When it comes down to big 2D run & gun classics for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System games such as Contra III: Alien Wars along with Mega Man X were considered to be very popular back in the early 90’s. Both Konami and Capcom have seemingly competed with each in both the beat em up and the run & gun genre of gaming on the NES/SNES consoles. While Capcom’s Mega Man series started to skyrocket in popularity following the release of Mega Man II back in 1988 the Contra series was also catching fire following the release of the original NES during 1987.
By the time we got the SNES console we got to see Mega Man X and Contra III: The Alien Wars which are both arguably the best run & gun titles of the 16-bit era of gaming. In terms of popularity on the SNES is concerned its really hard to choose one over the other. Some would probably choose Contra III over Mega Man X due to the inclusion of two player co-op gameplay along with a few stages that had a top-down perspective adding to its over quality. However, others would say Mega Man X was more memorable due to its soundtrack along with the fact that its was arguably the best game within its series during the 90’s. Either way, both Contra III and Mega Man X are both considered to be legendary. In terms of popularity the edge might go closer to Mega Man X but in terms of gameplay Contra III: The Alien Wars would probably be considered more superior.