Earth has been invaded by an alien force named Red Falcon. The aliens battle using futuristic weapons, robots, and creatures. To battle against them the government sends two hardcore soldiers named Bill and Lance who has defeated the aliens before in the past. Together they seek to put an end to Red Falcon and save the planet.-summary
Back in 2002, Konami attempted to follow up their newest Contra game for the PS2 called Contra: Shattered Soldier, by digging into the vault and pulling out Contra 3: The Alien Wars, and remaking it for the Game Boy Advance in the form of Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX. Now, the die hard Contra fan would no doubt think, "cool, Contra 3 again", and perhaps for them, I mean the hardest of the hardcore Contra fan, will find lots of enjoyment in this game. Others who do not fall into that category will find it hard to get pass the second stage, and I also mean that literally.
Contra is a side scrolling 2-D shoot'em up that features two player co-op with multiple weapon pick ups. Most notably though, Contra has always been known for its difficulty. Make no mistake, this game is very loyal to that reputation, as it's a very difficult game. Contra Advance combines Contra 3 for theSNES(Super Nintendo Entertainment System) and Contra: Hard Corps for the Sega Genesis. The top view stages in the former game were replaced with stages from Hard Corps. Personally, I don't care for this approach and if Konami decided to make changes, then the last thing they should have done was replace those stages, because it takes away that bit of variety fans already know about from the original game, and we're only stick with a 2-D side scroller with no additional elements.
Contra 3 was special because it set itself apart from previous incarnations. Besides the over-head view(which actually debut in Super Contra), one element was being able to carry two special weapons at once, and being able to switch between the two on the fly, for the situations best suited for that weapon. This was meant to give the player more of a fighting chance. In this game, that feature is removed and the player is limited to only one weapon. Thankfully, should the player pick up an unwanted weapon by accident, then they can immediately pick up the one they previously had. This is due to the weapons ejecting as soon as another one is picked up. The second element which happened to be removed is in the form of the mega bomb that the player can use at any given time as long as they're in stock. This was a bomb that killed all of the enemies on the screen as well as weaken the bosses.
In addition to basically crippling the gameplay, for reasons that made sense only to them, Konami thought it necessary to increase the games difficulty. As if Contra ever needed to be harder. Normally I don't have a problem with a game being remade harder, but the additional features to deal with these situations were removed, and it drags down the game play. Konami clearly cripples your character, it's like being forced to play Street Fighter with out being to block and perform specials while the CPU can do everything with an increased difficulty. The enemies are relentless and they never stop pouring out. The boss battles are very difficult too. The stage set ups are packed with plenty of near death scenarios, vast enemies, and sub bosses.
Contra was never a game about skill and strategy, but mainly in memorizing stages and patterns. This game is no different in that area. However, despite having that small advantage, you will still die a whole lot, and this also includes on the novice level.
The set up is pretty basic with the shoot and jump button. The ability to stand in one place and fire without running, which was introduced in Shattered Soldier is present here, and can be pulled off by holding the right shoulder button and firing. The directional pad is responsive for the most part. But at times I found myself dying unnecessary deaths during jumps, when I could have sworn that I pressed the button.
I find the graphics to be decent at best. The backgrounds of the destroyed cities and such are pretty detailed, and the character designs for the bosses can be pretty cool. I also like the style of the game because it has a futuristic feel, which can be noticed in the aliens weaponry and equipment, such as hovering bikes. But I found some of the movements to be on the goofy side for some of the bosses. There are small details that can be noticed like the player character slightly arching his back when running down small hills and shooting. The sound effects are hardly worth noting since nothing really stood out to me. The music is terrible when compared to the original games. The instrumental is clearly lacking a bassline and sounds very bland. The SNES version clearly blows this game away in the audio department.
I can't imagine a casual gamer or a non fan bothering with this for too long. The insane difficulty can make this game unplayable for some. Setting the difficulty on novice won't make much of a difference, since all it does is increase your lives and continues. Thus, giving you more opportunities to die, and increasing your chances of hurling your Game Boy Advance or Nintendo DS across a room. However, in the case of very serious Contra fans, this game will be a nice treat. The stages are very difficult and there's a difference with the increased difficulty. Only recommended to very serious Contra fans.
Pros: More Contra for the serious fan
Cons: Key gameplay elements are removed and hurts the game overall
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Serious gamer and hardcore comic reader.
Currently in my Nintendo Wii U:
Currently … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Based on theContra IIIgame for SNES, this fast-paced 2-D side-scrolling shooter has all the classic, addictive gameplay that has since become a hallmark of the series. This game features all-new levels that have been specially designed for the powerful GBA system. Players can also link up with a friend (link cable required) in the two-player simultaneous mode for twice the fun and firepower.