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Elite Systems Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

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Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

1942 - almost my IQ. Also a machine that inhabited a pub I used to haunt. though it looked fun, I never actually tried it. Now, at last, here's my chance to experience Hell in the Pacific... or rather, in my own front room.

Let's just say that as arcade conversions go, this one doesn't have the most sophisticated plot. It's only about one step up from Space invaders. The enemy has a variety of flight patterns, but in the long run it comes down to one simple philosophy... shoot everything that moves!

With the squabble in the South Seas hotting up, the USAF calls on you to boldly go where no-one else is mug enough, into the heart of the enemy forces to waste their war effort. There you'll find installations that you can instil with the fear of God as you fly over them. They're defended by every type of aircraft under the Rising Sun. Yes, this is really one for the plane spotters among you!

You'd better harbour thoughts of revenge for Pearl Harbour, because these are the oriental airforce's finest officers pledged to die for their country. You'll be flying by the seat of your cami-knickers if you're going to avoid these kamikaze kowboys.

Still, there are always the POWer capsules to help you avoid becoming a POW. You can pinch these projectiles when you shoot up certain planes, and they'll give you extra guns or maybe act as smart bombs, if you're smart enough to grab 'em in time.

What makes your progress across the scrolling seas of South East Asia such fun is just how well balanced 1942's gameplay is. The planes follow each other in wave after wave - honestly, it's worse than a Chelsea hair salon. The constant swooping of the enemy forces you to shoot fast and accurately, or you'll soon find your airspace jam-packed with Japs. There's a nip in the air, as they say. Luckily you can dive and roll, but beware of coming up under a Honda or Sony, or whatever the Japanese flew in WW2.

You'll also soon learn where the next attack is coming from, which lets you build up a strategy. Be prepared for the bigger planes which take more shots to destroy. And flak me, if you don't have to avoid their shells as well. With 32 levels to go, this should keep you in the air for quite a while.

Maybe Elite has produced better conversions, and this suffers from some dodgy collision detection. But even though there are quite a few good shoot 'em ups around nowadays, this rates up there in the air. It's a classic case of the just-one-more-go game.


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The bigger the plane, the more shots it can take before it blows. This one swoops in and glides around, before flying out the bottom of the screen. Prepare to move around and let him have it.

This is a duck shoot. Don't get in their way, and one shot will knock them out. But once you've destroyed enough of them they'll turn round to make way for more ferocious forces.

Here are your lives. A nice touch is their propellors, which revolve.

Move over, John Wayne! Getting to the bottom of the screen is useful in this early stage. Later you'll have to watch out for 'the one that got away' in case he suddenly re-appears in your rear view mirror.

The sharp end of the aircraft carrier. This is where your missions start and finish. Coming back alive rolls up a healthy bonus. Bring your dog back alive and he gets a bonus too.

By this stage they're really out to get you. Watch out for the planes which circle around, or you could find yourself running right into their path.

Boy, is this a big one! Just fire away until you finally cut through his defences, because he takes an age to go away unless you blow him out of the skies.

To add to the fun, you'll find yourself being shot at. The mega-plane has a deadly rear gunner, which makes it very tricky to stay right on his tale.

At times the only way out is to shake, rattle and roll, roll, roll. It means taking your hands off the joystick to hit the keys, but this aerial manoeuvre could get you out of a tricky situation.