ReviewSadly overlooked, One for the PSOne is a much better Contra game than either of the actual Contra games for the system. You control a one-man killing machines has he escapes from mysterious enemies who are all out to destroy him for some reason. The most interesting innovation is the Rage meter - functioning as both measurement of weapon power and hit points, the rage meter builds strength as you blow things up, and goes down when you take damage. Although completely 3D, the level structures are linear and contains a camera that's constantly changing camera angles, much like Devil May Cry. Alas, the platforming elements feel a bit misplaced due to not only said camera, but the clunking jumping controls as well. You'll probably die far more from falling to your death than anything else, and this flaw keeps it just short of true classic status. That, and the game is so action packed, the framerate is constantly chugging with all of the explosions and madness taking place. Still, it's an excellent balls-out shoot-em-up that you can probably find for under $10.
ReviewOriginally a four-player Konami arcade game, the general gameplay of Sunset Riders is pretty much "Old West meets Contra". The level designs and bosses aren't quite as interesting as Contra, and your arsenal is a bit more limited, but there's still plenty of fun to be had here. The SNES port is fairly faithful to the arcade game, featuring all four characters and only limiting it to two simultaneous players. The Genesis port cut down the playable character roster to two and has inferior graphics and audio, but has entirely different stage designs.
ReviewThe Treasure-developed Sin and Punishment probably has more in common with the likes of Panzer Dragoon than Contra, although the gameplay is similar to Cabal, the GI Arcade game, and the isometric levels of the original Contra game - you control a young group of warriors in a post-apolcalypitic world from a behind-the-back perspective. The game takes a bit of getting used to - you're constantly running forward, and have to not only control your cross hairs, but your character's movements as well. Still, the combination of acrobatics and pyrotechnics makes this Japanese-only N64 game feel like a spiritual successor to Contra.
ReviewTreasure's first game took the basic concept of Contra, added in bright cartoon graphics and an amazing weaponry system (where you make combinations of four base weapons for a monstrous arsenal of destruction) makes this one of the best Genesis games out there. These guys also knew how make the Genesis 68000 processor fly - the massive, multi-segmented bosses are not only gorgeous but incredibly imaginative. Check out the Gunstar Heroes homepage here on Classicgaming.
ReviewOne of SNK's best series, Metal Slug took the basic platforming elements of Contra, gave them a uniquely comical zing, and turned loose four games, with a fifth one coming soon. Featured include the usual barrage of cool weapons (where else can you attack enemies with a gun called the "Iron Lizard"?), the goofily endearing yet evil antagonists, and various vehicles (the titular Metal Slugs) ranging from tanks to airplanes to camels, have kept this series popular amongst the hardcore since its inception. They originated on the Neo Geo, although there have been some ports. The original came out on the PSOne and Saturn in Japan - the PSOne version is cheaper and easier to find, although it has some annoying mid-level loading times. Metal Slug X (an enhanced Metal Slug 2) came out for the PSOne in America, and should be obtained at any costs, as it is a very well done port. Metal Slug 3 is out for the Xbox, and Metal Slug 4 and 5 are due for the PS2 and Xbox in 2005. You can read more at Metal Slug: Iron Calvarymen in Hell.