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DS: Contra 4

Reviewed by: Andrew Klose

For anyone who has really played the original NES contra (and by that i mean got up at 6am on a saturday and played in your pajamas until your mom made you breakfast and not the modern hipster "I got a NES let's go play Contra and be ironic") Contra 4 is the game you've been waiting for a long time. Everything from the crushing difficulty to the awesome weapons to the massive bosses is here and upgraded, and is exactly what you'd expect given the twenty years since the original release.

Contra 4 gives you three difficulty levels when you first start up, easy, normal and hard. Even though your friends will make fun of you, you really should play easy your first time through for a couple reasons: first of all easy should really have been called hard, it's missing the last two levels so it makes things easier to finish with your 5 continues and completing the game your first time unlocks one of the best features of Contra 4: Challenge mode.

Challenge mode gives you forty in game challenges to complete, such as completing part of a level with limited ammo or no ammo or under a certain time and only one life. Beating these challenges unlocks the game's extras which include the original NES versions of Contra and Super Contra, and a nice side effect is that it makes you much better at the normal game. Running through a challenge 20 times before you beat it drills tons of info into your brain. You'll be much more aware of where turrets and enemies come from after beating your first dozen or so challenges, going back to the normal game after all this practice makes things seem almost easy on the harder modes.

There are a few things which would have taken this great game completely over the top, first of neither the Classic NES Contras allows multiplayer which was really the best way to play them. Also multiplayer requires that the second player also have the cartridge, Wireless download play would have made finding people to play pickup games so much easier. A debug mode would have been perfect for this game, one that allowed you to skip to parts of levels, give you the weapons you want etc. It really would be great to run through your favorite parts of the last level without having to play through the first seven or so to get there. I can't really fault this game for it since I can't really think of any other game that has this but something like this would have been perfect for such a difficult game.

Contra 4 is one of those games that defies the old chiche "they don't make them like they used to" Contra 4 is the game that is made exactly like they used to, just better.

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