E3 '07: Contra 4 First Look

Yep, it's Contra. We take a first look at Contra 4 at E3 2007.

Contra's back, and this time it's on the Nintendo DS. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original Contra game, Konami has commissioned the developer Way Forward to create an entirely new adventure in the Contra universe. As an appropriate way to celebrate the milestone, though, the game is heading back to the 2D, side-scrolling action that made it famous in the first place.

Click to enlarge!

If you've ever played a classic NES Contra game--perhaps on the Xbox Live Marketplace, where the original game was recently rereleased--you'll be instantly familiar with the action in Contra 4. There's not much of a story to relate: you're dropped into a hostile action zone and expected to fight your way through wave upon wave of enemies, including aliens, robots, and the occasional boss monster, until you finally manage to defeat the end boss.

Purists will enjoy the classic action on hand here, as your movements and the action are spot-on recreations of the classic eight-way shooting that was on hand in the original game. They'll also love the fact that the game is shaping up to be rather difficult. We were warned that the game's default difficulty is going to be tweaked so that it's a bit easier than what was on display here--which is probably a good thing, since we managed to blow through our initial four lives in less than a minute, even after we had been practicing a bit. Neither we nor the Konami employee giving us the demo were able to proceed far enough to fight the first boss, so players looking for a challenge will be pleased by Contra 4, although, again, players of less than godly skills will hopefully still be able to compete due to a difficulty readjustment that will occur before the game ships. (And yes, we tried the Konami code, which did nothing--at least not in this early build of the game.)

The more advanced features of the DS are somewhat purposely not supported in Contra 4. There's no touch-screen elements to the game at all, for instance, which Konami describes as a rather obvious choice, given their desire to create an homage to the original games. Everything is controlled with the directional pad and the face buttons, with the shoulder pads controlling some optional abilities. One of the small upgrades to the game's battle system is the ability to hold two weapons at the same time and flip between them depending on which one you'd rather use, so you no longer have to make that tough choice between the lasers and the spread weapon.

The dual screens do come into play during the game, however, as it's possible to jump up onto platforms on the upper screen, or use the new grappling hook to latch onto metal grilles above you and move around. You can also shoot between screens, as well, which makes for some interesting choices, as you're able to drop down to the lower screen and fire upward at a tough enemy that isn't able to fire back at you. With two screens of enemies, though, it's much tougher to keep track of everything that's happening, so you have to be fully aware of your surroundings at all times if you want to live.

Click to enlarge!

In addition to a challenging single-player mode, aspiring alien fighters will be able to team up in two-player local co-op. We didn't get a chance to play around with that, although the advent of dual-screen gaming would seem to make this an even more expansive feature than it's been in past Contra games. We won't have to wait long to find out, however, as Contra 4 should be hitting a Nintendo DS near you this fall.

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Discussion

51 comments
Distinctive_Fin
Distinctive_Fin

Ahhhhhh! I remember the GB version, operation C. what a tough game! I want to check it out before buying though.

pik-ku
pik-ku

wow classic!! I played the first game only A very memorable game XDD Can't wait anymore!!!

dredzz
dredzz

shouldn't this be contra 6 or 5 at least if you don't want to count the 3-d versions. contra 4 was the arguably best hard corps for genesis

timdabrat
timdabrat

the most important question: CAN YOU SAVE?!

zonetroperalpha
zonetroperalpha

cant wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111!!!!!111!1!!!!111!1!!!!1!!!!!! NEED IT NOW,MORE CONTRA!

jmac777
jmac777

THis game looks like a ton of fun. I will be buying this.

PotatoSan
PotatoSan

789shadow: I'm only posting a comment because your comment bothered me so much. Why are there people like you that think single player is autimatically better and more important than online multiplayer? Multiplayer lasts far, far longer than single player most of the time, and generally is more fun. Not that you've ever tried an online game though, as you are most likely a Nintendo fanboy.

789shadow
789shadow

KingSigy: Does it really have to have online??????Is online the only thing that matters to you?????

PyroWolfX
PyroWolfX

15 Years after Contra 3 was Released on the SNES

soxs
soxs

Your crucifying Gamespot because they did not mention the third chapter in the series having that option, but have you stopped to wonder if what there talking about is something else?, you have to wonder how much credibility you have like Diablobasher mentioned before! JERKS!!!, we are all gamers theres no need to be acting like we are better than the other.

diablobasher
diablobasher

Given that noone mentioned Contra 3, and that they only talked about Contra, and Contra 4, i would say that yes, Gamespot still has a large amount more 'credability' than any of you lot.

Elduque21
Elduque21

Boooo hooooo, wow they didn't get it right with one game. Yeah I knew that already too, but come on.

etai79
etai79

"One of the small upgrades to the game's battle system is the ability to hold two weapons at the same time and flip between them depending on which one you'd rather use, so you no longer have to make that tough choice between the lasers and the spread weapon." Goodbye Gamespot credibility.

grafkhun
grafkhun

dual weapon system is not new, it was in contra 3 :lol: gs get your facts right.

Hillsy_
Hillsy_

@Acid_Kitsune - Agree totally. The dual weapons were already a feature in the Contra III game on the SNES. Then again, still looking forward to this game.

Mugen76
Mugen76

Contra is like Castlevania, it's way out of its element if it's in 3D.

N15PCA
N15PCA

Can't wait to play this game.

The_Deepblue
The_Deepblue

Anyone else feel that? Feels like nostalgia. I like how they're using the original Contra as their main inspiration. This game might be pretty decent.

suchafool
suchafool

@Acid_Kitsune - I was just about to type the very same thing when I saw your message... wake up Gamespot!

icytower
icytower

I enjoyed the original Contra many years ago :), this might be a nice addition to the collection. Don't seam to remember Contra 2 or 3 :?

Acid_Kitsune
Acid_Kitsune

One of the small upgrades to the game's battle system is the ability to hold two weapons at the same time and flip between them depending on which one you'd rather use, so you no longer have to make that tough choice between the lasers and the spread weapon. --------------------------------------- WTF, that was first seen in Super Contra III, over a decade ago.

BrunoBRS
BrunoBRS

nighthawk_infinite Well this came out of nowhere. Looks pretty nice though. true, but will it have save feature? or we'll have to go back to the time when tons of paper was used too copy passwords?

DouglasBuffone
DouglasBuffone

Contra 4 looks very cool, but I definitely could see how some would think it is just a cheap rehash.

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

I didn't expect this one but yeah, this should be fun all over again

especensor
especensor

looks pretty nice. the screens are looking alot more polished than those "first screens" which just made me want to puke.

theman64
theman64

This game sounds awesome, although I'm not very familiar with the Contra series...

kappareign
kappareign

take an old favorite and make it new again. thats how you win

lew_0911
lew_0911

I wonder if they could add a co-op gameplay?

judog1
judog1

Wi-Fi Co-Op would be a nice addition.

KiLLer_ba
KiLLer_ba

Contra 4 should be interesting using both screens. Let's hope this revives the Contra series

skyvader
skyvader

up up down down left right left right b a baby!

cichy69
cichy69

@JLuke360 Yeah, we sure did love Contra 2 and 3...They were beyond classics... i think the original Contra was the best, i didn't like the other two, but i think they will probably make remakes of Contra 2 & 3 also, in near future :] ...also co-op over wi-fi.. sounds interesting, always loved to play with my bro on the original Contra

JLuke360
JLuke360

Yeah, we sure did love Contra 2 and 3...They were beyond classics...:roll:

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

No touch screen capabilities is a disappointment but then I couldn't imagine Contra with touch screen capabilities.