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Native Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Publisher: NTSC-J: Cancelled*
NTSC-U: September 30, 1992
Contra Force is a departure from previous titles in the Contra series, in both plot and gameplay. In fact, it is not a genuine Contra game (see Trivia). Rather than aliens, the antagonists of this game comprise a terrorist organisation named D.N.M.E. Fighting this group are not Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, but 4 new characters with no prior relationship to the aforementioned heroes or the Contra series. They are Burns, Smith, Iron and Beans.
The exact details of the plot are uncertain due to the confusing dialog in-game and inconsistencies in the manual (the latter of which is a common trait among games published by Konami of America during this era).
There are similarities in gameplay to Contra, including gun upgrades, death system (1 hit and loss of upgrades), roll-up jump, 2 player simultaneous play, side-scrolling (and overhead) perspective and bosses at the end of the stages.
Conversely, the game also features several distinctions from the Contra series. Gun powerups are acquired by accumulating suitcase pickups, which appear out of destructible stage elements (pipes, crates, etc.). Rather than fighting large-scale machine and alien bosses, the player fights mostly human bosses that take numerous shots to defeat.
The most notable difference is the ability to select between 4 new characters (can be considered the first in the series to do so); the player can also switch between the characters during gameplay through the pause menu. The pause menu also allows switching between 1 and 2 player modes. Each character has a different set of guns and their own set of lives.
In 1 player mode, Game Over occurs if just one of them loses all of their lives; in 2 player mode, however, another team member can be assigned to the player once their original character loses all their lives. Another interesting feature is the ability to summon one of the other 3 members as a CPU-controlled assistant for a limited amount of time. Unlike the earlier Contra titles, the player can also backtrack in the stage; enemies and destructible elements respawn, however.
Many aspects of Contra Force hinder its quality and playability. It has been criticized for not being a true Contra title and suffering from poor design. The biggest issue with the gameplay is the massive amount of slowdown present during play. Although this is due to the busy environment (ex: destructible elements throughout the stages), many other NES titles do not exhibit such a level of lag. The presence of even a single enemy can cause the framerate to drop. There are other issues, such as questionable level design and the new powerup system.
One particular area of criticism is the third stage of the game, which many players consider too long and features the most cumbersome jumping puzzles. These jumping sequences are exacerbated by the unresponsive controls. As a balance, players are provided unlimited continues. Although the sound effects are generally weak, especially compared to previous games, the soundtrack is a redeeming quality.
If not for these flaws, Contra Force may have been a great side-scrolling run-n-gun game, especially if it retained its original title, Arc Hound. See the Trivia section for more information.
Note: These stage names are unofficial.
Stage 1: Warehouse
Stage 2: Harbor
Stage 3: Mati Building
Stage 4: Aircraft Rumble
Stage 5: Headquarters
Set in 1992, the fictional Neo City has been taken over by a terrorist organization, D.N.M.E. Their most recent activity has been the kidnapping of the chief commissioner of Neo City. Called to the rescue of the chief commissioner and neutralization of D.N.M.E. is a team of 4 National Special Forces members known collectively as the C-Force. The team consists of Burns (the leader), Smith, Iron and Beans.
In the C-Force’s most recent lead, Burns’ is instructed by his informant, Fox, to meet him at the warehouse of the city’s docks. Upon arrival, the team discover Fox murdered and they’re in the center of an ambush. Surviving the shoot-out at the docks, the C-Force is taunted by the terrorists throughout their chase. After several fights, the team manages to track down and kill most of the terrorist members, culminating in the prevention of an attempted bombing.
Days later, the C-Force are attacked at their own headquarters by the leader and the remainder of D.N.M.E. The terrorist organization is ultimately defeated, but the celebration is short-lived. The chief commissioner has not been rescued and his location is still unknown. Additionally, Burns is haunted by the feeling that the worst is yet to come. Regardless, he will always be ready to fight in the face of a new threat.
Burns – protagonist; playable
Smith – protagonist; playable
Iron – protagonist; playable
Beans – protagonist; playable
Fox – protagonist; non-playable character; was the informant for the Blue Group task force
D.N.M.E. – antagonist organization; consists of various appointed leaders; most recently kidnapped the city’s chief commissioner
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•The Dewerdye Warehouse
•U.S.S. Unkmy Battleship
•SheeShee Towers Construction Site
•C-Force Headquarters (Reprise)
•Battle With D.N.M.E.
•This Situation Has Ended
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Contra Force has not yet received any conversions.
Contra Force has not yet received any ports.
Contra Force has not yet been re-released.
There are currently no known pre-release versions of Contra Force.
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There are currently no known variants of Contra Force.
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Regional Differences – Contra Force has only been released in North America.