Alan Smithee

Who Traded This In? — Contra: Shattered Soldier

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For the longest time, I had no issue paying a full $50 for a video game, or even the upwards of $80 that I used to spend on cartridge based games, that was until this generation. Before your panties get in a wad, I should let you know that I’ve bought about 25-30 games for my 360 and PS3 at $60 a pop. I now feel like I shouldn’t have to anymore.

So the other week, while I was diving into the used bins at the local GameStores I realized that I was not utilizing all of my local resources when it came to finding good used games. Right there and then I thought that I should check out the other places where one might find some or any quality games, I thought to myself “TO THE PAWN SHOP!!!”

The last time that I had searched for any kind of game at a pawn shop was probably 10 years ago when I found a used copy of Shadowrun for the SNES (great game BTW). Anyways, I get to the pawn shop and immediately get intimidated. There are 4 people manning the counter to the store and each one of them is packing heat.

I proceed to look through the piles upon piles of shit that the shop had for sale until I saw a game I was missing from my collection that I simply MUST have. There it sat, my delicious copy of Contra: Shattered Soldier, un-aphabetically arranged beween a copy of Mechassault for the Xbox and 8 copies of DragonBall Z: Budokai.

I snatched up the copy as quickly as I could and hurried home to put it in the PlayStation. Fuck if I forgot how damn hard and unforgiving this game could be. That’s to be expected with it being put back into the hands of the man who made 2 of the hardest shooter games I’ve ever played, Mr. Nobuya Nakazato.

The gameplay closely resembles that of any Contra game that guys like me grew up with. Like any good shooter or shmup game, it’s a hard game, but not a hard like a “fuck you!” kind of hard but more of a, “ok you’ve tried and you’ve failed, now try again” kind of hard, that so many games are missing these days (and if you listen to certain video game bloggers, it should stay that way).

Not only is the game as hard if not harder than Contra III: The Alien Wars (Super Probotector to you Brits), but they changed the weapon system by allowing one of three weapons that have their own charged up shots. I guess a plus to that is that you’d never have to fight a friend to get the spread gun.

Also introduced in this game was the ending dependant rating system which measured your hit rate, lives used, continues used, and difficulty level used, to determine how good of an ending you were allowed to see. I remember spending weeks and weeks in college trying to get the best ending possible with one of my roommates…it just wasn’t happening. As much as I love these games, I’m just simply lacking that one crucial chromosome that let’s get phenominal at these games.

The graphics in the game are nice, it was a drastic change over the games of the past that were sprite-based to see Bill Rizer in full 3D. The shining point of the game switching to 3D is that you could now scale the screen to different dimensions based on the enemies you were fighting. I can think of the one battle that you have at the beginning of the water level as one example, that boss was fucking huge!

All in all, if you’re looking for one of the best looking old PS2 games that is difficult as hell but has a supreme replay value, look hard to get a copy of this game. Just avoid Neo Contra with all of your being,, it’s not even close to being a masterpiece like this game is. Hopefully you find your copy, good luck!

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