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For other uses, see Contra (disambiguation).
'Contra', is a master of the fighting spirit and guerrilla tactics.
~ Famicom intro

Contra (コントラ Kontora?) (stylized in Chinese: 魂斗羅), distributed as Gryzor in Europe and Oceania, is a 1987 science fiction/guerrilla-themed run-and-gun action video game developed and published by Konami originally released as a coin-operated arcade game on February 20, 1987. A home version was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988, along with ports for various computer formats, including the MSX2. The home versions were localized in the PAL region as Gryzor on the various computer formats, and as Probotector on the NES, released later. Several Contra sequels were produced following the original game.

Plot

In 2633 A.D., two armed Elite Marine Commandos "Contra", named Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, are sent on a mission to neutralize a terrorist organization called Red Falcon that is secretly planning to take over the entire world, and it's up to this two-man-army to put an end to this madness once and for all.

Gameplay

Contra is a run-and-gun action platformer, notorious for its high difficulty. The player character comes armed with a gun that can shoot infinitely. Different weapons with new abilities and that shoot different types of projectiles can be acquired as the player progresses through the levels. These can be found either inside of Pill Box Sensors or in Flying Capsules. When destroyed, the power-up will spring out onto the battlefield and can then be collected to change the player's weapon. However, the weapon will be lost if the player comes in contact with an enemy or a deadly obstacle, losing a life instantly. The character can shoot in eight directions and can also crouch.

The player starts with three lives, which are represented by medals. Extra lives can be earned by destroying enough enemies and raising the current score. The second player is able to "steal" lives from the other player in order to join the game.

The game also features a couple of pseudo-3D sections; one in the second stage (Base 1) and the other in the fourth stage (Base 2). In these levels, there are electric barriers that can momentarily paralyze the player if they come in contact with them, leaving them open to enemy fire in the meantime. To proceed further into these levels, the player has to destroy an orb found on the middle of the rear wall of each room.

There are a total of eight stages in the game. A boss can be found at the end of each one, which has to be defeated in order to proceed to the next one.

Stages

Arcade

Stage Name Boss Music
1 Jungle Fortress Gate Dense Forest Battle
2 Base Garmakilma Labyrinth Fortress
3 Waterfall Gromaides Waterfall of Bloodshed
4 Base 2 Godomuga Labyrinth Fortress
5 Snow Field

Guldaf
Dogra ×2

Fortress in the Ice
6 Energy Zone Gordea ×2 Fortress in the Fire
7 Hangar Zone (none) Fortress in the Fire
8 Alien's Lair

Emperor Demon Dragon God Java
Gomeramos King

Horrible Heartbeat

Nintendo Entertainment System

Stage Name Boss Music
1 Jungle Fortress Gate Dense Forest Battle
2 Base Garmakilma Labyrinth Fortress
3 Waterfall Gromaides Waterfall of Bloodshed
4 Base 2 Godomuga Labyrinth Fortress
5 Snow Field

Dogra ×2
Guldaf

Fortress in the Ice
6 Energy Zone Gordea Fortress in the Fire
7 Hangar Final Gate Dense Forest Battle
8 Alien's Lair

Emperor Demon Dragon God Java
Gomeramos King

Horrible Heartbeat

Soundtrack

Ports, remakes and compilations

Reception

Much of the game's popularity came from its two-player simultaneous cooperative gameplay, which was an uncommon feature in video games at the time. Another aspect of the game's huge success was its motif and inspiration; Contra is mainly inspired by a combination of three hugely popular contemporary action films: Commando, Rambo and Aliens. In fact, many of Red Falcon's forces are inspired in the Alien franchise, such as facehuggers and ovomorphs. In addition, Bill Rizer's and Lance Bean's physical designs were based on Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, respectively; the two box-office guarantee action movie stars at the time.

While successful in the arcades, the game became, and remained, wildly popular and remembered when it was ported to Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988, right after its arcade release a year prior. It has been voted No.1 by many websites, notably IGN's as being the "Toughest Game to Beat".[1] Nintendo Power ranked it the seventh best Nintendo Entertainment System video game, calling it one of the best multiplayer NES Games.[2] ScrewAttack named it the fifth best NES of all time in the 1980s.[3]

Related products

Gallery

Promotional artwork

Screenshots

  • Title screen
  • The main character starts with three lives.
  • Two player mode.

Videos

Trivia

  • The Famicom version of the game, Gryzor, includes additional backgrounds, a map showing the player's location, characters communicating to base via radio, and different animated introductory and ending screens. All this was possible thanks to a special chip created by Konami for their games called VRC-2. However, because Nintendo manufactured standard boards for the commercialization of all games in America and Europe (which did not include the chip), none of these features appeared in the versions of the game for these countries (a similar case to what happened to Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, also by Konami).
  • The American version of this game was set in contemporary times, as opposed to the futuristic setting of the Japanese version. Also, Bill and Lance's names were changed to Mad Dog and Scorpion in the American release.
  • If the player keeps pressing the START and SELECT buttons before and during the credits, a hidden message will appear stating about Red Falcon being invincible and that it would soon take over "all the bases" (although it is not clear what bases they refer to).
  • In the European versions, the main characters (and some enemies) were replaced with robots due to a German law prohibiting showing violence to minors.
  • In the European versions, the third boss, Gromaides, has different arm colors.
  • The game has a famous cheat code called the Konami Code. The player can get 30 lives after pressing the following button combination on the title screen: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, START (this code works in every version).
  • The title screen is different in every version.
  • The MSX2 port features 19 levels instead of 8. Instead of the story ending after destroying the Alien Heart, the game continues into many underground corridor levels and a few bases in between them. The final level is a deep red colored aliens' lair, and the final boss is some sort of portal between dimensions. All of this was, unfortunately, done at the cost of the game being a screen-to-screen scroller. Any of the new levels do not have unique music.
  • Even in the original arcade version, the player is only allowed to continue up to three times. If they fail to complete the game upon the fourth chance, the game will be entirely over and they will have to start once again from the beginning.
  • In Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, the game features several cameos of Konami arcade machines, including Contra.

References

  1. http://games.ign.com/articles/774/774911p2.html
  2. (Magazine) Nintendo Power - The 20th Anniversary Issue!. Nintendo Power. 231. San Francisco, California: Future US. August 2008. p. 71.
  3. http://www.screwattack.com/shows/originals/screwattack-top-10s/top-ten-nes-games

External links

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