Developer: Konami
Designer: Koji Hiroshita
Composer: Kazuki Muraoka
Series: Contra
Platforms: Arcade, Famicom/NES, PlayChoice-10, MSX2, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Microsoft Windows, MS-DOS
Genre: Run and gun
Modes: Single-player, cooperative


Although its first appearance in the arcade game is not so popular, Contra was one of the most remembered games of all time in NES library. The franchise is so much fun and so nostalgic of a gamer who’ve played in some console. It’s mind-blowing, great co-op mode, great gameplay, and of course, is fun. I’ve played this game a few days ago and this game is one of the hardest games I’ve ever played until now. I remember when I played it on NES, somehow not as difficult as now as I play it. Maybe it’s because of the effects of some video games nowadays that are not too challenging and just focus on the graphics alone. In my opinion, maybe it’s just like that but partly for some video games. Some are also very good but for Contra, this is something that is difficult to complete and can only finish it using a Konami code which at the time, it’s very popular and this is the first time this feature is introduced.

  • It’s just like Alien

In this game, there are two playable characters that you can play. There are Bill Rizer and Lance Bean. Most people think that this character is very similar to Rambo or anything like that. The mission in this game is only one, takes down the evil Red Falcon Organization located in Galuga archipelago near New Zealand. They are both sent to go there to destroy the alien forces that have controlled the island. The story is not too memorable and unique because it leaves too many questions with the ending that according to people is anti-climax. The enemies in this game also remind us a movie called Alien. So, I’m not really talking about this element underneath to the details.

  • The control and the difficult

The only thing you can do to defeat this game is shooting all the things that appeared on the screen. In conclusion, it’s like run and gun games in general. However, it’s not easy to finish this game because you will find several challenges in the form of unpatterned enemies. The enemy respawn in this game are so randomly except when you fight the boss at each level, you can memorize the pattern. The player can shoot in any direction from horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. You can shoot down by pressing the jump button, aiming the d-pad down, and pressing the shoot button. The player can also do ducking which is very useful if you faced with enemies who use a gun turret or avoid bullets on the screen. The player can also press the d-pad down button while pressing the jump button in order to move where there is one platform under the player but you have to be careful because it could be, some players often make some mistakes. I mention this feature because some NES games didn’t do that.

  • 8 stages but memorable

Contra only provides 8 stages until the game is completed. There are two types of games in some stages, for example, stage 2 and 4 where the game mode changed to third person shooter. The rest is a side-scrolling game in general. It will be easier if this game is played by two people and it’s very fun to play it together. If playing co-op mode, the second player can take the first player life if they are out of life or game over in order to back in the game and help the player one. This game is actually not easy to understand and learn it. The player must be smart to shoot, master the controller, and be clever to how to avoid some bullets and patterns of the boss. If you often die in this game then you must start from beginning at the level again. But, calm down. Konami provides a code to make it easier for you to play.

  • Several weapons and power-ups

There are several gun power-ups in order to strengthen the weapon. There are rapid-fire, machine gun, laser, flamethrower and spread gun. If you’ve ever played this game, the spread gun is definitely your ideal and favorite weapon because it takes out a lot of bullets in one screen and destroys everything in front of the player. The laser and flamethrower are one of the useless weapons of all because these weapons require special abilities or depend on how the player uses them. However, this weapon is so strong instead of all the weapons. In addition to some of the weapons, the barrier is so helped to make the player becomes invincible. You can get the power-ups while you find a falcon with its letters, you can shoot that thing and take the power up.

  • Great soundtrack and not too monotonous

During this game, there is no monotonous stage including the 6th and 7th stages which I think is the most difficult to complete. These stages could be impossible to complete without one death. Some people say that their experience when playing this game is on stage 5. In stage 6, not a few enemies respawn at this stage. It’s just that a laser or flamethrower makes me annoying when I try to pass it. Stage 7 is also like that. Something like an instantly spiked wall that appears in nowhere and some patterned spikes that I don’t think is hard. In addition to the various stages, Konami always brings us a great soundtrack and memorable including the sound effect when you press the start button. The soundtrack also has uniqueness and maintains the effects of the stage.

  • Conclusion

Contra is definitely the most remembered game of all time when childhood. Although in terms of the story is anti-climax and can only be interpreted on their own or using an existing manual, Contra is a gameplay that provides a new uniqueness at the time. The level is very short but memorable. The music is also like that. It’s so good to play in co-op mode. If you are hard to finish, you can use Konami code. Over the years, I can play this game again and bring a nostalgic impression.


14 thoughts on “Contra [RETRO GAMES REVIEW]

  1. Almost all of my friends back then used to know the Konami code. I didn’t bother to learn it as I wanted to beat the game on my own. However, I had difficulties finishing the last stage. Well, after almost a month of playing, I did finally beat it.

    This may not be the most difficult game but it’s harder than most of the games these days. The difficulty level of many modern games is a joke compared to older games. If only they could focus more on the “game” itself, oh well…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, you’re right. Many gamers nowadays, they think Dark Souls, Cupheads, and games that have become a pop culture in the fandom is the hardest game ever they play. I also admit it because I’ve tried those games. Back in the days when 8bit is the greatest, there are so many games that are not less easy compared to nowadays games. Now, they are just glorifying something like nice gameplay, open world, realistic graphics and something like that. Therefore, I prefer to play 8bit indie games rather than games that are too overrated or popular. I also didn’t know about Konami code and I tried my best without knowing the code until I watch AVGN, I learn a lot that I don’t know any such a thing in NES. Yeah, I mean it’s not too difficult but it’s hardest.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dark Souls was pretty hard when it first came out. However, once I got used to its mechanics, DS 2 and especially DS 3 were not difficult for me (though they are still challenging). As for Cuphead, it’s harder than most of the games being released these days, but as someone who has been playing difficult platforming games for more than 20 years, I adapted quickly.

        It may be a subjective statement but I think that the 3rd gen video games has many of the most brutally unforgiving games out there.

        While graphics, story and other bells and whistles can enhance the gaming experience, many forget that some people play games because they just simply want to play “games”.

        8-bit games are great, that’s why I was happy when they started to release Megaman games 8-bit a decade ago.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Honestly, I’ve played Dark Souls 1 and 2. I’ve never played the third one. But, I never completely finished those games. For Cuphead, it’s quite challenging, fun, and not as what people say. I see games nowadays more expensive to Open World system with satisfying graphics. Dynasty Warriors 9 becomes a boring open world, Monster Hunter: World that improves everything until the new God Of War to be released using open world and action RPG systems. I’m not against anything like the open world, but it’s ironic when the kids come into it. But, I agree with all your opinions. That is good. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. There is a misconception these days that goes like this:

        “Wow, it’s an open world, it has to be great!”

        “What a linear game! It’s so boring! I don’t have any freedom and I can’t explore the world!”

        While there are great open world games, like Dying Light and Morrowind, an open world game doesn’t necessarily make it good. Similarly, linear games aren’t bad because of their linearity. In many excellent linear games, their linearity make sense. Some good examples are Gears of War, Last of Us and Half-Life 2.

        Besides, making a game which is originally a linear game into an open world will not always make it better. Some good recent examples are Mass Effect Andromeda and Metal Gear Solid 5 (it’s over-hyped, so my opinion is a dissenting one).

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yeah, this misconception is more pointed at something that is always distorted. Open world, open world everywhere. While linear-based games are not much in interest by nowadays gamer. In addition to Dying Light and Morrowind, Dead Island is one of them too although I’m a bit fond of this game. Mass Effect Andromeda made it fans disapprove of this series. Metal Gear Solid 5, I think is great but people are seeing this game from different views. I just want to say to them that NES version is better than this.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Dead Island’s great and the graphics is good for its time cinsideting it was released 7 years ago.

        ME Andromeda is a huge disappointment. I am not even talking about its “story” as its gameplay alone already let me down.

        MGS 5 is not bad but it’s not as good as the hype says.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Oh, I see. The gameplay is far from perfect but it’s a lot better than many games these days.

        I suppose that many people’s expectations of the game were too high so when it didn’t deliver as expected, they became disappointed.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s