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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).

Alien Cells have the potential to merge with human beings to create powerful alien-human hybrids.[2] An Alien 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, or used to fuel a powerful war machine, or even fought by itself.

Description

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 have wanted to get their hands on it, whether it is for studying it and release all of its potential for military purposes, or to secure supreme leadership, or for their own selfish purposes, or even to take it away from the wrong hands.

An Alien Cell can even be connected to and fuel war machines with its strong power. However, it is known to be very unstable, and if not contained under the right conditions, it may mutate and attack by itself.

Appearances

Operation C

Main article: Black Viper
Black Viper - Operation C - 01

First time the "alien cell" concept appears in the series. In this game, an undisclosed country within the South Pacific obtains Alien Cells and uses them to perform experiments. These experiments turn many of their soldiers into alien-hybrids. Bill Rizer is sent by the Federation to eliminate all traces of the aliens and their technology.

In the North American version of the game, the story is altered to instead have the Alien Cell be a part of the leader of the alien forces attacking Earth, known as Black Viper, whom also appears as the final boss. As the heroes breach into its headquarters and deal with its robotic bodyguard, they discover Black Viper to be nothing but a large biomass held in some sort of liquid inside a glass container from which it controls its forces. The commandos proceed to destroy it, putting with this an end to its 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 "its" appearance in Operation C, although already in a much evolved form and resembling a giant mantis-like monster.

Contra: Hard Corps

The Alien Cell appears as the central plot point of the entire game.

After Gava's defeat at the end of the Alien Wars, the military was able to get their hands on one (possibly more) of his cells.[3] 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 for military purposes, and by consequence, giving an unmeasurable amount of power to those who came to 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 caused by the local security defense system having been breached, setting loose security robots rampaging 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 studied. As the Hard Corps pursue the enemies responsible, they soon learn the Alien Cell has been stolen by the enemy. It is later revealed in a briefing that the rampaging terrorist attack was merely a clever diversion set up in order to steal the Alien Cell from the Research Center. The Hard Corps track down the hacker responsible and interrogate him, who reveals the leader responsible for planning the entire terrorist operation: former war hero Colonel Bahamut, who previously started a coup d'état against government a few years prior. The Hard Corps track Colonel Bahamut to a Jungle, as they wonder what the Colonel plans to do with the Cell. After a long manhunt against more enemy traps, the Hard Corps reach the center of the base where the Colonel prepares a trap with his associate, the traitorous Dr. Geo Mandrake. After the two reveal their grand scheme of their future vision, the Colonel walks away and prepares his final stages of his master plan with the Alien Cell, leaving the Hard Corps's fate to the evil Doctor.

From this point onward, the alien cell's fate is dependent 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"
Alien (Hard Corps) Glass Tubes

The Alien Cell's "offspring" in containment.

The Hard Corps are incarcerated but manage to escape and reach Colonel Bahamut's ominous fortress. Here, the Colonel and Dr. Mandrake use the Alien Cell to create small Alien-like humanoid creatures. These bust out of containment and attack the hero(es) during their trip through the metallic halls, but are frail and easily disposed of. Others can be seen not yet fully developed and still within containment.

After a few battles, The Colonel arrives on a hover device, welcoming the player(s) to meet him at the top for the ultimate battle. during the climb upward, he is seen eliminating his former associates: he outright kills Deadeye Joe and manages to mutate his former colleague Dr. Mandrake into another Alien-like creature using the Alien Cell's power. Once the Hard Corps reach the top of the fortress, he is seen patiently standing in the center of the room. Upon their arrival, he reveals the Alien Cell's fate: he manages to succeed 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 (which appears as a more "mature" form of the Glass-tube alien specimens). The beast has superhuman speed and agility, and is 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, this time into a beating heart surrounded by tormented-looking faces. The Hard Corps terminate the mutated creature, putting an end to both The Colonel and the Alien Cell. The base is also destroyed, likely eliminating any remaining traces of the Alien Cell and its "offspring".

Mother Alien

In order to fight the Mother Alien, the player must choose the following options:

  • "Go after Deadeye Joe"
  • "Fight to the end"
Contra Hard Corps Alien Base Egg Chamber

The Alien Cell's egg chamber.

Dr. Geo Mandrake battles the prisoners and ends up losing to his own experiments. Despite losing his lead scientist, Colonel Bahamut continues to proceed with his own research on the Alien Cell, while the doctor's battle occurs, using his remaining available resources on hand. His plan is to convert the Alien Cell into the ultimate living bio-weapon. Progress is slow due to the lack of the doctor's expertise, and the Hard Corps catch up to the Colonel in no time. Cornered, a soldier informs that the Alien Cell has broken loose and is terrorizing the entire base, rapidly spreading and infecting throughout.A panicked Colonel Bahamut escapes alongside his remaining forces, while the Hard Corps follow behind. The Hard Corps navigate through the halls of the consumed Base, eliminating the revived Alien Forces that have overtaken the stronghold. The loose Alien Cell converts the location into an alien hive akin to those seen in previous games. The hive begins to rapidly reproduce several aliens of different species, some of which are evolved recreations of their original predecessors. Additionally, the rapidly spreading cells also infect the remaining soldiers of Bahamut and transforms them into agile mutants.

The heroes eventually come across a massive egg-nesting grounds, with one egg already hatched located at the very center of the hive; not long after this, they are attacked by its previous occupant: the Mother Alien. This female-looking monstrosity also appears to be cloned from the alien cell as a result of the experiments carried on by Bahamut's inexperienced research team, resulting in a vague recreation of Emperor Gava. After inflicting sufficient damage to her, the Mother Alien's body expands until she reveals the heart of the stronghold. During the battle with the Alien Cell's heart, it summons indestructible eyeball creatures resembling Searle, which may be yet another failed clone of an alien leader. Destroying the heart organ not only kills the Mother Alien, but the entirety of the hive also ceases to live. The Hard Corps escape the now ruined base and learn that Colonel Bahamut survived this rampaging alien encounter he inadvertently caused. He rides an escape chopper and vows to return, promising that next time the outcome will be better for him in the end.[4]

Big Magnum

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

  • "Go after Deadeye Joe"
  • "Surrender and fight later"
Big Magnum - 02

The Alien Cell outfitted as Big Magnum.

Bahamut succeeds in transporting the Alien Cell to his own secret space station above Earth's atmosphere, and thanks to his loyal soldiers, he's able to buy enough time to complete his master plan. The Hard Corps are held prisoner and are introduced to his underground portion of his headquarters, Bahamut himself communicating via a large screen. With his plans complete in full motion, he decides to commence with the final stages of his plan: he transfers all power from the underground base toward his space station, rendering the former useless. With this in mind, the Colonel decides to self-destruct the underground base, caring little of everyone inside. The Hard Corps break free from their captivity and escape through the demolished halls of fire, but not before Dr. Geo Mandrake decides to use a mutation ray (possibly stemming from the alien Cell's power) on the fleeing troops, transforming them into monstrous alien mutants. This gives the Hard Corps another obstacle to overcome.

The hero(es) make their way to a functioning elevator and ride it all the way to the top, where they battle Dr. Geo Mandrake and claim victory over the destroyed doctor. The elevator makes it way to the top of the space station, the heroes walking toward the Cannon control center. The Alien Cell is seen outfitted to the cannon and Colonel Bahamut soon reveals himself from the device's cockpit. His successful plan is to use the Alien Cell as a power source to produce Big Magnum, a deadly form of converted Alien energy capable of reducing the Earth to charred cinders. With that said, he demonstrates his newfound cannon and fires a massive Magnum blast at the Earth, demolishing an unknown location on the planet. The Hard Corps soon do battle with the weapon-filled cockpit, which launches numerous destructive energy blasts stemming from the Alien Cell's colossal power. As the battle progresses and the heroes damage the device, the alien's head starts to melt away and produce Power-up Capsules until it finally dies. Once the cockpit overloads, the feedback drains the last of the Alien Cell's energy, vaporizing it and exploding its containment center. Because Bahamut transferred all functions of his base to the Alien Cell and the accompanying cannon, the entire base begins to overload due to the lack of a necessary power source. The whole station explodes killing everyone inside, including the Hard Corps squad.

Alien Mounted Missile

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

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

The Hard Corps defeat Dr. Geo Mandrake and his experiments, but during this time, Colonel Bahamut flees to his island headquarters with the Alien Cell. The Hard Corps cross the seas and infiltrate his HQ, eventually reaching the Colonel.

Knowing himself cornered and after a pathetic attempt to make the heroes join him, Colonel Bahamut personally does battle and loses. On his dying breath, he reveals that he outfitted the Alien Cell to a large doomsday missile, vowing that the world will burn from his final act of revenge upon the world. Of course the Hard Corps would not just stay there with their arms crossed, so The Hard Corps reach the Missile silo and use the four accompanying smaller warheads to reach the larger one housing the alien.

The heroes are able to catch up with the tall 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 to the rest of the planet should the missile reach its destiny.

As they reach the top, another spawn of the Alien Cell breaks out and attacks. Once eliminated, the warhead rises to reveal its containment core, where the Alien Cell resides. Here, the creature appears as a gigantic, amorphous monstrosity with barely discernible humanoid parts and an amalgamation of multiple faces. The containment core soon explodes and the creature breaks free, immediately attacking the heroes with its bones and worm spawn. The Hard Corps eventually manage to overcome this battle and destroy the alien creature, placing an end to the Alien Cell menace. 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: Shattered Soldier

After being fatally wounded in a conspiracy perpetrated by the Triumvirate, Lance Bean willingly fuses with an alien cell and sets his plans into motion to overthrow the Government. The fusion results in him gaining superhuman abilities, but unlike Bahamut's merging, Lance is physically stable as he keeps his human appearance throughout the entire game. His army, Blood Falcon, deploys alien mutant abominations as experimental equipment as well as bioweapons, some of which may have either originated from the same alien cell implanted into Lance, created by using genetic modification or brought back to life by using resuscitation surgery/cloning technology.

After Lance sustains sufficient damage during his battle against Bill Rizer and Lucia, the alien cell inside him triggers a mysterious ability that seemingly teleports the heroes into different sections of a hive, where they fight powerful alien entities one after another. The first of these opponents is likely a mutation, while the others are highly evolved descendants of their predecessors from previous games, with the last opponent being none other than Emperor Demon Gava himself. Destroying him teleports Bill and Lucia back to Lance's headquarters, where the latter soon dies from the entire ordeal.

Contra Returns

AlienCell

Alien Cell as material for weaponry upgrade.

In Contra: Return, Primal Alien Cells are being used by Claudius and Dr. Geo to create an entire army of aliens and zombies.

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

Notes

  • In the Japanese version of Contra: Hard Corps, some text refers to the Alien Cell as plural (Alien Cells). This implies that more than one was kept. The plural form is also seen in the English Database of Contra: Shattered Soldier.
  • In Probotector (MD), the Alien Cell was renamed as "X Drive" (along with many other terms and imagery that version went through during localization) and its concept is implied to be just an undisclosed source of power (possibly even mechanical) rather than being of organic nature.

Trivia

  • The concept of a group in power (either governmental, military, corporate, etc.) sending out a task force for contingency and neutralization of a foreign threat, although with the ultimate goal of obtaining a sample of their genetic material for their own selfish purposes, is very similar to the overall plot of the Alien science fiction-horror multimedia franchise, which the Contra series takes heavy inspiration from. In it, the multinational conglomerate Weyland-Yutani frequently sends out troops to investigate possible alien infestations, although unaware to them, with the secret objective of them hopefully being infected by the aliens and bring a sample of their species on their return.
  • Legion from Castlevania: Circle of the Moon bears a slight resemblance to the Alien Cell seen in the Missile stage of Contra: Hard Corps.

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Following the overall plot and characters redesign Contra: Hard Corps went through in the PAL region, the Alien Cell was renamed as the "X Drive", and in certain dialogues within the game, it is instead referred to as the "Doomsday Device".
  2. As witnessed in Operation C, Contra: Hard Corps, and with Lance Bean in Contra: Shattered Soldier.
  3. In the game, Dr. Geo states that the cell was recovered from the "Mother Alien" after the Alien Wars; however, since no enemy by this name had ever appeared, or even been mentioned, in any of the previous titles, it's possible he was referring to either Emperor Demon Gava or the defeated Searle instead, the aliens' leader(s). On the other hand, there actually exists a Mother Alien boss that appears in Contra: Hard Corps, although it is presumably the result of a failed (or successful?) experiment carried on with the alien cell. It's worth mentioning that this enemy does in fact resemble Gava, both physically (to some extent), as well as with its attack methods. The next boss after that also uses an eyeball resembling Brain Organism Searle.
  4. Bahamut: "It looks like I lost this time. But, I will be back. Next time we meet, the outcome will be far different. Ha! Ha!" - In-game dialogue.
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