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Title: Contra (2nd Review)
Author:Konami
Rom Player: Nesticle
Reviewer: Jimi Driscoll

Synopsis: The premise is simple: An alien race threatens to dominate the Earth, and the Special Forces commando unit sends Lance (Scorpion) and Bill (Mad Dog) to take them down.

Contra is your standard side scroller, where you basically run, jump and shoot through eight levels that get progressively harder. The control system is simple and responsive, allowing you to fire your gun in eight directions and jump with ease. The graphics, for the time, were on par with other titles available for the NES at the time. Bosses are the highlight, as they are composed of large, semi-animated, moveable sprites. The music is simple, memorable, and appropriately themed to each stage.

To break things up, levels 2 and 4 are unique, as they split away from the side scrolling and force your character to move through the z-axis in a quasi 3-D manner. The levels are all well made, but donít provide anything too challenging for the average gamer. The end-level bosses become increasingly more difficult as well, with the exception of the gameís final boss; this is one of its few flaws.

Contra includes six different weapons that you obtain by shooting flying falcons and pillbox sensors. Each letter stands for a different weapon, with each gun having its ups and downs. From my experience, everybody I knew was definitely in favor of the Spread Gun.

As I mentioned earlier, the final boss (oddly named Red Falcon) is really quite a joke. Itís easily possible to kill it without losing a life. The other bosses provide fair challenges, but nothing is too frustrating to handle.

In the good old days, the staple of everybodyís NES game collection included Contra. Not owning Contra was even considered downright sinful. When you get a buddy to play along with you, itís even better. Contests to see who can be the first to complete it without losing a life was the craze for my friends and I. While Contra certainly doesnít aim to be anything spectacular, itís well-paced action and catchy music set the high water mark for the genre.

Overall: The simplistic nature of Contra stands the test of time when you need a quick fix of kicking alien ass and thumb-mashing goodness.

Best Cheats: 30 lives:
While the title screen is coming on-screen, quickly press Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, B, A, start.
These lives will work even after a continue.

Game Play: 10
Graphics: 7
Music/Sound: 7
Originality: 5
Overall Rating: 8



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