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1942: Joint Stike is a downloadable game that is currently available for the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live, and for the PlayStation 3 via the PlayStation Store. It was released in July 2008, for a very reasonable price of just $9.99. Fans of the original NES title, 1942, will enjoy seeing the game remade with modern graphics and sound, and it’s just as hard as it ever was.
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The premise of this game is that you fly a World War II era plane through various unrealistic combat scenarios and blow up pretty much everything that comes up on screen. The whole thing is presented in a top-down view, just like the original game. You can also pick up weapon upgrades that will change your weapon fire to spread guns, lasers, and more. The weapons in this reminded me a lot of the classic NES game called Contra. At the end of each level you will have to fight a boss of some kind, and those boss battles are extremely difficult.
This is a very busy game in that your screen will always be full of enemy tanks and planes, and they are constantly shooting back at you. Much like the original, there is sort of a formula to the way the enemy planes move. Unless you have Spiderman-like reflexes, your best bet is to play through the levels a few times until you know what to expect. When it comes to the boss battles, there is generally one main strategy for how to defeat them, and this usually involves exploiting a weakness of some kind. You also need to figure out the rhythm of their weapons in order to dodge bullets.
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I was pretty impressed by the graphics in this game. It is all done in HD format and the environments are very colorful, plus there’s a lot of great explosions and smoke. You will encounter a wide variety of enemy planes and other vehicles in the game, and many of them look unique. The game also uses 3D backgrounds to make some very cool landscapes while you fly over and blow stuff up. I was also glad by how smoothly the game ran, no matter how much was moving around the screen.
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The sound is pretty good in this game, though it mostly amounts to the same repetitive gunfire and explosion effects over and over again. Some warning sounds to play a part in the gameplay, but for the most part you could probably just play this game with the sound off and not miss a thing. During the menu sequences, a transitional animation feature silhouetted planes flying overhead is accompanied by a very loud engine sound. It’s way too loud for the rest of the game, and kind of annoying. It also freaks out my dog.
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I think the best way to play this game is in cooperative mode, because you end up facing the same amount of enemies either way. In fact, it’s a lot easier to play cooperatively, plus it is a lot of fun. If you have two controllers, you can play with another person at your home, or you can go online and find someone to play. If you have trouble finding an open slot in a game online, just create your own game and you’ll probably get someone. Since its release, this has been one of the more popular downloadable games on the PS3 Network, so there are always people all over the world wanting to play.
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1942: Joint Strike is a throwback to the games of yesteryear, and this type of simple gameplay is just as much fun now as it was two decades ago when I was playing it on my Nintendo. It offers a lot of fun and value for being less than ten bucks.