Take cover, NES troops! Neo City's under assault once again, and Konami sends a new soldier squadron into battle -- the Contra Force. Hold your fire and don't radio in those battle plans just yet. If you're thinking this game delivers the same fast-paced, Contra-cool action as the previous games in the series, think again. You just overestimated the power of the Force.
Ditching the straight-up, two-player warfare from Contra and Super C, Contra Force leans towards both strategy and cooperative action. You and a control- pad partner pick from four C-Force handgunners - Burn, Smith, Iron, and Beans. Each compatriot has a different foot speed, jumping ability, and weapons arsenal. The advantage is that you can switch between them anytime.
ProTip: Use Burn's grenades at close range for quick mass destruction.
Another new Contra feature enables you to direct a "resting" enForcer to cover your back! At the player select menu, you pick one of six screen positions for him to guard for five seconds. Much like an Option in Gradius, the extra player acts as a second gun who follows in your footsteps. It's nothing radical, but it helps you pass tricky spots.
Don't rely on backup during boss encounters.
If you like to run and gun on the fly, prepare to attach super glue to your combat boots. Despite a great sounding, four-soldier setup, C-Force is the slowest-moving action game for the NES in a loooooong time. The unfrantic pace is designed to enable you to think before you shoot, but who wants to do that? Moreover, multi-character screen clutter spells big trouble for the NES system's processor.
Stand still behind the barrels and shell the Level 2 missile boss. His shots will skim by your ear, but won't inflict damage.
Weak action combines with equally unmuscular level layouts. Three standard side-view stages and two top-view levels form the shorter-than-usual mission. You get unlimited continues, but slowdown plus overflowing enemies equal a rough challenge. The wild and creative alien goobers from previous Contra episodes are gone, replaced by a nondescript band of soldier strongmen.
The control is clean, but often hampered by a too-slow-to-scroll screen. Additionally, this Contra's only solid blast is the weapon power-up system, which enables you to swap between Machine Guns, Homing Missiles, and Hand Grenades by collecting toolbox icons.
Blast this Level 3 lever mechanism to release a giant crate. The chain reaction will propel you up the skyscraper.
Contra's formerly robust graphics suffer some downgrading in this chapter. Ricker, sparse sprite detail, and occasionally washed-out colors detract from the almost good-looking backgrounds. The music and sounds are unobtrusively average.
Unnecessary Use of Force
Konami had an awesome video game formula that worked in Contra and Super C. For whatever reason, Contra Force strays from the path and pays the price. The visuals and audios are passable, but the slow-moving, uninspired game play is the worst casualty of war. The four-character command feature is a great idea whose time should come someday. May the Force be without you.
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Contra Force is a run and gun style video game, released by Konami in 1992 in North America. Unfortunately, the game released for Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was only available in North America. The game was a spin-off of the Contra series, and was the third game released for NES.
The game focused more on certain modern task forces, instead of different sci-fi elements, as in the previous games. The new forces have to fight human terrorists, with modern weapons and settings featured in this sequel.
The game was also planned to be released in Japan, under the title of Arc Hound, but it was cancelled in the end. Konami decided to make North America the only release location for the spin-off, leaving the huge European market off as well.
The story happens in the fictional metropolis of Neo City in the same year of the release, 1992. Contra Force is a group of special forces led by Burns, whose task is to defeat the crime syndicate known as DNME. The whole action starts when Burns receives a phone call from Fox, who informs him that the Head of Intelligence is in danger. He arranges a meeting with his informant to learn more about the case, but when he goes to the meeting, he finds out Fox has been murdered by the crime syndicate. Burns and his squad have now to find out on their own about the terrorist group.
The player can control up to four different characters, but he will have to choose one of them in the beginning of the game. Besides Burns, the leader, the players can choose Iron, a weapon expert, Smith, a sharpshooter and Beans, a demolition expert. Each character comes with his own weapons, skills, speed and jumping attributes.
There are five stages in the game, with three of them played from the side-view perspective, and two of them from the overhead perspective. Fighting enemies and moving from a level to another are the objectives of this game. There is a boss awaiting at the end of each level, who has to be defeated in order to progress to the next level.
The player can jump, crouch, and walk left or right in the side-view stages, and move in eight different directions in the overhead perspective. He can't jump or crouch in the overhead perspective levels.
The game was fairly popular when released, and received a lot of positive feedback by users, press and critics. GameSpot users rated the game with 8.3 from a total of 290 votes. GameStats users rated the game with a total of 7.6 out of 10.