Review by Interrobang

"A Gem."

Contra 4 marks my first "hardcore" game I've played; with its consistent high difficulty and smooth 2D gameplay, it is one of the best action games for the DS.

The basic mechanics of Contra 4 have remained virtually unchanged from the original on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The object of the game is basically to run and gun your enemies down and "fight aggressively". Run, gun, jump, repeat.

The inevitable repetition of this game as you die over and over never becomes monotonous. You remain on a linear pathway with a variety of enemies coming at you with dead on precision. What separates this game most from its predecessors is the speed of gameplay. The animation is much smoother, allowing for faster, more hectic gameplay, which is a massive plus.

I mentioned earlier that this is a hardcore game. Casual gamers beware, there is no health bar in Contra 4; one hit and you're dead. It is very easy to get frustrated and quit, but don't give up! If I got the hang of it eventually, so can you! You have to be able to repeat levels over and over again in order to get it just right.

I had the most fun with this game in its multiplayer mode. Although it requires multiple carts, I wouldn't spare any expense in giving a copy to a friend in order to play co-op.

Once you beat arcade mode, challenge mode is unlocked, which really tests your skills. Forty challenges are offered, and the rewards for completing them are plentiful. The unlockables in this game are fantastic: two full games( Contra & Super C), comic books, an interview with one of the creators(which is very interesting), new characters, and a museum of Contra history.

The only bad aspect to this game is its graphics. I think the Contra 4 team could have utilized the DS technology more. A few bosses had 3D modeling, which was fantastic, while others did not. The graphics in this game simply do not stand out amongst other DS games.

This game reached near perfection for its genre, and breathed life into the aging Contra franchise. This is the gem that stand out amongst the rest of the DS games released in 2007. It has succeeded in breaking through to a next-gen console without compromising its trademark gameplay, and for that I commend it. I look forward to the next installment.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/09/08

Game Release: Contra 4 (US, 11/13/07)

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