Contra – Legacy of War represents one of the franchise’s lowest points. As the sequel to the Genesis classic Contra – Hard Corps, Legacy of War should have used the Playstation’s processing power to bring the franchise to the next generation with full force. Instead, it became one of the bastard step children of one of Konami’s most beloved franchises, right along side the Nintendo 64 Castlevania titles.

Taking the role of one of four heroes, you do battle with an evil dictator allied with an alien monster. The game is played from an isometric view, and you use several different weapons. The isometric view and slow speed does not lend itself to the twitch action that is the hallmark of the Contra series. That’s okay, because said twitch action is non existent in this entry of the franchise, if it can even be called Contra. Heck, it wasn’t even developed by Konami’s internal teams, instead being farmed out to Appaloosa Interactive. The backgrounds are bland and the controls are clunky. How bad is this game? There are two unlockable mini-games (one of which being a version of Gyruss) that are actually more fun than the game itself. For what its worth, the music is pretty good, and this was one of those PS1 discs which you can play in your CD-player. Also, it’s the first Contra game that wasn’t renamed or censored for its European release (the Contra games were renamed Probotector in Europe, and the human characters were replaced with robots).

As hard as it was to believe, this game wasn’t even the worst Contra game. That ‘honor’ belongs to this game’s follow-up, C: The Contra Adventure. Thankfully, that game was followed up by the awesome PS2 installment Shattered Soldier. Just like that, it once again became possible for gamers to enjoy the shoot-em-up franchise that they once loved.