Monday, May 15, 2006

A horrifying revelation

My own personal favorite bit of news from E3 was the announcement of a Contra port to Xbox Live Arcade. Contra was my favorite game as a kid. It was the first game I ever beat, and I played it so much that eventually I could beat it without dying. Its levels are ingrained in my muscle memory. I think it also informed my taste in games -- to this day I prefer linear action titles to the free-form, exploratory gameplay that's in vogue today (witness my gleeful reaction to Black, which was pretty poorly received by most of the game press).

There's only one problem: XLA Contra will certainly be an emulation of the original arcade version, and not the Nintendo translation!

This is a problem. Not only will the graphics be different than I remember (and I don't care that they'll be better), but the play control is bound to be just a bit off. Timing will be different. I can see myself plummeting into the icy waters of the Snowfield level, getting torched by the flames of the Energy Zone, and setting off one intrusion alarm after another in Bases 1 and 2.

The same thing happened with NBA Jam. I was a Ben Wallace-style menace on defense after months of gameplay on the Genesis version, only to hit the arcades and get called for goaltending every time my opponent took a shot. So much for beating Contra without dying. I can't even get anybody to believe me anymore, and I certainly won't be able to demonstrate.

This sucks.

Update: Ye gods, what if it means no thirty lives code?

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