Contra review

If you were to ask someone what the classic NES games are, they would say Punch Out, Duck Hunt, Mario, Metroid, and Contra. I really hate to only review one classic game because they all gave me such joy. But there is one game that makes it possible for you to beat and made you want to play it repeatedly, that game is Contra.

First, let me say this. Why did games on the NES not want you to beat them? The NES system itself was an Ironman of sorts. Every time you started the system up, if that were possible, you were in for hours of mindless button mashing with no end in sight. I have a theory that 70% of games actually had no end boss at all. The developers knew you would never make it far enough. I also believe the NES had a fail-safe switch in it. If you played for over 2 1/2 hours at one time the Nintendo would just automatically reset or flash the blue screen. This is followed by spouts of swearing and the obligatory throwing of the controller across the room. I mean, what was the deal Nintendo? Why couldn't you just put saving points in your games? Would it have been that hard?

Anyways back to Contra. The two main interchangeable characters are basically 8 pixel incarnations of Arnold from Predator and Sylvester from Rambo. What better leads could you ask for when taking on invading alien swarms.

The game is made for two player action, but only play with someone who is moderately selfless. Every once in a while floating wings fly above and drop new weapons. Spread gun is my favorite. But if your partner sees it first, he will grab it. Even if he already has the spread gun. Jerk.

Because nintendo games are squarely based on reality, your characters die from one hit by anything. Most of the time it's when an enemy soldier runs right into you. Apparently you're really OCD and die of shock when someone gets into your personal space. Makes sense right?

The story is that there is no story. It just begins with two mercenaries sent to shoot every thing with laser/spread guns in order to kill the alien at the end. Don't ask me why but you kill about 9 million soldiers along the way. Are the soldiers working for the alien? Maybe this 8 bit game is deeper than I thought. Sorry to be a spoiler, but apparently when you kill the alien the island blows up and you fly away on a helicopter. I love when things blow up for no reason!

The main thing I remember from the game and one thing I'll never be able to get out of my mind is the Konami code. This code is the only way anyone could ever beat Contra. The game only gives you 3 lives. It's not a long game but 3 lives could be lost by a dog running into your character. After inputting "The Code" you would immediately get 30 lives. If you couldn't beat the game in 30 lives you should be playing your old Atari.

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Select, Start

Music to my ears!

I give Contra 4 1-UP stars.


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