As Gears of War begins to arrive at retailers across North America this week, Microsoft and Konami will give Xbox Livies a chance to check out one of its forebears. This Wednesday, for 400 points ($5), Contra will be yours, again. The Xbox Live Arcade version includes both original (arcade; not NES) and enhanced modes, featuring Live co-op. And yes, "the code" works (though technically it wasn't part of the arcade original).
With the exception of Defender, the rest of XBLA's holiday lineup will be bolstered by a quartet of original titles:
Assault Heroes (Wanako/Vivendi Games) - top-down shooter with 2-player co-op
Heavy Weapon (PopCap Games) - side-scroller with 4-player support
Novadrome (Buena Vista Games) - futuristic racer
Small Arms (Gastronaut Studios) - indie Smash Bros. clone (4-player brawler) focusing on ranged attacks
Microsoft has also announced a partnership with Atari to bring Asteroids/Asteroids Deluxe, Battlezone, Centipede/Millipede, Missile Command, Tempest, and Warlords to Xbox Live in 2007. As customary, Atari's classics will feature both original and "evolved" modes.