is a pure Contra
game in every sense. There are nine levels with all but the last two available to everyone, including the weenies that play on Easy. Heh... if you know Contra
, you know that there are no gaming weenies alive that can even hold their own on the easiest setting. This game is pure, raw adrenaline for fans of retro games that aren't afraid of constant humiliation and the demand on their twitchiest and last nerve. This is the Olympics of side-scrolling shooting games and a career-defining moment when you actually watch the credits roll. The option to play with another player wirelessly is the best thing going for this version, since the two-player co-op was a great feature of previous games. The fun of racing for point, pick-ups, and glory is unparalleled in today's games that act like Deathmatch was God's gift to gaming. The truth couldn't be further away from this, and once you pick up Contra 4
for a few minutes, you'll understand. Innocent this may look with its sprites and simple graphics, but simple it most definitely is not.
The story you'll need to know in order to play is that Earth is once again being menaced and it's up to you to clean house. This involves choosing one of many characters for nothing more than cosmetic appeal and grabbing as many large weapons as you can find. A scorched-earth policy is best when dealing with hostile aliens and this is no time to get soft like those kids in that movie about the alien they kept in their closet. None of the bad guys in Contra 4 are likely to ride in your bicycle basket when they can enjoy themselves so much more putting bullets into your body. Some features that really count in this version include the ability to stop play and return later with only a lost continue as a penalty. The grappling-hook feature is a nice way to add some elevation to the game and make use of both screens. The touch-screen doesn't play a pivotal role in Contra 4, which is a shame. The controls are kept simple, and with only a few changes from previous installments. The ability to hold down a shoulder button and freeze your character for more accurate shooting is great. The upgrade weapons are even greater and are essential to ending boss battles quickly. Timing is the only friend you'll have in addition to weapon upgrades... Get it right or get another game, basically. The rewards are worth trying harder. After completing the game, you'll open up a Challenges Mode, which gives you specific tasks to accomplish that really test your ability. If you prove worthy, you'll find that winning challenges opens up huge amounts of additional game, including (gasp!) two more Contra games. And you thought this wasn't a "greatest hits" title... Super C and the original Contra end up being available for play after you work your way through a sufficient number of challenges. This is a huge plus for gamers that came looking for new Contra action and never expected to get a three-for-one. Score!