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While the action is puddle-shallow, it's these little touches that lift it above its peers. Although they don't change the gameplay drastically, the fact that you can wander in and out of structures, or jump over fences on a bike, make it feel less repetitive than most side-scrollers of this vintage. It's also a lot more forgiving than the usual retro blasters, with a generous health bar and a nicely balanced difficulty curve. Fans of daft macho military shooters should definitely give this a go.
The downsides are no two-player option unlike the arcade original and nasty slowdown when the action gets too frantic on-screen. None of this really deters too much from an otherwise excellent game, NEC did an excellent job with the port adding an extra level and much more dialogue to the game (the funny translation alone makes this game worth buying!) Players may find this game quite difficult in places but it is worth preserving with. Whilst this game is far from a classic it stands as one of the better games on the TurboGrafx and offers an excellent challenge if you can just resist using too many of the continues provided.
Contra III: The Alien Wars and Gunstar Heroes both took up early residence on the Virtual Console, all but rendering other genre challengers from the same era to be dead on arrival. The stronger recommendation remains for those two established titles, but if you're a lone run and gun fan looking for a game you missed out on years ago, Bloody Wolf may be worth some consideration. Just don't expect any bells, whistles, or unique gameplay ideas.