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Contra III: The Alien Wars (SNES) – Let’s Play 1001 Games – Episode 60

Need even more Contra in your life? This week I was on a very special “New Games Plus” podcast chatting with Dustin, Nolan, and Kenny about this very game. Check it out today!

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I’m Gaming Jay: Youtube gamer, let’s player, retrogaming fan, and determined optimist… Join me in this series while I try out EVERY game in the book 1001 VIDEO GAMES YOU MUST PLAY BEFORE YOU DIE, before I die. The game review for each game will focus on the question of whether you MUST play this game before you die. But to be honest, the game reviews are just for fun, this series is more about the YouTube gamer journey. Let’s try out those classic retro games we grew up with, have fond memories of, or heard of but never got a chance to try! And with that said, the game review for today is…

Contra III: The Alien Wars
Released 1992
Developer(s) Konami
Platform(s) SNES
Genre(s) Run and Gun

Jay’s Thoughts
The Contra series is known for its brutal difficulty. Though all the Contra games feature multiple lives, death comes very easily, with every enemy in the game killing you in 1 hit. Despite this brutality, the Contra games are among the best classic games out there, and Contra III is no exception.

Contra III is one of the best SNES games in my opinion. It starts you off in a shattered apocalyptic future and instantly amps the action up to 11. Whereas in previous Contra games you start with a rifle and need to upgrade to a machinegun, in Contra III you start with a machinegun. Furthermore, any Contra fan out there knows that the “S” (or “spread”) gun is by far the best power up in the early Contra games, upgrading your weapon from shooting 1 bullet at a time to shooting several, that spread across the screen killing everything in their path. The spread gun is back in Contra III, but in actuality they have made significant upgrades to all other weapons in the Contra series and now the spread gun is just one of a number of useful weapons (and in fact I would argue the spread gun is now one of the weaker weapons out there). In essence, rather than having one super weapon like the previous games, almost all weapons quite powerful and all have circumstances in which they are more useful than others. And on top of that, all the weapons are pretty damn fun to use.

Beyond the weaponry, Contra III features a range of futuristic environments to fight through and numerous varied and unique bosses. In addition to typical side-scrolling levels you’ll also encounter two top down levels that take advantage of the SNES’ limited texture rotation capabilities. I have heard that some people find these levels a little disorienting, but I find them neat as they’re interesting and non-linear, and add some variety to the typical side-scrolling levels. Another unique level is the motorcycle level, where you’ll find yourself racing down a futuristic highway fighting random enemies along the way before riding a missile at an enemy spacecraft. Yeah… did I mention they amped the action up to 11 in this game?

All in all, this is a terrific game to play by yourself or with a friend. Funnily enough it doesn’t make it that much easier to have a friend, as you may accidentally kill each other by scrolling the screen forward too fast or too slow for the other player. But hey, it’s still a lot of fun. My only caveat with all Contra games is that if you weren’t raised on the brutal difficulty of early Nintendo games you may find the difficulty of Contra frustrating. But kids these days like their difficulty, right? I mean that’s why everyone plays Demon Souls, isn’t it? So if you can get over the challenge, I think Contra III is a classic game that has aged beautifully, and is definitely worth a try!

Must You Play It?
Like all Contra games, this is a challenging and difficult game. Yet it is possibly the best Contra game ever made and is definitely one of the best SNES games out there in my opinion. If you’re looking for a retro game that will be fun and exciting, then I think you’ve found your pick. Definitely a game that I think is worth playing!

Video transcription:


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