Quinta-feira, 28 de Agosto de 2008
So, less than a week ago I decided to play every Contra game released to date (not every port of every game, although I did play more than 1 version of some games) and today I can proudly say that I successfully accomplished this. Yeay! So, if you're curious about this series but don't have the time/patience/interest to do the same yourself, here's a summary of what I think about every game for your information (note that after each title I only indicate the version(s) I played, not every single version made):
The original game, this is what most people remember when they think of Contra. I bet it was a great game back in the day, but unfortunately I never played it back then and nowadays I can honestly say it sucks! Yes, I said it! Hit me, Contra fanboys! Ok, seriously now, that's indeed my opinion about it. The graphics suck, the gameplay is competent but not that great, the "3D" areas suck, the game is hard as hell and after you lose there's not many reasons to come back.
Super C (NES)
The follow up to the original game, it's even more difficult and although there's a couple innovations, for the most time it feels just like Contra all over again but, for some reason, slightly worse.
Contra Force (NES)
Well, if the previous games sucked, this one sucks 100x more! Why? Because it wasn't even supposed to be a fucking Contra game! Like Silent Hill 4 or Pirates of the Caribbean, CF was going to be an original game, but instead they decided to give it the name of a famous license. The result? A game that barely has anything to do with the other games in the series. It's slow, the gameplay is not that much fun and overall it just plain sucks.
(note that the slowdown is not from the video or the emulator, the game is really that slow)
Operation C (Gameboy)
Now, this is a good game for a change! The graphics are what you can expect from a gameboy, with that unique design in black and white. Unlike the previous games, the controls seem fluid and natural, and for a portable game, this one kicked ass.
Contra III: The Alien Wars (SNES, Gameboy Advance)
Some people consider this the best Contra game ever. I wouldn't got that far, but it's definitely in my top 4 (what? I couldn't just pick 3 games...). The graphics are amazing, the gameplay is refined and addictive, the weapons are awesome and overall it's just an awesome game. One thing I didn't like though, and that was the over-head stages, where you have to manually rotate the camera around the character, because not only are those sections slow-paced and boring, that camera thing makes me dizzy.
The GBA port is pretty much the same with 2 big diferences: the graphics were toned down (although still pretty good for a GBA) and the over-head stages were replaced with levels from Contra: Hard Corps, which is good in my opinion, but many people didn't like that.
Contra: Hard Corps (Mega Drive)
For me this one is even better than C3. The graphics pushed the limits of the system and the gameplay was pretty evolved compared to the previous games. For the first time you had 4 characters to choose from, each with their own set of weapons, you could carry 4 weapons at the same time and there were multiple paths you could take, leading to different levels and diferent endings. There were 6 endings, and the game was so addicitve that I ended up watching them all, and they were worth it.
The only bad thing about this game is the difficulty, or so I hear. It's regarded as the hardest Contra ever, but I can't really say. Why? Because I'm a fucking cheater, that's why! Yeah, I know this isn't something pretty to say, but even the easiest C games are too damn hard for me, so, in order to prevent me from going insane, I played every game using life or invincibility cheats. Shamefull, I know, but it was the only way for me to have fun with the games, and that's what matters for me.
Contra: Legacy of War (Saturn, PSX)
If you're really interested you can read my full review over at the Saturn Junkyard. On the other hand , if you're just looking for a quick summary, here it is. This game sucks! Hard! By attempting to bring the game to 3D they decided to make everything in a overhead view and they sucked at it. This game is just not fun.
C: The Contra Adventure (PSX)
The title is right because, after the flop fo the previous game, they decided to take a new approach. A return to the origins? No, although it seems like it at first, with the first level being a side-scrolling one just like in the old games. Unfortunately eventually the "adventure" levels come, in a 3rd person Tomb Raider-like style. Yeah, I know, back in the days everyone was looking for that kind of games to show off the PSX's capabilities, but as expected, in the end the game sucked. Not so much as the previous one, but still.
Contra: Shattered Soldier (PS2)
Now this is a 3D Contra game! Probably my favourite (and the one who gave me more problems to get it running, like every old PS2 mine doesn't like CD's that much so any CD-based game gives me a headache), it's basically what one can expect from it. A side-scrolling Contra game with fast paced action, great graphics and huge (and fucking ugly) bosses. Probably the hardest game after Hard Corps, it was still beatable after some serious level memorization. Anyway, it was a blast to play.
Neo Contra (PS2)
Why? After getting it right with Shattered Soldier, why did they have to fuck things up again? Although not as bad as the 32 bit games, Neo Contra is still a bit on the sucky side of things. With an overhead instead of sidecrolling perspective, this could've worked, if only it had a control system like Geometry Wars, to give a recent example, where you control the character with one stick and shoot with the other. As it is, it's just too damn hard to hit enemies, and that takes some of the fun of the game. At least it's somewhat easy when compared to the other games.
Contra 4 (Nintendo DS)
Actually the last game of the series was the first one I played to the end, sometime ago when it was first released. Great game, in a 2D style similar to the first ones, and making use of the 2 screens to bring back the experience of the first game's Arcade version, which featured a vertical screen. There's also a lot to this game other than the main adventure. There's a series of challenges that seriously challenge you and if you're skilled enough you can unlock full versions of Contra and Super C for the NES, among other neat extras. Definitely a mandatory purchase for fans of the series.
So, in the end, what were my favourites? Definitely Shattered Soldier, Hard Corps, C3 and 4, and if you're thinking about getting into Contra I recommend you play those ones first. The worse were the original NES ones, which, nostalgia aside, didn't stood up to the test of time, and the 32 bits games, which were already bad when they first came out, but in the end I have to admit there's a "clone" of this series than I enjoy even more than any Contra game
Metal Slug! Now that's a good series with hardly any bad game (although MS X, 4 and 5 did suck a little), that elevated the gameplay first introduced by Contra to whole new levels. Contra may be the original but for me Metal Slug is the pinnacle of the run 'n gun style of action games, so I recommend everyone, and I mean everyone, to check those games out.