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  • Konami
  • Konami
  • Action - Shooter - General, Other
  • February 1988
  • 2
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  • 2
  • $15.00
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8  |  Contra Review (NES)
larsoncc , 10/21/2003 8:21:27 AM

After last night's debacle with Captain Comic, I felt it necessary to review a game that doesn't suck. I'm only human, after all. PLEASE don't make me go back to Captain Comic, I beg of you...

Title Screen (pic) The game that I decided to play to restore my sanity was Contra (Konami). None of this "SUPER C" or "Contra 3" - I just need some straight up Contra action. Two things that I forgot about Contra:

  1. Contra is HARD without cheating. Especially when you can't remember all of the enemies' locations (hey, it's been a couple of years since I've played Contra, at very least). It took me a good 10 minutes to get to the first stupid fort thingy without dying.
  2. Cheating is harder than I remember. You've got maybe 2 seconds to type Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, B, A, Start. You've got to do this before the title screen scrolls completely to the left, so its no cake walk. I reset the NES so much that I thought I was going to break the button.

Those of you who aren't a part of the Nintendo generation might know Contra as that really difficult game on the PS2 with the heavy metal music. Well, this is the original, and let me assure you, it's just as hard, and the play mechanics are almost identical. The only major differences after all these years are a) you get to use one weapon at a time, and b) the camera angle doesn't switch nearly as much. The fact that the game has hardly changed should say volumes about how incredible this game seemed when it first came out. For a shooter fan in 1988, there simply was no other choice.

So, does that mean it stands the test of time unscathed? Well, no, unfortunately, it doesn't. Contra is not about enemy intelligence. Generally speaking, the enemies in the game either sit there, or run in patterns. They are relatively easily dispatched. What makes the game is pattern recognition. Specifically, the pattern of the bullets on screen dictate where you need to be and how you need to move. To visualize what your mind is going through when you play Contra, pull out that old "Memory" card game, and complete the game in less than two minutes. Do this without making more than three mistakes. If you happen to make three mistakes, shuffle all the cards and start over from scratch.

Two minutes into the game, and I've only got one guy (pic) When in buildings, Contra's play switches from side-scrolling action to a pseudo first-person shooter. Obviously, the graphics for the side scrolling action are a lot "better" than the graphics for the action sequences inside buildings. The first-person action hasn't aged well. Let's put it this way - it's no Unreal Tournament.

But to me, that doesn't really matter. I've always enjoyed what Contra looks like, plays like, and how incredibly fast it is. Contra is definitely a safe bet when it comes to buying a classic game for the NES. Even if you hadn't played the NES before, Contra is a good game if you're an action fan. Wow - I can't believe I just wrote that last sentence. Sometimes I need to look around and realize that, well, I'm getting older, and new gamers might not have even PLAYED a NES. *shudder*

Well, before I fall asleep and my dentures fall out, I suppose I should get to the rating, and the why behind it:

I give Contra an 8/10. (B) - Contra's action is legendary, and the controls are dead on.

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