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Review – Contra (NES)

Contra, why would we want to review a game that is like ten Twenty years old? I mean why not do the SIMs Second Life? or Lord of Destruction World of Warcraft? Or Half Life Half Life 2 – Episode 2, or whatever, the list goes on, the idea is why not something current. Well sometimes a game is just too go to be considered too old. When you can spend an entire night playing a ten year old game over and over you know it’s got to be a pretty decent game.

You see back before 3D everything there was 2D everything. Back before war games were all first person shooters, they were side scrolling platform games. The platform game is almost a lost art. Occasionally they still get released, great games like Strider 2, Silhoette Mirage or of course the immortal (literally) Mega Man series. Or you could also count the 1000 pieces of shit cranked out daily for the GBC (Trust only those made by Komani and Capcom, and sometimes not even those). Anyway Contra beget Wolfenstein, beget Doom, beget Half Life . When someone asks what the best game ever is be sure to reply River City Ransom, but when someone asks what the third best game ever is be sure to say Contra (Half Life being number 2 duh.)

So the plot for Contra is, you are the military’s elite commando and its your job to combat the entire Red Faction army. At least its probably something like that, I don’t have the instruction book around and there is no real in game story. For 6 levels you fight Red Faction forces and break into their main base only to suddenly be fighting a bunch of aliens. Where the hell did that plot point come from?

Anyway after killing the Alien leader, A.K.A. the “Obligatory Konami Brain Boss” you helicopter off the island (where did the chopper come from anyway?) and the island explodes. You can always tell a great game because at the end the hero will fly away in a helicopter or a space ship as the island or planet they were fighting on completely blows up for no real apparent reason. Then you’ll get a nice congratulatory message about saving the world then the credits roll then the best part comes. The game starts over. Back to level one.

There are literally hundreds of these Red Faction islands around, all of them identical except that each time the soldier will have a bit more ammo (as in they shoot you more). After blowing up one island where does the chopper go? Why it flies off to the next island. Good work soldier, you saved the universe, from one threat, now it’s back to work on the next island. This gives the game great replay value. Just put in the KONAMI CODE for 30 lives then see home many times you can complete the game before loosing all 30 lives and 3 continues (90 lives +extra lives from points). How’s THAT for a great way to waste an afternoon or a whole day.

But wait, what about your buddy, he want’s some of the action too? Well sometimes the military sends its marines in by the pairs. You can play two players in this game simultaneously. Which is twice the fun, expect when the Spread gun appears, because everyone always wants the spread gun.

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