Posted on January 8, 2013
My Top 100: #38 – Contra III: The Alien Wars
There was a time that sequels didn’t have to blow your mind to be successful. All they had to do was deliver; just create a game with more of the same, only bigger and better-looking, and call it a day. There were fewer things to screw up, and that was nice – no need to worry about terrible voice acting or potentially awkward motion controls, because they weren’t a thing yet. I miss those days!
Contra III just needed to have the same tight controls, the same hectic action, the same aggravating life-stealing multiplayer as Contra and Super C, and we’d be all set!
Thankfully, Konami didn’t screw around, and gave us exactly what we wanted… and it was amazing.
This game scared the crap out of me, as a kid. From the apocalyptic intro to the creepy cyborg boss at the end of level 3, I actually had nightmares about some of the things I’d see in the game. They weren’t so much nightmares where I’d be chased or threatened by these alien characters, but dreams about the end of the world, and how freaky a place the world would be if this guy ruled what was left of the world.
That, and the whole concept of “outer space” kinda freaked me out. Weird, but let me explain.
My mom worked at a library when I was in school, and still works there, in fact. After class, I’d always go there to kill time before she got off work and made the drive home. Naturally, I started reading random books about this and that, but the books that truly had me hooked were from Isaac Asimov’s “Library of the Universe” series. In it, there was one book for each planet in our solar system, and each had some pretty vivid drawings of what life would be like in the various environments. Very interesting stuff!
When it came time to read the book about Jupiter, there was something about the look of the planet that got to me. I’m not sure if it was the toxic gases it was comprised of, or if it was the giant storm on the surface, staring at me like a massive mole on someone’s upper lip. There was an image comparing the size of Earth to the “Great Red Spot”, which (according to the book) was itself three times bigger than our home planet! My mind was blown… that was spectacular, and scared the crap out of me. For some reason, I started thinking that Earth would miraculously leave orbit, and we’d get sucked into the massive storm on Jupiter.
Yeah. That makes no sense. But to me, as a kid, it made perfect sense. I swore off science fiction (specifically Star Trek: The Next Generation) because the thought of getting sucked into Jupiter just scared the buh-jeezus out of me.
I eventually came around and realized I was being unreasonable, but Contra III was one of my first forays into sci-fi after my so-called “Jupiter phase”.
My motivation? “Don’t let the Jupiter guys win!!!”