One of the most popular arcade games has to be 1942. Set in the time of the second world war, 1942 allowed you to command a war plane against hundreds of enemies in a scrolling format forcing you to avoid bullets and other machinery from the enemy war machine. The game was so popular two other games were made in the same mould, 1945 and a sequel to 1945. Play It is a company bringing many unique titles to the PS2 console at a budget price but this is perhaps their best game published yet. Not because its impressive graphically or revolutionizes the gaming industry, but because its an arcade perfect port of a great arcade game series when it was in its prime.
The storyline behind the two games is perhaps the weakest side of the title but this game is all about the gameplay and you really won't care exactly what is happening behind the scenes. Basically the German war machine has created some super weapons that must be destroyed that somewhat resemble transforming robots and giant like structures such as airships. Sounds easy enough except for the fact that hundreds of enemy planes are defending it and other machinery as well. Before the two games are through, you will encounter a few twists and gameplay sections that will seem completely ridiculous considering the game is meant to be set in 1945.
The gameplay of the two games is basically a side scrolling shooter like R-type and other games of that nature. You take command of one of a number of planes with different weapons and abilities and proceed to blast your way through hundreds of enemies to the main boss before taking them down. You have a limited number of lives, and when your planes are destroyed, the mission is restarted just like in the arcade versions of the game. There is eight difficulty levels to select from and on the lowest difficulty the game is quite easy but even so will still test your mettle at some quick reflexes to avoid enemy fire. The higher difficulty levels add replay value to the game and like most side scrolling games, the replay value comes from beating your score rather then unlocking new modes etc.
There are a few things about the two games that may disappoint some people. The first being that a lot of the second game seems very close in nature such as mission goals or bosses to the first game. This isn't a major problem considering its a budget compilation of two great arcade games, but it may lessen the desire to play through the second game. However there are sections which differ from the original which are definitely worth playing through. The other is the fact that it is a complete arcade port with the only change being the control system. For a budget title its hard to expect more than that but those who aren't familiar of the original arcade games may find this disappointing. Also the memory card is not used and you have to use the DPAD not analogue sticks to control the plane.
Each game has a set of planes to choose from and each plane has different abilities. These aren't fictional planes either with some truly famous world war II planes featured such as the Spitfire. Other planes include the Mustang, Zero Fighter and others. As you progress through each level you will unlock pickups such as extra weaponry including missiles or other items to help you. Each plane also has a unique super weapon which can be very effective against the bosses such as the ability to call in other squadrons or a gigantic bomb to deal out some massive damage.
The game moves at a rather quick pace and progresses through many different environments such as battles over the ocean, in the arctic, in army bases and at one point even in outer space giving the game a very science fiction feel and moving it completely away from being a realistic World War II game. As mentioned before the game is a perfect arcade port and therefore the graphic quality has been untouched so you can expect sprites and 2D backgrounds as the most impressive aspect here. However with that said the game doesn't flinch in terms of framerate at all and considering the amount of action on the screen at once this is a key aspect to the game being such a successful port. You can also change the way the game is displayed on screen either as a top down scroller, or true to the arcade game as a side scroller with inverted controls. Sound effects basically comprise of explosions and gunfire and while the game does contain a upbeat, catchy soundtrack considering the amount of explosions and battles going on at once you will hardly ever hear it. A second player can join in the game at any time by pressing start for some co-operative play.
1945 I and II brings some of the most famous side scrolling action games to your PS2 console. While it doesn't feature technology like the flight simulators of today, that's not who this game is aimed at. This game is aimed at people who remember pouring money into machines to play games like this and 1942 and want to play it again, however with that said the quality of the gameplay has stood the test of time so even those who have never encountered the games before may get a kick out of them every once in a while.