The grappling hook is one of few new concepts. Fans will either cheer gleefully or be deeply disappointed with the levels. Almost all of them borrow from a game in the series, from the opening jungle, second level waterfall, city from Contra Hard Corps, and the familiar alien hive. The 3-D levels are taken from the initial game and work fine for what they are; yet the overall product is lacking the freshness that its story predecessor had.
On the other hand, Jake Kaufman’s soundtrack is a perfect blending of new and old. Each theme is a brilliant remix or barely recognizable spin on an unforgettable theme, making them all his own. The flawless opening Contra flaming logo could not have had musical accompaniment. This is the type of video game music we rarely hear anymore, and makes the entire experience rise to a higher level.
Once beaten, die-hard Contra fans can test themselves in a series of challenges (40 in total) that range from completing a section of a stage without shooting, or doing so with limited ammo. If you can’t beat the game to unlock these bite-sized challenges, the Konami code may (or may not) help you if you know where to use it.
While just shy of attaining the masterpiece status of Contra III, this is still the best successor to the golden age of this series to date. Konami has proven the franchise has life even in the face of million dollar 3-D epics. This is gaming bliss finally brought back properly.
Contra 4 is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Fantasy Violence, Language. This game can also be found on: Mobile Phone.