Friday, September 23, 2011

What the Heck Happened to Contra: Evolution Revolution?


In November of 2010, Konami of China showed off a brand new remake of Contra (titled 魂斗罗:进化革命, which translates something like Contra: Evolution Revolution) in a department store in Guangzhou.


It's almost a year later and there's no official release, with only these pictures from the forums at Chinese site CSYX as evidence of existence. It appears to be a 2.5D remake with 16:9 with HD-quality graphics, set to be released in the arcades. There are four playable characters, including two brand new ones in addition to the usual Bill and Lance. It also features a few of the niceties introduced in Contra III, like the ability to change weapons or fire off screen-clearing explosives. Its levels also seem to be based off the NES version rather than the fairly short (and overall inferior) arcade release.


So what happened to it?


We don't have any actual answers, of course, other than to ponder its existence and postulate. this site proclaims to have a board for sale, I think, but the legitimacy of that is questionable. Konami of China's website only mention of it is in reference to the mobile version, whose darker graphics look similar to the purported arcade version, although obviously in 2D. It features weapon switching and the bombs, though there are only the standard two characters.


It's strange that Konami's Shanghai division would be involved in any of their big international IPs, considering as far as I can tell, their work mostly revolves around mobile stuff and various behind-the-scenes development work. I've no idea if arcades in China are still viable, but it still seems like a strange place to stick a remake, especially with neither hide nor hair of it mentioned in Japan or North America. It would be very appropriate for the XBLA or PSN, which is always possible - Konami flashed a teaser that something new was coming for Contra back at E3, although that also went much of nowhere. Unless there are severe quality issues, it'd certainly be better than the emulated version of the arcade game that we got back in the early days of the service. Then again, with a few exceptions (the Rebirth series, CV: Harmony of Despair and SH: Shattered Memories to debateable extents), modern day Konami has been mishandling their properties with near-embarassing levels, so who knows what's going on, really.

More pictures of both versions:










16 comments:

  1. Wow, that's kind of interesting. Never even heard about this before now. If any game in the series is ripe for a remake, it would definitely be the original. The idea of two entirely new characters makes it all the more intriguing.

    I'm absolutely flabbergasted by this company's performance over the past six years or so, though. They finally come up with a good concept like this and then shelve it, but someone thought it was smart to have Korn perform the theme song for the new Silent Hill.

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  2. Wow, this re-make actually looks pretty cool. I wonder what that supposed arcade board runs on? If it is Taito Type X based, then it can be dumped to PCs for emulation purposes fairly easily.

    If this game never surfaces, it might be worth it to see if anyone cares to donate toward ordering the board. It maybe some half-cooked Chinese beta (sold illegally), but it would be nice to dump it for public consumption and Contra historical preservation.

    Also, to agree with everyone else...Konami is dropping the ball alot lately, but I've almost come to accept that from big Japanese companies these days.

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  3. I've been pretty satisfied with Konami lately, but then I mostly base that off of Contra ReBirth and Shattered Memories. Also I think Hard Corps: Uprising is awesome.

    I can't believe I've never even heard of this remake before now. I'm a huge Contra fan, but this completely slipped past me. I wonder how, and why, this even came into being in the first place, and why nothing has yet to come of it?

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  4. EvilPachirisu - There's like a zabillion pirate Contra games, many on mobile phone, so it makes sense Konami might have the idea of injecting a little legitimacy into the market there.

    (joke about Konami's legitimacy goes here)

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  5. I have a Contra related question, too... Hard Corps is pretty much by far the best game in the series, why does almost everyone else in the world find Contra III better? Insane....

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  6. Hard Corps, at least in its NA/EUR release, is too difficult. Had it been released with life bars like the Japanese version more people would probably be able to see awesome it is. As it stands, I can't even beat level 4 (the Jungle) without Game Genie codes, whereas I can beat Contra III on Normal without much of a problem.

    Alternate answer: SNES bias. People still think Super Castlevania IV is better than Bloodlines. THAT is crazy.

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    1. Hard Corps is not that hard. It's actually easier to finish any of the routes in one-credit than the hardest difficulty in Contra III depending on the character used. It's all about memorization and using the most suitable weapon for each situation.

      Also, the arcade Contra was quite good. Yes it's not as long as the NES version, but it's the appropriate length of an arcade game. It gets a bit tiring to hear people always putting it down when mentioning it alongside the NES version.

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  7. It's exclusive for chinese market, as you can read here:
    http://www.gamengai.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2967

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  8. "Alternate answer: SNES bias. People still think Super Castlevania IV is better than Bloodlines. THAT is crazy."

    Not crazy at all. I prefer SCV4 to Bloodlines, although I'd never say in an absolute way that it's better. But no crazyness there. In fact, I find that assertion very reasonable.

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  9. "I've no idea if arcades in China are still viable, but it still seems like a strange place to stick a remake, especially with neither hide nor hair of it mentioned in Japan or North America."
    From what I've gleaned from the internet, consoles are cost-prohibitive to the vast majority of citizens (and piracy is obviously rampant).
    So arcades are surviving pretty well.

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  10. I just want to point out that I've been aware of this game since November of 2010. I can confirm that this game was given a limited release to specific arcade centers in China, mainly to see how it's received. A contact of mine from China gave it a try. He says it's pretty good and that lots of people were playing it. That rules out the possibility that it was shelved due to poor reception.
    I've played the mobile J2ME versions extensively, though the mobile ones are awful (bad play control).
    As Lee pointed out, it would be wicked if someone dumped this game for emulation.
    An FYI, areas like China are especially fans of Contra. Tons of Contra content are released for mobile and others by Konami of China. I think they're doing a better job than the other Konami divisions in this respect.

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    1. The point of location testing isn't about how well-received the game was, but how profitable it can be. It doesn't matter if one guy and his circle of friends enjoyed the game if they only played one-credit and never returned to play it again (or for that matter, if they were only the people playing it). It definitely being shelved, seeing how the location testing was two years ago and Konami hasn't announced a proper release.

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    2. Where in my comment or anywhere else, for that matter, is there mention of location testing? You seem to have come up with that on your own speculation. Let me clarify, when I mentioned reception, successful profit is a factor I was including. Where did I say that only a few people playing the game is what matters the most? No need to put words in my mouth.
      Do some actual research next time before making a baseless reply. You are not one bit aware of how much attention Contra has received in the Chinese market, especially in the mobile scene. Do you realize that Konami of China's products are independent of the mainstream markets? Did you know that Contra: Evolution Revolution was a China-exclusive? Did you know that things released in one country don't have to be released in another? If you actually did your research, you'd know that and not make your reply.

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  11. @contrafan, your site has helped me parse through many of these mobile spinoffs for the upcoming article, thanks! Sometimes it's hard to figure out what's official and what isn't!

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  12. Contra Clone coming to iOS Jan 12, 2012.

    http://glitchsoft.com/glitchblog/star-marine-release-date-and-brand-new-trailer/

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