Monday, October 27, 2014

Nerdicus NES Review #145: Contra Force

Title : Contra Force

Publisher : Konami

Developer : Konami

Genre : Run n Gun

Players : 1 / 2 Players

Release Date : 1992

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $80-$100

Jumping around a little bit here, considering we just played CONTRA for the NES last week, however now we are moving on to the third game in the series that was released for the good 'ol Nintendo. The second of course being SUPER C. No more aliens this time. No, we're battling good 'ol terrorists! The one difference you'll see with this game, was that surprisingly enough it WASN'T released in Japan!

I can't honestly say I feel bad for them though, especially considering this game was probably the weakest of the bunch. To this day, I still can't put my finger on it, but it just doesn't feel like good 'ol Contra. Which confuses me....since it's not a very hard game to get right. Run...gun....rinse...repeat...yet this game seems different..

What happened to you Contra? What happened!?
Let's take a step back however, and take a look at the box art before we play the game. Now I love doing this, because I really like to see who the company thinks the target audience is going to be. We've got bad ass 80's styles renegade outfits complete with tacky vests, dark sunglasses, and berets. There's every excuse to show off as many muscles as possible, and of course they look like a couple of d-bags. Sounds like a good 'ol fashioned war game to me! Perfect for the teen market, or in my case a ten year old kid lol.

Hey, what ten year old wouldn't love to be a bad ass like those on the C-Team?

The one thing this game has, that really sets it apart from the other Contra games is the variation of characters you are able to choose. You've got a whopping four to choose from, each with their own skill sets and abilities that at least give this game a tad bit more replay value than you would have come to expect. 

You've got Burns, the team leader who is probably the most balanced of the team members. Iron, a slow moving heavy weapons expert who kicks major arse with the weapons, but it'll take you 3 hours to beat the game because he moves so slow. Smith, a sharpshooter, who is insanely fast and is quick to the draw but a tad weak. And finally, Beans..the demolitions expert. Boom. That's it. 

Now you do get the character choices, but the gameplay remains exactly the same as other contra games. Move left to right, collect power ups, kill the enemies, take out a few bosses, and repeat this formula for five stages. Of course, two stages are the overhead mode you may remember from SUPER C if you played it. Still, I prefer the side-scrolling stages.

You'll collect power ups just like you do in the other contra games, but it's more like you need to collect power, to use power ups that you select in a selection menu. Whoa, weird, right? A lot of the power ups (besides the good 'ol invulnerability) are actually catered to the character you're using as well.

Since this is a Contra game, you'd most likely want to be playing this with a friend. After all, Contra is practically designed around the co-op element. Have no friends? FEAR NOT! This game allows you to incorporate the use of a computer controlled second player to assist you in your epic battles! That's right, you don't need friends when you've got crappy AI trying to help you. At least you can assign the AI tasks that they won't follow anyway. An interesting attempt, but it fails miserably. 

Seriously, I don't think my computer AI was able to kill one enemy. It just wasted lives. Oh, another case your sick of playing as the character you selected, you can always pause the game and switch out to a new character. 

Contra - supposed to be good, right? Well, this game has its fair share of problems.

Visually, it doesn't look that spectacular for a game that was released at the end of the NES era. In fact, I sometimes think that the original Contra looks better. Sometimes is the keyword, but this game really isn't something to write home about.

The controls are pretty much the same as all the other Contra games, but CONTRA FORCE seems SO MUCH SLOWER. The game drags for some reason, and at times it plays more like a platformer than a run n gun. This really took away from the challenge of the series, since I expect my characters to be overwhelmed at all times, but I really felt like I was able to just kick back and relax and take my time through the levels. I want to feel pressured! No such luck here.

Well, at least the music and sound effects were okay....

Unfortunately, CONTRA FORCE is a bit of a disappointment when you're thinking about Contra games. It's good, but nowhere near the epic-ness that the original brought forward. We'll see what happens when we go backward and try out SUPER C.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until next time. Keep on gaming!



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