Posted on July 25, 2008,

XBLA Hors D’oeuvres: 1942: Joint Strike

Gaming Today

XBLA Hors D’oeurvres are a weekly feature where I play the latest Xbox Live Arcade game – in trial form – for no more than 10 minutes, and then summarize my impressions of the game based upon only that.

The 194X games hold a special place in my heart, as they were among the first shooters I ever played — certainly the first vertically scrolling shooter. Naturally, an updated version of 1942 seemed like it was right up my alley, particularly considering the number of games similar to this that I play, I’d be glad to get the nostlagia factor in there.

Capcom wasn’t promising the world with Joint Strike, but basically just what you think when you hear “updated version.” I thought that’s all I wanted, but as it turns out, I was very wrong.

Gaming Today

It should be said that I play a lot of shooters nowadays, and while you could argue that I’m somewhat burned out, I don’t believe I am. I play Super Stardust HD on an almost daily basis, and I play any number of games — from Assault Heroes to Geometry Wars — pretty regularly on 360.

So perhaps it’s due to that fact that I find myself balking while playing Joint Strike. The game looks and sounds great, with the same aesthetic quality that makes the old 194X games stick out in my mind to this day. But everything about the gameplay feels overly simple, like Capcom hasn’t decided to join the 21st century.

Gaming Today

Joint Strike isn’t meant to be a dual/twin-stick shooter like the games I mentioned, so don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with this Galaga-style shooting. But in this day and age, you expect there to be more to a game than dodging fire and pressing a button. Take Ikaruga, for instance, which has you swapping between black and white to avoid enemy fire and damage enemies. That’s far more engaging than collecting medals and getting the occasional power-up.

One of the only new features that Capcom has talked about in press release are the new titular Joint Strike attacks, which I couldn’t try out since I was flying solo. Perhaps that adds something to the mix that I’m not experiencing on my own, but I can’t help but think that you’re in for a watered down experience whether you’re playing with a buddy or not.

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