Every Contra Game, Ranked | Game Rant

There is no gamer today that hasn't at least heard of the Contra series. For many, the early Contra games were among the first few video games they've ever played, and the first ones they fell in love with. This "run and gun" shooter series is a staple and an innovator in the genre, with most of the games in the series garnering positive reception.

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As with many video game series, however, some of the games in the Contra franchise don't hold up to its reputation. While most of the games have achieved legendary status, some fans feel aren't up to par with what the series is known for. With that in mind, here is every video game in the Contra series, ranked from worst to best.

14 C: The Contra Adventure

C: The Contra Adventure is the eighth title in the series and was released on the PlayStation console. It is by far the most negatively received Contra title. A lot of people dismissed the game for its boring gameplay and for not capturing the essence of the earlier titles.

Some also argue that this Contra game is way easier than its predecessors, and that's mainly due to the main character having an actual health bar rather than the standard life icons the series is known for.

13 Contra: Legacy Of War

Contra: Legacy of War is the seventh Contra game and the first one to come out on the PlayStation 1. It is also the first Contra title to not have been developed by Konami. This fact is ultimately what a lot of players bring up when discussing how the title is one of the worst Contra games Konami ever published.

While it utilized the PS1's 3D capabilities, many still found its visual aspects unattractive. Many have also pointed out how broken the gameplay mechanic was, which destroys what so many players loved about the earlier games.

12 Contra: Rogue Corps

Contra: Rogue Corps is the fourteenth game in the series and its most recent title as of 2021. Despite being the most recent title and having access to modern engines and innovations, this Contra title failed to receive the praise its predecessors did.

This is due to the game's restrictive gameplay a lot of players feel contradicts the essence of the earlier titles, and its bland graphics despite being released in 2019.

11 Contra Force

Contra Force is the fifth title in the series. As one of the earliest Contra titles, which has thus far been stellar, Contra Force had a lot to live up to. Ultimately, the 5th Contra title ended up being its worst so far when it was released.

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A lot of players noted how unresponsive and heavy the gameplay feels. It was also plagued with issues where the game would slow down whenever there were enemies on the screen.

10 Neo Contra

Neo Contra, the tenth game in the series, departed from the series' traditional side-scroller aspect. Instead, the game mainly uses an isometric top-down point of view with multidirectional shooting. It also occasionally uses a third-person shooter perspective, something already familiar to the series.

Despite steering away from something traditional to the series, many players felt the game kept what made Contra incredible. It had fast-paced combat, responsive controls, and over-the-top action, all of which were utilized to great effect.

9 Contra: ReBirth

Contra: ReBirth is the twelfth game in the series and was released on the WiiWare. When it was released in 2009, a lot of players felt like the game was an homage to the early Contra titles. The game felt very similar to the early games in the series, most especially Contra III.

A lot of players enjoyed the game's enjoyable combat and for utilizing everything the series is beloved for. It had incredible bosses and was reasonably challenging, everything one expects from a Contra title.

8 Operation C

Operation C is the third Contra game and was released for the Nintendo Game Boy, making it the series' first handheld title. Despite the hardware limitations of the Game Boy, Konami managed to fit a Contra title in the portable device and make it exciting and action-packed.

Operation C played almost exactly like the previous two Contra titles, for better or for worse. It used layouts, models, and even music from the earlier games, which is one of this title's most common criticisms. Regardless, it was still mostly well-received by those who managed to play it, fans of the series and newcomers alike.

7 Contra 4

Contra 4 is the eleventh game in the series. It was released on the Nintendo DS in 2007, making it the first handheld Contra title since 1991. It continued the narrative Contra, Super Contra, and Contra III followed, and its gameplay system is incredibly similar to those titles as well.

Many considered Contra 4 to be the series returning to its original roots. Its gameplay, themes, and everything else in between, are extremely reminiscent of the early Contra games. For these reasons and doing them right, the game was positively received.

6 Contra: Shattered Soldier

After the failure of Contra: Legacy of War and C: The Contra Adventure, which were both developed by Appaloosa Interactive, Konami decided to take back the reins and make the next title themselves. The result of this effort is Contra: Shattered Soldier, the ninth game in the series.

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As if to correct the wrongs of the previous two titles, Contra: Shattered Soldier returned to its roots. It once again used the traditional 2D scroller formula with fast-paced action and considerable difficulty. In the end, the game was praised for returning to its roots and doing it properly. This title is also notorious for being one of the hardest games in the series.

5 Contra

The first and original Contra took the world by storm when it came out in 1987. Initially only coming out on Arcades, it finally reached home consoles when it came out on the NES and Famicom. These then ended up being better versions of the game.

The game was an immense success. Its over-the-top action, difficulty, responsiveness, and fun boss fights became staples as to what a Contra title should be. If it weren't for the success of this title, the gaming landscape wouldn't have the esteemed Contra franchise, to begin with. It also spawned the most popular cheat code in video game history, the Konami Code.

4 Super Contra

Super Contra is the second title in the series and the sequel to the critically acclaimed original game. Like its predecessor, the game was ported to various platforms, with various changes such as new levels, but its NES version is widely accepted to be the game's best version.

Super Contra took everything the original game had and made them better, albeit ever slightly. For the most part, it feels and plays exactly like its predecessor, but it also feels a bit more refined, and even more challenging than the previous title.

3 Hard Corps: Uprising

Hard Corps: Uprising is the most distant-looking Contra title in terms of art direction, but it most certainly is one of the best games in the series. Aside from its anime visuals, Hard Corps: Uprising is a Contra game through and through.

Not only does the game look great, but it also feels great. It still uses the side-scrolling shooter gameplay the series is known for, but it also adds variation to the formula, making the experience for the player much more enjoyable.

2 Contra: Hard Corps

Contra: Hard Corps is the sixth game in the series. In essence, it's everything a Contra is beloved for. Its combat is addicting, the boss fights are engaging, and it is notorious for its unforgiving difficulty.

Following Contra Force, the series' first hurdles, Contra: Hard Corps managed to capture fans again with this incredible entry. It bears a close resemblance to Contra, Super Contra, and Contra III, but it was by far the best-looking Contra game upon release.

1 Contra III: Alien Wars

Contra III: Alien Wars is the fourth title in the series and is widely revered as the best game in the entire series. It was the first 16-bit title in the series and it managed to utilize the technology perfectly. Couple this with every reason why the series was beloved in the first place and players were essentially treated with the ultimate Contra experience.

This title arguably has some of the best levels and best boss fights in the entire franchise. Its first level alone is a contender of being one of the best introduction levels in video game history.

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