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OWLICKS
3:17 PM on 11.15.2007

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This isn't a review, guys. It's a call to arms. If you own a DS and have patience for anything beyond being able to save your game every-time you get another gold star then stand up, get in your car and go threaten the nearest game store clerk with a face full of spread-shot if he doesn't relinquish your copy of what is officially my favorite DS game. Contra 4.

First and foremost this game is hard. Really hard. Harder than any of the classic Contras, but definitely not as difficult as Shattered Soldier (thank god!). Yeah, it's tough and unless you just recently plowed through Alien Wars without having to use up a continue you're going to suck at it and get your ass handed to you in seconds. Even though the difficulty and learning curve are as high as can be imagined one thing keeps you coming back. Slowly but surely you begin to see the patterns and UNDERSTAND the game. You get good at the game and areas that moments ago sent you flying to the Game Over screen aren't that difficult at all.

The Konami Code helps a lot too though; let's not kid ourselves.

The graphics are fast, crisp, vibrant and beautiful. The animation and effects jump off the screen and are absolutely wonderful. Exploding bridges send debris and fire flying throughout the screen and even though it's all 2D with no exceptions you feel like your giant red bullets are causing serious damage to the plans of all these bad guys. While some could argue that most of the work here was already done for Way Forward (the guys who brought you Ping-Pals!) they did bring a certain flair to the graphical style that definitely makes it look like a sequel and not a remake.



The sound is all throw-back and completely amazing. Right down to the shouts of "Let's party!" and "Come get some!" when you take a hit and are sent blinking back into the action. The early nineties guitar music is intact and carries the levels forward adding to the action and "bad-ass" feel of whole game.

While Way Forward really went above and beyond bringing us a serious and definitely hardcore sequel to this beloved and legendary action series they did pack in enough extras to keep you coming back for months. Like a Challenge mode, a full emulated version of both Contra and Super C, a documentary and unlock-able characters including Probotector.

Out of the very few complaints I have the most prominent one would be the lack of game-sharing multiplayer. Both players have to have a copy of the game to co-operatively play though it together and this is definitely a game I would have like to see with this feature.

It gave me everything I expected and more (not to mention being released on time, fuck you very much Gamestop.com) and I definitely see myself playing this game for quite a long time.








King of Fighters XI,

I've been waiting for so long. Missed release date after missed release date. Scheduling error after shipping mishap. Three months is a long time to keep gamers on their collective toes. Your sweet character lineup and budget pricing are more than enough reasons to shell out just under twenty bucks to the first retailer in my area code to offer up a copy, but when will I get that chance, SNK. Fucking when? November 23rd? Are you sure this time?!?

I guess one more week can't kill me, but...

Contra 4,

Come fucking on! You've got to be kidding me. Fuck Mario and his new amazing adventure. Fuck that over-hyped exercise in pretty to look at, been there done that repetition buried in a faux history lesson: Assassins Creed. I wanted you above all else and you let me down. You let me down like SNK always fucking lets me down. I expect SNK games to come out a year after we all expected an SNK game to come out, but not you. You were a safe bet. I don't know why, but you were goddamn-it. Apparently you also will grace us with your presence on the 23rd of this month (according to Gamestop.com, but NOT Konami's official site). I just hope Gamestop.com fucked up and got it wrong and the stores actually will be selling the game tomorrow.

Or there might be a Game Advisor with a broken nose in Texas.