With just a few weeks until its September 24th release, Konami Digital Entertainment has lifted the lid on Contra: Rogue Corps. Over the weekend, several sites have shared footage of the top-down twin-stick shooter. Below, courtesy of IGN, a chunk of four-player alien zapping, featuring a large panda with an even larger gun. Give it a look and see how you feel it stacks up against the Contra games of ages past.
Personally, I'm a bit worried. To be fair, Contra has never been a purely side-scrolling series. Even the very first NES game had some over-the-shoulder pseudo-3D segments. I'll even go to bat for Neo Contra on the PS2, which was a lot of ridiculous fun. It's not the change of angle that I object to. Neither do I object to the game having a sense of humour—Contra: Hard Corps and Contra ReBirth both got positively wacky, but this new game isn't doing it for me.
So far Contra: Rogue Corps reminds me of the rightfully maligned Contra: Legacy Of War, arguably the nadir of the series. There's some real rough edges and readability issues here in the footage shown. Players can easily get lost in other player's gunfire effects, and enemies are sometimes launched into the camera in wacky cartoon fashion, obscuring the play-field for all.
Other moments just feel unfinished. Case in point, skip to 7:08 in the video and look to the right, as a huge enemy spontaneously pops into existence. No teleport animation, no dropping in from off-screen, just unceremoniously appearing.
I really do hope that my scepticism is misplaced, and that Contra: Rogue Corps turns out to be a great co-op game. But even if it doesn't, at least we have the recently released Blazing Chrome.
Contra: Rogue Corps hits Steam this September 24th, priced at £40/$40/€40, or £45/$45/€45 with the season pass (containing "new skins" and "in-game items"). Neither of which are how exchange rates work.