Contra Force is an NES game developed by Konami. It was never released in Japan but was intended to be its own game and series named Arc Hound. The Contra brand name was tacked on to attract more sales. When Contra III: The Alien Wars was made the title "Contra 4" was considered but Konami decided not to count this game as a true Contra.
Unlike the other games, rather than being set in 27th century, it concentrates on exploits of anti-terrorist task force in year 1992 and is devoid of any science-fiction elements.
Burns, chief of titular unit, receives tipoff from his informant, Fox, that Head of Intelligence is being threatened by crime syndicate called D.N.M.E. Burns arranges meeting with Fox to find out more information, but after he arrives at the Harbor, informant is nowhere to be found. Assuming D.N.M.E. is responsible, Burns and his team decide to take down the syndicate.
Game is a classic 2D run'n'gun. Most important difference to earlier NES-era Contra titles is adding various characters with their own skills, weapons and unique sprites (instead of traditional palette swaps). Player can switch between characters at any time, and even assign them to primitive AI.
Stages are divided into sidescrolling (1st, 3rd and 5th) and top-down (2nd and 4th). Controls work rather similar to the ones found in earlier NES titles, with the exception of characters being unable to aim diagonally down unless jumping. Also, going prone is replaced by crouching. Powerup system is completely reworked, since you obtain upgrades by collecting suitcases found within destroyed environment, rather than shooting down flying containers. Selection of powerups is similar to the one found in Gradius, as collecting more suitcases allows player to unlock stronger weapons. However, The game suffer's from constant slow-down, Even with only one other enemy on the screen. This lead to many speedrun tactics that include de-spawning enemies. The slow-down is considered game breaking.
Team leader. Equipped with grenades and machine gun, able to jump higher than others.
Team sharpshooter, equipped with various kinds of rockets. He's the first character to ever use Homing Missiles in Contra series.
Heavy weapons expert, uses bazooka and a flamer.
Demolition expert, uses bombs. Also, he's constantly crouching, so pressing Down on D-Pad actually causes him to go prone. Because of this, some enemies are completely uncapable of hitting him.
|Burns||Hand Grenades||Machine Gun||TI*||RA**|
|Smith||Sniper Rifle||Homing Missiles||TI||RA|
|Beans||Time Bomb||Time Mines||TI||RA|
* - increases on-screen bullet limit from 2 to 3 ** - invincibility while jumping; no effect in top-down stages
The only link this game has to any other games in Contra series, is the name of the city action takes place, NeoCity. It's identical to name of the city first stage of Contra III: The Alien Wars is set in, making it possible that it is the same city, just in different time period (over 600 years earlier).