Contra 4


Computer Platform:
Produced by: Developed by ; published by
Price Range: $21-30
Learning curve time: 1-2 hrs.
Age level: Teens
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

     Reviewed By: Phil Rownd (aka boyward)

Overall Rating: ★★★★½
Rating: 4 of 5 (good)
Gameplay: 5 of 5 (excellent)
Violence: 3 of 5 (mild)
Adult Content: 5 of 5 (none)

Contra 4.  Illustration copyrighted.

For the past 15 years my favorite Contra game has been Contra III: The Alien Wars for Super Nintendo. In all that time it seemed that couldn’t make a Contra game to equal the great Contra III. Well, it’s finally happened. Contra 4 equals and at times even surpasses its predecessor in every way. And although there is plenty of carnage in a run-and-gun game like Contra (and I will cover that content below), the main thing you’ll want to consider is the fact that Contra 4 is one of the hardest, if not THE hardest game on . It’s the kind of game where you die in one hit and after losing all lives you have to start again from the beginning, but each time you come back you manage to get a little bit farther. At first I didn’t think I could handle it, but after playing through the watered-down Easy mode (a tremendously exciting experience in itself) my skills are ready to be challenged in the harder difficulty levels. Here’s what you’re up against.

It’s the year 2638. Aliens are invading our planet… again. Their attack in Contra III was only the first wave of their invading army, and we were hit so hard by this second wave that you (and one friend who also owns a DS and copy of Contra 4) are Earth’s last hope. So Contra 4 picks up where Contra III left off, but in more ways that just the story. You still get co-op play (if you have a friend who also owns the Contra 4 cartridge), 3D corridor missions (behind-the-player viewpoint, not overhead), the same arsenal of weapons, the same kind of 80’s movie music, and enormous bosses, only this time the bosses stretch to twice the normal size into the second screen. New to the Contra series is the grappling hook which carries you into the top screen, and the addition of a second screen means there are twice as many aliens shooting at you but there’s also twice as much room for you to move around in. It’s a great next step for the series. If there is a Contra 5, I hope it’s on DS.

Contra 4.  Illustration copyrighted. Contra 4.  Illustration copyrighted.

The graphics are drawn in the old-fashioned cartoon style from years ago, so most of the violence is not as extreme as many games are nowadays. There is a slightly disturbing opening video that shows human civilians being reduced to skeletons by an alien invasion. You will see a boss alien impale his humanoid underling and tear him in half. Green goo spurts out of that guy. This scene lasts about 3 seconds. When you shoot the zombies in the Laboratory level they bleed green goo. One boss is decapitated when the doors slam shut on his neck and his head falls off. Whether he’s a living monster or a robot is hard to tell because there is no blood. Nobody bleeds in Contra 4. Some of the alien monsters you blow up lose body parts such as when you shoot the scales off a sea monster but, again, there is no blood or gore. Everything pretty much just blows up in a fiery explosion. I beat Easy mode, which only goes up to Mission 7 (there are 9 missions in all), so I haven’t witnessed EVERYTHING there is to see but if the first seven missions are any indication, Contra 4’s violence does not go over the top.

The ESRB warning label cites “Language”, but I don’t recall hearing any profanity at all. The heroes yell out phrases like, “Lock and load!” or “Come get some!” but I heard no cursing or use of the Lord’s name in vain.

For about 3 seconds in the opening movie you see a cartoon woman wearing a halter top. That’s it.

Contra 4 is exactly what it should be: a fun game about blowing up aliens. It’s no more violent than it needs to be, unless I’ve missed something that lies deeper in the game. See, for the 20th Anniversary of the Contra series they packed this cartridge full of unlockable bonus content. You get the new Challenge Mode which gives you 40 challenges such as surviving a mission without shooting or shooting 65 aliens in 85 seconds. You also get the original NES versions of Contra and Super C, along with new playable characters and comic books that tell the story of Contras 3 and 4. I haven’t unlocked everything, so it’s possible that there is some objectionable content in there somewhere, but most players won’t ever get to see it because it’s incredibly challenging to unlock anything. If you find anything of interest, please let me know, and post your comments here at G2G.

I recommend Contra 4 to those hardcore gamers who are willing to play the same grueling missions over and over until they get it right. It’s tremendously satisfying when you win, but if you’re a fan of the Contra series you already knew that.

Contra 4.  Illustration copyrighted. Contra 4.  Illustration copyrighted.

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Year of Release — 2007

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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