|“||The ultimate run and gun shooter returns.||„|
Contra: Shattered Soldier, published in Japan as Shin Contra (真魂斗羅? lit. "True Contra") is a run-and-gun video game part of the Contra series by Konami. It was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2002. The game marks a return to the two-dimensional gameplay style of Contra III: The Alien Wars and Contra: Hard Corps.
In AD 2642, Earth remains scarred from previous alien conflicts as environmental problems grow beyond humanity's control. 80% of the planet's population was completely devastated by a malfunctioning hyper-magnetic weapons grid during development. Bill Rizer, the hero of the Alien Wars, was held responsible for the incident, as well as for murdering his partner Lance Bean who reportedly tried to stop him. He was given a sentence of 10,000 years in cryogenic prison. However, five years later (in the year 2647), Earth faces another threat as the terrorist organization "Blood Falcon", led by a mysterious superhuman commander, spreads panic over the world. The ruling government, referred to as the "Triumvirate", decides to release Rizer prior to completing his sentence, in view of his previous successes in defending Earth, in hope of neutralizing Blood Falcon. Lucia, an advanced cyborg super soldier built by the government from Dr. Geo Mandrake's research, is sent to accompany and assist Bill's endeavors. Bill eventually finds out that Lance is still alive and is in fact the commander of Blood Falcon himself. After defeating Lance, it is revealed that the aliens from the past games attacked because the Triumvirate secretly stole a mysterious, powerful "relic" from them. With this information, Bill and Lucia have to confront the Triumvirate and uncover the secrets of the alien relic.
The game achieves its goal in mimicking the gameplay that made the previous 8-bit and 16-bit titles so popular by essentially duplicating the same style boss fights and stages. The game is known for being very difficult, arguably more than Contra: Hard Corps. Like the Sega Genesis game, Shattered Soldier has multiple endings. However, the ending received now depends on the player's performance rather than the path taken. The game also introduces the concept of a "hit rate", which gauges the amount of enemies hit as a form of performance metric. Every unique target (non-respawnable) —whether it is an actual enemy or an object in the environment— that is destroyed increases this ratio. A high hit-ratio, along with the minimization of lives lost and continues used, is essential to receive the better endings, and consequently unlock the hidden extra features. The player can replay previously cleared stages to achieve better grades.
The major departure in Shattered Soldier is the new weapon system, which consists of three weapons and three special shots. The power-up capsules and pill-box sensors from previous games are gone. The primary weapons are: a rapid fire automatic machine gun (Heavy Machine Gun), a flame thrower (Flame Whip) and a grenade launcher (Diver Mines). These primary weapons may be charged for a more powerful attack: the Round Sweeper, which launches out a "gun pod" that sprays bullets in multiple directions; the Energy Shot, a large gunshot which delivers great damage; and a barrage of Homing Missiles that traces the nearest target.
- Bill Rizer: The Alien Wars hero and one of the protagonists of earlier Contra games, Bill Rizer is brought back from his cryogenic prison, where he was located since he accidentally killed 80% of Earth's population.
- Lucia: A female cybernetic super soldier and partner of Bill Rizer since she released him from his prison. She was originally planned by Dr. Geo Mandrake (from Contra: Hard Corps), but he was unable to finish her due to his death, so Lucia was developed later.
- Lance Bean: Bill's former partner and one of the protagonists of earlier Contra games. Now he has become the commander of the "Blood Falcon" terrorist organization and also has merged himself with an alien cell.
- Triumvirate: Three hundreds-of-years-old men who have prolonged their lives using cybernetic implants, which also combined their minds together. They are the high government of Earth in 2647. Their names are Gaius, Nero and Commodus.
- Moirai Relic: Mysterious force that the alien attackers were trying to recover.
- Stage 1: - Boss: Biker, Crawler Tank, Factory Demolition Machine, Segmented Snake, Taka
- Stage 2: - Boss: Battleship Anterior Cannon, Train Plasma Cannon, Drone Trio, Yokozuna
- Stage 3: - Boss: Floating Bird Nest Garth Base, Decapedal Blob, Java, Slinky
- Stage 4: - Boss: Jet Ski Mech, Virtual Brain Organism, Jinmen Gyo
- Stage 5: - Boss: Metal Snail, Wall, Lance Bean, Gomeramos King, Tissue Helminth, Kimkoh, Alien Gummy Plant, Emperor-Demon Gyaba
- Stage 6: - Boss: Mr. Heli-Robo, Ultimate Being, Celestial Frog, Celestial Jellyfish, Celestial Atomic Cell, Vital Gonad
- Stage 7: - Boss: Grotesque Chimera
After commissioning Appaloosa Interactive for the development of Contra: Legacy of War and C: The Contra Adventure, Konami assigned their internal KCE Tokyo team to work on the next installment in the franchise. Nobuya Nakazato, (the director of Alien Wars and Hard Corps) was in charge of the game's direction, design and scenario. A few years prior to the announcement of Shattered Soldier, Konami had plans for a Nintendo 64 installment in the series titled Contra Spirits 64 that would've been handled by KCE Osaka, but those plans were aborted.
- In Greek mythology, the Moirai or Moerae /ˈmɪrˌiː/ or /ˈmiːˌriː/ (Ancient Greek: Μοῖραι, "apportioners"), often known in English as the "Fates" (Latin: Fata), were the white-robed incarnations of destiny; their Roman equivalent was the Parcae (euphemistically the "sparing ones"). Their number became fixed at three: Clotho (spinner), Lachesis (allotter) and Atropos (literally 'unturnable' but metaphorically 'inflexible' or 'inevitable' - i.e. death). This reference is seen with the Triumvirate, albeit they are depicted as male, whereas in Greek mythology the Moirai were female.
- Bill Rizer being sentenced to a long term of cryogenic imprisonment, only to be freed by the government to deal with a new threat from his past and being paired with a female partner bares a similarity to the 1993 Sylvester Stallone film Demolition Man, in which Stallone's character, John Spartan, has a similar experience.