Contra Force – Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Release Date: September 30, 1992
Nerd Bacon Rating: 9 out of 10
Reviewed by: bbpower
Contra and Super C are some of the most popular NES games ever made. However, not many people know about the third installment in the series. Contra Force is a fantastic game and made for a great addition to the already successful series. The story to go along with the game is suspenseful and dark.
Unlike the prior two installments, Contra Force is no longer based upon alien destruction, but the war on terror. In this action-packed game, a team of four elite military personnel must go after a crime organization that call themselves the D.M.N.E. Things will get messy and people will die. This is a one, or two player game. So, invite a buddy and fire up the NES!
To start the game players must pick one of the four team members to go through the levels. Each member has a specialty weapon they bring to the group. The leader of the group is Burns. He has the ability to upgrade to a machine gun and grenades. Iron is a missile launcher and flamethrower specialist. Smith is a rifleman, but can upgrade to homing missiles. Finally there is Beans, who is a demolitions expert. All four team members are fun, but some are more versatile than others. Players can switch out of these characters at any given time during the game, except boss battles! To switch, just press start and you can switch out for another character.
Burns can jump higher than the rest of the team, whereas Iron is weighed down by his heavy arsenals. Once Beans is upgraded he does not have a gun and can only lay explosives. Smith’s guns shoot further than the rest of the team and he is slower than Burns. All around performer is Burns, but he does not pack the punch the other guys do. Jump is the A button, B is fire, and select is how you spend your upgrade boxes. How you get these boxes you may wonder? Well, let me tell you.
To upgrade guns, players must shoot landscape to discover orange weapon crates. These hidden gems are the only way to unlock weapons. When you get a box, the screen will fill in a spot. Find two and the first gun can be unlocked, but once they are unlocked, the boxes are spent and more will need to be discovered to get to other guns. If you have weapon crates unused and you switch out for another team member, you will lose those crates UNLESS you use them on an upgrade. Once you upgrade, the weapon is locked until you die, or upgrade/downgrade. When you die you lose all upgrades and crates and must start back over finding boxes. Shoot anything and everything you think can be blown up and a box may be your reward for your efforts.
Players can unlock two guns per character and a slot where you can acquire rapid-fire. These are key in making this game easier to beat. The final spot that can be unlocked is a shield, which makes players invincible to enemy fire when jumping. This arsenal makes the game FAR TOO EASY! Once you have it, it is hard to die. Without it, however, one shot and that character dies. Each character gets three lives. Lose all your lives with one character and you will have game over. Lose all characters in 2-player mode and you will have game over, as well. Only three continues are granted to beat the game. If you jump on top of an enemy you will die. Fun fact, as a youngster refusing to read any manual about a game, my brothers and me beat the game with the default weapons and no power ups before realizing how to do it. Yes we were stupid, but can laugh about it now.
There are five levels the team must work through to defeat the head honcho of the D.M.N.E. Each level is different and there are enemies ready to surprise you with open fire everywhere. Like the special levels in Contra and Super C, two of the levels are played overhead and the other three are side-scrolling. All the bosses and settings of fighting are different, so be prepared before going into a boss area. The music usually changes right before you step into the fighting area, which gives you time to get your right character ready for the fight.
There is a fun addition to this game. If players are stuck being blanketed by fire and need back up, players can command one of the other team members to provide assistance for a few seconds to help clear out an area. These summoned team members cannot die during this time and they automatically disappear after the time limit is up. This function comes in handy for certain parts of the game and there are six possible strategies you can choose to command them. Use with care.
There is a jump function/glitch built into the game. If you cannot reach a ledge, simply jump and press start. When you press start again to return to the game, continue holding the jump button and it will boost you up. Continue to do so and you will float through levels. This is nearly necessary in some spots after messing up, or blowing up landscapes. Don’t abuse it your first few times playing, because it does take away from the game.
Contra Force received praise for the type of game, but also it was dogged for it’s slower moving graphics. This American-only market game is a NES collectible demanding in some cases well over $100 for a decent condition game. Throw everything into consideration and I give this game a Nerd Rating of 9 out of 10. Why not a perfect? Well, I think the game is too easy with the added shield, jump function, and sluggish graphics. I LOVE this game, though. I got it for Christmas when it was new in 1992 and still remember my cousin saying, “You better like this game, it was 50 bucks!” which was a lot of money then! I forever thank my uncle for getting it for me. My only regret was shedding the box to get out the game. If you run across this game anywhere for a good price, nab it! They are rare gem to run across in the wild.
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