The Alien Cell is a recurring plot element in the Contra series. In most scenarios, it is a large mass of living tissue (or "cell") from a powerful alien leader, whether it originally comes in this form (Black Viper), or was obtained from the owner's body (likely Emperor Gava during the Alien Wars).

The cell may even appear in different forms as a boss in some games, whether it is used by someone by merging with it in order to obtain supreme power, used to fuel a powerful war machine, or even fought by itself.


The cell of a supremely powerful alien (presumably Emperor Demon Gava's) obtained at the end of the Alien Wars. The object is presumed to contain immeasurable power, and thus it is sent to a research center in order to extract all possible information from it.

Not surprisingly, something as powerful is prone to attract attention, and as such, many different organized groups want to get their hands on it, whether it is for studying it and release all of its potential for military purposes, to secure supreme leadership, for their own selfish purposes, or even to take it away from the wrong hands.

The cell can even be connected to and fuel war machines with its power. However, it is known to be very unstable, and if not contained in the right conditions it may mutate and attack by itself.


Operation C

Main article: Black Viper
Black Viper form C2

First time the "alien cell" concept appears in the series. In this game, the leader of the alien forces attacking Earth, known as Black Viper, appears as the final boss. As the heroes breach into her headquarters and deal with her robotic bodyguard, they discover her to be only a large biomass held inside a glass vial from which she controls her forces. The commandos thus proceed to destroy her and put at end to her vile plans for the time being.

In Contra 4, Black Viper reappears as that game's final boss, and is once again initially found held inside a glass capsule in a nod to her appearance in Operation C, although already in a much evolved form and resembling a giant mantis-like monster.

Contra: Hard Corps

After Gava's defeat at the end of the Alien Wars, the military was able to get their hands on one of his cells. The cell was at one point sent to a research center in order to study it, with the ultimate goal of using all information obtained from it with military purposes, and by consequence, giving an unmeasurable amount of power to those who control it. Scientific genius Doctor Geo Mandrake was put as the head of the research operation.

Five years after the Alien Wars, in 2641, a riot started in the city due to the defense system being breached, setting loose security robots rampaging everywhere and attacking the population. The military sent out the Hard Corps, a special task force unit, to deal with the situation. Once order had been reestablished, the team received a distress call from the research center where the cell was being stored.

From this point, the Alien Cell's fate depends on the decisions taken by the player:

Bahamut Overdrive

In order to fight Bahamut Overdrive, the player must choose the following options:

  • "Rescue the research center"
  • "Surrender and fight later"

In the last stage, Colonel Bahamut, the leader of the rebellion, succeeds in merging his spirit with the corporeal qualities of the alien, which results in him transforming into an almighty symbiotic being.

The creature first manifests as a muscular human/alien hybrid radiating with energy. The beast has superhuman speed and agility, being also able to project blasts of its own energy to attack from a distance. However, the entity results to be very unstable and unable to contain its own power, ending up losing control and ultimately transforming into an amorphous, two-headed, giant monstrosity. As it grows more unstable, it mutates once again into a beating heart surrounded by tormented faces that pulsate outward when the heart is hit.

Big Magnum

In order to fight Big Magnum, the player must choose the following options:

  • "Go after Deadeye Joe"
  • "Surrender and fight later"

Colonel Bahamut succeeds in taking the cell to his very own secret station in space, and thanks to his minions he is able to buy enough time to connect the living cell to his ultimate weapon, Big Magnum, a giant cannon with which he can attack any spot on the planet from space. The cannon is thus fueled by the Alien Cell's colossal power, but the Hard Corps arrive just in time to put an end to the Colonel's evil schemes.

As the battle progresses and the heroes damage the device, the alien's head starts to melt away until it finally dies. After the battle, the whole station explodes killing everyone inside, even the Hard Corps squad.

Alien Mounted Missile

In order to fight the Alien Mounted Missile and the Alien Cell by itself, the player must choose the following options:

  • "Rescue the research center"
  • "Fight to the end"
  • "Refuse!"

Knowing himself cornered and after a pathetic attempt to make the heroes join him, Colonel Bahamut sets off a missile containing the Alien Cell before dying, with the aim of spreading an alien infestation worldwide in what would be the ultimate terrorist act. Of course the Hard Corps would not stay there with their arms crossed, so they go on its pursuit by launching themselves riding on four smaller missiles.

The heroes are able to catch up with the rocket and begin to climb it toward its top, where the cell is located. As they ascend, a myriad of alien critters start digging out from the missile's structure, foreboding of what would happen should it reach its destiny.

As they reach the top, the Alien Cell breaks out of its confinement and attacks the team; a gigantic, amorphous monstrosity with barely discernible humanoid parts. The missile ultimately explodes as the creature dies, putting our heroes in quite a predicament. Fortunately, the Air Police is around to save the day and brings our heroes back to safety.

Contra: Return


Alien Cell as material for weaponry upgrade

In Contra: Return, the Alien Cell is used by Claudius and Dr. Mandrake to create an army of aliens and zombies.

In addition, the player can use Alien Cells to upgrade Weapon Souls.

See also