aka: 1942 Mobile, Capcom Arcade Cabinet: 1942
Moby ID: 7949
Arcade Specs

Description official descriptions

1942 is a vertically scrolling shooter for one or two players. The year is 1942, and you are a daring fighter pilot "Super Ace". You begin and end each of the numerous levels on an aircraft carrier and then fly your plane into battle against the enemy over both sea and land. After destroying certain plane formations you can collect several different power ups to increase your fire power and chances of survival. You can also make your plane roll to avoid enemy attacks 3 times per life. There are 24 levels, the first being Midway and the last The Final Area.

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Credits (NES version)

Music Composer (uncredited)
Music Arranger (uncredited)
Cover Artwork (uncredited)



Average score: 61% (based on 41 ratings)


Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 163 ratings with 3 reviews)

Who knew WWII in the Pacific was so much like Xevious?

The Good
Lots and lots of action, albeit mostly of the mindless, frantic, button-mashing sort that we've all come to expect from the shoot’em-up genre. The NES port runs pretty smoothly, without much in the way of flicker or slowdown. The color palette is limited, but you will fly over some nice green island landscapes (was 1940s Midway known for its championship golf courses?) in addition to long stretches of the deep blue Pacific Ocean.

The WWII-historical theme is a nice deviation from the bazillion other shoot’em-ups set in outer space and/or a sci-fi universe (Galaga, Xevious, etc.).

The Bad
For starters, the soundtrack for this game is an absolute abomination. Sound effects are practically nonexistent, even though a historical, war-themed game like 1942 cries out for a barrage of big, juicy explosion noises. As for the incessant beeps that seem to substitute for a musical theme, well…consider them a slap in the face. Imagine a symphony orchestra of telegraphs, playing musical compositions consisting entirely of morse code. Silence would have been preferable to this.

As for the actual gameplay, it is somewhat enjoyable—but only in short spurts, and as long as you don't really think about it too much. The WWII-fighter theme is a double-edged sword; it's inherently appealing and sets 1942 apart from the rest of the shooter crowd, but it also forces the designers to make a jarringly unrealistic game. There are just too many enemy planes thrown at you here—and they are dumber than rocks, to boot! It can also be very difficult to see the little green planes, since they have a way of blending into those grassy land backgrounds. Yet another example of poor design masquerading as “challenge.”

Eventually you’ll die because you can’t sustain interest in what’s happening onscreen. There is no variety in the missions you're conducting here. It's pretty much always a matter of taking off from your aircraft carrier (on autopilot, controlled by the CPU, of course) and then shooting down as many dumb enemies as possible.

Powerups are underwhelming, and your “special ability” to do a backwards roll is worse than worthless, since you invariably end up in just as bad a position as where you started. There are only a handful of different enemy types, and they repeat the same flight patterns over and over and over. Oh, and Capcom even included that arcade staple, the "boss" enemy. Never mind that it’s wildly inappropriate in this context. The huge end-of-level bomber that shoots clusters of bombs at you—from its rear!—is more hilarious than intimidating.

I’ll give Capcom this much credit: at least the sequel, 1943, was much better. Curious retrogamers should also check out Broderbund’s old PC classic, Wings of Fury, to see this concept done right.

The Bottom Line
Sometimes mislabeled as a “classic,” 1942 is mildly entertaining for brief periods of time, but nothing more. If you're completely sold on shoot’em-ups, you might like 1942. If the genre hasn't appealed to you yet, 1942 is not the game that will change your mind.

NES · by PCGamer77 (3158) · 2016

A great game 1942

The Good
The thing I liked most about this game is the unlimited fire power, and the power ups make your plane more deadly. I find it to be one of my favorite games for the NES. Simply put it's the best of the best war games for the Nintendo system ever made, and further more it became most famous because it was based on actual history of the world during the second world war after Japan attacked the United States of America at Pearl Harbor in Dec 1941 they had awoken the sleeping giant and within a few hours the United States entered the war full force. So in 1942 fighter planes and ships where getting blew up all across the world and in 1943 came one of the turning points of the war the battle of midway. So although this game is not an precise recreation of the second world war 1942 and 1943 the battle of midway are based on true fact.

The Bad
The fact that you start on stage 32 not stage 1 like most games and there are too many enemy's for one plane to handle.

The Bottom Line
One of the best scrolling shooter games for Nintendo. Only beat by it's follow up 1943 the battle of midway.

NES · by akumakun (5) · 2006

Classic arcade shoot em up

The Good
It's a classic game, the best of a series (1942, 1941, 1943...). The conversion to the Gameboy color is excellent!

The Bad
You cannot run it in Gameboy, only in the Gameboy color!

The Bottom Line
First of all, I'm a rom translator and I have translated 1942 in greek. I really know almost everything in the game. You can find the greek patch at www.greekroms.net

As for the game itself, there's not much I can say. A classic shoot em up. You control a plane, you go upwards and you can get some bonuses. (3 bullets at a time instead of 2, smart bomb, 2 attached planes) You begin from stage 32 and you end at 1. Luckily, the game has a password system :-)

Game Boy Color · by Vagelis Daskalos (1) · 2003


Subject By Date
1942(arcade) released for Windows(via Steam) on the Capcom Arcade Stadium Andrew Fisher (695) Aug 22nd, 2022


Capcom's First Console Game

1942 for the NES marks Capcom's first home video game.

C16 version

The game was in development for the Commodore 16, with loading instructions for the system appearing in other formats released by Elite, and an infamous April Fool of the title screen and music being produced. Richard Ikin revealed years later that he was working on it, with graphics provided by an unknown artist, but it was cancelled by Elite while fairly advanced in development. Sadly Richard has nothing of the original code, and his attempt at creating it as a hobby in the mid-2010s stalled due to real life issues.

Related Games

Battlefield 1942
Released 2002 on Windows
Battlefield 1942: Deluxe Edition
Released 2003 on Windows, 2004 on Macintosh
Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942
Released 2008 on Windows
Great Naval Battles Vol. II: Guadalcanal 1942-43
Released 1994 on DOS, 1995 on PC-98
1942: The Pacific Air War Gold
Released 1994 on Windows 3.x, 2015 on Windows, Linux...
Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII
Released 2003 on Windows, 2004 on Macintosh
Capcom Arcade Hits Volume 2
Released 2003 on Windows, Windows Mobile
1942: The Pacific Air War
Released 1994 on DOS

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Servo.

Arcade added by 666gonzo666. Android added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. Sharp X1 added by Infernos. Commodore 64 added by Rebound Boy. Game Boy Color added by Kartanym. iPad, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iPhone, J2ME added by Sciere. Windows, BREW, Windows Mobile added by Kabushi. ZX Spectrum added by Terok Nor. PC-88 added by Игги Друге. Wii added by Manuel Rotschkar. MSX added by koffiepad. FM-7 added by Unicorn Lynx. Amstrad CPC added by Katakis | カタキス.

Additional contributors: Alaka, Martin Smith, Freeman, Kam1Kaz3NL77.

Game added December 14th, 2002. Last modified August 30th, 2023.