Video Game: 1942

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 release version of 1943 that featured an extra weaponnote  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; developed by 8ing / Raizing)
  • 1942 Joint Strike (Xbox Live Arcade and Play Station Network, 2009)

Do not confuse with Battlefield 1942, which is a whole different ballgame, 1941, Strikers 1945 (despite that also being a shmup series), or (heaven forbid) 1984. Also has nothing to do with the video game company Midway.note 

The 1942 series contains examples of:

  • 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 their engines, but you can keep shooting the same engines even after they have been set on fire. They are defeated once all their engines go down.
  • Battleship Raid — A lot of the series' bosses are battleships.
  • Bladder of Steel1942 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!"
  • Cain and Abel: The 1P player, Matt Laratt, in 19XX is the brother of the otherwise unnamed pilot of the F. Blackr—the stealth fighter that keeps harassing you and ultimately serves as the Final Boss.
  • Clip Its Wings: See Attack Its Weak Point above.
  • 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.
  • Damage Is Fire: The Ayako bombers show their damage level by how many engines are on fire. Ayako I's engines catch fire in pairs, Ayako II's engines catch fire as such: First, second, and 3rd/4th together, Ayako III's engines catch fire one at a time.
  • Everything's Better with Cows — In 1943, there are hidden cow icons that, upon collection, refill your Life Meter.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams — In WW frickin' II, no less!
  • Homing Projectile: Holding down the fire button in 19XX causing your ship to charge up a piercing projectile that destroys weaker enemies in one hit. When it hits a stronger, it tags it to allow the player to fire homing lasers at it for a short period of time on top of their normal shots.
  • Instant-Win Condition — In 1942, upon completing a stage, all on-screen enemies will explode.
  • Irony — Meta example: In 1942, 1943, and 1944, you're fighting the Japanese military. The company behind this series is Japanese itself. According with Yoshiki Okamoto, who worked in the game, Capcom got into really hot water in Japan for having the Japanese players controlling an American plane and destroying Japanese planes and that was the reason why the NES version, 1941 and 19XX features different kind of enemies, like the Germans in 1941.
  • Katanas of the Rising Sun — The enemy in most of the games except 1941 and 19XX.
  • 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...or you can shoot it for extra points.
    • A couple bosses in 19XX will also unleash one last volley of attacks while they're in the middle of exploding.
  • 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
  • No Swastikas1941 pits you against the Germans, yet not a single swastika is in sight.
  • Nuke 'em — In 19XX's final stage, the Recurring Boss escorts a pair of nuclear missiles aimed at 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.
  • Orwellian Retcon: As already mentioned before, the game was pretty controversial in Japan when it was released in arcades, so Capcom had to make some modifications on the NES version of the game, including changing the name of the Japanese battleships using the Japanese names of Chinese warlords from Romance of the Three Kingdoms, with the sole exception of the Ayako bombers, since they're probably named after the music composer of the game, Ayako Mori,note  not to mention the titular Battle of Midway was named The Battle of Valhalla in the Japanese version. Oddly, the American game box still keeps the Battle of Midway subtitle, even if the English version also use the changed Japanese names too.
  • Recurring Boss — In 1941, Leviathan, the Stage 1 boss, makes an upgraded reappearance in Stage 5. In 19XX, there's F. Blackr, the black fighter that destroys your mothership and harasses you on every level. You finally get to settle the score with it in the end.
  • RetrauxJoint 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 plane'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 & carriers including the Ise, Nagato, Yamato (post refit), Akagi, Hiryu, and several others. On the other hand, the Ayako bombers are completely original-made for the game, albeit they could be inspired in the Mitsubishi Ki-67 ''Hiryu'' heavy bomber, despise the Ayako bombers are four-engined, while the Hiryu used only two.
  • Smart Bomb1943 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!
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Certain enemies, not to mention some bosses (such as the Gotha/HO-IX) in 1941 fit this trope.
  • Video Game Lives1942, 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!
  • Year X19XX.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s):

Nineteen Forty Two