Friday, November 13, 2009

Rebirthing Contra.

I've been without monies to buy new games for a while, and had the pleasure of being gifted with an early Christmas present, a Wii points card. Thank you, dear brother. So I decided to go after the game i really wanted to try out, Contra Rebirth. I have to say that it may have been one of the best purchases I've made in a good while.

Contra Rebirth, the second game in Konami's fantastic Rebirth series, revolves around the story of Bill Rizer's rebirth in the midst of an invasion of the Neo Salamander army. The Galactic President (who bears a striking resemblance to Che Guevara) Orders Rizer and Yagyu to put those slimy lizards in their place, and find lost comrade Lance Bean. And so the pwning begins!!

From the first explosion you're thrown into a mixture of new stages and older throwbacks to some of finer points of Contras past. Let me tell you; I've seen some extreme stuff go on in a contra game, especially in games like Hard Corps, and Neo Contra, but damn!. Helicopters in space, Fighting Centipedes on reentry into earth's atmosphere, Robotic llamas (ROBOTIC LLAMAS!), Alien stampedes, and slight nods to Contra's UK equivilant, Probotector. If the goal of a Rebirth game is to remind me how awesome these games were, and still are, then congratulations, man you made a believer out of me. The only serious gripe I have are that I wish there were at least two more stages. Perhaps one bird's eye stage at least.

Of course what love letter from Konami to Contra is complete without having some decent remixes of previous contra games. There's even a track from Contra Force in there, and that's odd considering that's not even a Contra game. (Contra Force was originally called Arc Hound, and was changed to capitalize on the Contra franchise during the tail end of the NES days.)

The graphics are great. I feel like in some instances the sprites have more personality to them, and almost feel like Konami is taking Contra into a metal slug route. I've noticed this more with the enemies, who exude personality right down to the minor details. Then again Contra Hard Corps also had this charming quality.

Difficulty ranges from Easy to Normal, to Hard, to Nightmare. And Nightmare, as you may have guessed is pretty accurate. Hard was a struggle, but having every enemy you kill in Nightmare mode turn into a projectile that flies towards you when you're trying to progress is kind of frustrating. Seasoned gamers can work their way through the first three difficulty modes in under a week (It took me about three days. Still working through Nightmare currently.)

The Controls are tight and percise. Just what you would expect. You can lock your character in place by holding the fire button that way you can use the control pad to switch angles and focus on the weakpoint for massive damage. You can also switch weapons by shaking the wiimote, which I thought was kind of silly, until got about two levels in. It's actually pretty useful. You can go so far as to switch to default to avoid losing your spread before dying which is what I had to do a good couple times on the first couple playthroughs.


The Spiracy Scale

Graphics - Sweet. Satisfied my 2D tastebuds. I don't know if the aim is to have some strange Contra/Metal Slug hybrid, but if that's where we're headed then I'm totally down.

Controls - Sweet. Solid controls a few added quirks that really add to the overall presentation.

Sound - sweet. Great remixes, catchy stage music.

Difficulty - Good. From easy to hard, to "you evil bastards!!"

Replayability - Good. If you want the secret characters you're going to have to go through the game on easy and normal. Hard is just a test of how contra are you, and Nightmare is the manliest of man settings.]

The Verdict - An excellent Wiiware title well worth the cost of admission. Contra Rebirth should probably be renamed Awesome Rebirth: the rebirth of awesome, and for good reason. it gives fans of the series every bit of what they love, while offering a solid challenge. I have to say that this entry gave me some pretty high hopes for Castlevania the adventure Rebirth, and I'm sure Konami will not disappoint.

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