A game where a spread rifle can answer all your problems.
One man against an alien army, you say? Insurmountable odds, you say? I say- HOGWASH! I shall take my spread rifle and mow them down like grass. That's the kind of gung ho spirit you'll want to carry with you as you play through Contra, Konami's latest offering for the cell phone market. In it, you play Bill, a soldier of fortune who singlehandedly challenges the alien forces of Red Falcon, as they attempt to dominate the world with their soldiers and various cannons and vehicles.
You remember this game from the good ol' days on the NES, right? Well, the wireless version of Contra isn't based on that build, but rather the original arcade game, and it benefits because of that. The graphics look surprisingly faithful to the original arcade game, complete with waterfalls, 3-D tunnels with dangers ahead that need to be shot, the occasional boss battles, and loads of soldiers coming from all directions. Sound is also pretty reasonable, complete with familiar effects if you remember the original arcade game.
Probably the biggest issue that hinders Contra is control. A game like this is pretty hard to play on a cell phone, especially when you have to aim AND fire at the same time. It took a little getting used to on my cell phone, but once I got the hang of it, it was somewhat acceptable. I still found myself falling to a certain death or unable to fire at an enemy at the right time, and I couldn't get the 30 man code that worked in the NES version to work here (the old up, up, down, down thing, remember?), so I got a bit frustrated.
Another problem is that the game is one player only, so a friend can't jump in and help you out. This pretty much ruins any kind of longevity the game needed, as two-player capability would've been a nice touch here. It would've balanced out the challenge a bit as well. But I suppose that's asking a bit much for a company that hasn't dabbled in cell phone gaming for too long, isn't it?
Contra is still a pretty good shooter for cell phone owners and those who just absolutely have to take their guns ablazing on the road. But its control scheme and challenging play may be a bit too much for some, so you might want to sample its wares first before you make a full investment. Maybe with Super Contra, we'll get everything we wanted. But, for now, this is decent, classic fun.
What's Hot: Great graphics and sound; classic fun.
What's Not: Controls can be tricky; no two player option.