Contra Force is a spin-off in the Contra
franchise, released on the Nintendo Entertainment System
on September 30, 1992 in North America (the game never saw release in Japan). Contra Force was developed and published by Konami
, and has absolutely no plot ties to the other Contra games, save for a passing mention of the city that Contra Force takes place in Contra III: The Alien Wars
. Contra Force was not originally meant to be a Contra game, but rather a completely unrelated game known as Arc Hound, which was previewed in Japan. Arc Hound was never released.
The plot takes place in Neo City, during present day (1992). In Contra Force, there is an elite counter-terrorism unit known as the Blue Group (or the C-Force). The game begins with the team's leader, Burns, conversing with an informant named Fox, who informs the group that the task force's headquarters is in danger. Upon arriving at the designated meeting place to find Fox, they find him murdered, and are ambushed. Burns and the other members of the group (Beans, Iron, and Smith) must solve the mystery of who is behind this, and eliminate them.
Despite having the Contra title, Contra Force departs dramatically from many things found in a traditional Contra game. The game still holds onto the over-head and side-scrolling stages, but each of the four characters has a different weapon combination instead of picking up power-ups during gameplay. Power-ups are awarded by picking up power-up items which merely boost the power level instead of switching weapons. The game is designed to be played in co-op, with each player controlling one of the four characters (in single-player, there is an optional AI partner).
In addition to these changes, the gameplay is significantly slowing, much unlike the fast-paced Contra games seen on the arcade, NES, and SNES
. There is a level of destructibility as well, as many things in the stage can be shot and destroyed, possibly dropping an item.