9. Contra 3: The Alien Wars (1992)
A game whose lineage is firmly entrenched in Nintendo’s history and one of the killer-apps for the Super Nintendo’s launch, Contra 3 (aka Super Probotector in PAL regions) is a classic run and gun platformer that harkens back to the halcyon days of arcade gaming, when Konami were arguably the masters of the scene.
Taking control of one of two commandos, the player must fight against armies of alien invaders who are attempting to conquer Earth. Luckily for you, you’re one hell of a one-man army! The game features a range of weapon power ups, some of which you’ll need to reserve to stand the best chance against certain boss battles, and don’t forget to save those oh so valuable smart bombs for when they’re really needed.
The Contra series is renowned for its toughness but is much more manageable with a friend onboard for the ride. The boss battles are particularly memorable, none more so than level 3 where you must fight against two dangerous Terminator-esque cyborgs; and just when you think you’ve finished the fight, the background is ripped open by two giant hands and the head of a giant Terminator cyborg emerges to continue the battle. Truly one of gaming’s biggest WOW moments.
It ticks all the boxes of a classic retro shooter: great action, extreme boss battles and an epic soundtrack. The mode-7 levels also add a nice demonstration of the SNES hardware, making Contra 3 a real showcase title for the Super Nintendo and one you simply must revisit, particularly in two-player.