Best Contra Games on Nintendo Consoles

Best Contra Games on Nintendo Consoles

Image: Nintendo Life

Contra is one of the few franchises that has become completely synonymous with gaming; indeed, chances are if you haven’t play all Contra games, then you will have at least understood of them. Konami’s shoot-em-up juggernaut may have lost a lot of its shine in recent years (about the same as Konami these days, it seems, except for some excellent retro collections ), but its previous iterations have become iconic in their own right.

From the original Contra in 1988 all the way to Contra: Rogue Corps in 2019, the series has rarely strayed from its relatively simple formula – run through a bunch of linear levels and shoot a bunch of baddies – but that’s arguably its most large draw. In an age where gaming is more complex than ever, Contra is a fantastic reminder that you don’t need a bunch of features to create a cracking game.

So, just like our other reader-rated polls, we’ve asked the right people to rate your favorite Contra games on Nintendo platforms in the list below.

If you missed the voting phase, don’t worry! The list below is automatically updated in real time based on each game’s corresponding “user rating” in the Nintendo Life game database. This means that he can influence the order at presentif you wish, by clicking on the star next to each game and giving it our own score.

So equip yourself with a Spread Shot and let’s discover the best Contra games on Nintendo consoles!

To note. Yes, we’ve included the Anniversary Collection for completeness – if you don’t want collections included in our ranking, just pretend they aren’t; the rest of the list will always be in the same order!

Cons: Rogue Corps (Switch)

Cons: Rogue Corps (Switch)

Editor: Konami / Developer: Konami

Release date: September 24, 2019 (UNITED STATES) / September 26, 2019 (UK/EU)

Contra’s much-hyped return to modern platforms landed with more of a whimper than a hit. Contra: Rogue Corps replaces side-scrolling shoot-em-up action with top-down twinstick gameplay; the problem is that it’s not very fun to play. The shooting mechanics are far too imprecise and the muddy textures and low resolution make for an ugly experience on the Switch. There are some great ideas here, but Rogue Corps falls far short of the Contra revival we were hoping for.

Counter Advance: The Alien Wars EX (GBA)

Counter Advance: The Alien Wars EX (GBA)

Editor: Konami / Developer: Konami

Release date: November 3, 2002 (UNITED STATES) / February 21, 2003 (UK/EU)

Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX certainly sounds like a good idea in theory; one of the greatest shoot-em-ups of all time on a portable device? Cared for! In practice, however, Contra Advance introduces a number of compromises to the experience that make it less than ideal: more blocking sprites; washed-out visuals; degraded audio quality. It all adds up, making this a tough recommendation when the SNES version of Alien Wars is so readily available.

Arcade Archives Contra (Switch eShop)

Arcade Archives Contra (Switch eShop)

Editor: HAMSTER / Developer: Konami

Release date: September 3, 2020 (UNITED STATES)

Part of the ‘Arcade Archives’ lineup on Switch, Contra is the original arcade title through and through, warts and all. Its purity and simplicity are perhaps its greatest characteristics these days, but subsequent Contra titles have arguably surpassed it in quality and replayability. Still, it’s worth checking out on Switch, though we’d probably recommend the more comprehensive offering available in the Contra Anniversary Collection.

Contra: The Alien Wars (GB)

Contra: The Alien Wars (GB)

Editor: Konami / Developer: Factor 5

Release date: October 1994 (UNITED STATES) / 1995 (UK/EU)

A Game Boy version of the SNES original, developed by Factor 5, the studio behind the Super Turrican games on the Super Nintendo and the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron series. The levels and overall structure have been changed and a password system added, but it still manages to deliver a playable Contra game on a system with the processing power of a modern toaster.

Operation C (UK)

Operation C (UK)

Editor: Konami / Developer: Konami

Release date: February 5, 1991 (UNITED STATES) / May 21, 1992 (UK/EU)

It is undoubtedly a Contra game (or Probotector if you’re a robot-loving European) more worthy of its title than, say, some PlayStation entries. It hits on most of the aspects that make a good entry: challenging gameplay, tight controls, varied enemies, killer arsenal, macho tunes, big bosses. For a title two years into the mighty handheld’s lifespan, it accomplishes an impressive amount in slashing the bulk of the beloved console/arcade series. Sadly, players are forced to go solo, which is disheartening for multiplayer fans and kills some of its longevity, but it’s remarkable how well the game holds up to humble Game Boy and game fans alike. NES would be stupid to pass. that.

Contra: Hard Corps (MD)

Contra: Hard Corps (MD)

Editor: Konami / Developer: Konami

Release date: August 8, 1994 (UNITED STATES) / November 1994 (UK/EU)

Available as part of the NSO Expansion Pack – and so technically available to play on a Nintendo console outside of the Contra Anniversary Collection — Counter: Hard Corps represented the series’ debut on the SEGA console and represented a bit of a derivative vibe in terms of setting and characters. While it might not be easy to appreciate for those who only encountered it in the Contra Anniversary Collection, it brought noticeable changes to the control scheme and gameplay mechanics compared to its predecessors.

A great entry, it certainly stands out as an inspiration for some modern “neo-retro” racing and gun games.


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