Arguably one of the most important titles in the entire platform-shooter genre, Contra has finally made its way onto mobile devices. The renamed Contra: Evolution gives you the same side-scrolling run-and-gun action of the original, but with updated graphics, three different touch-based control options, and a handful of new game elements. With a price tag of only 99 cents, this remake of the popular classic is well worth the download.
To start, Contra: Evolution offers two different game modes, which is already a departure from the simple start-and-shoot mode of the original. In Evolution's Mission Mode, you can perfect your strategy on single levels (most of which must be unlocked), while Arcade Mode gives you the classic game as we all remember it.
Once you jump into a game mode, you'll notice that you now get to select a character -- something you couldn't do in the original. The two original characters are there, plus there are two additional, unlockable female characters with different capabilities.
Just like the original game, Evolution is light on story and heavy on action. Your goal is to simply make your way to the end of each stage and avoid or shoot enemies on your way there. The tough part is that if you get hit once (by either an enemy or a bullet), you're dead. Fortunately, though, there are weapons upgrades scattered throughout the levels, which can make things significantly easier. Of the upgrades available, my personal favorites are the spread gun, which can mow down several enemies at once, and the heat-seeking missile launcher, which is actually a new weapon that never appeared in the original.
One of the obvious challenges with Evolution is controlling your character using your touch screen. Of the three control options available -- fixed joystick, floating joystick, and classic directional pad -- I find the classic directional pad to be the most responsive, which is important when dozens of bullets are whizzing by. That said, whichever option you choose will likely take some getting used to. Fortunately though, there is an Auto-Fire option, which frees up your attention (and fingers) for more important things like running, jumping, and aiming.