Contra: Operation Galuga Review – Just Call It Contra Remake

Contra: Operation Galuga Review

Contra is one of those classic series that modern developers just can’t seem to get right. The only sequels worth playing since the 16-bit generation have been Contra: Shattered Soldier for the PlayStation 2, and Contra 4 for the Nintendo DS. Both of those titles followed the original Contra’s 2D run and gun formula without any major changes. WayForward, who developed Contra 4, just decided to not bother with any reinvention whatsoever and has remade the original Contra arcade game from 1987 in the form of Contra: Operation Galuga.

When I reviewed Contra: Rogue Corps a few years ago, I wrote that it didn’t feel like a Contra game. The player wasn’t dropped straight into the action with a friend right away. Unlike that game, Contra: Operation Galuga offers everything a Contra fan could hope for. For those who have never played a Contra game, you play as a soldier with an unlimited amount of ammo. You run from left to right, jumping, shooting everything, and eventually fighting some outlandish alien bosses. There are power-ups that float through the air, which change your ammo. I’m a big fan of spread bullets and homing missiles. If you get a power-up that matches the one you’re already using, your damage output increases. Pretty simple, pretty difficult, and pretty awesome.

Subtle Changes

Contra: Operation Galuga has quite a few subtle tweaks to the original’s classic gameplay. Bill and Lance both have a double jump and a forward dash. Two weapons can be equipped and switched between. There’s also an ability to hold L2 to overload a weapon for a power-up, such as temporary invincibility (great for getting rid of the weapons that aren’t your favorites). Maybe best of all, there are new characters with their own unique abilities, such as grappling and hovering. And there are some new levels, several of which replace the weird 3D shooting stages from the original game. Couch co-op remains as fun as ever, but there was a real missed opportunity to include online co-op in this modernization of a classic game.


There are lots of options to tweak your gameplay experience in Contra: Operation Galuga. There are the obvious difficulty choices, but within each, players can choose between a health meter or one-hit kills. They can also choose between 360-degree aiming and classic 8-directional aiming. Every playthrough gives the player credits, even in death. Those credits can be spent at the Perk Shop. Some perks are character-specific powers, such as Bill’s invulnerable dash, or Lance’s higher double jump. Some perks apply to everyone, such as the ability to keep your weapons after losing a life. Only two perks can be equipped at a time though. It was very fun to unlock them all and to try different loadouts.

Multiple Modes

If you want the classic Contra experience with no frills, then play Contra: Operation Galuga on Arcade Mode. But the game also has a story mode with fully voiced cutscenes and some in-level character interactions. The story wasn’t anything spectacular, but I appreciated its inclusion. And I really loved that the developers made it optional. There’s also a challenge mode, which adds specific goals to level playthroughs, such as speed run targets.

I’m not a big fan of Contra: Operation Galuga’s visuals. The graphics are 3D, but on a 2D plane. Contra: Operation Galuga looks like a PS3-era PSN game. It would have been cool to see a pixel graphics version of this newer title, similar to something like Contra III. But this is just my personal preference. The recent Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown has similar visuals, and while they have gotten lots of hate, they’ve also gotten lots of love. The music is excellent though, and evokes feelings of 80s action movies.

In Conclusion

I loved Contra: Operation Galuga. The run-and-gun gameplay is perfect, and all the new levels, characters, modes, and gameplay additions add lots of depth. I just wish there were some options with the graphics. And I wish there was online co-op in addition to the classic couch co-op. But what’s here is great. I hope WayForward makes a Contra: Operation Galuga sequel, or maybe gives Super C similar treatment in the near future.

***PS5 code provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Perfect run and gun gameplay
  • New characters and levels
  • Options to change gameplay

The Bad

  • Ugly visuals
  • No online co-op
  • Story is meh