Best counter games on Nintendo systems

Best counter games on Nintendo systems

Best counter games on Nintendo systems

Versus
Image: Nintendo Life

Versus is one of a handful of franchises that have become completely synonymous with gaming; in fact, chances are if you haven’t played some Contra games, then at least you have heard by them. Konami’s shoot-em-up behemoth may have lost much of its luster in recent years (pretty much par for the course with Konami these days, it seems, barring some excellent retro collections), but its previous iterations have been iconic in their own right.

From the original Contra in 1988 all the way up to Contra: Rogue Corps in 2019, the series has rarely deviated from its relatively simple formula – run through a bunch of linear levels and shoot up a bunch of bad guys – but this is arguably its biggest draw . In an age where gaming is more complex than ever, Contra is a wonderful reminder that you don’t need a ton of features to make a great game.

So, much like our other reader-ranked polls, we asked you fine folks to rank your favorite games on Nintendo platforms from the list below.

If you missed the voting phase, don’t worry! The list below is automatically updated in real time according to each game’s corresponding ‘user rating’ in the Nintendo Life games database. This means being able to influence the order right nowif you wish, by clicking on the star next to each game and giving it our own score.

So arm yourself with a Spread Shot and let’s check out the very best Contra games on Nintendo systems!

Note. Yes, we’ve included the anniversary collection for completeness – if you’re not keen on collections being included in our ranking, then just pretend it’s not there; the rest of the list will still be in the same order!

Cons: Rogue Corps (Switch)

Cons: Rogue Corps (Switch)

Publisher: My wife / Developer: My wife

Release date: 24 September 2019 (USA) / September 26, 2019 (United Kingdom/EU)

Contra’s high-profile return to modern platforms landed with more of a whimper than a bang. Cons: Rogue Corps trades side-scrolling shoot-em-up action for top-down twinstick gameplay; the problem is that it’s just not very fun to play. The shooting mechanics are far too imprecise, and the muddy textures and low resolution make for an ugly experience on Switch. There are some good ideas here, but Rogue Corps is far from the Contra rebirth we were hoping for.

Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX (GBA)

Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX (GBA)

Publisher: My wife / Developer: My wife

Release date: November 3, 2002 (USA) / 21 February 2003 (United Kingdom/EU)

Contra Advance: Alien Wars EX certainly seems like a good idea in theory; one of the best shoot-em-ups of all time on a portable device? Tidy! In practice, however, Contra Advance introduces a number of compromises to the experience that make it less than ideal: block sprites; washed out graphics; downgraded sound quality. Everything is right, making this a tough recommendation when the SNES version of Alien Wars is so readily available.

Arcade Archives Contra (Switch eShop)

Arcade Archives Contra (Switch eShop)

Publisher: HAMSTER / Developer: My wife

Release date: September 3, 2020 (USA)

Part of the ‘Arcade Archives’ series on Switch, Contra is the arcade title original through and through. Its purity and simplicity are perhaps its greatest features in this day and age, but subsequent Contra titles have arguably trumped it in terms of quality and replayability. Still, it’s worth checking out on Switch, though we’d probably recommend the more rounded offering available in the Contra Anniversary Collection.

Cons: The Alien Wars (GB)

Cons: The Alien Wars (GB)

Publisher: My wife / Developer: Factor 5

Release date: October 1994 (USA) / 1995 (United Kingdom/EU)

A Game Boy version of the SNES original, this one was developed by Factor 5, the studio behind it Super Turrican games on Super Nintendo and Star Wars: Rogue Squadron series. The levels and general structure were changed and a password system was added, but it still manages to deliver a workable game of Contra on a system with the processing power of a modern toaster.

Operation C (GB)

Operation C (GB)

Publisher: My wife / Developer: My wife

Release date: 5 February 1991 (USA) / 21 May 1992 (United Kingdom/EU)

This is without a doubt one Versus game (or Probotector if you’re a robot-loving European) that’s more worthy of the title than, say, certain PlayStation entries. It hits on most of the aspects that make a good entry: challenging gameplay, tight controls, varied enemies, killer arsenal, macho tunes, big bosses. For a title two years into the mighty portable’s life, it accomplishes an impressive amount in shrinking the essentials of the beloved console/arcade franchise. Unfortunately, players are forced to go gung-ho solo, which is disappointing for multiplayer fans and kills some of the longevity, but it’s remarkable how well the game holds up on the humble Game Boy and fans of the NES games would be foolish to pass up. this up.

Cons: Hard Corps (MD)

Cons: Hard Corps (MD)

Publisher: My wife / Developer: My wife

Release date: August 8, 1994 (USA) / November 1994 (United Kingdom/EU)

Available as part of the NSO expansion pack — and thus technically available to play on a Nintendo console outside of the Contra Anniversary Collection — Cons: Hard Corps represented the SEGA console debut of the series and represented a bit of a spin-off feel in terms of setting and characters. While it may not be easy to appreciate for those who have encountered this exclusively in the Contra Anniversary Collection, it made some notable changes to the control scheme and game mechanics from its predecessors.

An excellent entry, it certainly stands out as an inspiration for some modern ‘neo-retro’ running and gunning games as well.

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