1942 is the first game in Capcom's 194X shoot 'em up series. The game is known for being Capcom's first major arcade hit and its success led to several sequels.
It is a vertically scrolling shooter in which the player pilots a plane named the Super Ace. The Super Ace was designed based on the actual Lockheed P-38 Lightning jet.
1942 is set in the Pacific theater of World War II and the goal of of the game is to fly to Tokyo and destroy the Japanese air fleet.
The player can shoot at enemy planes, and, if available, use a retreat command in which the plane does a loop and avoids all incoming enemy fire.
The game features 32 stages which end with the player reaching a aircraft carrier. There are four bosses through the game.
1942 features a 2 player mode in which both players take turns playing through the stages. A continue option allows a player to return to the last stage they were on before dying.
The original arcade version of 1942 is included on Capcom Classics Collection for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, as well as Capcom Classics Collection: Reloaded for the PlayStation Portable. The game is followed up but the NES port of 1943
, and 1942 Joint Strike available on the PS3 (through PSN) and the Xbox 360 (through XBLA).