You had to wonder what took so long for Konami to make an HD remake of the original Contra and after what seemed like an eternity, and honestly, no real indication that it was coming, an iOS version was released earlier this month.
Contra: Evolution however, isn’t just a spruced up HD version of the game, as the developer Beijing Chukong (published by PunchBox Studios) also made a few tweaks and additions to the gameplay. For starters, it’s possible to stack up special weapons, such as the spread, fire and laser guns and each weapon does plenty of damage. My personal favorite however, has to be the homing-missile gun that unloads rockets that go right after any target/enemy on-screen. When playing in Arcade mode, you’re essentially getting the game you’ve all come to know, while able to choose from one of four characters – Bill and Lance, who are the originals, as well as newcomers Ricci and Sally – two girls. Ricci and Sally have their own proficiency, such as Sally throwing ninja stars and Ricci using double hand guns. Outside of weaponry, there isn’t any other noticeable difference, as one shot still kills you.
As you progress through the game, you collect coins and gemstones after each level, which you can use buy weapons, both regular and upgraded. These can come in handy as you’re able to activate a stored weapon during any level at any time. The game also supports GameCenter, for Achievements and Leaderboards. The game can also be played in Mission mode which lets you pick any completed level to play for points in three difficulty levels.
Playing through the game, I would say that the game still plays the way I remember it, though using the digital analog stick can be a little tricky, if only because sometimes you won’t realize how far, or little, you are moving it. Nonetheless, the game still plays well and it’s cool to see the classic given a much needed visual update. For those who care to take a trip down memory lane or are new to the game, Contra: Evolution is a cool way to experience the charm of 80’s gaming.
Final Score: 4 out of 5