Review by Psycho Penguin

"See what happened back when Konami made the Contra games?"

Contra 3: The Alien Wars is an outstanding quality game from those fine folks at Konami. It really is such a shame that the newer versions of this classic games really are pathetic, because this game rocked so hard. Featuring a whole bunch of very cool weapons, this game was one of my first SNES video game addictions. The graphics are great, everything about this game is great. If you're a Contra fan, you should get this game!! (and forget about that piece of monkey dung known as Legacy of War, the crappy Playstation version of this great series)

I have always been a relative big fan of the Contra series, ever since I played the original Contra for the NES a few years back. I was a really big fan of the series then, so when I had a chance to purchase Contra 3 for the SNES about two years ago at a local (at the time) Funcoland, I jumped at the opportunity and decided to purchase it, and I was hoping that it would be worth the purchase.

I went back to my grandfather’s house and hooked up my Super Nintendo, and put this game inside of it, not sure as to what to expect from it. I did expect this game to be a fairly good attempt of making a quality sequel to Contra (one of my all time favorite NES games), and I did expect it to be a fun game. I really wanted this game to be fun, and I was kind of expecting it to be.

It turns out that this game was everything I expected it to be, and more! At first glance, I just wanted this game to live up to my expectations, but it totally outdid them by a mile! Konami did a fantastic job with this game, from the graphics (amazing) to the music and sound, to the game play, this game has it all. It is simply one of the most fun video games I have ever played, and deserves all the attention it got.

Now, the Contra series has never really been known for story line, so this game really doesn’t have a basic story line. I would venture to say that these two mercenary soldiers are sent to save the world from an evil terrorist, just because every game seems to use a basic story line like that. I am not blaming this game for having no story, because would anyone give a damn about it? Nope!

Wow, the first time I saw these graphics I thought I was looking at Playstation (actually, these graphics are better than the ones featured in Legacy of Bore for Playstation) The backgrounds are very well detailed, and I am astounded as to how they had no slowdown in the desert stage, where you move on a motorbike really quickly. I really was a huge fan of the graphics in the game, as I feel they did a great job in showing off the true power of the Super Nintendo and what it could do graphically as a console. It really was an incredible job by Konami, and I cannot stress that enough.

The thing I like most about the graphics in the game are the wonderful backgrounds that are featured in the game. They are all very colorful and the variety of backgrounds in the game is simply incredible. I really did like all of the backgrounds in the game, but two of them did stick out in my mind a little bit. The first one that sticks out is the opening stage, as the background changes many times, as you go from an abandoned city to a fire based theme back to the city again, it is incredible.

The enemy and character designs in the game are incredible, as well. I am a really big fan of the enemy and character designs in the game, and I feel Konami did a really great job with the character and enemy designs in the game. They should be applauded for their efforts. First off, the enemy designs. They are well varied and I like how each of them look different from one another, the variety is always a good thing and it is a really good thing in this case. The boss designs are some of the best I have ever seen, as they are all monster like huge, and they all look great. The character designs in the game are solid, as they are much taller and more detailed than anything I had seen before from the series.

Bang, bang!! The game's music features wonderful tunes, and each of the stage has quality music. Seriously., out of all the stages in the game, not one featured bad music in my opinion. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed all of the music. I really did like all of the music in the game, especially the background music that plays when you first play the game (there’s away to pump you up, have incredible music open it up) and the music featured in the desert stage is perfect, as well. If I had the choice to purchase a soundtrack for this game, I probably would, because the music in the game is REALLY good.

The sound effects are great as well, as the gun makes a cool noise when you shoot it. I really enjoyed the fact that each of the different weapons in the game made a different sound effect, depending on the weapon that you used. For instance, the gun with spreading red bullets makes this cannon spreading like sound, while the machine guns make the more machine gun like sounds (as expected). I really did like the sound effects in the game, although it would have been very cool had their been voice acting (like the voice acting in Super Metroid) but that is no huge deal to begin with, so I will let it slide.

Control is right on, it is really easy to target your enemies, and precision jumping is precise. I really did like the control setup of the game, and I thought it was especially cool how you could change the controls to your own liking, this is always a good thing, in my book. As for the actual control, it is great, I like that you have a variety of weapons at your disposal and how you can change your active weapon by pushing the L button or R button featured on top of the controller, I have always been a big fan of this since I first witnessed this back in the days of Mega Man X.

As for the actual game play, its perfection. It is a side scrolling shooter, but its so much more than that. Actually, it isn’t so much more, as the game is lacking innovation, but that doesn't diminish from the fact that its so good. It even features a variety of stages, Stages 1, 3, 5, and the rest are all side scrolling stages, while 2 and 4 feature a overhead view like Zelda: LTP where you have to survive while blowing up certain uhh... things. You'll know what I’m talking about once you start playing.

And that is where Contra 3 kind of runs into a problem, in my opinion. Sure, these overhead view stages are rather innovative, as they have never been featured before in a Contra game, but after playing through them I can see as to why they were never included in a Contra game until now. The fact of the matter is, these stages are really not that fun to play through at all, as it was fun for a little bit but soon it got tedious. So, these stages are fun, but I prefer the side scrolling stages, as I felt they provided a tad more fun. Mad props to Konami though for trying something new, as the new idea is not the worst idea ever.

I did have a very fun time playing this game, as there is something here for everyone. To those of you who love things like guns and weapons and ammo, this is your kind of game, because you can get a wide variety of weapons in the game. To collect a new weapon, you just kill an enemy and collect a logo from it if one appears, that logo represents the new weapon you can get. You can also switch weapons back and forth, as certain weapons work better in some situations than they do in other certain situations.

The actual stage designs are golden, as I like how some of the stages have you do everything from swinging and jumping from helicopter to helicopter, to climbing up the side of a building while avoiding enemies who are trying to smash you against the wall like a little bug. It really is awesome, and I like the bosses too, as each one of them has a different pattern. So, it will take you a while to figure out their pattern (besides the first stage’s boss, it’s so easy to figure out his pattern), but once you do it will be fairly easy.

Mutliplayer mode in the game is awesome, in my opinion. I have always been a huge fan of the cooperative mutliplayer modes which allow the player and a friend to tackle the stages at the same time. Yes, in this game you and a friend work together in order to complete the various stages. And unlike a game like Battletoads, you cannot hurt each other, which could be a good thing or bad thing, depending on your persepective. The mutliplayer mode is really good, although I do wish their was a multiplayer combat mode, that would have been simply awesome.

Unfortunately, I do have to mention a serious flaw in the game. The game itself is not as challenging as the previous games in the series. Now, some of you may know that the original Contra was one of the most challenging games released for its time, as well as still being one of the most challenging video games ever made, even to this day. Well, Contra 3 is just not as challenging, in my opinion. Sure, some of the stages can get to be pretty tough but not too tough. I think the reason for this is because you can change the difficulty level and the number of total lives you start off with at the menu option screen before starting the game. It is a good idea, in my opinion, to do this, but the main consequence to this plan is decreasing the challenge, and that’s what happened here.

When it comes to replay value, Contra 3 is second to none. It’s the best in the genre when it comes to replay value, in my opinion. Now how can I possibly mean that? Well, the answer is quite simple, my friends. The game is simply so much more fun to play than most of the other games in the side scrolling shooter genre, which will pretty much make for decent replay value right there. But the simple fact that you can go through the game with a friend increases the replay value a lot, because you will probably want to practice your skills in it to face off with your friend to show your friend your Contra 3 skills, and you will want to play it with your friends. So, the game has a lot of positive replay value.

Contra fans can ill afford to pass this gem by. Go back to the days before Konami started releasing crap like In the Zone, QB Club 2000, and Legacy of Bore, and find a quality game. Ahh...Konami. Good NES games, good SNES games, then the bottom fell off. I Hope they can recover. I am sure they will be able to though, as long as they realize the mistake they made when they let Apaloosa take over the Contra series in terms of design and development. Konami made Contra 3 from scratch.

This is one of the best games I have played on the Super Nintendo, and it is well worth a purchase. Everything about this game is great, from the amazing graphics to the quality music and sound effects, and the replay value is some of the best, although the game does suffer from some challenge issues, as I do feel that this is a pretty easy game compared to some of the others in the series. Don’t let that deter you from purchasing this incredible game, though!

Good Points
-This review was not as long and tedious as a King Broccoli review.
-The graphics in the game are simply incredible.
-The music and sound effects in the game are awesome.
-Some of the best replay value to be found in a game.

Bad Points
-I am not King Broccoli, so this review is not that good.
-The game does suffer from some challenge issues.
-I do not feel that the cover art is sufficient for a great game like this.
-Konami decided to stop making Contra games, so this is the last good one.

Ratings Rundown
Story Line – Not Available
Graphics – 9.6/10
Music and Sound Effects – 9.6/10
Game play and Control – 9.8/10
Challenge – A Little Above Average
Replay Value – Way Above Average
Overall – 9.7/10
Last Line: King Broccoli should write a Contra 3 review.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/19/00, Updated 07/16/01


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