Monday, 26 May 2014

Contra/Probotector (GB)



Such a familiar font, I do miss the old games a lot at times.
Given the last review, I thought that it'd be nice for me to review a few more Gameboy games in this month. My next being Contra/Probotector on the Gameboy. It's certainly an interesting game given the Gameboy's processing power and management of resources. Considering what the old 'boy was capable of, it's quite impressive as it stands.

It's creative, I'll give the designers that much.

Konami took it upon themselves to make what seems to be a mix of the first Contra/Probotector game, elements of the second Contra/Probotector game and throw in a lot of original content to the mix for it to becomes something quite impressive. There's some of the bigger elements thrown in such as musical renditions of level music from the original, some of the boss music makes it in there too and it's a nice return to the originals in that capacity.

Not sure if this should have been the first boss as it depends upon firing in a direction not previously used.
Possibly an issue with the game and size of the carts, but there's only five levels and none of them are particularly long nor infested with multitudes of enemies. You've three of the 2D side-scrolling platformer levels and two that use the pseudo-top-down view of the second NES game rather than the almost 3D tunnel view of the first game's alternative levels. While there's a lot borrowed here, there's also a LOT that's new and unexpected.

It can be difficult at times to identify the enemies, especially when they're shooting at you

The levels follow a similar pattern, going from city/industrial, military base, jungle, alien mesh and then alien mesh corridor, skipping a few of the more redundant and repetitive levels. There's no ice/factory levels (thankfully, I hate ice levels in almost any game) and the final boss is... curiously non-reactive but having said that, the pen-ultimate boss is rather a challenge. I'm getting ahead of myself however.

Roll in, get blown up, join the army!
The controls are very solid for the game, very responsive and very fluid, while jumping is a little out of sorts from the other game, in that you jump a little higher than one might expect for the Contra series, the emphasis is mainly on navigating the level, shooting the occasional enemy that pops up and then going toe-to-toe with the boss. What's refreshing in this game is that ALL of the bosses are unique and not encountered elsewhere in the other games of the series. So there's the thankfully good news that you'll experience new things.

Despite the lack of colours, the detail remains impressive for the alien architecture
Weapons wise, you start with a machinegun which is auto fire enabled, probably to stop people hammering the buttons on the Gameboy, and can upgrade to the scatter/spread gun, a homing bullet series of weapons which is actually quite overkill on bosses, or there's the fireball gun which thankfully is more like the second NES game in terms of use and effectiveness and not the first. So it actually DOES something rather than make the player want to end themselves just to go back to shooting standard bullets again.

Ok, Geiger can't be sued any more... what? Too soon?
The bosses range interesting from a submarine, to a chain-link tank, flying robot combos, a laser toting spider and a blob in a jar. Yes you did read that last part right and thankfully, while it does nothing, the "not quite end of the game" boss before it, is quite the challenge. Even mid-point bosses are nothing like anything in any of the NES games or Arcade games for that matter and as such, you'll get to see new things in this game rather than recycled bosses and sprites.

It does nothing...
It flows fairly well and the gameplay is easy enough that most of the difficulties are rendered moot by the control system. That said, there is the occasional problem with jumping over gaps in that the first few you jump over most likely will cause you to do in that you've got to be really close to the edge in order to make the jump. It's not quite the annoying level of pixel perfect landings but it's close to it. The oddness of the jumping physics in this game makes it a little awkward in that particular regard. Otherwise, a fun game if a little short on the fun and goodness.
A winner is you!