Summary: After the success of Contra: Shattered
Soldier two years ago, Konami has brought the series back for another
installment, Neo Contra for the PS2. This time, Konami has eschewed the more
traditional 2D approach in favor of a top-down isometric quasi-3D feel that
provides a deeper gameplay experience. The game's play balance is still quite
difficult, especially on the harder difficulty settings.
Excerpt: According to ESRB , this game contains: Mild Language, Violence Parents shouldn't have much problem with Neo Contra , although some younger children may be disturbed by some of its truly grotesque monsters. There is very little human death in the game, but it does occasionally pop up. Fans of 2D shooters like Gunstar Heroes and Ikaruga may find Neo Contra an easier but still challenging variation on Treasure's classic shooters.
Excerpt: Neo Contra delivers a fun, violence-filled romp, but its virtues as a hardcore action game are tarnished by its hit-or-miss attempts at parody. Other developers have elevated the classic 2D shooter to a form of ballet, where memorizing bullet patterns and releasing your own perfect counter-attack is the grammar of an elegant dance. The best of these games— Ikaruga, Gradius V, Gunstar Heroes , etc.—are visual poetry when played by a master.
Excerpt: After reading Matt's analysis of Neo Contra , I think he nailed it when he said that it lacks the staying power of its predecessors. It's clearly a good game at its core, and technically, things are smooth and feel good in my hands. In fact, I'm always glad to see this kind of fast-action shooter come down the pike, especially with the name Contra attached to it. In my opinion, the original games on the NES, SNES and Genesis are some of the best action games of all time.
Excerpt: Neo Contra is a run-and-gun shoot 'em up with a top-down viewpoint. In human-speak, that means you see the action from above and guide your soldier through the levels in a manner similar to such classics as Alien Syndrome, MERCS, One, Smash TV, and Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Actually, if you remember the top-view levels from Super C or Contra III, then you have a good idea of how Neo Contra works. Konami did a great job of making the controls user-friendly.
Excerpt: One of the phrases that I often abuse, in my reviews, is "over the top." A game is rarely at the top, or just below it; if the issue comes up, it's almost always over it. Neo Contra is in a geosynchronous orbit over the top. It exists in a place where the "top" is a particularly old and dull legend. Like 2002's Contra: Shattered Soldier and 2004's Gradius V , Neo Contra is a nod to Konami's roots as a purveyor of punishingly difficult arcade games.
Excerpt: Other moldy oldie dust-off, Neo Contra takes the one of the world's best known incessant side-scrolling shooters to the lush environs of 3D adventure and delivers what is essentially the same old incessant shooter.
Excerpt: Old-school shooters are experiencing a bit of a revival lately, at least if Konami has anything to say about it. The company had a lot to do with the shoot-'em-up genre's proliferation back in the '80s, thanks to hits like Gradius and Contra, and now is delivering nostalgia-inducing sequels to its old hits. Neo Contra for the PlayStation 2 is the latest of these.
Pros: Tried-and-true twitch gameplay, Two-player-simultaneous action, Evil talking dog boss
Cons: Not much content, Unbalanced weapons, Some serious slowdown, especially in two-player mode