After 2002's surprising effort, it seems as if Konami has absolutely no qualms with reviving the Contra franchise in full force. Neo Contra, first revealed earlier this year, was getting quite a bit of attention at E3. So much attention that yours truly had to wait nearly 20 minutes before I could take a swing at it. First thing we noticed while playing Neo Contra was that it's not only completely three-dimensional, but that with the additional dimension, you can shoot in eight directions, as opposed to four.
The perspective changes continuously throughout the stages. One minute we were side-scrolling, another minute we were behind our characters, another minute we were above our character fighting off a gargantuan foe. The constant changes of perspective are a terrific addition to the Contra series. Just like a Contra game should be, we found Neo Contra's challenge to be great. And much Gradius V, despite the challenge, the game was still easily accessible. Visually, Neo Contra looked pretty slick. Better than Shattered Soldier, as there's just so much more to look at this time around.
At the moment, Neo Contra is scheduled for a Fall 2004 release. Make sure you look out for it. Contra fans will eat this one up.