Contra: Operation Galuga

Review

The Red Falcon is a terrorist group that has been coordinating strikes all around the globe. They've set up shop on the small Galuga Archipelago. When the archipelago was rained upon by a mass of small meteors, the Earth Federation government noticed the terrorists’ base and didn't hesitate to send their special GX-Army soldiers to destroy the criminal organisation. Everything seemed to go be going to plan until the Federation lost all contact with their soldiers. That was three days ago. The consensus is now clear: the Red Falcon is much tougher than anticipated. To add fuel to the fire, the Federation scientists' satellite networks recently detected a gravity anomaly, and the source of this anomaly started right in the centre of the Galuga Archipelago. Is the Red Falcon on the verge of creating the doomsday gravity super weapon? There is no time to waste. They have to send their last two elite soldiers immediately. Code name Contra: Operation Galuga!  

Contra: Operation Galuga is a run-'n'-gun side-scrolling action game developed by WayForward and published by KONAMI on the 12th of March 2024 on the Steam platform. The game is also available on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S and Nintendo Switch.

The game consists of three modes of play: Story, Arcade, and Challenge. The story and the arcade modes have eight levels, from average to lengthy. The challenge mode has 30 specific tasks to complete, each with win-and-loss conditions and some with a time limit.



You’ll probably start with either the Story or the Arcade mode. First, you have to select the difficulty level from Easy, Normal or Hard, as well as the health level. You can choose the health meter, which gives three health bars per life, or the 1-hit kill, which is self-explanatory. In the Story gameplay, you can choose between two soldiers, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, for the first two levels. As you progress, you'll unlock another three characters. At the start of each level, you choose your character; they will have three lives to spare throughout the stage. Your goal is straightforward: make your way to the end of the stage as fast as you can, kill as many enemies as possible and beat the boss of each stage. You'll receive credits at the end of each completed level, which you can use at the perks shop to help you on your next playthrough. The Arcade mode is pretty much the same, but you'll be able to select one of the seven characters available as long as you have unlocked them through the story mode. The other difference is that in the Arcade mode, you start with a certain number of lives to get to the last level and boss.

The gameplay is fast-paced and frantic, and the controls are super responsive. You can play with a friend on a local share screen or via remote play, and it will probably be super crazy. Playing single-player is also intense, and you must be ready to repeat stages several times before beating them. Out of the eight stages, you'll be running forward in most of them, shooting at incoming enemies and enemies coming from behind. But you'll also be double-jumping, dashing or lying down to avoid incoming projectiles. In a few stages, you'll be on this hovercraft type of bike, and it will be extremely chaotic from the start - it's really fun. There are a few power-ups, and they will come and go as you progress through the stages. You can upgrade them twice but lose the second upgrade if you are hit. If you died and the power-up you were using before your death was on the first upgrade, you'll lose it when you respawn. You can have only two types of power-ups at any given time, and you can swap them by pressing the LB or RB buttons on your gamepad. You can also overload the power-up by pressing the LT button, and depending on the power-up, it can either create a shield for several seconds or activate super-powerful projectiles. Remember that you'll lose the power-up immediately after you overload them. I find overloading power-ups particularly effective when fighting the bosses. You can request a power-up if the shield under the health meter is complete - to charge it up, you only need to keep killing enemies – but you never know which power-ups you're going to get. I also like that you can sharpshoot at the enemies by pressing the RT button. It locks your character on the spot, and you can aim your right stick with precision and shoot the enemies.

Some levels have mini-bosses halfway through, and a couple of them are really tough to beat. I don't think I managed to pass one of them the first time - it always took me a couple of shots, the little buggers. I loved the boss fights! They're fun, fast and not that easy to beat at first, but when you get new perks, it’s a different story, and it will probably be time to switch to the hard difficulty. My only issue is that the game kept crashing on the last boss, which annoyed me, especially when I managed to get to the last stage in the arcade mode. Apart from that, no other issues at all.

The graphics are stunning. Great soundtrack and sound effects, and the controls are responsive. Full controller support and the game has been translated into 11 languages.

Review written by THE CPT FROGGY for Zeepond.com

 Contra: Operation Galuga Steam Store Page


Positives

+ Great graphics
+ Story, arcade and challenges game modes
+ Fast-paced and addictive gameplay
+ Three different levels of difficulty
+ Great boss fights
+ Achievements and trading cards

Negatives

- The game kept crashing on the last boss fight

Review Summary

Contra: Operation Galuga is an absolute winner! It's fast-paced all the way through, and it's a stunning run-'n'-gun side-scrolling game.

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Zeepond Rating: 8/10

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