Contra 4: Hands-on

Now, before panicking with thoughts of tacked-on, stylus-fumbling mini-games, know that they%26rsquo;ve smartly adopted a no-stylus approach - believe us, you%26rsquo;ll want your hands on the D-pad and buttons at all times, soldier. Instead of any stylus silliness, Contra 4 blows things up, literally, by utilizing both screens. All the platforming and can%26rsquo;t-catch-your-breath chaos stretches two screens tall, affording a much more challenging but strategically satisfying experience. If you thought things were harsh on a single screen, just wait till you%26rsquo;re fending off those never-run-outta-ammo soldiers on the bottom display while keeping an eye on boss battle-like robotic rail turrets - showering you with bullets, of course - from the top screen.

The dual-display intensity is balanced nicely, though, by a Bionic Commando-like grappling device, making trips to the upper screen and swift evasions from bullets and baddies a whole lot easier. The odds are further evened by being able to carry two weapons - simply switch between your big gun of choice by tapping a shoulder button - and a firepower-packed upgrade for picking up the same gun twice.

Matt Cabral
A full-time freelance writer based in Lizzie Borden's hometown, Matt Cabral has covered film, television, and video games for over a decade. You can follow him on Twitter @gamegoat, friend him on Facebook, or find him in the basement of an abandoned building hoarding all the canned goods, med-kits, and shotgun shells.