ReLocked & ReLoaded: Contra ReBirth Retrospective

While Konami isn’t the same company these days they’re still responsible for me being a fan of run and gun style games. Their series “Contra” ,while popular suffers from a fluctuation in quality, which in my opinion is a result from the transition from 2D to 3D. During this time I felt games like Contra, Castlevania, and Mega Man were starting to be seen as obsolete. While developers did make attempts (both failed and successful) to adapt these games to the changing landscape the industry was experiencing, it seemed like classic games that once propelled the industry were considered too “old-fashioned” and “out of date” to be released on a home console. Konami’s answer to this was the “ReBirth” series; a release of three games each using a Konami IP that embrace their classic roots, one of which is Contra ReBirth.

Contra ReBirth while not similar enough to it’s predecessors to be considered a rehash it doesn’t shake the foundation enough to be considered a reboot either. The game falls within a perfect medium; a remix that’s familiar, but also branched off enough to make me feel like I wasn’t walking the same trial of older entries. Contra Rebirth doesn’t try to replicate previous games, but instead takes inspiration from them. While playing through the games stages I saw enemies, mini-bosses, and stage layouts that drew from the original Contra to Contra 3. The stages are also accompanied by well composed remixes of tracks from older games, including Contra: Hard Corp’s intense “Last Springsteen” Which serves as the music for Rebirth’s final boss.

Gameplay wise Contra ReBirth comes collect. Controls are tight and precise, which is necessary for surviving the game’s challenging levels(especially on the higher difficulties). The game’s only shortcoming to me was the sparse amount of power ups. Contra ReBirth only has a total of three: the laser, homing, and scatter shot. The Game also seems short( mainly the length of the stages) compared to other entries I’ve played. However this could be due to ReBirth being more of a budget title.

Contra ReBirth still proves that retro is not outdated. There was a reason why these games were leading the industry back in the day and that’s because they were just plain fun. In these times when we rely on check points and auto saves Contra ReBirth forces players to learn and adapt. Once you lose your lives you start over and while it was frustrating the game was such a thrill to play that I still came back to try again.

-Off Course Comet