Hands on Contra 4

By Spencer . July 14, 2007 . 7:51pm

contra4ds.jpgContra 4 brings the Contra series back to its arcade roots with a long vertical screen and throws in a grappling hook with good measure. The E3 demo pushed players in a jungle level where alien troops run towards you, just like the arcade game. You run over a bridge that explodes and saucers fly overhead to drop power-ups. In Contra 4 you can carry two kinds of power-ups and switch between them. This makes your character more versatile since you can use the spread shot to take out basic troops and switch to the powerful flamethrower when you need to shoot a turret.


The biggest addition in Contra 4 is the grappling hook. When you press X you can shoot it upwards and climb straight up. Since action takes place on both screens the grappling hook is a necessary mechanic to quickly carry players from the bottom screen to the top. In the demo level there was a high cliff and the only way to get on top was to use the grappling hook. After a short play in Contra 4’s jungle it is clear that Way Forward Studios has done a great job preserving the feel of Contra with tight controls. The only thing I wanted to try, but couldn’t was local wireless play.




Outside of the jungle level, Konami plans to have a total of nine stages. In one level you drive a jet ski when the water rises to the top DS screen and in other you are in a ruined city. Some of the levels will have tunnels like the original arcade game too.


Contra 4 is old-school contra and you lose one life if one of the red suited aliens tackles you. This makes Contra 4 “harder” than other games because you die more, but if you want to lessen the challenge there is an easy mode. Konami is also going to add in the Konami code if you want to cheat your way through the game. They are still deciding what effect the code is going to have. It might be 30 lives, it might be something else.

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  • the_importer

    Only the popularity of NDS could motivate Konami to make and release a long over due Contra IV.

  • EvliAkito

    I’m glad to hear that it’s shaping up well. While the PS2 games were fun, they just didn’t feel the same. I feared that we’d never get a new Contra game that felt like the older ones, but I guess they’re pulling through for us. Now if only Castlevania would get the same treatment….

  • Aoshi00

    Castlevania alrdy has its share of 2D games on the GBA/DS, plus we’re getting the remake of Rondo of Blood on the Dracula Chronicles for the PSP..

    I hope it would have wireless co-op play. I haven’t played Contra in a long long time (didn’t play the one on PS2). The code, brings back memories :).. The re-mixed soundtrack is going to be a killer.

  • Veilknight

    I believe by playing like the older Castlevania games, he’s referring to the NES days where traditionally your character of choice was always a Belmont who wielded merely a whip as a primary weapon, while having at hands for secondary weapons an axe, dagger, or holy water.

    In essence, back then, the series played more like a typical straightforward platform game up until Symphony of the Night, which introduced many common elements found in future 2D Castlevania games. Among them an open-ended world mixed with RPG-like elements that allowed Alucard to gain new abilities as he explored and destroyed enemies within the castle.

  • Aoshi00

    Right.. but I think the upcoming remake of the legendary Rondo of Blood (PC Engine) on the PSP is as close as we can get to old school Belmont whipping action. The NES Castlevanias might be fun to play back then, but it feels archaic by today’s standard even w/ revamped graphics (Castlevania Chronicle on the PSX).

    Contra however would still be fun to play on the NES w/ a second player I believe.

  • Veilknight

    I don’t think the original Castlevania has aged as gracefully as its successors (although I still can’t help loving the game for what it is and for the hefty challenge), but Castlevania III is still definitely one of my favorite games in the series. I find the game to be highly playable even to this day thanks in part to the third installment incorporating a degree of level and character selection, which help basically set up the stage to SOTN.

    Speaking of Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles, I remember IGA recently declaring that depending on the sales of this PSP compilation, he may very well revert to the classic side scrolling affairs of the series past.

    Whatever holds true for the franchise, I have a feeling he’ll go for what’s right. These new “Metroidvanias,” as they’re usually referred to, are just as enjoyable as the old-school Castlevania games, so the future remains to be very bright for the series, as it has always been. I just love looking back at how Castlevania has evolved and changed throughout the years, the great thing about this franchise compared to others is its ability to adapt and change with the times in order to keep things fresh.

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