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In the late 80s, Konami released the game Contra to the United States; a fast paced scrolling shooter which offered a lot of entertainment. Though the game it's self is fairly short, ranging only eight levels, the game play focused more on high score and cooperative play. In the game you take control of Bill Rizer to defeat the alien force known only as "Red Falcon". Through the levels you must maneuver your character through enemy gun fire, across spike pits, and over moving platforms which really adds to the main difficulty Contra has to offer. Along with all of that, you are faced with a boss at the end of each level. Each boss is a lot larger than your character and has a variety of attacks which really put your skill to the test. However, the true challenge in Contra is the fact that you have only three lives throughout the game. Of course you can receive extra lives for getting a certain score, but the limited number of lives really makes it a lot harder to get through the eight levels included in this game.
Another feature Contra has is cooperative play. You and a friend can try to take on this game together. However, in certain levels you can leave your teammate behind which results in his death, so teamwork is key to winning.
When you first play Contra it really seems like everything comes naturally. Game play is fluid and never seems to be forced. The controls are simple and offer a short learning curve, so pretty much anyone can pick this game up and play like a pro within minutes. Graphically this game is great for it's time. You can really tell that the creators paid a lot of attention to the details in the background, foreground, and character design which really helps with the atmosphere of the game. However, seeing as how Contra is a fast paced game, it makes sense to have a sound track that gets your adrenaline pumping to help get you into the game, and Contra does just that. The music in this game seems like it was originally intended for rock music which really gets the player in the mood for a fast game like this. Also, the sound effects in Contra are excellent considering the limits on technology when it was created. The projectiles and weapons in this game mostly have different sounds which keeps things fresh and non-repetitive.
Over all, Contra not only offers a fun experience but also high replay value, especially when you have a friend to play along. Once you become used to the game play and pacing of this game, you can easily beat the eight levels within about fifteen minutes. However, if you still can't beat it, Contra does include one of the earliest and most famous codes (the Konami code which has now become known simply as "The Code" among hard-core gamers).
If you enjoy side-scrollers and also have a soft spot for shooters, I advise you to pick up Contra. Not only will this game offer a great challenge, but it will also provide you and your friends with many enjoyable times.
My score: 9/10