1943 represents some of the finest shooter action available for the NES. It says something that I still pick up 1943 on occasion, when it's been 10+ years since the game came out.
The premise of 1943 is simple: If it moves, shoot it. If it's on the screen, it's probably not your friend. Like most top-down shooters, this game features a healthy amount of special weapons and "power ups".
You can power up your plane directly and indirectly. As you play the game, you'll run across special items that will allow you to choose what features your plane should have, thus indrectly powering up your plane. Through the game, if you destroy red planes, you'll get more direct power ups, in the form of weapons and plane power.
1943 is best played with a NES Max, because the Max has the feel of a regular controller, with the addition of Turbo buttons (A WELCOME addition to 1943, let me tell you!).
Over the years, my obsession with 1943 has not abated. I give 1943 a 10 - it's addictive, fun, and truly a great game.