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> Aaron and Ami's review on Contra
 Posted: Jun 30 2008, 03:29 AM
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Me: "Sorry to keep you waiting, folks...and please don't be mad at me."
Ami: "Don't worry, Aaron. Nobody's mad at you. It's that hacker's fault your reviews were gone. C'mon, I'll help you review Contra..."
Me: "Thanks, Ami-chan. Anyway, the story of the game goes like this (and yes, I am telling it off the Japanese version): an alien entity known as Red Falcon had crash-landed onto Earth in 2631, at a nearby island off the coast of New Zealand. Two years later, Red Falcon arises from the meteor, and has total control of Galuga Island, and forms an alien army of his own. Two of Earth's toughest marines, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, are sent to stop him from taking over Earth."
Ami: "That was the Japanese storyline, but as for the American version, it's a little different...if you have the instruction manual for it, as well as look it up. Instead of taking place in the future, it takes place in our present time. The impact time was in 1957, and Red Falcon arose 30 years later, in 1987 (that's six months time in his alien species' life). The location was at a Mayan Island instead of Galuga Island, located off the coast of New Zealand. Also, Bill and Lance had codenames given to them. Bill's codename is Mad Dog, while Lance's is Scorpion."
Me: "Either way, it's the same game...except for a couple changes. In the Japanese version, some stages had animated backgrounds. For example, the jungle trees in stage 1 were moving as if the wind was blowing on them. That was because of this cartridge's technology, but it was probably too advanced for the US version...meaning that in said US version, the trees in stage 1 remain inanimate."
Ami: "It's you (and your partner, if doing 2 players) against the entire alien army, with 3 lives--and 3 continues--from the start. Your default weapon is just a typical 'peashooter', but there are power-ups that will help you along the way."
Me: "Retrieve power-ups by shooting the flying football-shaped blimps, or the pods in the walls that open and close. You'll get Machine Gun, Flame Gun, Laser Gun, and even the infamous Spread Gun."
Ami: "The Flame Gun shoots slow-moving fireballs in a circle-shaped motion forward. It's kinda lousy, but not too bad. The Laser Gun, however, is a strong weapon, if you know how to use it properly. You can only shoot one laser beam at a time, but if you keep pressing the B button, it'll cancel out the beam and shoot another one. It can be good for using it like a sword. Sure, some people complain about how much the Laser Gun stinks, but it can be a good weapon if properly used."
Me: "There are a couple other power-ups, like Rapid Fire. It just makes your bullets go faster. The Barrier protects you by making your guy flash colors, for about 10 seconds. As for the Mega Shell (marked by a flashing falcon symbol), it destroys all on-screen enemies...but the down-side is that it's only found once, in stage 5."
Ami: "Now that we got all this out of the way, let's talk about the gameplay. Yes, you shoot around, as you keep moving forward through the stage. Dodge bullets by either jumping with A, or going prone with Down on the D-pad. If you get shot, run into an enemy, or fall into a pit, you lose one life...but not all is lost. You pick up directly where you left off. Run outta lives, and it's Game Over."
Me: "When you choose to continue, you have to restart at the beginning of the stage you were in. I know it's a pain, but you just gotta learn from your mistakes, so you don't make the same mistake twice. Run outta continues, and you're back at the title screen."
Ami: "Make it to the end of the stage, and a boss attacks you. Destroy the boss' weakpoint, and the stage is over. In some stages, you're in a psuedo-3D area, where you need to destroy the cores to move on to the next spot...until you reach the boss. It's a little like a shooting gallery-type of stage, except you can jump and crouch. You can't advance forward until you destroy the wall, because of the electrified fence. It won't kill you, but it stuns you instead."
Me: "There is a certain point, in which the Spread Gun is needed in order to make it out alive without getting stage 5, you'll run into two tanks--one at a time. It'll stop for a moment, shoot you, and run you over. The Spread Gun can destroy it quickly, but unless you can handle pressing the B button repeatedly like a machine gun, you're pretty much done for."
Ami: "In the Japanese version, the tank does the same thing, except it runs you over sooner than it does in the US version, meaning that the Spread Gun is required for making it out alive without getting hit."
Me: "When you finally beat the game, your guys take off in their helicopter just before the island blows up. The credits roll, and it takes you back to the beginning of the game, this time, it's a bit harder than before...which kinda reminds me of Super Mario Bros., in which when you beat the game the first time, it takes you back to the beginning, except the enemies are faster, and all Goombas were replaced by Buzzy Beetles."
Ami: "Here's the code for 30 lives. We call it the 'Konami Code'. For 1 player, it's Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, and Start. For 2 players, it's the same sequence, except you must press Select before pressing Start."
Me: "One more thing to the Japanese version, there's a secret message from Red Falcon. When the credits are about to start. hold Start and Select, until the credits end. The screen will flash (that's when you can let go of Start and Select), and the message shows up. Here's a rough translation..."

Foolish Earthlings! You think you got away with destroying us? We will take over all of Earth's bases, and by the time you realize it, it will be too late.

Red Falcon will live forever! .....

Me: "In closing, although Contra can be tough at first, but once you practice, you'll get better at it, as well as addicted. I'm giving it a 9 outta 10."
Ami: "I'm giving it an 8. Oh, and did you know that the very first Contra was known as Gryzor in Japan?"
Me: "One more thing before we close this review...this game is also out on the arcades, but it's shorter than the NES version."
Ami: "The levels are shorter than the NES counterparts, but the final level is just a simple combination of the final four stages, all combined into one stage that's a tad long. That means the arcade Contra is 5 stages long, while the NES/Famicom Contra has 8 stages. The NES/Famicom version's graphics are somewhat inferior to the arcade's, due to graphic limitations, but at least it's great, and longer than the arcade."


"Faster than a donut! Stronger than cardboard! I am Wario-Man!!" ~Wario (from WarioWare: Touched!)

"What is Bill Rizer? It is just the name of a single entity who has been gone for centuries." ~Master Contra (from Neo Contra)

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