Game 4: 1943: the battle of Midway (Capcom, 1987)

Playing rules: Difficulty: Normal. Continues: Not allowed. Single-player scores only
Dip switch bank A: 1-5=OFF; 6-8=ON.
Dip switch bank B: 1-8=OFF

Current Record holders:
1st: 1,978,060 - Robert Macauley - 2002
7th: 32,200 - Jim Cook - 2000

A year later from 1942 (game wise at least) and we have 1943 – the sequel. Now, I have to say – I have no experience of this game on anything other than the AtariST version, which although was fun in a “two player buggering about” sort of way, never really grabbed me. The reason for this was actually the main innovation since 1942, namely the energy bar. I don’t really like shooting games where your ship has an energy bar, I like to be on the edge, just a bullet away from death. This game felt like it took away some of the skill involved in bullet dodging. Twin that with the fact that the ST game had infinite continues (or at least several – I don’t really remember) and you find yourself less than bothered if a bullet hits you every now and then. No sir, I don’t like it.

Of course it’s all bollocks, because playing it now on the arcade machine – it seems a whole different game. Of course, it still has the energy bar, but when forced to play with no continues and on a harder difficulty setting (I know it says “normal” up there, I’ll come back to that in a minute) the gameplay I loved from 1942 is back. Better than that, it’s actually more fun!

The premise of the game is the same, you control a plane and you have to shoot all of the nasty people. This time however, they have a trick or two up their sleeves. With it being the battle of midway, there are plenty of boats and ships to muck you about as well. Add to that the dual-layered playing field (planes can duck beneath the clouds, or indeed suprise rape you by popping out below where you are) and you have quite a challenge. Also, as mentioned you now have a energy bar to manage, and you can top that up with little “POW’s” you find after killing the red planes dotted about. These POWs also turn into time limited weapon upgrades if you shoot them a bit before collecting them.

All very good, so lets get down and play the game.

First off, I mentioned earlier about the difficulty. The listed difficulty of “NORMAL” is actually misleading. As with all of these games in MAME, you should check the dip switch settings and use them as your guide, and the setting listed above actually give you a difficulty of 15 (out of a possible 16) where the default is only 7 or so. Make sure you change these first otherwise you’ll get a much easier game!

First game was fun. At the end of each level there is a big boat or plane for you to Duff in, and I managed to get past the first few levels even though I didn’t actually kill the guardians, which was odd. Also, the energy bar was pretty low at the end of each level, but it is refueled before the next – which is nice! Anyway, not a bad score. What became very clear is just how poor that low record score is – my nanna could get 32,000 – and I had it by the end of level 1. My score of 82 thousand was only good enough to replace this at 7th mind you, as the next one was 100,000+

Score: 82,000

On the second go I learnt TWO valuable lessons.

1) DON’T crash into bigger planes – really, it’s not a good idea. I did, and my energy bar pretty much disappeared from full to nowt immediately.
2) The “shotgun” weapon upgrade is SHIT, I mean proper rhubarb. Imagine for a second the sort of weapon you would want on your world war 2 airplane when faced with heavily armed boats and planes aplenty. Done that? It wasn’t a fucking shotgun was it?! This weapon fires pellets of rubbish about an inch up the screen, where they then disappear. Rubbish. Capcom knew how rubbish they were as well, as it is the first upgrade it offers you as you shoot the POW symbol. DON’T pick it up, if you have to hit a bullet and lose the game rather than pick this up, thats the better choice believe me.

Ahem, they are my excuses melud and i’m sticking to them.

Score: 27,600 (I know, “me nanna could get 32,000” – don’t go on, quit living in the past!)

Ok, third go. Pretty much the same as the first to be fair. Still didnt kill the guardians, but the game seemed happy with the beating I gave them and let me go by anyway. Still not enough to go above 7th mind.

Score: 90,600.

Seeing as I broke the loose rule of 3 goes on each game so early on, I fancy a 4th go, and I’m glad I did. Buoyed by the knowledge that I dont *have* to bust a gut to kill a guardian, I don’t die at the same place anymore, I just float about a bit at the top after giving it a minor kicking and hoorah, next level!
That is until of course I take the piss a bit with a later guardian and barely scrape him before running away, where the game decides to tell me that I failed (who me?) and it dumps me back to the beginning of that level again. I getcha.

All in all though a good old run, enough to get me up to 5th in fact!

Score: 211,800

That’ll do for now. Another cracking game, really glad I played the arcade version as I genuinely thought the ST version was pump. I reckon the 1st place record wouldn’t be impossible either, and this is probably the first game of this quest that I can say that for.

Interesting how the mind works isn’t it? Reading this back a few years later and I’m finding myself surprised at how I managed to be won over by this game. If you stopped me in the street and asked me right now what I thought of the game 1943, the sequel to one of my favorite all time games, I would tell you that it was shit sandwich. I’d also probably have a few questions about why exactly you stopped me and how the hell you knew who I was. Who sent you? WHO. SENT. YOU? Was it that dodgy looking slag from the Edmonton arcades? Tell him that I didn’t know that I had a pocket full of 1ops when he asked to borrow 20p for a few games on the fruities. YES I know I jangled away with my hand trying to grasp whatever was in my pocket, but I *told* you, that was me playing with my knackers. What? Oh. It wasn’t him? WHO WAS IT!?


So yeah, even though clearly back in 2007 I actually found myself enjoying the game – I had clearly forgotten this and reverted back to my old stance. Crazy. Saying that, this line “the gameplay I loved from 1942 is back. Better than that, it’s actually more fun!” What absolute heresy – was I mental?

Only one way to find out, let’s play the bugger again and see. Don’t worry, I won’t be long. Here’s a random picture of the cast of the flumps for you to enjoy while you wait.

How absolutely *adorable* – wasn’t that fun? Glad we could all meet up, speak again soon. cheers!

What? 1943? Oh. Funny you should ask actually, some mental guy in the street asked me about that the other day – oh right, yeah, I remember.

Well, I can see where 2007 me was coming from, it is a lot better than I remember. The whole energy bar thing doesn’t sit well with me though I have to admit. Anyway, no attempt at a score this time – I might save that for when I get the MAME records sorted out. Until then – it’s been emotional.

12 thoughts on “Game 4: 1943: the battle of Midway (Capcom, 1987)

  1. Well, Mr anon – thank’s for the comment, but I happen to respect the guys at TwinGalaxies – i’m sure you have your reasons to laugh at them, but for the purpose of this blog thang i’l be using the book mentioned at the beginning as my only reference.

  2. It was recorded with real hardware and judged by reliable sources. You do realize that Twin Galaxies only recognizes Western scores, right? Most of the top scores come from Japan so you can’t take TG as the final word unless you believe America is the center of the universe.

  3. Well, I am going by the Book i refer to. I dont really care to be honest if i become the true champion of the true world to be fair. I’ve had several face to face chats with Walter Day, the chap behind Twin Galaxies, and he is a lovely bloke, running a nice little project that i respect for many reasons.

    I’m sure there are many decent different places using a different system or ways to record this sort of thing, but i’m going to be just focusing on the Twin Galaxies stuff for now. Thanks for the heads up though chap.

  4. It may be a “nice little project”,ran by a “lovely bloke” but how can someone say this is the OFFICIAL book of WORLD RECORD scores when the real highest cores are simply being ignored?

    what is the point if it isn’t looking to be neither accurate or fair?

    there’s no system, or ways to sort it, it’s either the real deal or its not, and this, is in no way accurate, honest, or “official”.

    If TG actually cared about generating a healthy global arcade gaming scene – to give the true hardcore players recognition for their complete and utter devotion and skill they poured to some of these games, then fair enough, but this is blinkered, half baked utterly innacurate and and therefore somewhat pointless.

  5. As i say, please – this is a discussion for another place or time.

    This page is all about the twin galaxies book, thats all – The legitimacy of it and your personal feelings towards the whole Twin Galaxies thing are by the by with respect to this project.

    I knew there was some negativety out there regarding TG, but can we please keep it elsewhere? thanks.

  6. See, this was the scene of a right old to-do back in the day. I am going to write in more detail in my next post, but until then – enjoy the comments

  7. It Lives! huzzah!Love the style of writing, Can wait for the Atari one with the bass grumble fear noise to re-appear.

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