As much as I have played Contra on the original Nintendo, I hadn’t played the arcade version in decades. I always remembered it looking better and having better sound but I wanted to replay it just to see the differences between this original version and its more widely known NES port.
So this obviously does have better graphics and sound but it also has smoother gameplay.
Beyond that, the levels feel more condensed and the bosses take less hits to defeat.
However, even though you have the ability to continue after death, those continues are limited, so it’s extremely hard to actually play through the game in its entirety. In fact, I kept getting put down on the snow level, about midway through the game.
Still, this was a hell of a lot of fun and it should be considered an arcade classic in the same vein the NES version is considered an original Nintendo classic.
Pairs well with: other side scrolling action games for the arcade and classic Nintendo, which narrows it down to about 8 dozen games.