Contra Force

Editor's review

In the waning days of the glorious Nintendo Entertainment System many popular series fell victim of unoriginal and boring sequels that were merely pale reflections of their former selves and a quick cash-in for the video game companies - Contra was one of these series. Fortunately it survived and lives on as one of the best platform action series ever. But that's another story. This review is about that black sheep which fans barely speak about and often pretend it never existed; Contra Force.

This game is quite different than what you're used to, and there's a good reason for that, which I'll explain later on. See, this game has nothing to do with saving the world from alien invasions. Nope, instead we're given some lousy story about a bunch of hip mercenaries who's boss has been taken hostage by an evil crime syndicate.

They managed to screw up the best part about the Contra games, the adrenaline-pumping action and perfect control. Your characters move like they've had a bit too much to drink and this affects the game physics as well. But that's not all. You will constantly suffer from the unbearable slowdowns that occur throughout the game. This is not supposed to happen when you're playing an action game, or any game at all for that matter.

But, what Contra Force lacks in gameplay, it makes up for in graphics. This may not be enough to entice even the most dedicated fans, though. This is understandable, as it is in my, and hundreds of other devoted gamers view, that a pretty game is nothing without good entertainment value and some cleverness to it. Nevertheless, these graphics are well done considering the system's standards.

As a big worshipper of video game soundtracks, the music is for me a very important part. Depending on how well-composed the songs are, it can deliver an extraordinairy experience or completely destroy it. This game offers some fairly good music, a few catchy tunes here and there, but nothing too impressive. I like the sampled snare drum they've used, it sounds unusually clean and suits the "street-war" theme.

The word I would use to describe Contra Force is "average". This word pretty much fits in with every category. But what's most prominent is that this simply doesn't feel like a genuine Contra game. In fact, it isn't. Originally, it was called "Arc Hound" and scheduled for release in Japan. But for some reason they slapped the Contra name onto it and released it in USA instead. Guess that explains a lot why most fans don't like this game.

Released North America  September 30, 1992
Platform NES
Developer(s) Konami
Publisher(s) Konami
Players 1-2 players

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