Fresh cell treatment for Konami’s time-honoured shooting series: Instead of continuing to burn up Bill Rizer and his partner in classic 2D worlds, the callous super mercenary is sent through three-dimensional polygon landscapes. This time it is a question of putting a stop to the ‘contra-elite’ who are striving for world domination. For this reason, Samurai Jaguar joins his side and so you cleanse seven strictly linear levels of robot plagues and alien animals. The group of grotesque opponents includes ‘Plant Contra’, a particularly biting, oversized potted plant, or ‘Animal Contra’, which turns out to be a cheeky street dog with a spiked helmet.
In order not to completely change the game principle compared to the predecessors, there is a fixed camera instead of a freely rotatable view or an over-the-shoulder view, which stages the picture from an oblique perspective from above. If you quickly choose one of three weapon sets before you start, numerous soldiers, beetles or robots as well as a record-breaking number of intermediate and end bosses are waiting to be exterminated. Using the shoulder buttons, you can quickly switch between the standard gun, ‘power weapon’ and lock-on ratchet. Fixing the direction of the shot or the player’s position also works in this way and is indispensable in daily skirmishes. This is how you heat up your opponents even while running backwards. There’s no jump button, instead you roll for your life with the X button – very useful.
Essential part of Neo Contra is the hit rate based ranking system. You only come close to the magical 100% mark if you clear all enemy formations and spot and turn off all of the boss’s sub-weapon systems in Obermotz duels. If the easy mode ends after four levels, the normal version has five worlds waiting for the average console warrior. The last two areas, cutscenes that clarify Rizer’s identity and the happy ending credits are only seen by A-rank mercenaries. In addition, training mode, a sequence theater, music box and four new weapon sets are waiting to be discovered. Particularly nimble joypad artists even go along with it Shattered Soldier– Protagonist Lucia on the prowl.