Contra has returned on the Wii. Although this game is called ReBirth, many consider Contra 4 for the DS to be the game that once again sparked interest in the series. Still, ReBirth has a lot more going for it than you would think.
The first thing you will notice about this version of Contra is the art style. It is a bit different than any previous Contra title, and takes the cartoony style to an entirely new level. And with a storyline that is more present (and ridiculous) this time around, it is clear that the developers know Contra and just how silly the entire experience is meant to be. The look is different enough to distinguish itself from the rest, but also pays tribute to the original games on the NES and SNES.
Like all of the previous titles, co-op is definitely a must, especially when it comes to the harder difficulties. The game also included three characters to play as, one of whom is unlocked when you finish it the first time through on any difficulty. But aside from their cheesy catch-phrases, none of the characters actually play any differently. You start out with your standard machine gun, but as you progress you can collect other weapons. All of the weapons and power-ups are what you would expect from a Contra game, including the always popular Spread Shot, which is just as effective here as it is in any previous iteration.
There are four difficulty modes: easy, normal, hard, and nightmare, the last of which is unlocked once you finish the game on hard. Newer Contra players should definitely stick to easy to start out with, as the game still presents the same challenge you would expect. But it’s also pretty friendly to newer players as well. While the famous “Konami code” is not available in this game, you can still set your lives from three to seven, and the game even offers unlimited continues. This lessened challenge may disappoint some veterans of the series, but keep in mind, nightmare mode will make you thankful of these changes.
The main problem with the game is the length. Now you would never expect a Contra game to be incredibly long, and its short length is made up for the increased difficulty, but I was able to breeze through this game on normal in less than an hour. I can expect the play time will go up with the increased difficulties, but aside from playing with a friend and trying these higher difficulties, there isn’t much reason to replay this title as well.
If you are itching for a new Contra game, own a Wii and are short on cash, Contra ReBirth might be the perfect fix for you. It is the perfect Contra game for older and younger players alike, and I think everyone will find that it is a fun and challenging experience, no matter what the difficulty.
ESRB: E10+ for ages ten and up; rated for plenty of cartoon and fantasy violence
Pros: Offers an old-school challenge for players of all ages; co-op is just as fun as it has ever been; the different options and difficulty modes make this game accessible for anyone; the look of the game is well done
Cons: The game is very short, even for a Contra title; not much replay value