Game 3: 1942 (Capcom, 1984)

Playing rules: Difficulty: Normal. Start: 3 Lives. Bonus: 1 life at 20,000, 80,000 and every 80,000 points. Single-player scores only
Dip switch bank A: 1-4=OFF; 5=ON; 6-8=OFF.
Dip switch bank B: 1-8=OFF

Current Record holders:
1st: 13,363,960 - Martin Bedard - 2006
25th: 132,990 - Robert T.Mruczek - 2005

Now we’re talking. This is one of my old childhood favorites. I remember it being planted, on it’s own, in the local mini-cab office. You’ve seen the old American sitcom show, “Taxi” right? Remember the taxi firm there? It looked absolutely nothing like that. Think more smokey old broom cupboard with a glass hatch in the wall. There you go. Anyway, I used to pop into that mini-cab office pretty much every day, on route home from the arcade – and it was ALWAYS busy. I actually remember, clear as day, the excitement when one of the seasoned players managed to get to a level where there was a plane that filled the WHOLE of the screen – literally. I’ve never seen that level since, maybe in the pursuit of the record I will, who knows? What I do know, is that if I do, it wont be in a room full of half a dozen fat, sweary, sweaty cab drivers. (my limit is 4 while I’m playing, not a single more)

Anyway, I digress – let’s look at the records. As you will see in the coming posts, there’s occasionally some really interesting info to be found when looking at the scores, and 1942 is one such list. The top score of 13 million (!) was made at the end of last year at FUNSPOT in the US, which is where most records are made these days. However, the second place score (12 million) had been holding fast since 1985, over 20 years ago – the charming part is, that score was made in Bridlington, UK – a small northern Yorkshire seaside town. Bless!

Bridlington, yesterday. (I’ve been to Brid actually, it was ace).

Anyway, back to the matter at hand! the top score is absolutely massive and no mistake – 13 million is immense – I have a very good idea that I will get nowhere even near that, but I reckon the 132 thousand score is within reach certainly.

So what’s the game about? 1942 is one of the very early vertical scrolling shooters, and even today I am amazed at how fluidly it plays. You control a little plane jobby, and your options are shoot or roll (a limited avoid move – you start each level with 3) and that’s it. Your aim is to shoot all of the other naughty planes, of varying sizes, and win the day over 30 plus levels and it’s bloody ace. You get all manner of powerups along the way, including little planes that bolt on to help you and more traditional smart bombs. Score is pretty slow going, but one of the secrets to a high score is the percentage of planes you manage to shoot for each level – if you can get anywhere near 100% then the bonus you get can be rather large.

Ok, time for my first go and it’s like I never stopped playing. I lose a few early lives, but build up quite a respectable score indeed: 147,180 – that’s enough to nick 25th place straight away, woo!

Score: 147,180

Enjoyed that, so I’m straight in for my second go – and I have a blinder. 80,000+ on the first life. As I get further in the game however, I notice that it gets really rather hard, what with the planes buzzing around the screen firing bullets almost randomly. This is where the roll button comes into play. I have always pretty much ignored the roll button – I find that either I simply don’t get to the button in time or the roll ends up pretty useless or wasted. I would much rather take the 3,000 point bonus at the end of each stage for not using them. This is a luxury that simply can’t be afforded in the latter stages though, and I find myself rolling all over the place – to occasional great effect!

Another score tip occurs to me as well while I play – every now and then a cheeky small green plane will creep onto the bottom of the screen and zoom towards the top. If you manage to shoot this little scamp before he legs it, he spins out of control leaving a nice 5,000 point bonus for you to pick up. He does choose his moments though, so don’t be surprised if you have a screen full of daddy planes when he sneaks in!

Anyway, had a blinding game and reached a MASSIVE boss, that I’m not convinced I’ve seen before. He doesn’t fill the screen like the one in the cab office all them years ago (wonder if that player back in the day was from Bridlington?), but he was big enough for me to fill my pants and lose my last life pretty much immediately.

great score though – enough to get me up to 20th place!

Score: 286,840

Right, well I usually play each game 3 times, but I don’t think a 3rd is necessary here – an old favorite indeed, but 13 million will be a world away I would imagine. I’ll Definitely keep playing this game though that’s for sure…

…and did I.

A few years later I had an absolute pearl of a game on the actual cab in FUNSPOT. It’s an oft overused sentiment but you really can’t beat playing it on a proper cab and it was becoming almost an embarrassment how long I was spending playing this bugger. One such occasion I had pledged to meet a few chaps in the bar “just after this game” and they eventually came back up to get me after having a couple of pints and getting bored of waiting. Missing beer for me is absolutely unheard of, so this game must have something special.

Score wise I was hitting 500,000 plus, which while only being good enough for about halfway up the leaderboard, it did mean an important milestone was passed.

That’s right, I saw the big screen filling fucker in the flesh. Not only that, I bloody killed the screen hogging slag!

So, what’s with those big scores then? 13 million for goodness sakes, surely that’s always going to be out of reach? Well maybe not. You see, I have subsequently found out that this game is a bit of a cheating Charlie. The big scores of 13 million are actually almost entirely made up of an absolutely towering end of game “bonus” – a bonus of about 11 MILLION for goodness sakes. Now, on one hand – what the fuck? But on the other, it means the high scores are actually in my sights. In my best games, there was definitely an aspect of distraction and/or endurance that eventually killed me off. Given the right set of circumstances (such as the bar being closed) I reckon I have a proper chance of getting the game completed one day – yes siree.

What about more scores? Well, to be honest, even with the big guns mentioned in my last post, it won’t live up to the real cab, so you’ll have to make do with my little story. But what a story eh? Hello?….oh.

7 thoughts on “Game 3: 1942 (Capcom, 1984)

  1. Brid’s in East Yorkshire you Cockney wanker! If it’s outside the M25 you just don’t care.

    Although back in ’85 it was probably in ‘Umberside.

    And I know you didn’t actually state “North” Yorkshire, you put “northern Yorkshire.” Still, I’d like to see a comma between “northern” and “Yorkshire” please if you will.

    Ok, I’ll be quiet.

  2. 46,130 – need a proper joystick…

    Can’t shoot quick enough with a PS2 game pad.

    Remortgaging next week – wonder if wife would notice a huge X Arcade thing?

  3. Don’t worry, post as many comments as you like..:)

    That’s a bit silly giving such a large bonus though – bloody thing.

  4. Hello, my name is Álvaro. Im from Spain. From Valladolid concretely. I have achieved a high score in the videogame 1942 of capcom: 13388920 points. I can send you a screen capture of my personal high score in this videogame, achieved during the night 1 to 2 June 2015. Or I try to send you this screen capture. Yours faithfully.

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