Contra: Legacy of War
It’s time to continue on with my Contra retrospective after my brief but awesome Sonic Adventure experience. I remember getting Legacy of War for my birthday back in the late 1990s when it came out. I was so excited for a new Contra game, yet my expectations were summarily dashed to pieces when I finally played it. The game looks about average for an early 3D PS1 era title, and the soundtrack is ok, but that’s about the only two things going for it. The 3D glasses are just a terrible gimmick, as they do not work well, if at all, and I suppose it’s because the technology just wasn’t there yet, but at least Konami tried something different.
The gameplay and controls, which are the heart and soul of any game, do not work well at all. I can remember possibly getting to the second or third level with much frustration and many cheap deaths, and then gave up for good and returned the game to the store. You can duck and jump, but it’s quite awkward to do so, and falling to a cheap death or not seeing an enemy or projectile off the screen is a death sentence. The characters are uninspired and not memorable in the least, and the weapons are just standard fare. I know I should go back and replay this one at some point, but I just can’t bring myself to do so. Every other Contra game that exists is better than Legacy of War, so unless you just like collecting for the sake of it, don’t even bother with this one.
C: The Contra Adventure
C: The Contra Adventure is a bit better than Legacy of War, but still far inferior to most other Contra games. It starts out with a 2D sidescrolling level and more familiar gameplay. Graphics look about the same as Legacy of War, and the soundtrack is not all that memorable. Most of the game is still in a 3D mode, however, as you go through corridors searching your way around the stage. These sections remind me more of Tomb Raider than anything else, but the controls and gameplay are still better than Legacy of War, even in these 3D sections. You have a life bar, but that isn’t really a redeeming quality. There’s only one character you can be, but you do get most of the classic Contra weapons, although in a fully 3D environment it can be quite difficult to aim and use them properly. That’s really all I have to say about this one.
Overall, if you enjoyed Contra, Super C, Operation C, and Hard Corps, then by all means do not play either Legacy of War or C: The Contra Adventure. You will be disappointed greatly, and immediately go right back to either the classic old school Contras, or some of the latest modern, yet still awesome titles (Hard Corps Uprising, Contra 4, Rebirth). Konami eventually got it right with Shattered Soldier for a return to classic 2D and Neo Contra for 3D style on PS2, but it took a few years for this to happen. I’ll be more than happy to cover those next time.