1942: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview


Classic video game 1942 is centered on World War II and fighter jets. This is the first arcade game from the 1942-43 series, which includes a total of six different titles. Originally debuting in 1984 to international audiences, players pilot a default fighter jet named Super Ace and finish out a mission to annihilate Japan's Tokyo Air Force Base. Main game play consists of the player evading opponents while simultaneously taking them out with the loop and roll maneuvers.

Both one and two player arcade game modes are available in 1942. Two buttons act as the main controls, allowing you to shoot enemies and perform the rolling and looping tactical moves. An endless supply of jet fighter bullets is available; however, rolls and loops are limited. They are also reset at the beginning of every level. Eventually, this title was released for home play via the original Nintendo game console. An updated version of 1942 became available for the PlayStation 3 in 2008.

The lead designer of 1942 is Yoshiki Okamoto. Developed and published by Capcom, composer Ayako Mori was tapped to create the soundtrack to this game.

Game Play Overview

With 32 stages in all, gamers complete each level in 1942 in ascending order from highest to lowest. Separated into seven stages, a different area of Japan is represented as Super Ace makes its way toward Japan. There are four bosses appearing in 1942 that must be defeated before you can proceed. Each one of these boss level fighter planes must be struck two or more times, depending on size and difficulty. Anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 points are dispersed for boss plane kill.

Every standard enemy plane is modeled after an iconic World War II era Japanese fighter jet. Opponent planes are grouped into three general categories that are based on size. The largest planes yield a minimum of 2,000 points. Every consecutive win is increased by an additional 500 points, but this bonus caps out at 9,000. This point structure makes flawless game play critical, especially in the single-player arcade version.

Shooting down mid-sized Japanese fighter planes are worth either 1,000 or 1,500 points. The smallest opponent jets are easily recognized because of their bright red color. While these planes are only valued at 100 points each, there are multiple ways to win larger bonuses. In larger formations made up of small enemy planes, there is a bonus of 1,000 points when all are destroyed. The bonus for completely destroying smaller red plane groups is 500 points.

Special Features

More challenging missions and levels are usually completed with the assistance of several in-game add-ons called 'power-ups.' The six power-ups available are; call for escort planes, receive additional loops and rolls or quad fire, gain extra lives, shoot all opponents and cease enemy fire. Players with high shooting accuracy scores will get a bonus of up to 20,000 points at the end of every level. A 10 million point bonus is given to all players that beat 1942, regardless of shooting averages or total score.

Another special bonus that appears in 1942 is the Yashichi. This bonus can only be claimed when a small sized enemy plane is eliminated and the Yashichi game icon appears. No action needs to be taken as the Yashichi will rotate quickly, disappear and a 5,000 bonus will be added onto the current point total.


Super Ace – The default fighter plane. It's color is bright green with red accents. Moving up and down and left to right, Super Ace can only shoot in one direction.

Power-ups – Power-ups appear randomly on nearly every level.

Escort planes – Two smaller airplanes will tail the Super Ace, firing upon enemies when the shoot button is engaged.

Enemy aircrafts – These planes can be large or small in size, but almost always appear in groups. All opposing jets must be shot down and destroyed.

How to Play 1942

Midway – Levels 32 to 29

On level 32, the game starts out with U.S. fighter jet Super Ace flying over Midway Islands. The pilot of Super Ace's mission is to reach the center of Tokyo to wipe out Japan's airplane fleet. A number of small enemy planes appear in succession, coming in randomized formations of five or ten airplanes. The escort fighter jet and quad fire power-up bonuses are available on these levels as well.

If you are hit by a Japanese fighter plane or any bullets, the level will restart until you run out of extra lives. At the end of level 29, bonuses are awarded and level 28 commences.

Marshall – Levels 28 to 25

Small, large and mid-sized Japanese airplanes appear at random at the beginning of level 28. For each level, a predetermined number of enemies must be completed, but they can come in virtually any form. After level 27 is finished, a boss plane must be defeated on level 26. Successful players get 20,000 points for shooting down the level 26 boss. Level 25 wraps up the Marshall stage of 1942.

Attu – Levels 24 to 21

No bosses are included in the Attu stage, but plenty of enemy fighter planes still remain. Four levels must be successfully navigated to get to the next stage. Starting with the 24th level, the Super Ace has to take on dozens of enemy planes until the 21st level is reached. At the end of level 21, the Rabaul stage starts.

Rabaul – Levels 20 to 17

Play levels 20 and 19 as normal. There is a special group of red enemy airplanes on level 20. If all planes are shot down, an extra life will be awarded. On level 18 is another boss plane that yields 30,000 points when defeated. When level 17 is cleared, you can move onto the Leyte stage.

Leyte – Levels 16 to 13

A large number of power-ups are available on levels 16, 15, 14 and 13, which will make completing this stage of 1942 easier as there is no boss. As more large and mid-sized enemy planes will be present on these levels, you will need to fire more accurate shots. Most enemy jets will require at least two or three hits to be eliminated. The completion of level 13 signals the end of the Leyte stage.

Saipan – Levels 12 to 9

Levels 12 to 9 are a little more difficult when compared to previous stages, but there are only a few more bosses left. On level 10, a large enemy boss plane must be hit with multiple bullets before you can win the 40,000 point completion bonus. Several power-ups can be picked up on almost every level in the Saipan stage. Extra lives and escort plane power-ups should be reserved for the final two stages.

Iwojima – Levels 8 to 5

During the Iwojima stage, you won't encounter any boss planes, but you will have many enemy plane formations coming at you fast and hard. Using the two guns welded to the bottom of the Super Ace, you will need to maneuver quickly while simultaneously hitting everything in sight. Complete level 5 so that you can get to the very last part of 1942.

Okinawa – Levels 4 to 1

Every type of enemy airplane included in 1942 will make an appearance during the Okinawa stage. On level 4, you will have the opportunity to gain one last extra life. Level 2 is difficult, and it is also the last boss you will have to defeat. Use all of your power-ups to gain the advantage and collect the 50,000 completion bonus. Level 1 is the last level and 10 million extra points are gained as soon as you beat the game. Your final score will be tabulated, and you will have the opportunity to add your name to the last of high scores if you did well.

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