How Did Arc Hound Became Contra: Force?
Contra Force is most hated game from the Contra series and it’s often called “dark mark” of this franchise. One user even wrote a review saying “terrible game and one that would have been better off cancelled”. We most certainly don’t have that harsh opinion, but we agree that Konami could’ve done better job. It might be due to a fact that unlike most games in the Contra series, this one is set in year 1992. All titles from the franchise are set in the 27th Century (few centuries up and down, depending on the title and region it was published in). In case you want to know more detailed stuff about Contra series you can read our in-depth article. Aliens and cyborg-soldiers are missed out as well so you go against more realistic threat for that time – terrorists. Considering the year, game devoid any science-fiction elements.
What To Expect From “Accidental” Contra?
This just doesn’t look and feel like Contra, but how did it come to that? Reason behind it is that the game was originally developed as an entirely different game, titled Arc Hound. It was meant to be whole different game with no ties to Contra whatsoever. The game was cancelled, and reason for this is not well know. However, Konami decided to release it in the United States and re-title it to make it Contra game. This kind of explains why it’s not so loved by gamers and Contra series community, but that’s not an excuse. We consider this bad move by Konami but unfortunately damage is already done. Having this said let’s move on and start with the gameplay review. In 1992, government creates special force named C-Force. Team composed of former military professionals to protect Neo City from terrorism. Group standing behind attacks in the city is named D.N.M.E. Now it is up to C-Force to save Neo City from D.N.M.E. Interesting innovation which we haven’t seen so far is that you can select up to four characters. Team leader named Burns, Beans the demolition man, Smith kind of accurate sniper guy and Iron the heavy weapons guy.
There are five stages, two of them being overhead stages just like we’ve seen in Super Contra. Rest are usual platforming stages like most of Contra games. Now weapon system is kind of weird and it’s like something we haven’t seen so far in this franchise. It could be seen in another game made by Konami – Gradius. It might have worked there, but these are two totally different games so there’s no need to mention how bad it was. Pretty much system works like this: you collect boxes and once you get enough you’ll get new weapon. Simple but not applicable for Contra Force. It comes down to character you chose and thus which weapon you’ll get. Unfortunately game also have bad framerates, flickering sprites and controls are pretty bad. It could only go under Contra franchise if it was the beta version, since there’s so much stuff missing. We can say level design is decent at it’s best but lot of them just doesn’t make sense. The graphics are fine for the NES but considering the year game’s made, they could do better.
Give It a Try It’s Still Contra
Even though it has negative sides, it will still keep you entertained for few hours. In addition, it served to inspire later games in the series, Contra Rebirth and Contra: Hard Corps. Overall, Contra Force left fans of the series a bit disappointed, and it’ll be remembered as 8-bit failure. It’s mildly fun, not fast-paced, storyline is nowhere to be seen and in the end its just not Contra.