When the game starts you will have four options:
- 1P Game
- 2P Game
Selecting 1P Game or 2P Game will start a one player or two player game respectively. After choosing one of these each person will select their weapon set. Which character each player uses is set in the Option menu. After selecting your weapon set you are taking to the Stage Select screen, where Stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 are already open. Stages 5, 6, and 7 will only open if you average rank is high enough.
This option lets you select which of three characters each player uses. At first only two characters are available; the third must be unlocked. Each character has two outfits available, however the second one (the character in a swimsuit) must be unlocked. One character has a special weapon that can replaces weapon in each set, however this too must be unlocked. Each player has to play as a different character, you can't have two of the same even if you have the second outfit/weapon unlocked.
Neo Contra has two difficulty settings: Easy and Normal. In Normal mode you have few lives, though that number can be increased (once you unlock more lives this menu choice lets you set the number to the new maximum). In easy mode you begin with 30 lives, however only Stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 are playable, so you will not be able to truly beat the game.
This lets you choose between one of six controller configurations, which change what the shoulder and shape buttons do. Unfortunately the controller isn't completely customizable, however you should be able to find something that suites you. You can set the vibration feature to normal/weak/off here.
Set the sound to broadcast in mono or stereo. You can also adjust the volume for background music and sound effects. This is useful if you can't hear the music over the gunfire or don't want to hear the music but need to hear incoming fire.
Turn on/off subtitles for during the cut-scenes.
Saves or loads the game data and configuration settings. While you cannot save your progress in game or between levels the game does record information such as the number of plays, total time, etc.
- War Record
- Number of Battles - Number of times you started a game
- Total Battle Time - Hours spend playing (menus and paused don't count)
- Shortest Clear Time - Only counts beating Stage 7 as clearing
- Hi-Score - Highest score gained using a single credit
- Game Clear - Number of times you beat Stage 7
- Game Over - Number of times you lost all lives and continued or quit
- Game Over Ranking - Highest ranking you cleared the game with
- Lets you play through any level you've reached. You only play that level, however you can play in either 1 or 2 player modes.
- All of the soundtracks you've heard.
- Eleven of the CGI videos you've seen. Doesn't include the intros to stages 2 and 5 for some reason, but has the rest of them.
- A collection of concept art and promotional images