1941 - Counter Attack stands alone from all other shooter on the SuperGrafx; which is every single game other then Ghouls and Ghosts. It stands alone for one specific reason, it isn't one hit and your dead like all the rest. 1941 also improves on what was an issue with 1942 and 1943... the length. Specifically what they did was took the old formula of 20 similar levels with the same boss at the end of each and revamped it to be only 6 very different levels, each with their own individual challenges and bosses.
A fight through the first level only took two minutes, a lot shorter then I had hoped for, and that's including the boss battle, which ironically was the same one used in 1942 and 1943. They did however upgrade the Leviathan to be much bigger, and more intimidating, which is all a ruse, being that it took a matter of seconds to defeat. Fortunately that is where the similarities end and the game takes a turn for the better.
Each level following is more diverse than the last. Whether you are going super sonic above a river in level two, infiltrating an enemy installation in stage three, flying through a city landscape in stage four or fighting the toughest Leviathan ever in level five, this game delivers the goods. Aesthetics and game play value are not an issue with this game; it is an all around enjoyable and challenging experience, what with the SuperGrafx amazing graphics and sound capabilities of its time.
The sounds of this game are very diverse, from a bullet to a missile to an enemy unit gaining on you, or being on the brink of death, this game has a sound for it, not the same old blast for every explosion on the screen. The sound quality really does help illustrate the felling that you are in a diverse and different zone each level.
But this review ain't over yet, some of you are probably still wondering about level six, a level so lengthy and very difficult, it needed its own paragraph. You must travel over grasslands, and through fortresses, and over railroad tracks, eventually going far into the sky while fighting hundreds if not thousands of enemies, along with four... yes that's right FOUR bosses. Even to the most skilled, avoiding damage is a near impossible task. The screen will be filled with so much enemies, it will be hard to keep track of your self. This is the most challenging game I've played since Ikaruga.
Luckily you won't be left helpless as the game gets progressively more challenging. As mentioned before you can get hit a few times before you blow up, 4 to be exact. Your health bar is composed of three segments, each hit will change the color of the segment, and the final hit will blow you up. Fortunately as you advance through the game, your life bar will increase, making you more durable to your foes.
While the weapons upgrades are pretty slim, there are a few added extras that make it worthwhile. Heath pick ups are something I don't see to often in a shooter, but they are there, anything from a full charge to a one hit power up. As for special attacks, it looks like Capcom is using their tried and true Final Fight formula. In order to use your special attack, you must sacrifice a life bar segment. Most times I found this to not be in my favor, but it came in handy every so often.
Sometimes you may think that Capcom has it out to get you in this game, making it near impossible to get past some points, Attacking from behind seems to be a cheap tactic used by the enemy quite a bit, and being that you can't fire behind you, you are left helpless to try and get behind them to take them out before the next wave. It just seems like a logical idea to allow the player some way of blasting behind them in a game where so many enemies come up on you from the rear, instead of forcing the player to maneuver behind them.
While my only issue with the game is the above mentioned defenseless rear, the game sure makes up for it everywhere else. This game isn't the best in the series, but it sure is worthy enough to stand on its own, and outshine its predecessors. This is an all out and well deserved makeover for the series.