Game of the Week 45/2006: Contra (Probotector)

In Games

This one should be a favourite of quite some people...

The new game of the week is Contra, or Probotector, as it is known in Europe and Australia.

The Contra series essentially defined the run and gun computer and video game genre. The games, which are a combination of platform games and shoot 'em ups consist of a player-controlled human protagonist who employs rapid-fire rifles to destroy enemies. While there is more emphasis put on shooting than jumping, the player must be able to use jump to gain the right angle to destroy certain enemies and avoid getting shot. Avoidance is essential, as it only takes one hit to kill the player.
(...) The early console versions of Contra (and sequels to the console versions) were released as Probotector in Europe and Australia. In this version the two main characters (and many humanoid looking enemies in the NES versions) were changed to robots - despite the fact the original arcade version was released uncensored under the Gryzor title in those territories. ...

Japanese box and cart artworks:



Which artwork style do you like best? And why?
What do you think of the fact that the human main characters were changed to robots in the PAL versions?

Great choice again, Manuel!
I love this game. I didn't when I first got it. It was sooo frustrating, only being able to take one hit. With much patience (and some shameless use of the Konami code ), I was able to beat it. Once knowing your way through the game, it's not that hard. Especially if you manage to keep the 'Spread Gun."
This is a rare game where I like the NES and acrade versions equally, as well. In fact, in some ways, the arcade version is rather more of a disappointment than the NES one. If you've ever played the arcade game all the way through, you'll know that it seems shorter, they blended all the final stages into one, Konami made the NES version a bit longer by breaking these up.
I remember getting to the Red Falcon area and almost getting sick, some of those creatures are pretty gross. Konami once again ruled with the graphics on this game pak.
As for the box art this time, for me it's a tie. They are all interesting. And as for the PAL version--the heroes being robots? I didn't know about that! I'll have to snag that NES ROM and check it out!

I love this series (8-to-16 bit time periods). I have just as much fun with the first one as with the later games, mainly because the first one relied more on tried and true timing than actual twitch gameplay. Then Super C came along and kicked all of our asses. In every game, the music was always memorable, and the gameplay freaking hard. (By the way, Contra Force doesn't count.)

As for the cover art, I've always preferred the US version (for once). The movie poster motif was perfect. The Japanese one was interesting, but not particularly memorable.

As for probotector... well, that goes into the British censorship system, and I'd just as soon not spout off my opinions on THAT subject.

excellent choice Manuel.

this is one of the few games i can play countless times and never get bored. i've conquered it well over 15 times and it's still fun to play.

Same As Campkill, I never get bored of this game. I can just play it for hours of hours. I think this game is extremely hard, but maybe I just suck at it. Anyways, I enjoy all the Contra games, this one being no exception. I remember the music so well, and you can never forget that gameplay once you've tried it.

Once again, excellent choice, manuel.

Contra (arcade) will be available on XBLA.

Awesome game :) It's cool that you picked this for this week. Not too long ago, some of you may remember that Bazariah from maxed out the score and tied the world record. Well, I was thinking of attempting the same thing. My max score so far is 3,000,000+, so I don't think it will be too hard to obtain... just take longer ;)

As for the box art, the US version all the way. I think it's cool how they took the images from some movies and made some cool looking box art.

Well, tried Probotector, I thought it was the same except for the sprites, but is it me or is the difficulty level slightly higher? I played both Contra and this one side by side, and it seems there's a lot more bullets flying at you in the building areas (with the force fields) in Probotector.

Contra is a good game although I don't think it is as great as some people do. I used to quite dislike it but came round to it in the end (basically once I figured out the second level).

I always thought the gameplay was the same but I'm no expert. I've beaten both versions but only using the code and died a lot in each.

Lol well that's the 80's censorship system. Things have changed a little now. Although Grand Theft Auto with robots would be quite funny.

True, they have lightened up on video game ratings, but things are still ludicrous when it comes to movies. Remember the Dr. Who movie fiasco?

I'll have to test Toddvania's theory when it comes to the indoor levels. Of course, there's still a crapload of other things that I mean to do, but college keeps getting in the way.

I always think that there is some message underlying it all in Contra. Red Falcon reminds me of the Red Scare, and from there so many other analogies can be made. I just like to tune myself out and blow the crap out of stuff. One of the POWerups never really made sense to me... but I forgot which one.

The first and only game my Dad and I played together when I was a kid (Which was rare. He was pretty anti-video game).

Great game, definately a classic.

This is a game that I can keep coming back to! When I was a kid, my best friend and I had our own NES collections. We made a point to not get identical games, and he was the one that ended up owning Contra. We put in tons of hours on Contra. We didn’t have many simultaneous games we could play, so this was a welcome addition. Once we found out about the 30 man code, we could get so much further into the game. Sometimes we’d accidentally kill the other person on those vertical scrolling stages (if you fall behind, you die), and other times, we’d try killing each other on purpose. At one point, I worked out a deal with this same friend, to trade our entire NES collections (temporarily), and Contra was a game that kept me busy a good portion of the time.

A few years after my Contra obsession died down, I was over at a different friend’s house, and his older brother happened to be playing Contra, but he wasn’t doing extremely well. So, we started up a 2 man game, and I showed him the konami code, and how to beat the ice trucks, etc. Eventually, I did purchase Contra used, and I still own it, and go back to it once in a while.

I'll always love Contra. I wish they'd come out with a new and good Contra.