If anyone were to ask me what my favorite NES game is, I’d gladly answer 1943. The music is fantastic, flying your P-38 to shoot down hostiles is very satisfying, and being able to upgrade your ship’s offense and defense power, what weapons you can use and how much of it, was something not seen to often in games. Of course I’d play the Arcade version over it since it has co-op better music, but the NES version was a gem that shouldn’t be missed for shoot-em-up fans.
In 1987 and later in 1991, a spinoff called 1943 Kai was made for Japanese Arcade and later for the PC Engine. It’s a dream come true. It was half Arcade port and half Original. It brought the co-op that I wanted, When you collect a power-up, it becomes maxed out, in the original 1943 you need to collect the same one twice so it could have more range and power.
The “story” to this is pretty much similar to 1943. Instead of flying a P-38, you fly a Biplane. You play as a pilot and your goal is take down the Japanese Air Fleet that bombed an American aircraft carrier. Most of the stages are air-to-sea battles where you’ll face off against either a giant battleship or an aircraft carrier. Some stages you’ll either fight against a large squad of Japanese bombers or a Mother Bomber.
Like I said before, this is half Arcade port and half Original. Halfway into the game your ship gets an upgrade, making it look similar to the P-38 from the first game. Not only does your plane change, but so does the music and the difficulty, enemies are more aggressive. Not only are you still fighting aircraft carriers, but also an enemy fortress and armored convoy called the Battle Train.
I would love to own the PC Engine version, I own the Arcade version on the Capcom Classic Collection. It’s also available on the Capcom Generations 1. If you love shooters, the 1943 games are worth looking into.