E3 2002: Contra Advance impressions

Check out our impressions of the classic SNES game on the Game Boy Advance.

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Konami had its upcoming Game Boy Advance version of Contra, the tentatively titled Contra Advance, running in its E3 booth, and we had a chance to take a look at how it was shaping up. The game initially appears to be an attempt to ride the nostalgia wave that the GBA is encouraging, thanks to the various ports of Super Nintendo games already available for it. On first glance, you're likely to think that the game is just a straight port of the classic SNES shooter, Contra III: The Alien Wars (which would actually be OK by us), but play through it a little and you'll discover there's a bit more to it.

While the basis for Contra Advance is in fact the SNES version, Konami has gone the extra mile and added some cool extras to the game. The game's graphics have been freshened a bit and, in terms of performance, the GBA handles the sprite load admirably and looked to deal with the onscreen action better than its distant 16-bit relative. Much of the detail and special effects seen in the SNES game come over intact and look great on the GBA screen. In addition to the hectic levels found in the SNES Contra, the GBA game will throw in some all-new levels not seen in SNES game. The new levels have been tailored to take advantage of the GBA hardware and offer some cool visuals.

Gameplay is as tight and merciless as it's always been. You'll run to the right of the screen and mangle anything that tries to stop you or, worse yet, shoot at you. You'll collect weapons and power ups that will help you in your race to each level's end by mowing everyone down. Earning a high score will reward you with lives you can use to continue in your assault.

Our time with the game was suitably filled with bullets and power-ups. While the single player experience offers a cool re-creation of the SNES game, you'll also be able to link up with a friend in two-player simultaneous mode that lets you play cooperatively. So far the game is looking quite sharp and manages to offer a very engaging experience. Contra fans will want to keep an eye out for the game, which is currently slated to hit November 2002. Look for more news on the gaming leading to its release.

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