Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX Review

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KWT's review of Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX

★★☆☆☆

Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX Review: ”

Written on: 22/04/2004 by KWT (6 reviews written)

Good Points
Good graphics, ok game play, somewhat nostalgia feeling of playing settling in.

Bad Points
Poor sound, limited replay value, not many additional features have been added.

General Comments
Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX Review:



When Konami said they were to going to convert Super Contra, (or Super Protector as it was know in the UK) one of the best all action out shooters on the original SNES over to the gameboy advance, I thought this was going to be an golden opportunity for them to improve and remake the game. Back then it was regarded as one of the greatest shooters around with offered great challenge as well as superb graphics (complete with mode 7 trickery) and sounds for its time and gave SNES owners something to shout about in the endless SNES versus Megadrive debates. Needless to say I was waiting with breathless anticipation over it. Having played it and completed it, I will tell you now that the game is a major let down and the finished product makes you wondered why Konami even bothered.



Having listened to criticism over my reviews, I have separated the different topics regarding the game and my views.



Graphics

The graphics are generally on a par with the original. There is no significant improvement as of such, but remind you of fond memories of the SNES version.



Sound

The sound has certainly suffered as a whole. The tunes have been changed in certain parts of the game and as noticed with Castlevania, Harmony Of Dissonance, they sound all bleepy and non-rich and certainly don't take advantage of the GBA sound chip at all. The sound effects sound like some cheap NES game with no excitement being injected into proceedings. Sure, play it with some headphones but be prepared to feel disappointed about the poor audio compared with that of the superior original.



Game play

This is where the game suffers as a whole. First of all you will notice that the player can no longer have two weapons at once. WHY???? This is one of the main game play elements that added much to the game. With two weapons, you stand a chance of going much further in the game especially on the harder modes; where if you lost one weapon, you would always have another as backup. Having just one weapon against the bosses and dying means you are left with just the original gun which did pathetic damage so in the end you will get stuffed. Why the hell did Konami changed this, perhaps to make the game harder than it is already?...who knows but it certainly adds nothing to the game and is more likely to frustrate gamers. Also Konami have removed the smart bombs, again WHY?...with so many enemies on screen, a smart bomb is a must but again no, you will just get plain frustrated and will die time and time again. You will also be continuing a lot with the meagre lives on offer here. If you are a novice gamer, be warned you will find this game harder than games such as the Castlevania series or Metroid Fusion.



Levels

The major changes of the game is that Konami have changed levels two and five of the original. If you remember they were top down affairs with the L and R buttons use to rotate the screen. These were certainly fun and clever use of mode 7 meant that end of level bosses for these levels showed them going up and down screen forcing you to rethink your strategies. What are you left with in this version?..two boring and lazily designed side scrolling levels that show the complete lack of attention paid to the game. The new levels might seem fun at first but in the end they offer nothing new and shows just have limited side scrollers are these days. Why did konami remove the original levels, it is beyond me. Even the original Gameboy version had the two top down levels so it couldn't have been for technical reasons; the GBA is basically a portable SNES. Maybe Konami thought they'd update the series but if so, why just add two levels?...why stop there when you could add a couple more to make this more a enchanted and more complete package instead of feeling short changed when its all over?



Value for money

Replay ability is just not here for this game. There is only the regular story mode with the addition of a two-player mode. That's all you get for your money. You will seriously feel like you have been ripped off. Once you complete it a couple of times, you will take it back to the retailer. That is a guarantee.



Last word

When I started the game, I noticed the original (and excellent) intro was removed and it went straight to the title screen. This was warning enough. The game is lazy, unadventurous and downright poor. Konami have tinkered with the magic of the original and what is left is a half completed game with none of the playability or flare of the original. Find the original SNES cart and do yourself justice and played it the way it was meant to. I would recommend Contra Advance for rental and that's pushing it. Want a decent shooter? Metroid Fusion is the game for you.

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