Konami Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Classic Lineup of Games

Video game giant Konami has been quiet for a while now, but it's coming back with a vengeance to celebrate its 50th anniversary by announcing a series of compilations to commemorate the affair.

The Konami Anniversary Collection series -- a digital-only three-pack series -- has some serious heavy hitters from the company’s history, spanning from arcades to platforms. Despite just being announced, the first compilation is already set to release in April.

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Konami Anniversary Collection: Arcade Classics features eight of Konami’s greatest hits from the 1980s, including the classic arcade titles Gradius, Gradius II, Life Force and Twin Bee. The compilation also includes A Jax, Thunder Cross, TwinBee and Haunted Castle, each of which is being released for the first time ever in the U.S.

Konami Anniversary Collection: Contra features the four titles in the genre-defining run-and-gun franchise: Contra, Super Contra, Super C and Contra III: The Alien Wars. The inclusion of Super Contra and Super C is an interesting decision, as both these titles are essentially the same game, with Super C being an NES port of the arcade Super Contra title. This also marks the first console releases of the Contra franchise in the U.S. since 2011’s Hard Corps: Uprising.

The Konami Anniversary Collection: Castlevania takes a similar, non-linear route. It features Castlevania, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge and Super Castlevania IV. Despite the numbering, the collection skips over the true Castlevania sequel, the infamous Simon’s Quest, and instead features the second Game Boy title. While the Castlevania franchise recently had a console release with Castlevania: Requiem for the PlayStation 4, that was just a compilation title, with the last new entry being Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 in 2014. The decision to keep Haunted Castle on the Arcade Classics compilation is also notable, as it’s been confirmed by Konami as an arcade entry in the Castlevania franchise.

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While Arcade Classics does have a full release line-up, both the Castlevania and Contra collections have four blank spaces each, only noted as "Coming Soon." Both franchises have a wealth of long sought after entries to be added, including Contra ReBirth and Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth. These titles were beloved by fans, but, as WiiWare exclusives, are no longer available since the Wii's eShop closure in January 2019.

Konami Anniversary Collections: Arcade Classics will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam April 18, with a retail price of $19.99. The Castlevania and Contra collections both have release windows of early summer 2019.

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