Rewind Friday: Contra Anniversary Collection

The most famous run ‘n gun franchise in the video game industry remembers its first steps in arcade, 8 bit, and 16 bit. The Contra saga is one that Konami had already forgotten. The positive consequence is that in this collection nobody can miss anything that is truly essential in the saga. The Contra Anniversary Collection includes the following games:

  • Contra (Arcade)
  • Contra (NES)
  • Contra (Famicom)
  • Super Contra (Arcade)
  • Super C (NES)
  • Contra III: The Alien Wars (SNES)
  • Super Probotector: Alien Rebels (SNES)
  • Contra: Hard Corps (Sega Genesis)
  • Probotector (Sega Mega Drive)
  • Operation C (Game Boy)

Rediscovering a Mythical Saga

Contra is a name that completely defines the genre of the classic Run ´n Gun. We must accept that we are talking about a saga that has never adapted well to change. Obviously, one wonders if it would have been a good time to reissue titles like Hard Corps Uprising. This time I have to admit that nothing is missing. That has meant a revolution in a saga that most people love, with the exception of a video game that didn’t finish convincing everyone: the weird Neo Contra. It’s a great opinion divider of the saga that could well have surprised the players. That doesn’t enable anyone to speak this time of great absentees. Games that went somewhat unnoticed despite their quality. A category in which we could also talk about the aforementioned Hard Corps: Uprising or the magnificent Contra: Rebirth.

With all this in mind, whoever decides on this compilation already knows very well what is going to be found. The titles of this saga are the pioneer founders who established some of the conventions of the genre. Metal Slug recast it in 1996 with what was still a great tribute to Contra. It’s true that they may be somewhat irregularly contemplated right now, but of course they are titles that were marked by fire in everyone who played them at the time. None have lost the charisma that always permeated through this saga.

Contra is back! Well Sort Of

What I liked the most about this compilation is the fact that all of them are played with pleasure in 2020. This bring us back in touch with the ingenuity of the plot and the extreme difficulty of those years. Even with their somewhat obtuse mechanics for a current player. There is something for everyone thanks to the selection of games for arcade and console. The titles from NES are among the games that have best aged with the system.

The speed of Contra: Hard Corps still gives this game a distinctive playable look that makes it irresistible. The monumental Contra 3: The Alien Wars was a technological pioneer in its day. It’s use of rotations and other watermarks still amaze in such an old game.

Regional Variants are Here!

Anyone who knows the world of Konami and video games in those years will know that different regional variants of many games can change absolutely everything. Just look at the different difficulties of some of these variations. The now endearing censorship that transformed several human protagonists of the saga into robots. Or the thousand more details that do not escape the most dedicated followers.

Now that we are facing the last installment, one should keep in mind that this has been a highly criticized aspect throughout these three official emulation issues. It’s mucha appreciated that Konami has finally solved it. Japanese versions weren’t an option in the Konami universe of the eighties and nineties. You have to give the company the credit it deserves for listening to the retro community this time. Better late than never.

Otherwise, the packaging of this third pack does not stop leaving behind the lights and shadows of its first cousins. It presents again an emulation that satisfies, but which can still find some sound problems if you look hard enough. It presents some display options that aren’t bad at all, but continue to blur the image while using available filters. Nothing to spoil the experience, but it’s definitely a point where things could have been done better with this compilation. A compilation that closes better than it started, but that should’ve been better for the greatness of what was celebrated.


Konami’s birthday party concludes better than it started thanks to a compilation covering the best of the Contra series. The brilliance and purity of the included games, as well as the fact that the most relevant games in the saga are here. With no omissions that would be really unforgivable, Konami have shaped a much more than decent compilation. This culminated in a very careful digital game. As always, those who enjoy the history of the video game as a medium will enjoy it.

You can purchase the Contra Anniversary Collection from the Xbox store. For more from the Rewind Friday saga click here. As always, stay tuned to Generation Xbox for more like this and much more in the world of Xbox.

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