Contra: Shattered Soldier
It took me a while to finally give Contra: Shattered Soldier a proper chance. I loved the Contra series on the NES and SNES, but the last game I played on the original PlayStation flat out sucked! With this game though, Konami went back to doing what they do best with the series, and as it turns out this is one of the best 2D shooters on the PlayStation 2!
Welcome Back Bill
Look, we do not play the Contra series for its in-depth storyline! The basics of this one are that Bill from Alien Wars (my favorite game in the series) has been awoken from his cryogenic sleep to once again kick some alien ass and save the day. There are more characters this time around, but in all honesty, I could not care less about any of them except for Bill.
Going Back To The 2nd Dimension!
I really like how Contra: Shattered Soldier took the game back to its 2D roots after the mess that was Legacy of War on the PlayStation which I did not like much at all. For this game, while they have gone for a 2D look. However, they have made most of the game of what looks like polygons, and while I love the sprite work of Contra III on the SNES. What they have done here looks great. The game has a real futuristic look to it and that is cool.
The soundtrack is a bit of a mixed bag. Most of the tunes here are rather forgettable and while I like some of the rocking music tracks. There are some techno ones that I really could do without.
I Am Here To Chew Bubblegum & Kick Ass!
When it comes to the gameplay this is what we all really wanted from a next-gen Contra game. Contra: Shattered Soldier goes back to the 2D shooter style of gameplay that we know and love and they have managed to make it feel familiar, but at the same time changed things up enough to make this also feel like a new kind of Contra experience. The most notable way they have done this is with the weapons.
Before, you would have a standard gun and collect different guns as you play through each level. This time around, you have three guns at the start of the game. A flamethrower, grenade launcher, and a machine gun. Each gun also has an alternate mode so in total you really have six guns that you can switch between at any time. You will either like or dislike this. I actually like it. It feels different, but the game forces you to use each gun in certain situations be it a boss fight or a certain part of a level. This makes it more strategic in the way you go about playing it. To give you some replay value, you have multiple endings to experience which is neat.
I think that Contra: Shattered Soldier is a damn fine game and one of the more underrated ones in the entire Contra series. I get the weapons system is not for everyone, but in terms of this game, what they did works really well. The game is brutally tough, but that is exactly what I would expect from a game in this series. If you have overlooked this one, be sure to give it a playthrough.
- Bill is back and as awesome as ever!
- The style of the game is really cool
- It has challenging and addictive gameplay
- I actually like the weapon system in the game
- Multiple endings
- The soundtrack is not that great
- You may get frustrated at the difficulty
Download Contra: Shattered Soldier
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
The series that once defined shooters (and survived two horrendous PSi outings) is returning to form on the PS2. Shattered Soldier will remind old-timers of the glory days on 8- and 16-bit consoles, while newbies will finally understand why the Contra franchise is held in such reverence amongst geriatric gamers.
This is just mindless fun, which is what makes it so great. Forget mission objectives, solving puzzles or any of that crap. Just shoot...a lot. Your thumb will be glued to the fire button for the duration of Contra, taking a break only when you switch between the three weapons (see sidebar).
The coolest part of Shattered Soldier is the huge bosses youll face. It seems the developers have a special place in their hearts for the Transformers, because almost every giant robot here has two or more forms. Take the submarine boss early in the game, for example. You start off dodging incoming fire as it takes shots at you from the background, only to have it submerge and come up directly under the bridge youre on. Deal enough damage while its in front of you and itll transform into a helicopter. Now you have to run in below it and systematically take out turrets, engines and rotors, dismantling it to the point of destruction. And with a high boss count, the game delivers a lot of similar encounters.
For all you old-school gamers whore wondering, Shattered Soldier is no cakewalk. Youll find your controller slick with sweat after each level, and youll wonder just how you made it through that crazy crossfire or survived that screen-filling alien. And of course youll be able to bring along a buddy for simultaneously play throughout the game. In fact, thats the best way to go. Having someone covering your ass increases your chances of survival tenfold.
So put those bad PS1 memories behind you. Contra is back in a big way.
Eight years. Eight trickin' years. That's how long we've had to wait for a "real" Contra, a series whose reputation has been tarnished by a couple of absolutely crap games on the PSi. What better way to save Contra than to bring back the team that made the original games such a success? A Herculean task, perhaps, but the developers are up to the job. All the signature Contra elements are here: two-player simultaneous run-and-gun action, a wide array of weapons, tons of bullet fodder and huge bosses. New to the series are special weapons you can charge up for more powerful effects, as well as a hit-percentage meter to track your path to total mastery of the game.
"I felt that the older Contra games were basically a collection of fun, but ultimately shallow, minigames," says Nobuya Nakazato, Shattered Soldier's director. "Even though the gameplay here is essentially 2D, the 3D graphics help make the game experience more seamless."