Since Arcade machines have considerably more processing power than the Commodore 64, the developers of this iteration of 1942 had to make some liberal cuts and interpretations to facilitate design. Still, this Commodore 64 version captures the essence of the original Arcade gameplay.
Graphics are not the game's strong point and, although adequate to the task, are not very pleasing. Unit sprites don't have much detail and the coloring scheme is a bit plain. On the plus side, though, the background scrolls without jerkiness and foreground units move across the screen smoothly. One decidedly unwelcome aspect in the graphics area pertains to how some enemy planes flash after they've been hit, especially larger aircraft that require more than one hit to destroy. The color changes to indicate damage, but flashes in two different colors for a gaudy effect. The use of simple smoke graphics would have been better.
Unlike the graphics, the music is quite impressive. It's uncomplicated, consisting of a few relatively simple melodies that are pleasant to listen to and complement gameplay nicely. The main problem with sound, however, is when you shoot down an enemy plane down, the game produces a high-pitched effect that can only be described as a bird-like chirp -- usable for the sound of a dropping bomb, but inappropriate for an exploding plane. It's distracting and the game would have been better served with no explosion effect at all.
Then comes gameplay -- a bit simplistic compared to other shooters. You can't do much more than shoot, move, and do the occasional loop to get out of tight spots. Maybe you won't mind the simple gameplay system because 1942's level designs keep throwing new and interesting things at you to keep the experience fresh. For example, the enemy units will come at you from all sorts of angles and sometimes even from behind. Some enemies can even ram you while you're looping. The game rapidly accelerates to an intense gameplay tempo that doesn't let up, constantly throwing enemies at you, resulting in a fast paced and enjoyable shooter experience that might make you overlook its simplicity. Additionally, the game's responsiveness to controller input is superior when compared to other Commodore 64 games -- always a good thing for shooters.
Because it doesn't have much in the way of gameplay frills and thrills to impress you, the Commodore 64 version of 1942 can arguably be called a classic style shooter that delivers the kind of solid shooter gameplay fans of the genre will find well polished. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
Adequate but unimpressive graphics. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
Some catchy songs and good sound effects. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
This "no frills" shooter delivers solid shooter gameplay. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
The lack of features hurts replay value. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
Includes gameplay essentials. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide