Continuing the legacy which stretches back to the good old days of eight bit gaming comes a timely re-introduction of the contra series to an all new generation. So can old school hardcore action still cut it in the days of Max Payne and endless tomb raider sequels? Well in part at least you bet it can.
The next generation of the contra series sticks to the formulae laid down by its predecessors. What we get is a classic side scrolling shooter updated with a 3D graphics engine to make everything look ever so lovely. The screen is filled with all manner of projectiles aimed at you all at once. This coupled with some weird as hell aliens and monsters all adds up to a very satisfying and stylish look to the new incantation of the contra franchise.
Just in case the adrenaline level wasn’t quite high enough the relentless heavy metal soundtrack is cranked up to a level that threatens to blow the speakers straight out of your TV. Add to this some of the most satisfying explosions in gaming history and you find yourself in a game designed to get your heart pumping and your trigger finger itching for more and more.
Gameplay wise you would be hard pressed to find a more responsive control system. Which is lucky as you get about point five of a second to avoid incoming fire as some big creation bursts onto the scene. This coupled with some smart innovations such as being able to lock your fire in a certain position and being able to change quickly between three different styles of weaponry help give you a fighting chance. If only a little one.
The main problem with Contra is the fact that although it’s a very difficult game, it just isn’t very long. You get seven levels, each containing some over the top antics involving flying on a missile, or chasing a train on a high speed bike or even destroying a full screen size killer robot jet skier. But there just isn’t enough of it. The other problem is that while in lifespan of the PS2 Contra was a breath of fresh air, the Super Nintendo version is still better in terms of imagination.
Overall, even though it’s short we would prefer to play this again than play a twenty hour version of whatever the next generic platformer/adventure/fps is. It’s over the top, loud and violent. Basically it’s Contra running on a PS2.