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TurboGrafx Network • View topic - random thoughts on 1943

random thoughts on 1943

PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 discussion

random thoughts on 1943

Postby nat » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:50 am

Let me preface by saying I haven't beat this game, but I did revisit it tonight after [finally] acquiring it this past year and being less than impressed on my first go with it. It's too bad my current experience didn't do much to change my former feelings. Here are some fresh observations:

* Pales in every way compared to its more impressive SGX brethren, 1941. 1943 is the dictionary definition of "mediocre."

* Graphics are a mixed bag: details lacking in background scenery; almost 8-bit in nature. Visuals are very reminiscent of some of the better Master System efforts. The game uses an extremely limited color palette-- if this was the first game you played as a Turbo owner you'd think the system was only capable of displaying unvarying shades of orange, red, blue, white, and black. On the flipside, 1943 has a neat parallax effect in the cloudscape.

* Big plus (in Nat's world): you can play the game in "tate" mode. I'm a huge sucker for games that offer this feature.

* Music: I always hear/read about 1943's "great soundtrack." To be frank, it sucks donkey cock. It sounds like uninspired, souped-up NES music. I realize that technically the Turbo's soundchip is just a souped-up NES chip, but it was definitely more the sum of it's parts. (See Legend of Xanadu I & II and countless others.) I think it's the sampled drum beats that lure people in, but sampled drums don't equal great music. It's hard not to compare 1934 to 1941, but 1941 has a fan-fucking-tastic soundtrack and not a single sampled drum. On the same sound hardware, to boot. To be fair, the team that did the soundtrack here went on to redeem themselves with classics like Coryoon and ultimately Air Zonk. I guess 1943 was their guinea pig.

* Gameplay: Boring, repetitive. You play the same stage over, and over.... And over. The background doesn't change from one stage to the next aside from color. Dark blue, then light blue, orange, etc. The one thing they did right with 1943: the powerup system. Shoot an entire sequence of orange-colored bogies and you're rewarded with a powerup option that changes every time you shoot it. Because you're constantly shooting, sometimes it's tough to get the exact powerup you want. This injects a well-needed element of challenge and excitement into the game. Heh, it's pretty sad when the biggest thrill in a video game is grabbing that powerup.

* Enemies, like the gameplay, are boring and repetitive. I think there are probably 2 main enemy sprites in the entire game that just see various palette changes. One is a small dogfighter that will come in waves and the other is a mid-sized bomber that flanks you. Yeah, that's it.
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Re: random thoughts on 1943

Postby Keranu » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:57 pm

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Re: random thoughts on 1943

Postby runinruder » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:14 pm

Yeah, I too was disappointed with 1943. Your complaints match mine: repetitive gameplay, lackluster soundtrack, lame enemies, dull scenery, etc. To be fair, the action picks up significantly, the visuals make quite a leap, and the repetition is alleviated somewhat once you reach the "new" stages; but even then, it drags after a while and wasn't as enjoyable as I'd hoped it would be.
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Re: random thoughts on 1943

Postby nat » Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:40 pm

runinruder wrote:Yeah, I too was disappointed with 1943. Your complaints match mine: repetitive gameplay, lackluster soundtrack, lame enemies, dull scenery, etc. To be fair, the action picks up significantly, the visuals make quite a leap, and the repetition is alleviated somewhat once you reach the "new" stages; but even then, it drags after a while and wasn't as enjoyable as I'd hoped it would be.


I guess I should be ashamed of myself for not playing far enough to see the "new" stages. Just how much of the monotony do you have to put up with to get there? I was playing for a while-- a good 7 or 8 levels I'd say-- and I was still getting basically the same level every time. I turned it off at that point out of boredom. I'll give it another shot soon and make it my primary goal to reach the "new" levels.

My pseudo thoughts I guess?


Nice writin' there, and I agree-- 1941 is by far the best in the series. It was the last SGX game I picked up, weighing in at a hefty $110. The game is so much fun to play though, I don't regret a penny of it. Definitely my favorite of the arcade ports on the system.
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Re: random thoughts on 1943

Postby Black Tiger » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:25 pm

It sounds like everything you didn't like is carried over from the arcade. I've been listening to a winamp conversion of the soundtrack lately and I think they did a great job re-imagining it on PCE. Of course, you likely only got to here a fraction of the tracks while playing. Most of the tracks are repetitive, as most arcade soundtracks were back then, but I think they were well implemented and there must be a bunch of original stuff (I think that there are like 30 tracks). At least there's variety, unlike in say Ghosts 'N Goblins.

I still haven't played it on real hardware, but I think that they didn't do a bad job on the visuals, but certainly nothing near what could've been. 1943 was one of the few NES games I owned back in the day and it sure is an amazing jump going from it to the PCE version.
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Re: random thoughts on 1943

Postby runinruder » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:59 pm

nat wrote:I guess I should be ashamed of myself for not playing far enough to see the "new" stages. Just how much of the monotony do you have to put up with to get there?


Too much. I don't recall how many of those lookalike levels there were, but I know I had to play through a whole bunch of them before I finally got this little "cinema" showing my plane being reoutfitted. Then suddenly there were loud drums and a lot more bullets and big planes to deal with. They also throw in a train level to break up some of the jets-and-ships tedium.
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Re: random thoughts on 1943

Postby Keranu » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:58 pm

I think we can all agree that 1943 is better than 1942, which was like over 30 stages of the same thing with very little difficulty increase. Not to mention all the bleeping going on in the NES port!
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Re: random thoughts on 1943

Postby Game Boy Kirby » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:18 am

nat wrote:Let me preface by saying I haven't beat this game, but I did revisit it tonight after [finally] acquiring it this past year and being less than impressed on my first go with it. It's too bad my current experience didn't do much to change my former feelings. Here are some fresh observations:

* Pales in every way compared to its more impressive SGX brethren, 1941. 1943 is the dictionary definition of "mediocre."

* Graphics are a mixed bag: details lacking in background scenery; almost 8-bit in nature. Visuals are very reminiscent of some of the better Master System efforts. The game uses an extremely limited color palette-- if this was the first game you played as a Turbo owner you'd think the system was only capable of displaying unvarying shades of orange, red, blue, white, and black. On the flipside, 1943 has a neat parallax effect in the cloudscape.

* Big plus (in Nat's world): you can play the game in "tate" mode. I'm a huge sucker for games that offer this feature.

* Music: I always hear/read about 1943's "great soundtrack." To be frank, it sucks donkey cock. It sounds like uninspired, souped-up NES music. I realize that technically the Turbo's soundchip is just a souped-up NES chip, but it was definitely more the sum of it's parts. (See Legend of Xanadu I & II and countless others.) I think it's the sampled drum beats that lure people in, but sampled drums don't equal great music. It's hard not to compare 1934 to 1941, but 1941 has a fan-fucking-tastic soundtrack and not a single sampled drum. On the same sound hardware, to boot. To be fair, the team that did the soundtrack here went on to redeem themselves with classics like Coryoon and ultimately Air Zonk. I guess 1943 was their guinea pig.

* Gameplay: Boring, repetitive. You play the same stage over, and over.... And over. The background doesn't change from one stage to the next aside from color. Dark blue, then light blue, orange, etc. The one thing they did right with 1943: the powerup system. Shoot an entire sequence of orange-colored bogies and you're rewarded with a powerup option that changes every time you shoot it. Because you're constantly shooting, sometimes it's tough to get the exact powerup you want. This injects a well-needed element of challenge and excitement into the game. Heh, it's pretty sad when the biggest thrill in a video game is grabbing that powerup.

* Enemies, like the gameplay, are boring and repetitive. I think there are probably 2 main enemy sprites in the entire game that just see various palette changes. One is a small dogfighter that will come in waves and the other is a mid-sized bomber that flanks you. Yeah, that's it.


I pretty much felt the same way about the soundtracks of the two games when I first heard about them. Sunteam_Paul would emphasize on how great the drum samples were in 1943 Kai, but I only would hear this in the PC Engine Gaming video of it.

I had no idea that it was also graphically undermining. I wonder if the visuals are more "impressive for the console" on the NES version?

As I've read before, the music composer for both Coryoon and Air Zonk is Daisuke Morishima. Is this person listed in the credits of the game? I always had the impression that a music composer or few at Capcom created the tunes for this title.
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Re: random thoughts on 1943

Postby Black Tiger » Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:51 am

Game Boy Kirby wrote:I pretty much felt the same way about the soundtracks of the two games when I first heard about them. Sunteam_Paul would emphasize on how great the drum samples were in 1943 Kai, but I only would hear this in the PC Engine Gaming video of it.


You can't properly judge the sound based on Sunteam's videos/mp3's since it's all emulation and as far off as certain PCE sounds can be in emulation, the biggest difference is always sound samples.


I had no idea that it was also graphically undermining. I wonder if the visuals are more "impressive for the console" on the NES version?


The NES version of 1943 is so far downgraded it's almost a remake. The PC Engine version may simplify the backgrounds a bit, but it improves the music, keeps nice touches like the post stage art and from what I've seen the new stages have good graphics. The NES version also only had 1 to 3 bgm tracks where as the PCE version has so many I can't imagine what they could all be for.
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Re: random thoughts on 1943

Postby nat » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:24 am

Black Tiger wrote:
Game Boy Kirby wrote:The NES version also only had 1 to 3 bgm tracks where as the PCE version has so many I can't imagine what they could all be for.


That's funny, because the 7 or 8 levels I played through rotated the same 2 or 3 songs over and over again.
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