This game may not have Contra in it’s name but don’t let that fool you, this is Contra. A prequel to the Sega Genesis Contra: Hard Corps, the game places you as an elite fighter who is part of the Resistance against the oppressive empire known as the Commonwealth. For $15.00 or 1200 Microsoft points, you get access to the main game and two of the four protagonist, Bahumat and Crystal.
Anyone who has played Contra will immediately feel at home with these two characters. They are equipped with your standard machine gun that can be upgraded with different power ups: the spread shot, the heat gun (a flamethrower that can be charged), the machine gun, the chain laser (homes in on enemy targets) and the crush gun (shoots arcing grenades). You can carry two power ups at a time and switch between them with the push of a button. If you get hit you lose your currently equipped power up. New moves have been added including the ability to reflect enemy projectiles back at them.
The game is packed with a variety of modes, the two biggest being Arcade Mode and Rising Mode. Arcade Mode is your standard Contra game with a high level of difficulty and your character has access to all the new moves from the start. In Rising Mode, players collect points from defeating enemies which are then used to purchase character abilities, increase life, and customizations for weapons, armor.
This game is 2D at it’s best. The characters and enemies look like they were lifted straight out of Japanese anime. Bright, colorful and well-animated this game is a feast for the eyes. There have been complaints that the backgrounds are to bland but I don’t think that’s a problem. With the intense action of this game you are so focused on your player character and the enemies that you don’t have time to look at the backgrounds.
To truly enjoy this game as a whole Konami forces you to pay for two more characters, Sayuri and Harley Daniels. It brings the price of the game up to $20. This is still a great price when you think about how a new Contra game would run you over $40 back in the day. Harley comes to the game with one extra bar of health and receives a discount when purchasing health and weapons. Sayuri comes to the game wielding a katana , which brings a new play style to the game along with her own special set of moves.
Online mode works well. It’s got the standard Quick Match, Custom Match and Create Match options. I created a room and found someone in about 30 seconds. I experienced very little lag and had a blast. This game is tough as nails and having a second player makes the game slightly easier.
This is another game I highly recommend picking up. It’s old-school fun with a fresh coat of paint and challenging as hell. Available now on Xbox Live and coming soon to the Playstation Network.