Konami’s blockbuster arcade run-and-gun came to consoles in 1988 and immediately sparked a co-operative gaming revolution. Contra was one of the few NES games of its time to offer two-player simultaneous play. There’s something special about marching with a friend through a jungle and spraying bullets at everything that moves.

Contra is very much a product of its time: two hulking Ramboesque characters toting machineguns and defending humanity from an alien invasion is the predominant image here. There’s about as much subtlety in this game as there is at the end of a 57 mm cannon, but that’s really where you have the most fun. Every stage is guaranteed to be jam-packed with things to shoot—on the ground, in the air, and wherever else. Enemies pour out of hidey-holes and run blindly at you, serving as little more than target practice for that awesome gun upgrade you just grabbed two screens ago. But you must be careful not to underestimate Contra’s difficulty. Enemies can quickly swarm the screen, making maneuvering and jumping tricky. This is especially true during the numerous platforming segments that you’ll encounter. While it’s not too hard to land a jump from one platform to another, you’ll have to do it with enemy fire raining down from above. Your best bet is to clear the screen of all hostiles first, and that’s where Contra’s huge weapon inventory comes into play with lasers, rapid-fire machineguns, and the legendary Spread Shot. At the end of each stage, you’ll fight a boss that’d fit right in with the campiest of alien movies. If the game proves too difficult, you can punch in the famous “Konami code” for 30 lives. But should you persevere without it, you’re in for a frenetic blitz through eight formidable stages and a great time.

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Author: wyldephang
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Parent Category: Nintendo
Category: NES