RECORD BREAKER !!! And not before time as I’m suffering from a serious case of sh’mup arm. Dead arm, cramped elbow, twitchy fingers. It’s almost as if I’ve partaken in a masturbation-athon. (I imagine… ) Anyway, finally defeating the level 5 boss, “Intercontinental Bomber ‘Kyuoh'”, pushed me past the 3,000,000 mark and into 1st position. In all honesty though, had I defeated ‘Kyuoh’ with a smidgen of panache and finesse I’d have made it further into the following level and perhaps beyond. So with that in mind, this score is easily beatable given a bit of effort and I take my hat off to anyone who can make it through all 15 stages on one credit. That will take some doing.
Next up; 1945k III