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VINE VOICEon June 16, 2006
The First Contra game was fantastic. Most people, no doubt, have probably at least heard of the exploits of the game. No, Contra can't hold a candle up to games in terms of graphics and sound, and the people who bash on the game for that are probably too young to remember Contra, or they're too busy being stuck in the 3D era that side scrollers are too "kiddish" for them. Those gamers obviously haven't played old school. Contra is not only one of the hardest games out there (as most 8-bit and 16-bit games are a lot harder than the 32-bit and over generation), it's one the greatest of the NES generation.

What made Contra perhaps one of the greatest games wasn't just it's run and gun action. It was also the way it handles its two-player co-op. Rather than taking turns like in a game like Mario, or waiting for someone to switch to you like say... Donkey Kong Country, Contra put both characters on screen at a time and had you both running and gunning down enemies. The screen kept moving along as well. One character might end up leaving the other behind. Either way, Contra was one of the first games that forced you to work together instead of competing. Over the course of the game you (and your partner if you had one) would collect different types of weapons that went flying over head.

You began with the default rifle which only fired one shot at a time. Over the course of the game you could find different sorts of weapons. You could get a machine gun, a laser, a flamethrower or a spread gun. Also, there was a barrier, a rapid fire and a super bomb. You could only hold one type of gun at a time, but the latter group could be obtained without replacing the gun. Any Contra veteran can tell you that of all the guns, the Spread Gun was the best of the lot. It was powerful, spread your shots out and could hit anything. Combine the Spread Gun with Rapid Fire and you were nearly invincible. Keyword: Nearly.

Contra is often cited (along with Mega Man and its sequel Super C) as being one of the hardest 8-bit games out there. This is because when it came to your lives in Contra, you died in one hit. Not only that but you only began with two lives. Konami, feeling that yes, they had made a hard game, supplied gamers with a code they could use. Over the years this has become known to be the Classic Konami Code: Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start. Any old school gamer who played Contra KNOWS this code. It gave you thirty lives. If, however, you really wanted to show your skills at Contra, you played without the code and you tried not to get hit at all! It can be done, but it takes a lot of practice.

Graphic and Sound wise, it's unrealistic to think the game could hold a candle up to the likes of Contra: Shattered Soldier or something like Metal Gear Solid 3. This doesn't mean the sound in Contra is bad. It's rather tiring to talk to some gamers who dismiss Contra simply because it's old, or because it can't survive. This, of course, is untrue, as many NES and SNES games have become some of the most sought after of all time. A game made in the 80's is not going to look like a game made in the new millenium. It seems kind of strange (and almost stupid) to have to point that out to the so-called "modern" gamer, when no one has to point out that a movie made in 1986 won't look like a movie made in 2006. If that makes me snobbish, so be it, but the modern gamer today does need to learn that the NES is not capable of, and will not be capable of, what the XBOX360 can do, and to compare to the two is like comparing apples and bananas. However, I find the music in Contra to be among the best of the 8-bit generation (nothing matches the very first Super Mario Bros., however). I often find myself humming these tunes.

Contra truly is one of the greatest games ever made. Not only did it pioneer two player co-op (the other game that comes to mind that did it so well is Turtles II), but it also provided the challenge that so many modern games are missing today. One hit kills, and being a one-man army up against it all. Some deaths might seem inevitable, but on the whole, Contra is a fantastic gaming experience. Those who have an NES (or perhaps an emulator) should own and play this game. At least for old time sake.
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on March 10, 2006
Contra for the NES was one of the very first games that I ever played. I think the only other game I had ever tried at the time was Super Mario Bros. I remember being very confused at why your character died when he jumped on the villains and I remember being angry beyond belief when I couldn't get past level 4. So for you gamers who have yet to play the almighty Contra, I highly recommend either playing co-op with a friend or putting on the 30 lives code. This way, the game will be a much more enjoyable experience. In Contra, it is your duty to kill and destroy everything in your path. Eventually you must destroy the head alien (Red Falcon) in order to save the universe. Along the way you will encounter all of his pets and various other troops who are trying to get in your way.

GRAPHICS- 9/10

Although it was an "8-bit system" the NES usually pushed "8-bit" to its very limit. Games such as "Mega Man 2" and "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out" looked excellent. The graphics in Contra aren't the greatest the system ever made but they certainly are good. I particularly enjoyed the attempt at 3-d in the base levels. Other stages such as "The Jungle" and the winter area featured very nice and detailed environments. The "Alien's Lair" was dark, spooky and looked exactly like one would expect and alien's lair to look like. The enemy character's looked about as good as they probably could have on the NES, as did the two main characters. Only two of the boss characters stood out in my opinion (graphic wise). Those were the big, rock-robot guy and the gross-looking Alien. In the final stage when you first encounter the Alien's head, you will most likely be reminded of the main alien in the "Alien" film series.

SOUND- 10/10

This game features a very memorable soundtrack. A lot of the songs sound like they came right out of an awesome 80s cop movie. From the second your character drops from the helicopter to the last explosion in the game, the music is strong! The gun effects are top-notch for an NES shooter and the explosion sound is exactly like it should be!

GAMEPLAY:

Fun Factor- 10/10

This is obviously where the game shines. You run around, blasting the crap out of the enemies, jumping over things, ducking to avoid enemy fire while shooting at the same time. Some parts of the game deal with timing (for example: the "Energy Zone" stage where you must avoid the laser blasts or else you will die). But, like I mentioned above the difficulty level might take away from the fun factor, so putting the 30 lives code is the way to go. Also, if you have an NES loving friend, get him or her over to your house as soon as you can and put the popcorn in the microwave and then see how far the two of you can make it without the code!

Control- 10/10

The controls to this game are simple. Use the D-pad to move you character around (press down the duck), the A button to jump and the B button to shoot your weapon (in whatever direction you are in). The controls aren't too loose and they aren't too tight. In other words, this game controls like a dream!

Replay Value- 9/10

I have gone through this game 4 times this month (twice on my own with the code and twice with a friend). It is just that fun. I plan to play it all the way through in the near future and when I get good enough I plan to beat it without the code on. This game is addictive beyond belief. I can't see myself ever getting tired of playing this.

GRAPHICS: 9

SOUND: 10

FUN FACTOR: 10

CONTROL: 10

REPLAY VALUE: 9

AVERAGE SCORE: 9.6/10

So as you can see, this is one of my most beloved shooters as well as one of the most beloved shooters on the NES. It gave birth to two incredible sequels, and eventually became a long series. But this is where it all started and if you own any of the "Playstation" titles, and you think those are good...give this game a try and you will forget all about those ones. It is a near perfect game, that can provide you with a challenge but most importantly it is fun! And isn't that the most important thing?
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on November 5, 2013
If you have ever played this game, you know why I gave it a Five Star review. One of the greatest games of all time. Be careful though, playing this on the dual nes/snes system does not allow the Konami code.
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on November 19, 2015
Yes!!!!! I love Contra and I believe all Contra fans can remember the famous code up up down down left right left right ba to get 30 lives, WITHOUT the help from google. This game arrived quickly and played on the first insert into my NES system; no blowing required. We had a blast introducing our children to the games of our youth and even though they say the graphics are " not cool" they love playing it. Sometimes it's just about getting back to the simpler ways of doing things. And yes, my husband and I still try to make the characters jump by "jumping with the controller." You know you did this too. LOL. BTW, have not gotten very far into the game yet, even with 30 lives. But hey, it's been many many many years since playing. So glad I could find this game.
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on August 10, 2013
I bought a Nintendo Wii over a year ago under the mistaken assumption that I could download the original Contra on it. I was sadly mistaken. I downloaded Super C (aka Super Contra), but still longed for the original.

I then decided to buy the old cartridge version of this game and play it again for the first time in over 20 years, and I must say, the magic is still there. This is easily within the top 10 greatest video games of all time.

As to the claims of the seller, all were correct. The game was used, not in its original package (as I knew when I placed the order), but played perfectly. That was the main thing I was after anyway.

The spread shot still mops up the competition, and I no longer need the "U, U, D, D, L, R, L, R, B, A, Start" code to beat the game.
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on December 29, 2009
Contra is the best nes game I've ever played especially on multiplayer. It helps you out a lot because there is another player on the screen helping you out killing aliens. I also enjoyed the game a lot more with the konami code so you get 30 lives instead of 3 (The code is up up down down left right left right b a start.) I think I wouldn't have nearly as much fun on the game without the code. Another kool thing is the bosses. They look really wierd and kool at the same time. It seems like the creators thought of ramdom suff and put it all together like another konami game called life force that also super wierd bosses. Overall Contra is totally awesome and I recommend this game to anybody who likes classic and shoot em' up games.
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on March 11, 2016
I ordered this game for my husband's birthday. He wanted the original Nintendo and 2 games. This game is very hard to find but luckily amazon had it! The quality of the game is quite good considering it's extremely old. It arrived as expected, wrapped up but without the case. The sticker was intact and it was clean. The game works well and my husband and brother in law have had a blast reliving their childhoods. I would buy from this seller again, the shipping was fast and the seller delivered exactly what I was hoping for.
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on December 1, 2013
Contra by far is one of the greatest games ever! I remember spending hours and hours each morning as a 7 year old trying to beat this game,which never happened lol, and once you have played (without a cheat code) you will understand why. As I kept at it though over the next few years before the ps1 came out I slowly learned the tricks and was able to progress much further into the game. I am excited to buy it again and beat it now that it is 15 years later lol.
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on February 22, 2016
This is a great game for your Nintendo Entertainment System, and one of the few games on the system I enjoy.

Graphics (8/10) - Compared to other games I've seen on the Nintendo, this game looks fairly good. There's nice detail in the bosses and backgrounds, and the colors used are quite nice. However, the Famicom version is better in this department, as the backgrounds animate in stages 1, 5, and 8. What's really impressive is how many sprites are being put on screen with little slowdown and flicker.

Sound (9/10) - The music in this game is excellent, with lots of memorable tunes that are usually unique to each stage. However, stages 1 & 7 as well as 2 & 4 share the same music.

Gameplay & Control (7/10) - The control of your character is very good, with a nice tight jumping, as well as being able to aim in any direction. The game also plays quite well with a great sense of speed and pace. However, this game's biggest fault is in the difficulty. Many people regard this game as one of the hardest ever made, and I can't say I disagree with them. However, whereas game such as The Revenge of Shinobi are challenging, this game is hard. Many deaths in this game could've been prevented by simple game design changes, making for many instances where you feel like you've been cheated out of your life or power-up.

Speaking of the power-ups, there's a variety to choose from, with the most famous being the spread shot, which is a multi-directional shot. There is also the ever-elusive "R" power-up, which often confuse many players. However, its function is simple: it increases the speed at which your bullets travel across the screen. This can actually be quite useful if you use a turbo controller such as the NES Advantage.

And finally, this game's most well-known gameplay feature is it's two-player simultaneous gameplay. In all honesty, this and its sequel are definitely the best multiplayer games on the system.

Overall (9/10): Contra is an outstanding game by Konami, one that still shines as the pinnacle of the run'n'gun genre to this day. However, as good as this game is, I would recommend NOT paying the extremely high asking price it demands nowadays. I got my copy from a local thrift store for a great price. So if you are interested in this game, check there first.
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on March 23, 2015
This game was made before I was born, but it doesn't change the fact that this game is such a classic. I bought it to play with a friend who really liked the game and mentioned it a few times, so I went ahead and bought it. Unfortunately, my NES is starting to become... Not useful. But, the game works and that's all that matters.
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