ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Contra on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) – Great Old Video Games

Updated on August 15, 2014
Crap Your Pants Kiddies, It's Contra Time. The First Level Was Epic. Exploding Bridges - Dudes Popping out from Behind Bushes - Guns Everywhere - Suicide Bombers - Woa. Epicness.
Crap Your Pants Kiddies, It's Contra Time. The First Level Was Epic. Exploding Bridges - Dudes Popping out from Behind Bushes - Guns Everywhere - Suicide Bombers - Woa. Epicness.

The Best 2D Shooter

Nothing says great gaming like Contra on the Nintendo Entertainment System, because that really was a great old video game. For an early 1988 release, that game was basically like selling crack to kids. Shooting crap? Nice. Tight, fluid controls? Awesome. Tons of enemies? Sweet. More than decent graphics for a home console? Heck yeah. Oh, and the music was even pretty kick ass. Yep, every kid I knew loved Contra. People would still talk about this game when I was in High School – and that was like nine years after its initial release.

Contra hit the arcades first in 1987, and was ported to the NES the year afterwards. The arcade graphics are a notch up, but the game is essentially almost as good on the Nintendo in many ways. Contra really had the best controls out of any shooter game, bar none. You had full 360 degree control of your gun, and the jumping and moving was also very well designed. The levels were so detailed and colorful that they probably caused a few kids to crap their pants in excitement, too.

This Cute Mario Plush Wants to Sleep With You Tonight!

Spread or Dead. This Was the Only Gun to Use. Kinda Made the Whole Gun Selection Deal Incredibly Lame.
Spread or Dead. This Was the Only Gun to Use. Kinda Made the Whole Gun Selection Deal Incredibly Lame.

Guns, Guns, Guns

One of the most awesome things about Contra is that the guns can constantly change. Unlike a lot of other shooters where you have to put up with the same boring gun for hours at a time, Contra keeps throwing new weapons at you. Some of them suck complete ass, like the laser gun. That thing is pretty useless, save for a couple very specific situations. It’s sort of a minor down point to the game, but you basically just wanted to get the spread gun and hold on to it for the entire game. Once the initial awesomeness of so many gun selections wore off, you pretty much realized that it was spread or dead. Hey, that rhymes. Cool.

Another totally badass thing about the original Contra game was that the perspective switched up a lot. Starting in level two, you got to experience a front, side to side, semi-3d perspective. It was really innovative for the time. Level three mixed things up even more, because you had to climb this hillside upwards. So, the designers really did a great job keeping the levels fresh.

The Second Level Had a Semi-3d Perspective. Pretty Unique for Its Time, Too.
The Second Level Had a Semi-3d Perspective. Pretty Unique for Its Time, Too.

Better and Better as the Game Went On

Then, at the end of level three came the best part. You thought you were some contra fighter in a jungle killing bad dudes like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but this giant ass alien pops out and tries to ice you at the end of level three. Holy crap! It was like the makers of Contra rolled all the most awesome 80s movies into one. You had Aliens, Commando, Predator, and lots of other influences. So cool.

Another great thing about Contra was that lots of enemies would attack you at once. Sometimes you had like 4 or 5 enemies on the screen – and I think this was because they didn’t involve any processing. These enemies didn’t make on the fly decisions like in a game such as Double Dragon. In other words, the computer didn’t react to you – so they could put more on the screen. Super C (the sequel) exploited this a lot, I believe. That game pummeled you with armies. In a contemporary game like Double Dragon, there were only 2 enemies at a time. Of those two, one would often stop because the computer could not always handle fighting on 2 different characters at the same time. Sometimes the computer was able to multi-whoop your ass with two oponnents, though. It was a design flaw at the time, but that concept did carry over into future games for some stupid reason. People thought it was a good idea. Boo.

Nobody stops to watch their friend get his ass beat, then joins in the fight afterward.

Contra Speed Run Video

One of the Final Enemies is an Alien Straight Out of the Ripley Universe. Hah.
One of the Final Enemies is an Alien Straight Out of the Ripley Universe. Hah.

Get This Awesome NIntendo Messenger Bag to Carry Your Stuff!

Lions and Tigers and... Aliens?

One of the final enemies in the last level even looks exactly like one of the aliens from the movie Aliens. It’s neat.

Anyway – was there anything about this game that didn’t blow your nuts off when you played it? I mean – was there any reason not to like this game?

Yeah, there were reasons not to like Contra. The game was hard as all crap, so most kids played for like 1 minute before dying and having to start over. That was your experience when you first played. Start up, die. Rinse, repeat. The game was so busy blowing your nuts off that you didn’t care, though. You were happy to just make it three feet further – and then you finally beat level one after trying a lot. It was rewarding. They only gave you three lives in the regular game.

I still like these kinds of games. Who the hell wants to play a realistic looking fighter game that someone's 5 year old kid brother can almost beat? Yeah, that's realistic. A five year old kid with a gun owning like Rambo. I prefer the more realistic side of getting your ass handed to you in Contra, thanks. It may not look as pretty, but thy nuts will be blown sky high. I think this is why I got turned off of the Grand Theft Auto Series. It just feels so watered down and easy since San Andreas.

Huh? What Is That Crap? Look, I'm Trying to Get to the Final Boss. Go Away. Oh, You Are the Final Boss. How Depressing.
Huh? What Is That Crap? Look, I'm Trying to Get to the Final Boss. Go Away. Oh, You Are the Final Boss. How Depressing.

Ho Ho - The Cheat Code You Say?

Now, there was the absolutely famous 30 lives cheat code. Believe it or not, I never knew that code as a kid. I didn’t own the game, though, so I didn’t play it all that often. That code has often been called the most famous code in the world – but for those of you youngsters laughing at me, remember one thing: We didn’t have any damn internet back then! The internet was some crap that existed at a university, and some dude played with a giant computer that operated on tape reels in order to use it! You were just some geek sending email if you used the internet during the 80s.

Another thing to look at with disdain is the final boss – if you can even call it that. The final boss is just some giant beating heart at the end of a bloody cave full of aliens. It’ stupid, and makes no sense. The whole game owns, why couldn’t they come up with a decent ending concept for Contra? Here – I’ll spitball one. How about a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex with robot legs and some of those Alien heads coming out of its body? See, now we’re trying.

I Shoot Blanks Thanks to Contra

Eh, you really can’t fault the game too much, though. Most of us who played this as kids can’t have children because this game just completely blew our nuts off when we played it the first time. We suffered from radiation burns the first week because the glow of the awesomeness was so bright. The only real detriments are the insane difficulty (for the average kid who didn’t know the 30 lives cheat), and the botched job with the weapons. All you need is spread. I think laser works best to kill one of the bosses, but that’s literally the only time when you might want to change things up.

Great game, and anyone who can beat it on the 3 pathetic lives they give you is a miracle worker.

Do Your Rank Contra at Least Top 15 in the NES Library?

See results

© 2014 Rywads

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)