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  • Contra (Konami, 5/26/89)

    Posted on March 28th, 2011 keving 4 comments

    Just a short update as I’m fighting allergies and mainly want to go to bed at the moment.

    Konami is undoubtedly the most important maker who worked on the MSX. The things they did with that machine were, and are, out of this world, and the developers used their technical wizardry to craft some killer games that worked around the system’s limits. (Vampire Killer is the classic example of this.)

    That’s why I’m unsure what happened with the MSX2 port of Contra Konami released in mid-1989. It’s one of the few real failures Konami released on the platform. The controls are weird, the graphics strangely undetailed, the original stages completely uninspired. The flick-screen scrolling is particularly confusing because Konami made smooth scrolling happen on the MSX2 only three months later with the baseball game Ganbare Pennant Race 2.

    The game gets only two things right: the music, and the way the 3D stages feature your guy moving left/right in addition to forward after completing a room (a little detail in the arcade version that got dropped from all the other 8-bit ports).

     

    4 responses to “Contra (Konami, 5/26/89)” RSS icon

    • Yeah, this version really wasn’t that good. They took out the Spread Gun, nerfed the Fire Gun and Laser Gun, and added some useless Rear Gun, making the Machine Gun the only really useful weapon (good thing the game allows you to choose your weapon when you power-up). It had no 2-Player mode either and its way too easy for a Contra game. Sure, you don’t get life recovery between stages, but its easy to spam enemy respawns and get a 1up for every 50,000 points. The extra stages are nothing but padding, but at least they inspired Contra ReBirth to have a volcano-themed level of its own.

      I read that the game that ended up becoming first Metal Gear was actually supposed to be a Commando-style shoot-’em-up, but Kojima came up with the stealth concept when he was assigned to salvage the project because the MSX2 couldn’t handle too many bullets on-screen. That explanation always seemed odd to me, considering the number of Nemesis games that Konami made for the platform (and other shoot-’em-ups made by other companies), not to mention Space Manbow.

    • Quote: “The game gets only two things right: the music, and the way the 3D stages feature your guy moving left/right in addition to forward after completing a room (a little detail in the arcade version that got dropped from all the other 8-bit ports).”

      Unfortunately, when our hero runs forward in the 3-D stages, it appears as if he’s wearing FLIPPERS. πŸ™

    • Quote: β€œThe game gets only two things right: the music, and the way the 3D stages feature your guy moving left/right in addition to forward after completing a room (a little detail in the arcade version that got dropped from all the other 8-bit ports).”

      Actually, all the other 8-bit computer ports (ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, and Amstrad CPC) had that little effect as well. Only the DOS version was lacking that effect and that was the worst of the bunch, but none of those ports were that great to begin with, since Konami basically just farmed out those versions to other developers. Only the arcade original and the classic NES version were good.

      One thing the MSX2 did differently from the other versions is that during the later 3D stages, you can choose between different paths to take instead of being stuck in a linear corridor, but its hard to tell the difference between them anyway due to the fact that all the corridors are just walls with guns.

    • I wholeheartedly disagree. The MSX port is one of the best ports of Contra, and definitely one of the better MSX games.


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