Contra Force

Review by Josh "MetalFRO" Dieckmann

Konami had a good thing going with the Contra franchise in the late 80's and early 90's.  They had 2 successful arcade titles, a pair of wildly successful (and critically lauded) conversions for the Nintendo Entertainment System, a solid Game Boy iteration of the Contra formula, and had just celebrated the release of Contra III: The Alien Wars for the Super NES console, which was both an excellent game and a technical marvel on the platform, showcasing the hardware's abilities.  In development was the Sega Genesis follow-up, Contra Hard Corps, which ended up being another excellent entry in the series.  As many already know, the franchise would go completely off the rails a couple years later with 2 rather poorly designed (and poorly received) PlayStation titles that Konami saw fit to outsource to an outside team.  It wouldn't be until years later with Neo Contra on the PlayStation 2 and Contra 4 for the Nintendo DS that the series would find its footing again in some meaningful fashion by getting back to its roots.There's a bit of a forgotten chapter in the Contra series, however, and that is 1992's Contra Force.  Released only in North America, this game saw Konami using the Contra name for a game that tried its best to emulate the Contra formula to a certain extent, while adding new elements and changing up the play stile a bit to add something fresh to the gameplay.  To be fair, this game was originally developed in Japan to be called Arc Hound, but was never released there.  Instead, Konami slapped the Contra name on it and released it in the US to cash in on the series' popularity and sales numbers.  It was a poor decision from a company that was usually pretty good about what games it localized.  Why couldn't they have skipped this and given us the excellent Crisis Force instead?  I digress.

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