Contra Game History
A.D. 263: Reports are coming in that a meteor has crashed into the ocean just off the coast of New Zealand.
Two Years Later: The Red Falcon has begun it's destruction of the human race. Does this sound familiar with you? Well I bet that any video game fanatic and child of the 80s will fondly remember. The game...Contra...the mission to save planet earth.
The History of Contra: The Irresistible Force
The arcade version Gryzor as it was then called in Europe, was released in 1987 by the Konami Corporation and designed by Koji Hiroshita. It wasn't until Gryzor was imported into American market that the name changed. The change came about because of the two Japanese Kanji symbols that appeared on the side of the game cabinet. These two symbols were pronounced Kon and Tra, and the name stuck ever since.
Contra differed from many other "shoot em ups" of the era. This was due to the two player simultaneous game play mode. This created a significant challenge for gamers, because of the coordination and team work that had to occur between them. Contra earned the "toughest game to beat" tag among many gamers who took up its challenge.
In 1988 the game was converted to the Nintendo Entertainment System, and remained hugely popular. In the same year the game was also released on various other platforms including; Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum by a company called Ocean Software.
The History of Contra: Game Play
The game had two main characters, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean. Their mission was to infiltrate the Red Falcon HQ and prevent their planned invasion of the earth. Our heroes were equipped with a rifles and unlimited amounts of ammo, but also various power ups could be collected throughout the levels. What made Contra so hard to master was a single hit from an enemy, a stray bullet or any other hazard would kill the character instantly.
The game had 8 levels; Jungle, Base 1, Waterfall, Base 2, Snowfield, Energy Zone, Hanger and Aliens Lair, of which the final four were played continuously. These were split up into 3rd person side scrolling action and 3D over the shoulder viewpoint. Each of the levels were further split up into 5-6 differing screens. The objective was to destroy a power core so that you could proceed to the next level.
Further versions of the game have been released Contra 4 for the Nintendo DS hand held console being the latest version of the game. It seems that the playability of the games from the golden era of video gaming has a lasting effect on the avid gamer. Surely games these days push the boundaries of graphical excellence, but as is the case with Contra, will we still be talking about them 20 years from now. It remains to be seen.
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