Capcom Generations 1 - 1942, 1943, 1943 Kai
Playstation/Saturn    Reviewed by Mr. Bungle

Capcom, one of the better yet unoriginal game developers based in Japan, has decided to jump on the retro-gaming bandwagon similar to Namco by releasing most of their classics on 5 CD compilations, entitled Capcom Generations (Street Fighter series, Ghost and Goblin series - yet they didn't release one of my favorite shooters, Forgotten Worlds, those twits).

The first disk, Capcom Generations Disk 1, encapsulates a portion of the 194X series. While this disk doesn't contain the entire smorgasborg of 194X* (those greedy Capcom executives are probably holding out 19XX, 1941, and a comple of other spinoffs, which pisses me off), it contains the tried and true "old school" gameplay that most 80's gamers can identify with - skill, 2 buttons, bruised thumbs, and most of all rather intense gameplay.

*note 194X means the shooter series 1941, 1942, 1943, 1943 Kai, 19XX

The graphics in the collection are "arcade" perfect, although i could swear that the swooping enemy zero planes are a bit pixelly I'm playing this on the playstation, it tends to handle 2D rather boorishly). Although the graphics for the most part are "arcade perfect," the first thing that probably will strike your mind is this - "Dammit, these games have not aged well." Unlike fine wine, the graphics in the collection seem to be pathetic compared to say, Virtual Fighter 3 or anything in the arcades now (except for that fond Ms. Pac Man machine + Galaga machine).

If you can get past the graphics, you'll see that the rough graphics adds only to the grit and reflects on this particular era, where gameplay, not graphics/snazzy effects, is king.The sound on all the games is also "arcade" perfect. In 1942, the Popeye whistles are faithfully duplicated, as are the 1943/1943 Kai "roll" sounds when you try to foolishly manuever out of the oh-shit situations. Nothing fancy here, just some nice beeps, blips and otherwise memorable tunes while you try to gun down the enemy in sadistic fashion.

On a side note, if you're really want to pursue into the totally immersive experience of playing 1942/1943, I recommend that you and your WWII grandfather dressing up in a WWII outfit complete with flying scarf. Nothing beats screaming dirty limericks at the TV screen, pretending those Nazi planes are intending to steal your women and especially your cheese. Here we come to the gameplay aspect of the disk. I'll be splitting this into 3 categories respective of the games.

1942: 1 hit, 1 life down. The difficulty on this one can get to be a real bast since as soon as you blow up, you have to backtrack and start at a previous position. Powerups are minimal, the main focus on gameplay. For powerups, you only have 1) points, 2) a little bit more firepower 3) 2 more side planes to help you out. Otherwise, if you're a big fan of 1942 and have designs on kicking some major ass, this will serve your needs. It will also invariably increase your frustation factor, but all in all, the game is pretty damn fair; there usually are possible ways out of those sticky situations instead of "let's fill the screen with bullets so its almost impossible to escape".

1943:This time you get a fuel bar (TA-DA!) as well as a better selection of weapons. You can withstand some more hits, plus you can roll as well as a special weapon. Each use of special weapon kills part of your fuel bar. By the way, to make the game more interesting, the fuel bar is sent permanently on "drain." This leaves you with more scenarios to worry about, namely, enemy planes + declining fuel bar + bullets + kamikazis + wierd icons like cows and fruit = throwing controller at the TV. On a good note, there is a 2 player simultaneous game, so both of you can suffer together in beating 34 or more stages (I only got past level 15 before my credits ran out, bloody well ran out of shotgun). Otherwise, I would consider the gameplay in 1943 to be one of the better on the disk, due to the multitude of options.

1943 Kai: 1943 but harder (I was skeptical at first, but then I saw the evil stuff I had to contend with at stage 8). This time, you get a different plane, slightly altered weapon system (no need to get 2 powerups for a decent shotgun), and tougher enemies with extremely unpredictable patterns. A hardcore shooter delight, this wonderful subgame offers almost nothing new but a better challenge, more frustration factors, and more otherwise intense gameplay which will leave you breaking out in cold sweat or giving you strange nightmares at night ("Those damn nazis...I'll show em who their daddy is.."). Otherwise, an enjoying spinoff of 1943, crazy diehard shooter fans apply only - probably the best on the disk.

Conclusion: Well, there are 2 console versions of the game - Saturn import or PSX import. As of this time, it remains to be seen whether the PSX will surface up in the US, if ever, but here's the differences.

  • Saturn - better, crispy, crunchy, more colorful graphics. Slowdown a nigh possibility.
  • PSX - fuzzier graphics, Dual Shock Support. Slowdown a rare possibility.

From the choices, if you're a big Capcom fan who loved 1942+1943, do yourself a favor and pick up the disk. It contains artwork, liner notes, tips, which will do nothing for you since its written in pidgin characters (unless you can read japanese). I will go out on a limb and recommend the Saturn version - Dual Shock support does nothing for me, I tend to see it as a vibrator of all sorts. It also gets on my nerves when you're in a bind and the damn thing rumbles as you blow up. But if you don't mind fuzzier graphics and really really want Dual Shock Support, pick up the PSX one. (It probably also depends on which system you have too! - Malc)

In short - I recommend it only to die hard Capcom 194X freaks. Classic gameplay, no frills, nothing beats 2 player kickass 1943 gameplay. My biggest gripe is that they could of maybe fit one more game on the damn disk to really make it worth the money, but to stiff up sales, they didn't. Argh.

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1942 in all its tiny plane glory. To think this used to be the epitome of shootemups eh? And 1943 with a powerup or two, a few more planes and a life bar that inexplicably wears away even though you aren't getting hit or shooting special weapons!


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Cheers for that Mr. B! Your gripes seem to be about the same as mine with Capcom's Generations packs. As I mentioned somewhere else, I religiously buy all retro packs, cos I am a collector. But I've been waiting on a conversion of 19XX for years now, and although I can play 1941 on Callus and MAME, it would have been nice of Capcom to include it here since I paid good money for it. It's not emulation that makes these 'official' retro packs a bad buy for some, it's the stinginess of the companies not packing in as much as they should. Malc

(A short time after this minirant, Capcom released all 4 packs in a single bundle for us European types. Nicely done chaps.)


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