Contra 4 (DS)

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Let me hear a “Hell Yeah!” if you would like to see the Contra of old! Since Contra Hard Corps and the Alien Wars there has been very little for Contra fans to cheer about. Yet, while this is not the genuine successor to Contra 3: Alien Wars (downloadable on the Nintendo Wii as a Virtual Console game for the Super Nintendo) it is one of the best old-school shooters around…don’t forget that this is 2008 and these kind of games are far and few in between.

Visually, Contra 4 truly evoked a bygone era, with side-scrolling 2D levels, gigantic boss sprites and pseudo-3D bonus missions. Contra veterans will be chuffed to see some recognizable enemies, weapons and levels from previous incarnations in the series – in fact, this feels like one massive nostalgia trip. Not to even mention unlockable comics, bibliographies, sound galleries and…wait for it…PIXEL-PERFECT ports of Contra and Super Contra on the NES. Yup, you even have the option to keep the game at the original aspect ratio or to fit the DS screens which are a tad bit wider that your good old standard TV (Standard TV’s feel so last year!)

Contra 4 Screenshot 1Contra 4 Screenshot 2

Now, I’m gonna brag and let you know that I finished this game. A game of this difficulty is worthy of living up to the nostalgic moments of the original NES and SNES titles. It is possibly the most frustrating evil videogame ever! Let go of the shooting button for a milli-second? You die. Stop to get your bearings? You die. Razor sharp reflexes are what keeps you alive here. Repeated deaths are part of the plan to memorise attack patterns and weak spots.

This game is so prehistoric that it does not take advantage of any DS features, besides being played over two screens. Despite this it is still a classic game and I just kept coming back until I finally beat the son of a motherless goat – and isn’t that the mark of a great game? No? Save games are for sissies.

If you’re a man – prove it, and finish this game…and feel the biggest accomplishment since last playing on your NES.

Contra 4 Screenshot 3Contra 4 Screenshot 4

Pros: 2D fans will rejoice; full on action; the free NES and SNES games.

Cons: Super hard; 3D fans will spit at it; no brains needed…except your memory for enemy locations.