Contra Wiki
Contra Wiki

A 1-Up is a commonly recurring item featured in the Contra series.


Lives are a prominent part of the Contra series gameplay. When starting a game, the player is given a set amount of lives to clear the entire game with. In most games, taking any sort of damage, being crushed, or falling into a bottomless pit off-screen results in the loss of a life. If all lives are lost, a Game Over occurs. In a 2 Players game, each player has a separate set amount of lives. A "defeated" player can borrow a spare stock from the remaining player to return to the battlefield, so long as the surviving player is not on their last life.

In most games, extra lives can be obtained, increasing the chance for survivability. This is done by reaching a certain amount of points (usually varying by Difficulty setting) or in rare cases, obtaining a 1-UP item.




Each credit inserted into the arcade machine grants at least two lives for a player to play the game with. Each credit inserted into the game at any given time during gameplay immediately adds another 2 lives to the total stock. The arcade machine can hold a total of 30 credits max.


Lives appear as a war medal on the character HUD. Gaining a certain amount of points awards an extra stock.

In Probotector, the medal icons were changed into small Probotectors.

Super Contra[]

Contra III[]

Contra: Shattered Soldier[]

The Konami Code can grant each player 30 lives. Otherwise, each player starts the game with only two extra lives in stock (plus their starting life, meaning three chances per Continue). Extra lives cannot be obtained under any circumstances, although they can still be borrowed in a 2 players game. Training mode lets any player play a cleared stage with 30 lives. Each life lost subtracts a small percentage from the overall stage ranking. This means a player must avoid dying in order to obtain a higher ranking for the true ending and hidden unlockable content.

Neo Contra[]

Similar to the previous PlayStation 2 installment. One difference, however, is that extra lives can be obtained by gaining a certain amount of points. An option can allow the player to adjust their starting lives to 3, 5 or 7.

Contra 4[]

Each player starts with two additional lives with their starting life. Obtaining a certain amount of points increases stock.

A glitch can allow a player on their last life to receive 100 lives. This is done by gaining an extra life immediately after they die while on their last life from an enemy attack without falling off-screen but just before the player's body disappears along with the "Game Over" screen following soon after. If done correctly, their stock number will loop back to 100 (which otherwise is impossible as the life counter maxes at 99), and the player will respawn as normal, continuing gameplay. If an extra life is earned while on 100, the counter resets down to 99.

In early beta versions of Contra 4, an option was available to adjust the starting lives to 3, 5 or 7.

Hard Corps Uprising[]

An item known as a 1-Up appears, which is a Falcon Symbol with 1-UP labeled on it in red. In Rising Mode, a player can increase their starting stock.


  • Although this could be a coincidence, the number of lives you can adjust in some games (3, 5, 7), could be a reference to the Konami Number.