Review: Contra: Operation Galuga (PS5)

Review: Contra: Operation Galuga (PS5)

Who’s down for some old-school, challenging, curse-word-inducing fun?

We’re happy to inform gamers that Contra: Operation Galuga provides just that; and it provides a lot of it. Contra: Operation Galuga is a remake/sequel to one of the most difficult, yet satisfying NES games ever created. It provides old-school gameplay for that familiar feel, but also provides enough new features and mechanics that it feels new and refreshing.

Games take on the role of Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, the protagonists from the original title, as they storm the Galuga Islands in a search-and-destroy mission against the terrorist organization Red Falcon. After receiving their orders, Bill and Lance are dropped in via helicopter and are immediately bombarded by enemies in a level that turns out to be a remake of the first level of the original NES title. This in itself is exciting, but coupled with an updated version of the original music, it’s an immediate nostalgia overload for those who are familiar with the original. What we found almost immediately is that players can take more damage before losing a life. Instead of one hit, players can take three before using another life. This is a welcome feature because even though difficulty can be adjusted, Contra: Operation Galuga is difficult.

Following the first level (there are eight levels total) players are dropped into a 2 1/2D world that tasks players with driving a vehicle at incredible speeds to make their way through and beat down the enemy. The difficulty ramps up even more at this point and never slows down throughout the rest of the game.

Thankfully, beyond more health, developer WayForward has provided more lifelines. Contra: Operation Baluga offers the same great weapons that gamers have known for years such as the Lazer gun, automatic machine guy, and the fan-favorite spread gun. In addition, guns can now be upgraded to provide even more destructive power.

Need even more help? Gamers can use points they earn as they work through the game to buy perks that add to the capabilities of the characters.

Graphically, the game looks great. The somewhat cartoonish look keeps the immersion strong but doesn’t make the game feel corny. The artwork, surprisingly, makes Contra: Operation Galuga feel like players are in a serious battle, despite the action being over the top. Coupled with the easy-to-learn controls, gamers will find that the learning curve is very small.

Beyond single-player, Contra: Operation Galuga provides more than one multiplayer option. Gamers can battle their way through the game with up to four players in local multiplayer (Couch Co-Op), or fight their way through in Arcade Mode. Story mode fleshes out the story of Contra through cut-scenes which is a neat way to learn the backstory of the Contra series. The scenes tend to be lengthy and tedious to those who aren’t interested in finding out how Bill and Lance came to be entrenched in battle, so players who wish to jump right in can play Arcade mode, which drops players right into the action, skipping all story segments. There is a caveat to this; if gamers wish to play with three or four players must complete story mode to unlock the additional characters that can be used in Arcade Mode.

Finally, there’s challenge mode. Challenge mode drops players into segments of each level and are tasked with completing 30 challenges. It’s a blast fest, and we won’t spoil it. Gamers will have to try it for themselves. While Story and Arcade mode are a blast, it’s Challenge mode that keeps us coming back.

Gamers who wish to play online will be disappointed as there is no online multiplayer.

We use the word “difficult” in this review multiple times, and that’s because it is, but that’s not to say the game isn’t fun. Contra: Operation Galuga doesn’t provide a challenge that makes players want to put down the controller or uninstall, it makes players want to push through to see what’s next. The mix of nostalgia and modern features and gameplay provides more than enough to warrant the purchase. While eight levels don’t sound like a lot, the length of each level, the multitude of game modes, and the gameplay quality give players enough content to warrant the purchase price of $39.99.

  • Richard Booth

    Rich has been involved in the gaming industry for over ten years, working with such companies as Jace Hall ShowTwin Galaxies and Nintendojo. He began GamesRelated in order to bring positivity to gaming journalism. Much of what is out today is completely negative, and GR aims to be the place where that stops and the news is simply reported.

Review performed using a review code for Contra: Operation Galuga provided by Konami
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals
  • Audio
  • Controls
  • Story
  • Replay Value