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  • Writer's pictureGreg Ezell

Contra: Operation Galuga Carries A Hefty Price

Thank you Konami for the code for Contra: Operation Galuga

For us old heads, there is nothing more iconic than Contra on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The screen slowly slides in from right to left and once it settles, you’re immediately hit with a picture of Bill and Lance and hit with that midi song that is just a banger. 

Contra: Operation Galuga gives that same feeling when the game starts up. You’re immediately hit with this modernized version of that NES midi riff and your blood is flowing. You’re ready to jump into a variety of options and get your Contra on. 

junbgle level
Good re-creation of Contra's jungle level

The problem is this is where it kind of ends in terms of the nostalgic grip. Unlike the original Contra, Operation Galuga provides you with a campaign and arcade mode. Unfortunately, the campaign is basically the arcade mode with some cut-scenes. This was a problem for me because I truly do not care about Bill or Lance from Contra. To me, these guys are just two mercenaries running through jungles and alien spaceships. A campaign, to me, is about investing in the characters and these guys are just cardboard cutouts of military parodies. 

When jumping into the arcade mode, you can choose between a health bar which will allow you to take a few hits before dying or being an old head hardo like me where you’re only allowed to take one shot before dying. 

Gameplay is everything you’d expect when playing a side scrolling Contra game. You’re going to move left to right and gun down everything in your path. To upgrade your gun, you’re still going to shoot blimps as they move across the screen. New to me, and possibly to the series, is you can now store multiple types of guns and they can be upgraded. 

Switching between gun types is very easy and allows for great crowd control when things get heavy. I’ve found myself keeping the spread gun as my standard and switching between the machine gun and the heat seeking rockets. If you have two gun types on your person when you die, you will lose the active one. 

Getting two of the same gun type will upgrade that type meaning if you get the machine gun twice, it’ll get upgraded to shoot faster. It is a nice change of pace to see how the gun types we grew up with change when upgraded.

The game also looks great. I’ve been playing it on my 4K monitor and everything looks sharp. The colors pop, the assets look good, I really have no complaints about how this game looks. 

The soundtrack also rips. I have to give WayForward some credit here because the soundtrack will amp you up as you run through the jungle, are speeding on your motorbike or ripping through alien guts. They did a good job modernizing Contra’s soundtrack. The sound bites are just as impressive. The iconic death sound is in the game and the guns sound good. 

Arcade has co-op for up to 4 players, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem like there is online co-op. This can be a mixed bag depending on what your preference is, but it seems like there was a big misstep in not having the ability to get online and play this game. 

So I’ve praised a lot of this game, so what’s the issue? 

The issue is the price. 

Currently, Contra: Operation Gulaga is $40. 

steam screen
$40 seems steep for Contra: Operation Galuga

There doesn’t seem to be enough beef here to warrant a $40 purchase, especially when there isn’t any online co-op to keep this game fresh. You can browse through Steam and find likeminded games for less. Hell, you can find Contra games for less like the Contra: Anniversary Collection that has about 10 Contra games. 

If you want a modernized version of Contra, wait until this is on sale. If you have people to play Contra with, $20 would be a good price point to pick this game up at. If you are going to play it solo, $15 or less should be right in your wheelhouse. 

If online co-op does come down the pipe, you could make the case that $40 could be more palatable, but I still think it’s a lot for what this game has to offer. 

Fun game, but save your cash.

spread em
Spread gun still slaps


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