High difficulty level. Poor graphics and lots of flicker/breakup during gameplay.
Another arcade-to-NES port from the early days, Contra was in many ways a 2-player imitation of Rambo, of sorts. You took on the role of a hardbodied military guy, using a variety of futuristic weapons to rid the world of the alien Red Falcon and it's seemingly endless legion of minions in a game that spanned 8 large stages.
The coolest thing about gameplay is that while it's generally side-scrolling, 2 stages put you in battles with a 3-D behind the back perspective, a nice feature fot a platform shooter. There's also a good 2-player option, with a sneaky little fun extra thrown in...if you know how to, at the right time you can "steal" a life from the other player and get back in the game! Important because the difficulty level is quite high, and with Limited Continues you'll need plenty of help and luck to get all the way through.
The graphics are not really that good. A lot of the backgrounds lack detail, and there are also frequent problems with graphics flicker and slowdown when lots of objects are onscreen-very frustrating during gameplay because it makes it unintentionally tougher. Sound FX and music are OK, although the standard gun-firing noises are excellent. Controls are fairly simple too, but learning how to jump up to and drop down to/from platforms takes a little practice.
If you really want a tough workout then pick up this title. It's intense while it lasts but not good enough to be a keeper with regards to long-term value. A good weekend rental should be enough here.