Pearl Harbor Trilogy - 1941: Red Sun Rising (2010)

Hi peeps, Nate here once more with a quick video game review. Oh, stop, it's my site, I'll post whatever I want. Today I'll be checking out another in my series of WWII flying games for my son's Wii, which is easy to do because there's only a handful out there for that notoriously Mario-centric system. Red Sun Rising is actually a Wiiware game, available only via download from the Wii Store, it cost me a couple bucks. From what I've read, it was supposed to be the first part of a multi-episode series, but the developer went belly-up after the first one.

Got it, boss!

And that's a shame, because it's a damn fun game. Stripped of any fluff or filler, the casual-style gameplay is fast and exciting, just flying around at breakneck speeds blowing shit up, can't ask for more than that. Really, don't ask for more than that because you won't be getting it. It's obviously made on the ultra cheap, the graphics are early 1990s chunky and the aircraft models are simple and drab, but it's clear that they did the best they could with the money they had. I wish there were more cheap and simple games like this out there, but everything now seems bloated and full of microtransactions and obnoxious 12-year olds fragging you online. Yes, I'm looking at you, War Thunder.

Get in there and scrum it up.

The flight dynamics are pretty no-stress arcadey, but you get the basic feel of dogfighting pretty quick and the enemy AI never seems like it's either too soft or too hard (mostly, sometimes it's a killer). The Wiimote-and-Nunchuk control scheme is easypeasy and you can never run out of bullets so just keep turning and shooting and you'll make it through. The missions have some welcome variety, if not length, and each feels sufficiently different from the last to make one-sitting play-throughs enjoyable. There are two campaign paths, either Japanese or American, taking you through 12/1941 at Pearl Harbor to 5/1942 at Midway, with some detours along the way to either defend/attack Australia, fight in the Coral Sea, and sink some troopships in the shark-infested waters off Midway.

You can rotate the camera view for some nice visuals.

Some of the best fun to be had in the game is defending your carriers against determined enemy attack. The bombers are accurate and relentless and you will indeed struggle at times fending them off, watching with angst as your carrier's health bar is knocked down to nothing. Very rewarding feeling when you win a challenging mission like this. Less rewarding are the requisite ground-attack bombing missions, which are a boring drag when what you really want to do on your lunch hour is shoot down Zeros, not bomb tanks. I don't know why game designers think we need a mix of mission types in these games, sometimes variety is not a good thing.

The divebombers are too slow!

What else did I notice? I like (a lot!) that you get to fly some of the early war planes, such as the P-40 Warhawk and the F4F Wildcat, too many other games rush you along to the more advanced late war models. Of course, since the other episodes in the series were canceled, you might have expected to level-up in later games to better planes. The Japanese also get nothing more advanced than 1930s vintage Vals, Kates, and Zeros, though I must say the Zero is a dancer in the sky.

Wildcat never gets the love.

Surely worth the time and effort.

The End.

Written in July 2016 by Nathan Decker.

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