Contra is a run-and-gun action shooter from Konami. The game was originally released in the arcade and then ported to various platforms. My favorite is the NES release.
I have beat the American and Japanese NES ports several times without needing to continue.
- The controls are really responsive and intuitive. You have good control over your jumps.
- Each stage is pretty unique with new enemies, scenery, and music.
- The game is challenging enough that even after playing for years, you'll still have difficulty beating it.
- The graphics are pretty good, and using Giger's art style as adapted to Alien was a great idea.
- The game is painfully difficult. Had I encountered this game later in life, I wouldn't have the patience for it. Thankfully there is a 30-lives cheat code which makes victory more possible for an amateur.
- Only the spray gun, machine gun, and rapid fire are worth getting. Laser and flame thrower are essentially downgrades from the default weapon since they are so difficult to work with.
Contra's original Japanese box art is done in a manga style, with a very Giger-esque background, but for some reason has a magenta backdrop. I prefer the North American box art which is clearly a rip off Schwarzenegger from Predator and Stalone. It also has a Giger-inspired background, though more insect and less phallus. Although the PC market kept the soldier theme and used the name Gryzor, the NES market used a robot theme for European audiences. While I don't care for the censorship, I really like the mecha bot art.