A Virtual Console free week for Europe? Looks like it’s time to highlight a game that could have come out today! Yes, I’m going to be making a serious effort to post one of these every time North America or Europe is denied a Virtual Console title. This particular exception is a little odd.
7. Contra (NES, Konami)
Basic Synopsis: Konami’s definitive take on the run-and-gun style of shooter, this arcade port maximized the awesome gameplay, music and level designs of the original, making it one of the finest action games on the NES.
Why is it Missing?: We’ve seen Super C, Contra III, and even Contra Rebirth pop up for download, but for some unknown reason Konami’s withheld the NES original from the Virtual Console. There isn’t anything concrete about its absence – Konami’s not gone on record to say it’s not happening, and Nintendo isn’t barring the release of the classic (as far as we know, at least). It’s a great question as to why it’s MIA after all this time, and as of this writing, it’s one of the most notable omissions from the Virtual Console library. The only reason I can think of is its inclusion on Contra IV for the DS as an unlockable, but Super C was too, and that’s available on the VC. Who really knows?
Other (Legal) Options: The NES port is on Contra IV, as I mentioned. You have to become a fairly decent Contra IV master to unlock it, though. In 2002 Konami packaged Contra alongside Super C and the three NES Castlevanias together for Windows, but I don’t know a whole lot about the quality of that comp. The version on Gametap looks like it’s the NES version, but I’d bet it’s the aforementioned Windows port of it. The NES cartridge itself is fairly common.
The arcade original is included on Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits for the DS, as well as Xbox Live, but it’s not quite the same…in my view, at least.