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Contra: Legacy of War is a 3D action game produced by Konami and developed by Appaloosa Interactive that was originally released in 1996 for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn gaming consoles. A port was also planned for the Sega 32X, but was canceled due to the 32X's low popularity. It was the first of two Contra games that were externally developed by Appaloosa, followed by C: The Contra Adventure in 1998. The game marks the series' jump to three-dimensional graphics and controversial changes in gameplay. Legacy of War was released packaged with a pair of 3D anaglyph glasses, which the game supported.

Legacy of War bears the distinction for being the first console game in the series to retain both the "Contra" title and human characters during its release in Europe and Australia (where the console series has been known as "Probotector" from the first NES game until Contra: Hard Corps).

The game was scheduled to be released in Japan as well, but was canceled.

Plot[]

Colonel Bassad is the dictator of a small country. Some call him cruel. Some call him ruthless. Most call him an evil lunatic. It has only recently been learned that during the Alien Wars, a security guard at a top-secret military base managed to smuggle out an alien embryo. The guard sold the embryo to Colonel Bassad, who has used it to breed an army of fierce alien mutants. Bassad is power-hungry and wants nothing less than total control of the planet. There are rumors that he is working with an alien ally. Some fear that this alien ally may help Bassad by providing an army of alien mercenaries.

Before the conflict can escalate to such a disastrous level. the Special Forces are pressed into service once again. They must try to put an end to this legacy of war.[1]

Gameplay[]

Each character plays similarly except for the type of weapons they wield and their movement speed. All characters start with a Machine Gun and Flame Thrower, but the remaining two slots are for character specific weaponry. The game plays from an isometric angle. Since the game takes place in three dimensions, enemies come from all angles. Ducking and strafing have been added to the player's abilities, as well as an auto-aiming feature to help attack airborne enemies. Jumping has been slightly changed as the characters no longer do tightly curled somersault jumps (a feature in every previous game since the arcade version of the original Contra). The player's progress can be saved to a memory card.

Development[]

The game was first unveiled at the 1996 Electronic Entertainment Expo, during which Konami distributed 3D glasses to attendees so that they could see the 3D effect. This somewhat backfired, as journalists in attendance at the show reported that the 3D feature was a "gimmick" and did not improve the game's visuals.

With the game 80% complete, Electronic Gaming Monthly reported that Randy Severin, senior product manager at Konami, was unhappy and unimpressed with the present state of the game, believing that some of the levels were too bright and colorful, and some of the bosses not menacing enough. The following month they received a near complete version which featured numerous adjustments to the color palette, speed, enemy AI, and graphics.

Like most 32-bit action games, Contra: Legacy of War uses environments built of texture-mapped polygons.

Stages[]

Stage Name Minibosses Boss Music
1 Urban Warfare The Wall
Armored Charger
Lamppost Snake Turret
Chimeric Alien Tarantula
Carrier Aircraft It's Time for Revenge
2 Jungle Conflict Armored Flame Tank
Pit Slug
Erupted Dragon
Taka
3 River of Destruction Stalking Sea Snake
Anchor and Wheelie
Mythological River Beast
Petrified Beast Entrance
4 Mountain Stronghold Guardian Experimental Deathstalker
Somatic Brain Organism
Spearin Pad
Tether Bot
Armored Laser Tank
Domino Serpent
Mutant Dragonfly
Serpent Monster
Assembly Robot
5 Bad Wavelength N/A Subspace Capsule
6 Virtual Zone Virtual Armored Charger
Virtual Chimeric Alien Tarantula
Virtual Robot Gauntlet
Virtual Lamppost Snake Turret
Virtual Pit Slug
Virtual Somatic Brain Organism
N/A
7 Planet LP-426 Zit Snake
LP-426 Fly Trap
Emperor-Demon Reigning Ophidian

Reception[]

Reviews of Legacy of War differed in how they compared the game to previous installments in the series. Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot advised: "for those looking for a real game of Contra, break out the SNES and have at it", and said the game would have been better if it were not saddled with the "Contra" name and the unrealistically high expectations that come with it. GamePro's The Gun Nut said it fails to live up to the standards set by the series, and even to less prestigious action games such as Loaded. However, Major Mike of GamePro said: "Legacy has fast blasting action, the trademark of any Contra game", and a reviewer for Next Generation opined: "While it's no 32-bit breakthrough product, this latest in the series embodies everything that makes a Contra game enjoyable." He elaborated that the game made an appreciable step into the 3D generation, while retaining the same weapons, power-ups, and pacing of past Contra games.

Critics agreed that the graphics are solid with some impressive highlights, though The Gun Nut and Major Mike criticized some of the visual aesthetics. Most reviews made no mention of the optional stereoscopic 3D feature, but Gerstmann specifically commented that it was unimpressive. Next Generation and Gerstmann praised the game's variety of weapons, enemies, and terrain, while Major Mike and The Gun Nut said the imprecise jumps, slowdown, and large numbers of enemies make the game frustratingly difficult.

Jeremy Parish and Sam Kennedy in their Contra retrospective for 1up.com wrote: "the gameplay was clunky and the graphics were drab compared to the crisp visuals of the 16-bit games".

Gallery[]

Packaging artwork[]

Promotional artwork[]

Trivia[]

  • The Saturn port of this game was the second and final Contra game to be released for a Sega platform, as Sega left the console business and became a third party developer and publisher following the discontinuation of the Sega Dreamcast.

References[]

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