A Boy and his BlogA Boy and his Blog

Posted on Jul 25th 2012 at 11:11:56 PM by (singlebanana)
Posted under Contra, NES, Nintendo, World Record, attempt

When we last left off, our brave hero had ended his second run with 1,463,900 points with 3 lives remaining.  On the following night, 7/23/12 I began a third run and ended with 2,208,300 points and only 2 lives remaining.  After a solid first run, costly mistakes and an increase in enemy forces had caused my lives to dwindle down and I was at the edge of having to start  over.  It wasn't long into my 4th attempt, that I lost my remaining lives and finished with a score of 2,259,200..........to make things worse, I died at that damn waterfall stage.

Not to be discouraged, took a break for the rest of the night and came back on Tuesday to do a few practice runs and get a better feel for the game, to memorize unroaming enemy locations, and to get a better strategy for the final boss fight (where I was losing a few lives sometimes).  I learned that I had a lot of success in keeping a spread gun and had learned where to locate one in almost every board.  I also found a better route in the Energy Zone and pretty much mastered the level by slowing down a little more and being a bit more patient around the flamethrowers.

Tonight (7/25), I sat down in my gaming chair and decided that my opening strategy was to attempt a "no death" run on the first run through and try to do my best to stockpile lives, since the game gets harder.  Though I had to reset the first time after losing a life on Stage 2, I lost only one life on my first full run.  I was a little miffed (the perfectionist in me), but decided that this was fine since I had accumulated 746,00 points and started my second run with 11 lives (stockpiling Cool.  The second run also went pretty well.  I lost a few lives on silly mistakes, popping up too early in bases and a knucklehead jump at the Waterfall boss; however, I managed to get through it with 1,497,300 points and 15 lives (stockpiling an additional 4).  I'll take it.

Though I was getting a little fatigued, I decided to give it another go.  My third run started off pretty well; there were some deaths that couldn't be prevented (i.e. crouching under fire, while roaming enemies run up behind you), but I was playing pretty solid and made it through the Snow Field, Energy Zone, and Hangar with no deaths.  I made it to the end of the Alien's Lair without dying, but lost a life in the battle pretty early and lost my spread.  I tried to gain a foothold, but lost 3 lives total in that fight, which was a bit discouraging.  However, at the end of the run, I had accumulated 2,242,300 points and now have 18 lives (banking an additional 3).

I'm always skeptical about pausing, since I never know if I'll reenter the game with the same attention to detail as I had before.  Since it's my only copy of the game, I can't really warm up on another TV and I can only hope to be as sharp was I was tonight.  It might be beneficial to watch some end boss strategies, since I am still losing a few lives there and could possibly stockpile a few more with better play.   

Posted on Jul 22nd 2012 at 01:15:33 AM by (singlebanana)
Posted under Contra, NES, Nintendo, World Record, attempt

Tonight I had some extra time on my hands, the kids were asleep and the wife had gone to a "Dirty Dancing" 25th Anniversary party.....yeah, I'll never understand women, and why bother now?  Anyway, I cranked up the ole NES2 and begin playing pretty loosely through a few levels to get my bearings and a feel for where all of the enemies were laid out.  As most of you know who have played Contra, the boss battles aren't really difficult and it seems that you lose most of your lives to petty gunfire, or stray enemies bouncing onto the screen. 

Though most of Contra is a side scroller, one particular level, The Waterfall, scrolls up and is filled with jumps and random enemies that spring from both sides of the screen.  I noticed that in my second run through, the enemy foot soldiers were a little more plentiful than they were in the first; a trend I imagine will continue.  In some areas, you are forced to the far left or right of the screen to advance and this really poses a problem with limited lives.  After several runs, I found that I lost the majority of my lives on this stage and needed to be a little more careful by spraying the sides of screens with bullets before I proceeded upwards.  On a good note, I found that I was particularly efficient on the "Snow Field" tonight and lost only one life on about 6 runs through it.  I had similar success in "The Hanger," but the "Energy Field" gave me quite the headache on my final run of the night.  It was quite the evening of up and downs.

After about 4 runs through the game, I decided to give a go at a solid attempt.  The first run through was solid and I ended up with a total of 7 extra lives at the end.  One particular thing I noted was that you average earning about one extra life per stage.  My strategy/hope was to accumulate a comfortable amount of extra lives, as I had done through the first run, but my second run, was filled with several silly and costly mistakes, which I attribute a little to tiredness as the night wore on.  At one point, I lost three men to the flamethrowers in the Energy Field.  Not that this section of the game was tougher than it had been on the first run, I just found myself becoming a little impatient and trying to run through some of the flames with the initial invincibility at the start of each new life.  After the Energy Field, I sailed through The Hanger and Alien's Lair with ease and ended the second run with 1,463,900 points and 3 lives remaining.  My hope is that I don't come into my restart rusty and can finish a few stages untouched to build up my surplus of lives again.  I'm also contending with a few nasty storms in the area and a dog who likes to lie a little too close to my NES, both of which threaten to reset my game.   

Until next time, "Nobody puts Contra in the corner!"

Posted on Jul 20th 2012 at 10:44:44 AM by (singlebanana)
Posted under Contra, NES, Nintendo, World Record,

One of the games I remember most fondly from my childhood is Contra for the Nintendo Entertainment System.  One of the first great shooters on the NES, it's a game that is a must for anyone's collection. 

A friend of mine was having trouble with his NES cutting off during the middle of game play and I suggested he purchase a 72 pin connector and offered to install it for him.  After completing minor surgery on his system the other night, I put in a copy of Contra to test it out.  I figured a full run would be long enough to ensure that the pins were install correctly and that my friend's issue with his system was corrected.  I consider myself a pretty good Contra player and typically never use the code unless playing with a friend (or on the rare occasion, my wife).  Anyway, I ran through the game with ease the first time and began a second run with 5 men.  I quickly finished the 2nd run and again, had more men than I started with (I estimate 8 or 9) and a score somewhere just over 1 million.

I started thinking.....how high does this game score and is it possible to roll it over?  Well, after a quick Google search, I discovered an article on a guy who scored 6,553,500 points.  Hmmm.... After two quick runs and what seemed to be no increase in difficulty, I thought that surely I could beat this score if I put the time in.  My next move was to take it to the source and check Twin Galaxies.  Wouldn't you know it, there are 15 other people with the same score.....  With the impossibility of 15 people reaching an endgame with the same score, I figure that the game's score is cut off at this amount.

Though disappointed, I figure why not still give it a shot.  Hopefully, I'll be posting this score soon, stay tuned. 

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