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[ Writer ] = BAD
[ 09/29/07 ] = Sitting, Rotting

I've been waiting for this game since the first one was made Live. I don't care what IGN or any other site says; this game rocks. IGN really tore into this game, especially for the wallpaper (the two dudes with guns). I don't hate IGN, I just can't understand what is so offensive about two army dudes with guns. Looking at it over and over during intermissions, I thought it actually complemented the game pretty well. And it's not anywhere near as funny as the cinematic intro (where our two "heroes" blast an alien, turn their backs, and start hauling ass down a tunnel, screaming for their lives). This game is awesome, and it's better than the first. And I know that some of you are reading this and saying, "the first is always the best" over and over and over again. OK. We get the point. This band's first album is the best. That band's first album is the best. This game is better than its sequel, and that game is better than its sequel. Great way to pass-up some of the best sequels in history (including Super Contra), you horse's ass.

The graphics are different from the Super Contra we all know (and love) on Nintendo, with bigger, more detailed characters and nicely-enhanced special effects. Notable special effects include streaming bullet trails (different for each gun), heat warping (from helicopter engines, etc.), billowing smoke, and clouding explosions. Enemies look noticeably cooler when you shoot them, too. How do the stages look? Dirty as hell. The first Contra [Live] has some dirty-looking stages, but goddamn Super Contra [Live] has some of the filthiest, scummiest, most rotten-looking backgrounds I've ever even seen. And I've seen a lot. We're talking locales so dirty our heroes probably get scabies by the end of the game. The difficulty is still as rotten as ever, with the usual plethora of traps and hazards scattered about each stage, around every corner. Complete memorization is still key.

The "behind-the-back" stages from the previous game have been replaced by overhead stages, which is where the bulk of Super Contra's issues lie. Collision issues from the original version of the game (that apparently couldn't be fixed) are disappointingly still in the enhanced, Live version. Most of them are in the overhead stages, where the player can gets caught in walls (especially in multi-player). Not only that, but shots have amazingly short distance; something from the original version that was annoying then, and completely inexcusable today. It really should have been fixed for the enhanced version of the game (since the idea of bullets with no range is ridiculous). Aiming should have also been a little tighter than the original, as well. The weapons are a lot cooler and more explosive, too (than the ones in Contra, where there were really only two good weapons). Now, you can actually destroy shit! And to go with that, an enhanced version of the "Konami Code" has also been added, giving you four lives at start, "hella-fast" auto-fire, and the "hella-strong" Rocket Launcher. With it you can really destroy shit.

Playing over the network is one of the best things about the game, even though it can be hard to find other players (since everybody's too busy playing "better" games like Madden '08). But when you do find a friend to play Super Contra with, it's a nostalgic blast. When I played the game speed was pretty much the same over the network, with very little slowdown and/or glitching. And that's important, because in a game like this there is no room for error. Not as unforgiving as the Super C we remember on Nintendo, but still hard as nails. Lastly, the music is also better, and fits the gritty theme of war and survival well. The game doesn't sound bad at all, despite its age. Whether it has aged well as a whole is tough to decide (especially after going back and seeing how epic Contra III was), but this new, Live-enhanced Super Contra is a must-have for any fan.