1942

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The 1942 series is a series of arcade vertical-scrolling Shoot Em Ups developed by Capcom, set mainly in World War II. The player is an American "Super Ace" in a P-38 Lightning who spends a surprising amount of time kicking the spit out of the Japanese Navy for a series made in Japan.

  • 1942 (Arcade, 1984)
  • 1943: The Battle of Midway (Arcade, 1987)
    • 1943 Kai (Arcade, 1988)
    • 1944: The Battle of Midway (Famicom, 1988) - a limited released version of 1943 that featured an extra weapon[1] for the P-38 and nothing else
  • 1941: Counter Attack (Arcade, 1990)
  • 19XX: The War Against Destiny (Arcade, 1996)
  • 1944: The Loop Master (Arcade, 2000)
  • 1942 Joint Strike (Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network, 2009)

Do not confuse with Battlefield 1942, which is a whole different ballgame, 1941 or Strikers 1945 (despite that also being a shmup series).

Tropes used in 1942 include:
  • Anachronism Stew: The series has weapons that should not have existed in WWII, such as a space shuttle-like rocket boss and Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: In 1943, the Ayako bombers can only be damaged in the wings. They are defeated once all their engines go down.
  • Battleship Raid: A lot of the series' bosses are battleships.
  • Bladder of Steel: 1942 has 32 stages, 1943 has 16 stages, and 1944 has 15 stages. If you plan on one-crediting any of these in the arcade, make sure you use the bathroom in advance.
  • Boss Subtitles: In 1943, each stage is preceded by a message saying "Offensive target: [Boss name]. May you fight bravely!"
  • Critical Annoyance: In 1943 and 1941, an alarm goes off whenever your health runs low. The NES port of 1943 is worse: it replaces the current BGM with a Jaws-like tune when your health falls below 20.
  • Everything's Better with Cows: In 1943, there are hidden cow icons that, upon collection, refill your Life Meter.
  • Exty Years From Now: 19XX.
  • Instant Win Condition: In 1942, upon completing a stage, all on-screen enemies will explode.
  • Kaizo Trap: In 1943, most ship bosses will explode into shrapnel when defeated. Better avoid it, especially if you manage to beat the final boss and forget all about the shrapnel...
  • Life Meter: Varies. In 1943, you get a Life Meter that drains over time (though you can't die of time drain). 1941 offers Hit Points that you lose one of with each hit. 1944's and Joint Strike's are more similar-looking to 1943's, without the time drain.
  • Mid Game Upgrade: Partway through 1944, your Attack Drones, which up to this point have been WWII-era planes, are upgraded to little jet fighters with Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Nintendo Hard: Except for 19XX and 1944, which is noticeably easier in an era where Bullet Hell shooters start to trending in arcades.
  • No Swastikas: 1941 pits you against the Germans, yet not a single swastika is in sight.
  • Nuke'Em: In 19XX's final stage, the Recurring Boss fires off a pair of nuclear missiles aimed at your hometown in Tokyo. Even if you time him out in the final battle, you'll always destroy the nukes in time in the ending cutscene.
  • One-Man Army: Whatever incarnation of the game, it's you in your one fighter plane against the entire Japanese (or whatever) fleet.
  • Recurring Boss: In 1941, Leviathan, the Stage 1 boss, makes an upgraded reappearance in Stage 5. In 19XX, there's the black fighter that destroys the g you as a Final Boss.
  • Retraux: Joint Strike's graphics are made to resemble a film from the early 20th century.
  • RPG Elements: The NES port of 1943 allows you to upgrade your ship's stats by touching certain hidden icons.
  • Sequel Escalation: Inverted and played straight at the same time; up to 19XX, each game has less levels (1942's 32 stages -> 1943's 16 stages -> 1941's 6 stages), but each newer game has stages that are more varied and have more complex gameplay than "fight waves of enemies in the sky until you reach the next end-of-stage carrier."
  • Shown Their Work: The Japanese versions of 1943 featured accurately modeled (as accurate as a Famicom could, anyway) versions of actual WWII IJN capital ships. A diligent player could recognize many Japanese battleships and carriers including the Ise, Nagato, Yamato (post refit), Akagi, Hiryu and several others.
  • Smart Bomb: 1943 and 1941 have special attacks that damage everything on-screen at the expense of health. 19XX and 1944 instead give you bomb items, with the former allowing you to charge up a bomb attack that deals more damage than simply tapping the bomb button.
  • Spent Shells Shower: The fifth boss of 19XX uses this with a twist after he fires out his machinegun... He fires out the shells forward towards you, making you have to avoid (or just shoot) them!
  • Video Game Lives: 1942, 19XX and Joint Strike.
  • Wave Motion Gun: 19XX has both the fifth boss and the final form of the Final Boss use this on you. Especially dangerous is the final boss' one, as his spins and sucks the player towards it!
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: In 1943, you are congratulated for winning the war after defeating the first 16 or so stages. And then you find out that all those bosses were a diversion from the real army.
  1. A powerful laser shot represented by a "cat" sprite, of all things.