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1944: The Loop Master (Arcade)

1944: The Loop Master (Arcade) review


"For the sixth installment in the 1942 series, Capcom decided to do something different: they let another developer make the game. Now this could've been disastrous, because the game could've been something completely different in the sense that "they just didn't get it". Or, it could've just sucked. Fortunately, the complete opposite happened, because they got Eighting/Raizing, and what you end up getting is the most intense, enjoyable "19" game to date. "



For the sixth installment in the 1942 series, Capcom decided to do something different: they let another developer make the game. Now this could've been disastrous, because the game could've been something completely different in the sense that "they just didn't get it". Or, it could've just sucked. Fortunately, the complete opposite happened, because they got Eighting/Raizing, and what you end up getting is the most intense, enjoyable "19" game to date.

Now, apparently, Japan must've learned from their mistakes with previous encounters with the uncanny P-38, because they seem to have a new motto now: show no mercy. If you thought the previous games were a handful with their chaotic nature, then I guess you could consider 1944: The Loop Master a bucketful. Almost every single stage will push you to your limit as planes upon planes, tanks upon tanks, and bullets upon bullets will conquer almost every area of the screen just to put your plane out of its misery. And guess what? You'll have to endure fifteen stages of this. Happy days are here again!

Yes, Eighting/Raizing deemed it fit to push the stage count back up again for this title. That sounds troubling considering how repetitive 1943, which has sixteen stages, got. No need to worry, however, because the Imperial Japanese Army does their job of keeping you on your toes and entertained for the whole ride. And the chaotic boss encounters help in this matter. The first boss fight is pretty standard, as it pits two wimpy destroyers against the Master of Destruction (aka the P-38). But everything after that becomes a life or death struggle. And that's putting it lightly.

One instance has you going up against giant, twin tanks ravaging a forest at top speeds. Dodging their various bullet patterns and laser beams while they move up and down the screen will be tough. Another encounter has you going up against a "SUPER GIGANTIC BATTLESHIP", that's, well, gigantic. Of course, this being a game that doesn't want love to bloom on the battlefield, will have planes come from behind you as you try to avoid bullets, big and small, from the ship. I guess I should point out right now that this is nothing, because you'll go up against tougher opponents later.... no, early on in 1944. And you know what? You're gonna love it.

Of course, you're not completely helpless from this army from hell, as you'll have enough firepower to destroy a place like, I dunno, Japan. You have your bombs, powerups, and then the charge shot, which has been reworked, making it more powerful than its ever been. There's a catch, however. Actually, there's a couple of catches. It takes a lot longer for it to charge up than in past titles. Thankfully, if you stop in the middle of a charge, it'll slowly deplete, giving you plenty of time to complete the charge. Once its ready, you'll be able to unleash a powerful attack that'll leave you untouchable for a few seconds. Now here's the next catch: your charge shot overheats when it finishes, so you'll have to wait awhile for the next charge up. So, there's definitely some strategy involved here. Also, your itty, bitty side planes play a much bigger role, too, popping up a whole lot to give you a helping hand. Hell, halfway through the game, they get upgraded with lasers. How cool is that?

I do have a few, minor nitpicks, though. A lot of the stages feature backgrounds that are very similar looking. This is because you almost always end up seeing a whole lot of trees. The developers do attempt to differentiate, especially in the beginning and towards the end (like the grass fields having various "alien" designs on them), but a little bit more variety would've been nice. And then there's the difficulty. Don't get me wrong, the mayhem in this game is crazy fun, but it can be too much sometimes. But those are just minor nitpicks to a great shoot-em-up. 1944: The Loop Master is undoubtedly the best the series has to offer. If Capcom decides not to make any more sequels (which would be surprising), then this is definitely a damn good way to go out on. If you ever do get a chance to play this title someday (maybe on a Friday), be forewarned: you're gonna lose. A lot. And you know what? You're gonna love it.

Huh, I swore I said the exact same thing somewhere before...

Rating: 8/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (August 26, 2006)

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