As great an action game as it was, the arcade version of Contra wasn’t the audience grabber the NES version would turn out be. It’s still a quintessential piece of action gaming, including a solid Xbox Live translation. The arcade sequel, Super Contra doesn’t mix up the formula, but still provides a brutal challenge that die hard retro gamers and 360 owners can appreciate.
The Red Falcon returns to ravage Earth and once again, only two soldiers can take care of the problem. In the classic side scrolling fashion, players wipe out the invading forces while two stages break up the action from an overhead view. Power-ups are plentiful and like the original arcade board, continues are limited.
The main issue with both of the games in the arcade is the control. It's overly loose, never really allowing you to immediately switch a position to hit an enemy above of below you. It compensates for all of the points missed between the 8-direction firing so many games have used in the past (and still do). It's frustrating to run right by an enemy on a platform above you with guns firing only to see the bullets pass right below him.
Jumping is also somewhat floaty, especially if you have become accustomed to home editions prior to this first true arcade translation. There's an issue with the weapons too. You have no way of telling what you pick up. Every power-up looks alike, adding to the game necessity to memorize everything.
Otherwise, the action is still intense, fast, and fun. With two players, it becomes an even deeper experience, rich in piles of enemies. This is a game that will challenge even the die-hard Contra experts. Two overhead levels radically alter the gameplay mechanics. It leads to some careful navigation, and required rock solid cooperation when playing with a friend over the smooth Xbox Live co-op feature.