1942: Joint Strike Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
1942: Joint Strike box art
System: X360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Backbone Ent. 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Capcom 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Jul. 23, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The multiplier concept reinforces Joint Strike's arcade roots: this is a game all about high scores. You can pick up medals during flight to net points and every level has rankings based on time completion and play style that - you guessed it - reward you with more points. Persistent online leaderboards bring the high score mentality home as well.

1942: Joint Strike screenshot

Besides an obsession with high scores, Joint Strike has one other thing in common with its predecessors: its difficulty. This is one hard game, but it's never unfair. Like most top-down shooters, the main gamer characteristic being tested is your reflexes. However, reflexes alone aren't enough - they need to be combined with a memorization of enemy and boss patterns.

The majority of players - even on easy - won't beat the game on their first or second try. To help curb the steep difficulty there are four levels of play to choose from, ranging from easy (Penguin) to very hard (Wing King). Starting a game on Penguin will give you nine lives, while embarking on a Wing King mission will test your skill by giving you just a single life. Oh, and lives are important for beginners because the game has no continues. Die and it's back to the beginning.

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Whether players are already veterans of the game or having trouble on their own, online co-op play is a welcome feature. You can have a buddy play the entire game with you. When tested for review, the online play was excellent. There was no lag and it was a painless process joining a custom or quick game. Besides flying with a fellow pilot, co-op allows you to team up with joint strike attacks. You can string a lightning net between your two planes, instantly frying passerby aircraft.

What Joint Strike lacks in graphical fidelity (it's not a bad looking game by any means - it just never wows) it makes up for in slick presentation. At the beginning of each level a filmstrip spins back-and-forth and sepia tones drench everything in gray and brown. Once the level kicks in gear, the dreary color palate is washed away; it's a simple effect, but it looks great. Simplicity extends over to the audio as well. The score won't have you humming along, but it sits fine in the background.

Backbone Entertainment has updated a decades old classic, bringing it into a new millennium. The core gameplay - established by the first game - is still here and shines. Joint Strike's short length is bolstered by its difficulty, but it's hard to see gamers coming back for repeated solo player; co-op is the most impressive feature of this update. At such a low price, it's a great value for those looking for an arcade fix.

By Jason Lauritzen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.7
Graphics
Even with a massive number of planes on-screen and explosions firing off every half-second, the game rarely slows down. It would have been nice to see a higher level of overall detail, but since this is a downloadable title, what's here is impressive.
4.0
Control
The control set is bare bones, and for good reason: this isn't a game about memorizing button combos; it's aimed at twitch players.
3.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The explosions and gunfire sound crisp.
3.5
Play Value
Since it's a top-down shooter, the game wraps up fairly quickly. Topping previous high scores and unlocking planes should net some replay, and co-op play mixes things up.
3.6
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Updated classic: Experience classic arcade style gameplay with 3-D hi-def graphics.
  • Co-op play: Team up for new Joint Strike attacks, weapons, and power ups. Use your wingman for two-player local or online missions.
  • Screen Resolution: Up to 720p (Standard HDTV, Widescreen).


  • Screenshots / Images
    1942: Joint Strike screenshot - click to enlarge 1942: Joint Strike screenshot - click to enlarge 1942: Joint Strike screenshot - click to enlarge 1942: Joint Strike screenshot - click to enlarge 1942: Joint Strike screenshot - click to enlarge 1942: Joint Strike screenshot - click to enlarge 1942: Joint Strike screenshot - click to enlarge 1942: Joint Strike screenshot - click to enlarge 1942: Joint Strike screenshot - click to enlarge 1942: Joint Strike screenshot - click to enlarge 1942: Joint Strike screenshot - click to enlarge 1942: Joint Strike screenshot - click to enlarge

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