Total Contra fan-service!
The moment you reach the title screen and hear the classic, but reworked Contra title screen music, you know it's totally on like its the late 1980s all over again! There are also lots of homages to earlier Contra games in the level design, enemies, and bosses that will make Contra fans squeal with glee!
While good, the graphics won't blow you away, even for DS standards. Don't let that worry you though since they are still very good and highly resemble Contra III's graphics expect much cleaner looking. Contra 4 definitely has the "Contra look."
Where the graphics lack a bit, the music more than makes up for it. From the previously mentioned title screen melody to the amazing familiar-but-new stage music, it will be very satisfying to any Contra fan. If you play on the hard difficulty setting, then you'll hear 100% true-to-the-original stage music which is a nice touch.
The sound effects are also like you would expect, with explosions and gun fire sounding appropriately 16-bit, but with some nice added oomph. They even added voice-over samples when you die and then respawn with lines like, "Let's party!," "Locked and loaded!," and "Come get some!" The only thing bad I can say about the sound is the effect for the machine gun. It is far to "pew, pew" sounding for me, but otherwise the SFX are great.
If anything comes to mind about this game, it is this: "Contra 4 is ****ing hard!!" It takes balls of steel to play this game! No pansies allowed! I am dead ****ing serious! If you haven't played a Contra game before and are wondering if you should get this game, my advice is don't bother. Unless you are used to or don't mind punishing old-school styIe games, this won't appeal to you. Contra 4 plays like the previous 2D Contra games, end of story.
Lasting Appeal: 8.5
It'll surely take you a good long while to be able even finish this game on normal as the easy difficulty level will only let you play through 7 of the 9 stages with no ending. The Challenge Mode is also something that will keep you occupied for awhile too. This mode is were you unlock secrets such as developer interviews, Contra promo comics, and even the NES version of Contra and Super C!
Contra 4 would make even Chuck Norris weep like a little baby! Contra fans should pick this one up immediately, but all others will likely wonder what all the fuss is about.