Justin Lee On December 4, 2007 at 12:57 pm

When Konami first sent information about the development of Contra 4 for the Nintendo DS, we were quite excited that it would be back to “old school” Contra. Frankly the Contra series has been all over the spectrum with different versions, even games that if you removed the name Contra from the title, you couldn’t tell it was really Contra. Now Contra 4 for the DS it brings us back the grass roots of the classic side scrolling shooter.

The major difference in the game is you must play across the two screens of the DS, if you fail to pay attention to the other screen your character is not on, you may get shot at or miss some important power ups or free lives. The touch screen is not used in the game of course, just the directional pad and buttons, there is also a new grapple option that you can use to raise yourself to the top screen of the DS.

Contra 4 will have you feeling deja-vu on some levels, while surprising you with nifty level design to take advantage of the two screened DS. Even on Easy mode, the game is really tough, if you do not pay attention to the onslaught of enemies you’ll be seeing the Game Over screen every minute. Fortunately, if you die at the boss and continue; you get thrown back about 25% of the level instead of starting from the beginning. You only have a handful of continues to use and 10 lives on easy mode, I’m sure there is an “up up down down, left right, left right” code variation somewhere in the game. After you finish the game in Easy mode, it will unlock Challenge mode. Challenge mode contains: What else? A whole bunch of mini challenges for you to complete. This could be defeating a whole flood of enemies, destroy a boss or finish a level with no gun (jump like mad!). Of course once you’ve managed to finish some of these insane tasks, you will unlock the original Contra and Super C games (three games for the price of one folks). The 2 player wireless mode unfortunately does not work for the unlocked Contra and Super C which would have totally rocked. There is a 2 player mode for the classic games, but you control both players on one DS at the same time, making it for a brain scrambling experience you most likely will not want to try often.

If you played the original arcade of NES versions from yesteryear, you’ll recognize some of the familiar level designs such as the waterfall, the jungles, the “almost 3D levels” and of course the alien bosses that take up the whole screen. The split screen doesn’t deter from the fun, the only thing you must remember is when you are jumping in a vertical level between the two DS screens, you may lose sight of some platforms or enemy bullets in the gap between the two screens and die a horrible death.

Control of the game is spot on; remember jumping and dodging left and right before handing in a safe spot while dodging about 15 bullets? That amazing feeling of complete control is back with the DS version of Control 4 and it is good, darn good.

The music while vaguely sounding like the NES version, it is more upbeat and less midi sounding compared to the old NES version. The sound effects are good as well as the graphics that are 8-bit looking but much more smoother and more detailed.

If your buddy also has Contra 4, you must check out the 2 player wireless game play mode; however your counter part must own the game as there is no game sharing mode. Also in the wireless co-op mode, you share lives and there the same amount of power ups as the single player mode; making it essential you share your power ups or use the “drop button” to share weapons.

Overall Contra 4 while insanely tough game, new players will have to learn new skills to finish the game while old school Contra gamers must draw upon all their skills to finish this fresh new Contra on the DS.


Amazing classic Contra gameplay with smooth use of the two DS screens. 2 Player Co-op over wireless is a must play.


Good looking graphics updated for the DS, all your enemies and some new ones are well done.


Great music, the new tunes that could had easily been in the original Contra series. The sound effects are crisp and work well.


Very fun Contral game; but darn tough!

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