Monday, January 16, 2012

Videogame Mythbusters; Contra really isn’t that hard

We’ve all seen the pseudo humours Youtube videos and blog posts about how tough Contra is. We’ve all seen the t-shirt. The iconic Konami code; Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right B, A. Supposedly the game is near impossible even with this cheat code to give you 30 extra lives instead of the normal 3. Well here’s some news for you. Contra isn’t tough. In fact compared to other NES games it’s a walk in the park.

I was at a recent retro games meet up and give contra a quick go and was surprised how far I was able to get in such a supposedly hard game. So out of boredom last night I threw it on and played it seriously for the first time. My first go took me all the way to the stage 7, the last stage. A few more tries and an hour later I was watching the ending. All without once using the 30 extra lives code. Contra isn’t a total push-over, stages 6 and 7 are brutal, however compared to other NES games at the time it’s got nothing on them. If you want really tough games then try the later stuff in the series like Contra Hard Corp or Shattered Soldier, now they really are tough!

This guy reminds me of Krang

If you don’t like tough games then don’t be put off playing Contra. It’s still one of the greatest NES games ever made. It controls beautifully with some very well thought out level design. There’s also the 2 player mode, which despite making the game much harder due to even more screen clutter to follow, is a one of the best NES co-op experiences. It’s one of the best arcade conversions ever and even improves on the arcade original by getting rid of the cramped vertical screen orientation and adding in two extra stages that so happen to be the best stages in the game. It’s pretty much essential to any NES collection.


  1. You're right! I think this game is not that cruel as everyone are used to saying, the nes version compared to the arcade one is more polished in graphic terms and more easy to play.
    I meeting more trouble in the arcade version on my DS instead of the nes version

    1. I find the controls a bit harder and the screen more cramped in the Arcade version. The NES version controls a lot better. The jumping is just weird in the arcade game.

  2. I never actually played the arcade version, but I beat the NES one so many times. At first, I used the 30 lives code. I got so good at it though, I was able to beat it without a loss (good or lacking in life - take your pick).

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