What’s cooler than a badass 8-bit shoot’em up 2D side scroller from the ’80s? How about a badass 8-bit shoot’em up 2D side scroller that also goes vertical and throws a couple pseudo 3D dungeons into the mix?
Plus, this has pretty cool boss battles with bosses that look badass. And for something that just involves running, gunning and jumping, the game’s design doesn’t make it feel repetitive.
Konami were most definitely on their A-game in the ’80s, especially in the coin-op arcade market. This was originally an arcade game but it’s this port to the original Nintendo Entertainment System that is most remembered. In fact, I’d say that this game was beloved by a generation and for good reason.
The NES version is well designed, performs great and it runs pretty damn smoothly. Also, the controls are very good, as are the in-game physics. I also dig the hell out of the game’s music.
I love Contra and even if it is near impossible to beat without the infamous Konami Code, I would play through this game multiple times in a row, as a kid.
In 2019, this is still one of my favorite classic NES games to fire up on my emulator. I still play this thing at least once a month.
Plus, Contra evolved into a series with sequels that were also pretty good. Maybe not as iconic, but each entry brought something new to the series.
But it is this one, the original, that still stands tall and is, frankly, one of the best Nintendo games ever made.
Pairs well with: other side scrolling action games for the classic Nintendo, which narrows it down to about 8 dozen games.