Another surprise during yesterday's Nintendo Direct E3 show: Contra: Rogue Corps is the latest in Konami's long-neglected series of hard-as-nails arcade shooters, and the first to come to PC since the DOS era. Ditching the side-scrolling style of most good games in the series in favour of a roaming camera, and up to four-player via online co-op, it seems like an odd way to revive the Contra name. The new game lands on September 26th. Below, the debut trailer, featuring a Twisted Sister song, a cyborg panda, and a whole lot of overt wackiness. Plus some guns and explosions.
As a series, Contra -- aka Probotector in Europe -- has had some great highs, like the amazeballs Contra: Hard Corps on the Mega Drive. Also some very low lows, and from what I've seen of this new one in the trailer, I'm not wildly optimistic. It most reminds of the the wonky Contra: Legacy Of War on PSX. I don't mind that the game has a silly sense of humour, as Contra Rebirth on the Wii was surreal and hilarious and opens with a helicopter landing on a space station, but the tone here feels off. Contra is at its funniest when its lunacy is unremarked on, not giggled at in cutscenes.
The proof is in the pudding, and I don't want to pass judgement until I've played it myself. Still, even if this one does fall flat, we're in the middle of a Contra-adjacent deluge. On top of the PC release of the Contra Anniversary Collection on Steam, we've got three more spiritual successors on the way. Top billing goes to Blazing Chrome, but worth a look is the heavy metal-themed Valfaris (with a demo on Steam) plus Iron Meat, with a demo on Itch. Konami are maybe a little late to their own party here, but the next few months look like they'll be a great time anyway.
Contra: Rogue Corps launches on September 26th on all current systems, and will cost $40 when it surfaces on Steam. You can read a bit more on its official page here.
See our E3 2019 tag for more news, previews, opinions, and increasingly surreal liveblogs.