Against it is one of the few franchises that have become completely synonymous with gaming; in fact, chances are if you haven’t juice any Contra game, then you’ll have at least Heard from them. Shoot-em-up behemoth Konami may have lost a lot of its shine in recent years (pretty much par for the course with Konami these days, it seems, except for some excellent retro collections), but its previous iterations have become iconic in their own right.
of the original Against in 1988 until Against: Rebel Corps In 2019, the series has rarely deviated from its relatively simple formula: traversing a bunch of linear levels and shooting a bunch of bad guys, but this is arguably its biggest draw. In an age where games are more complex than ever, Contra is a great reminder that you don’t need a ton of features to make a cracking game.
So, just like our other reader-rated polls, we asked the great people to rate their favorite Contra games on Nintendo platforms from the list below.
If you missed the voting phase, don’t worry! The following list is automatically updated in real time according to each game’s corresponding “User Rating” in the Nintendo Life game database. This means that you can influence the order. right nowif you wish, by clicking on the star next to each game and giving it your own score.
Gear up with a Spread Shot and let’s take a look at the best Contra games on Nintendo systems!
Note. Yes, we’ve included the Anniversary Collection for the sake of completeness: if you’re not interested in the collections being included in our rankings, just pretend it’s not there; the rest of the list will follow in the same order!
Editor: Konami / Developer: Konami
Contra’s high-profile return to modern platforming landed more as a whimper than a bang. Against: Rebel Corps swap side-scrolling shooter action for top-down, two-stick gameplay; the problem is that it is not very fun to play. The shooting mechanics are too imprecise and the muddy textures and low resolution make for an unpleasant Switch experience. There are some good ideas here, but Rogue Corps is far from the Contra renaissance we’d hoped for.
Contra Advance: Alien Wars EX It certainly seems like a good idea in theory; one of the best shoot-em-ups of all time on a handheld device? Neat! In practice, however, Contra Advance introduces a number of compromises to the experience that make it less than ideal: more locked-down sprites; washed out visual effects; Degraded audio quality. It all adds up, which makes this a tough recommendation when the SNES version of Alien Wars is so readily available.
Part of the ‘Arcade Archives’ lineup on Switch, Against is the original arcade title through and through, warts ‘n’ all. Its purity and simplicity are perhaps its best features today, but subsequent Contra titles have arguably surpassed it in terms of quality and replayability. Still, the Switch is worth a look, though we’d probably recommend the most comprehensive offering available on the Switch. Contra Anniversary Collection.
Editor: Konami / Developer: factor 5
A Game Boy version of the SNES original, it was developed by Factor 5, the studio behind the super turrican games on the Super Nintendo and the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron Serie. The levels and overall structure have been tweaked and a password system added, but it still manages to deliver useful Contra gameplay in a system with the processing power of a modern toaster.
This is definitely a Against game (or protector if you’re a robot-loving European) more worthy of its title than, say, certain PlayStation entries. It hits most of the aspects that make a good entrance: challenging gameplay, tight controls, varied enemies, killer arsenal, macho tunes, big bosses. For a title two years into the lifespan of the mighty handheld, it accomplishes an impressive amount in stripping down the essentials of the beloved console/arcade series. Sadly, players are forced to play solo, which is daunting for multiplayer fans and kills some of its longevity, but it’s remarkable how well the game holds up to the humble Game Boy and gaming fans. of NES it would be silly to pass. This up.
Available as part of the NSO expansion pack – and therefore technically available to play on a Nintendo console outside of the Contra Anniversary Collection — Against: Hard body it represented the debut of the series on the SEGA console and represented a bit of a spin-off vibe in terms of setting and characters. While perhaps not easy to appreciate for those who have only encountered this in the Contra Anniversary Collection, it did make some notable changes to the control scheme and gameplay from its predecessors.
An excellent entry, it certainly stands out as an inspiration for some of today’s ‘neo-retro’ run-and-gun games, too.