Since the original NES classic, the Contra franchise has produced many high-quality action shooters characterized by smooth controls, quick action, and a high level of challenge. Contra The Alien Wars was a title originally released on SNES back in its heyday. Konami decided to reissue the game on the Gameboy Advance with great results.
The action playing on the gameboy advance is as fluid as ever. The controls are easy to master as you blast your way through the levels. The first level isn't too hard, but the game cranks up the difficulty real quick. For those who don't know, your character in Contra dies in one hit, die three times you lose one of your three continues. There are two difficulty settings: Normal and Novice, but the only difference is that you get more lives on the lower setting. Some parts are crazy hard, but for the most part it is easy to memorize the patterns of gameplay after a few times playing through. In the end, I consider the intense challenge to be more of a positive than a negative.
The level design of this game is absolutely stunning for the GBA. There is always something interesting going on in the background, and the game always has a new setting ready to throw you for a loop every once in a while. For example one level you're fighting on a train, moving between the inside and outside as you fight off baddies in every direction. It's very exciting and I never get tired of playing it through!
In terms of gameplay, Contra has always kept it simple, and thats one of the reasons I like the franchise so much. What more do you need in a video game besides a muscled up action hero and a new host of evil villains to destroy. Much of this game you'll be fighting boss battles. There may be up to 4 per level! The boss fights are awesomely fun though. The most incredible boss fight in terms of fun factor and visuals would have to be the level 3 boss you see on the cover of the game. He is probably the coolest looking boss I've ever fought, and he's fun to take down as well!
If you're looking for a fast-paced action game that will provide a healthy challenge and keep you constantly interested, then I highly recommend picking up this game. It is a great addition to any gamers collection.