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Is It Time for a New Contra Console Game?

Rate this Article The Contra game franchise has come a long way since 1987, and with its many iterations through the years, Konami has managed to keep the game alive. Let's take a look at why a new Contra game would be needed to ensure the continuation of this very successful franchise. Tough Games - Is It Time for a New Contra Console Game?

Way back in the 1980s, when the games industry was still very much in its growth process, the most popular games were usually of the arcade variety. With the emergence of not only the micro-computers but also the more dedicated home gaming consoles (like the Famicom and the NES), arcade game titles started growing in quantity at an exponential rate. Most of these early games are considered classics today and can be practically thought of as antiques in the field of gaming history. Regardless, many of them have continued through the years in the form of iterations and updates, enabling the original franchise to thrive and survive up to the present day.

One of these games is Contra. Initially released by Konami in 1987. The game was/is a shooter played in the third-person perspective where the character traverses several levels (or areas) in either a top-down or side-scrolling view. What made Contra special, as compared to the other shooter games of the time, was the combination of intense arcade challenge, the ambient artwork and sounds, and the co-op two-player gameplay that endeared the game to many young players of the day. The story of the game (though secondary) was quite interesting in itself, and no doubt contributed to the overall effect of the game.

Contra 1987

The original story of what was to become the Contra game series pits two operatives of the Contra Marine Earth Defense Corps against the evil Red Falcon Organization, whose intention was to wipe out all of humanity. At first, considered a terrorist group, Contra agents Bill and Lance were sent to stop them. They soon discover that Red Falcon was actually a front for evil Aliens in the process of a massive invasion against Earth, and it was up to both of them to jump, strife, shoot, crawl, run, collect power-ups, and eliminate the alien threats to finally win the day. This is where the gamers came in to find out that Contra was probably one of the most difficult yet addictive games to play. The challenge level was so high that practically completing the game meant a massive achievement in terms of arcade grit and gaming galore.

One of the things Konami did in the form of innovation regarding the game was to provide gamers with a sort of a cheat that wasn't a cheat. It was known as the infamous Konami Contra game code. The purpose was to extend the life of the player character to make it possible and more accessible to reach the end of the game. It was a successful move in keeping the players playing rather than getting completely frustrated and giving up on the game. This led to the continual growth of the franchise as the years moved on, and iteration after iteration from the original Contra was released.

The Contra franchise (as far as gaming is concerned) was an all-platform game. Whether it was the PC (with so many brands and operating systems in the 1980s), the home consoles, or the commercial arcade game machines, there would always be a Contra game available. Sadly (and realistically), like many top games of the past, the popularity of a game may wane, although there will always be a dedicated and hardcore crowd who will continue to play it. Thus, iterations of the game play a very important role should the publisher wish to continue the franchise and continue to prolong its lifespan. Looking back through the years, Konami has been doing just that, but a lot of things keep changing in the gaming industry and how people enjoy their games.


Most Contra iterations continue the premise of the original storyline and characters, with a few variations here and there, like a different timeline, added female protagonist, and even a few deviances from the original story. However, most of the time, the gameplay and its challenges remain basically the same. This is what has kept the patronage of Contra fans through time, as it has become sort of a trademark of the franchise. In 2011, Contra Hardcore Uprising was released for the PS3 and Xbox 360. It was different from the preceding Contra games as it used an anime style of graphics to present the game. The gameplay, however, was still basically Contra, so it was easy for the player base to adjust to the new game. The next major deviation, however, came in 2019 with the release of Contra: Rogue Corps. The game was available for Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Sadly, the design of the game deviated so much from the original Contra games, and although the game was good, it didn't have the look and feel of a real Contra game and thus disappointed a lot of fans of the original series. Many didn't like it.

Contra Returns

Prior to that, however, Konami, being true to its multi-platform advocacy, released a Contra game for the mobile market in cooperation with Tencent of China. That game was Contra Returns. Developed for both Android and IOS, the game could be played in either solo, co-op, or PvP challenge modes. Contra Returns tries to remain true to the classic (8-16bit) 1987 Contra, though using the advanced graphics capabilities of mobile devices today. But then, the game runs under the free2play gaming platform, so you will have to grind to unlock this, and that with several "gacha" features thrown in here and there. This made the game more of a mobile spin-off of the original 1987 classic and, in many ways, disappointing to long-time Contra fans. Also, Contra Returns introduces some RPG-like features and is more "grind" oriented than the hardcore arcade challenge trademark of the original one.

Contra Forever

Currently, these are the latest Contra games withstanding the Contra Anniversary Collection Package, which includes ten selected classic Contra titles (and also) released in 2019 for Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch. As for the two last iterations, however, the deviations from the original gameplay, be it subtle or otherwise, have contributed somehow to the further decline of the game. Unless Konami wishes the franchise to be finally slowly put to rest, they will have to come up with a new Contra console and PC game that can retain the old gameplay and feel of Contra, as well as be able to take advantage of the current state and technology of video gaming today, and mix them into a harmonious new Contra updated gameplay. With the Contra franchise just having celebrated its 35th anniversary this Feb. 2022, let's hope Konami will soon come out with a new Contra for its loyal fans.

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