Zerodiv continues to unravel its back catalog of Psikyo shooters made in the ’90s. The latest serving is a sequel to a game that previously made its way to the eShop months ago. Somewhat oddly named Strikers 1945 II, it hails from Japanese arcades; if you’re from North America, though, you may have seen it on the Playstation in 2001…as “Strikers 1945“. These localized releases have never gotten any less confusing back then, have they? Like the case with Gunbird, this Nintendo Switch port doesn’t repeat those mistakes in letting people know what the game is. This is Strikers 1945 II and labeled as such, through and through.
Arcade shoot ’em ups like these never cease to be high-energy and successfully choreographed with bullets and enemy ships alike. Strikers 1945 II is no exception to the rule. It takes as much advantage of yesteryear’s tech as possible, and it can be quite the visual spectacle as a result of that.
Frankly, I’ve heard more blood-pumping music come out of the SNES version of Super Off Road. Both Strikers 1945 games so far have featured a somewhat tamer soundtrack in comparison. It’s still upbeat, just downplayed by the lack of depth in its “instruments”. Well, there is also the fact that the rapid gunfire and explosions will eclipse the music anyway.
This is a bullet-hell shoot ’em up consisting of a series of intense levels that last less than an hour in total. Controls contain analog movement, a fire button, and a call you can use at limited instances to trigger a multitude of fighter planes lining up to temporarily shoot baddies for you. Although it’s as short as arcade games often come to be, it’s filled with baddies to shoot off, giant boss battles, and weapon collectibles to upgrade your ship with stronger firepower and missiles. If it’s too hard for you, you can always change the settings in the typical menu Zerodiv has for these ports and increase continues and lives to the max among other things.
If this sounds a lot like my description of the first Strikers 1945, that’s because…well, it is. Strikers 1945 II is a textbook example of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This game follows along what its predecessor established note for note. While it has its positive qualities, it also is the game’s biggest weakness. It’s really more of the same thing, but with different level backgrounds and enemy patterns.
In that regard, if you did enjoy Strikers 1945 to begin with, you’ll get a kick out of this sequel as well. It’s also not a bad pick for those getting into the series since you could go with or without one or the other. I just wish there was enough in the game to give it more of its own identity.