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The Flame Thrower (F), also known as Fire Gun, Fireball or simply Flame, is a recurring weapon featured in the Contra series. As its name implies, it is a powerful weapon that either shoots fireballs or a constant stream of flame.

General description[]

The Flame Thrower is a fire based weapon capable of dealing stronger damage than the default gun (at times). Its appearance and firing effect varies from title to title. Its most common forms, however, are releasing either a medium-to-long stream of flame, or by shooting fireballs that may spread more fireballs on contact. The steam variants are known for generally ignoring physical impediments and piercing right through them, dealing great constant damage to enemies. The fireball variant, on the other hand, can sometimes be charged, with the resulting projectile releasing more fireballs on contact and covering a considerable area.

Game specific information[]

Contra[]

First appearance of this fire based weapon in the series, where it was originally called Fireball/Fire Ball. In the original Contra (both arcade and NES), this weapon shoots slow moving fireballs that trace circles as they travel forward. Due to the uncommon way it operates, it's arguably one of the least popular weapons in the game.

This weapon becomes considerably less effective during the pseudo 3D "Base" stages, as the wide arcs the fireballs trace are only useful against a few advancing enemies (namely Darrs), and each fireball will only hit a single small spot on the rear wall, where most of the enemies move or are emplaced. In addition, fireballs tend to be blocked by diverse factors (such as other enemies) and often don't manage to travel all the way to the opposite wall. In the NES version, up to four fireballs can be on-screen at one time.

Super C[]

While no fire/flame based weapon appears in the original arcade version of Super Contra, in the NES conversion of the game, Super C, the weapon made a reappearance, although it operates in a very different manner than it did in the first game and mainly acts as a replacement of the Bomb weapon from the arcade game, behaving in a very similar manner. Renamed Flame Thrower (a name that would remain for most instances of similar fire based weapons in following games), this weapon fires one large fireball that breaks into four smaller fireballs in an "X" pattern when it strikes a target or surface (or within a mid-distance range during top-down stages). In Super C, only two main projectiles can be present at one time, leaving the player briefly vulnerable to enemy attack if fired in rapid succession.

Holding down the ATTACK button will start charging the weapon (takes about a second or two to fully charge), and when released, the fireball becomes slightly larger, and will pierce through weak enemies, as well as its range being slightly longer. Once the fireball hits a surface, an enemy the projectile didn't eliminate, or its max range, the fireball will break into eight smaller fireballs in a spreading manner (instead of four), producing a circle of fireball projectiles that covers a considerable area. Its large size is also useful for eliminating larger bosses somewhat more quickly.

This charging variant of the Flame Thrower would reappear in the Game Boy game, Operation C, and later in Contra Returns, where it is called Flame Burst Gun and is obtained by picking up the F+ falcon emblem.

Contra Force[]

Short range weapon. Can burn several enemies into toast with one burst.
- Contra Force instruction booklet page 11.

When Iron collects enough Power-up Capsules, he can access a powerful Flame Thrower. Blasts fired are made up of a long projectile of flame. When the projectile makes contact with an object or surface, a small damage radius is left behind for a second capable of eliminating nearby forces or cause further additional destruction to an environment.

Contra III: The Alien Wars[]

Named the Fire Gun in the instruction booklet, it was changed into a real flamethrower type weapon in this game. When the FIRE button is held, the gun steadily unleashes a mid-range large, segmented 7-piece stream of fire in front of the hero, capable of piercing through both surfaces and enemies. This gun is capable of turning full 360° angles and can be combined with the R button held to aim in any direction the player points at or crosses. If the player points in the opposite direction of where the gun is being fired at, the gun will quickly turn to face the direction the gun's barrel points to. The time the gun takes to adjust to quick movements could be a slight drawback, as the gun itself isn't as powerful as other special weapons, and that split second of adjustment time could give an enemy enough time to retaliate. The Fire Gun is large enough to pierce through multiple enemies or objects. Using two Fire Guns in a dual gun attack will encircle the hero in a spiral of flames.

The gun behaves identically in top-down view stages. Using the flamethrower in a Random Shooting attack is useful for taking out nearby weak forces when being surrounded, with two Fire Guns being able to cover a mid range circumference. The Fire Gun is extremely useful against the Tri-Transforming Wall Walker's first phase, where the flame can pierce through its armor and reach the core directly from the main hang bar of the area, without having to ride the walker's own hang bars. The Fire Gun can also be useful during the Wall Walker's chase sequence in Hard mode, where the flames can easily reach the incoming missiles with the proper aiming. The Flame Gun is also useful against the Dangling Soldier army, where it can easily reach and eliminate the fast moving kamikaze aggressors and their leader when within range.

The Fire Gun also reappears in both Contra: The Alien Wars and Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX, where it behaves identically. In the former game however, idle rotational aiming is absent. The flame gun has also downgraded from having 7 pieces of fire to only 5 pieces, which alternate flashing. This may be attributed to smaller screen size. Also during top-down stages, the gun may cause the character to partially blink out of existence (due to sprite limitations).

Contra: Hard Corps[]

The Flame Thrower is Brad Fang's exclusive Weapon C. It behaves identically to the flamethrower from Contra III with minor visual adjustments. The Flame Thrower can be first obtained from a C Item Pod located after the battle with Maximum Jumbo.

C: the Contra Adventure[]

The Flamethrower is obtained from a gold Falcon power-up item. When holding down the FIRE button, a large stream of fire is shot out in front of the player at mid-length, soon swirling left-to-right if remaining idle. Otherwise, the stream of fire moves along with the player's rotation. When idle, Sometimes releasing the FIRE button but quickly holding the button again will cause the swirling motion to be altered. Doing this may cause the weapon to barely swirl or not swirl at all.

Contra: Shattered Soldier[]

It has a short range, but is very powerful. It has the ability to destroy red bluish shots fired by standard enemies. It also reaches through barriers. Great for short range combat.
~ Shattered Soldier instruction booklet

Renamed the Fire Whip, the weapon behaves identically to its previous installments, except now it has the additional ability to erase certain red and blue projectiles. When certain weak enemies come into contact with the Fire Whip, they will ignite into flames before perishing. When the Fire Whip is selected and the rifle is charged, the gun will fire off a quick and powerful long Energy Shot capable of piercing enemies and terrain. Notably, this version of the Flame Thrower no longer appears as segmented flames, instead visually appearing as one long stream of flame.

Neo Contra[]

Both the Flame thrower-style weapon and the fireball-style weapon are available to use:

A flamethrower-type standard weapon with a short reach. It can eliminate the enemies' red-and-blue flashing shots.
~ Neo Contra instruction booklet
  • The Fire Whip returns as part of the Type B set of weaponry. Its appearance and behavior are strongly identical to the weapon's previous PS2 appearance.

The Fire Whip in Neo Contra is an exclusively short-range weapon that is clearly useless at extreme distances. It projects a triangular cone of flame from the user's gun that instantly incinerates enemies at close quarters, even ignoring shields, and is thus a one-hit kill regardless of enemy armour. It can also 'wipe out' enemy projectiles, allowing a user to charge into a rank of opponents and decimate them with impunity. However, due to the limitations it imposes, one will also need to rely heavily on the Charge Shot for longer range combat. It is best used by holding the attack button and swinging around in a circle.

A flamethrower-type standard weapon with a high rate of fire.
~ Neo Contra instruction booklet
  • The Classic Fireball is the flamethrower-type weapon for the Type C set. Its fires two opposing large fireballs in a swirling manner in front of the player, igniting any enemy soldiers the bullet comes into contact with. Both simultaneous fireballs count as one bullet, meaning if one fireball makes contact, the entire blast does. Damage is calculated as one whole singular blast. The "Classic" in the weapon's name refers to the weapon's behavior being strongly similar to the weapon's Contra counterpart when it was used in "Base" stages.

Contra 4[]

The Flame gun returns to its original Contra behavior by launching spiraling fireballs. The speed and swirling motion of fireballs have been vastly improved in this version and now they effectively increase the hit radius of this gun, allowing for enemies to be hit more easily. It can be upgraded to produce large fireballs that, when impacted on a wall or enemy, will leave behind a small X-shaped explosion. The gun in this aspect behaves similarly to the upgraded Crush Gun, also found in this game, and resembles the Flame Thrower from Super C.

In tunnel stages, the gun behaves much like the Classic Fireball from Neo Contra. It fires straight ahead while still spiraling, producing two opposing fireballs per round. Both fireballs count as one shot per round, meaning that if one fireball hits, both will vanish, and standard damage is applied. Both fireballs are not separate and don't inflict additional damage than the standard amount one round of the Flame gun distributes. The Flame gun's somewhat large spiral shape is useful for reaching close by enemies some other weapons cannot reach. The upgraded version changes the weapon to its Super C appearance, with the large fiery X dealing damage to any enemies within close proximity. Due to the larger fireball's size, it may become hard to see what is in front of the player if too many are fired at once. Due to the gun's speed, it is unknown what its bullet limit is on-screen, if any.

Hard Corps: Uprising[]

Renamed Heated Plasma, this gun fires off small circular rounds straightforward that disappear in a short-range distance. Enemies hit with these bullets are engulfed in flames for a few seconds, and this gun can erase small enemy bullets. Charging the weapon will launch a larger fireball capable of traveling long-distances. With each level up, the round fireballs grow slightly larger in size.

Contra: Operation Galuga[]

Called Flame Weapon in this game. Its assigned color is orange.

This flamethrower returns to behaving like its Contra III variation. Visually, it appears as one moderately long, continuous stream of fire, instead of appearing segmented (similar to the Flame Whip's appearance, but with a thicker stream). When upgraded to Level 2, its length increases by around 50%. Its Overload is the "Shield", which generates a stationary flaming shield in front of the player that nullifies eight enemy projectiles before dissipating (visually shrinking and becoming less intense when it can defend two or less projectiles).

Instead of the Flame Weapon, Fang utilizes the Flame Blast when an F power-up is collected. This variation behaves similarly to his Power Punch from Contra: Hard Corps. When upgraded to Level 2, this weapon can be charged up and shoot a flame wave at medium range at half charge, or at long range at full charge. Its Overload is the "Guardian", which summons a cosmic beast, similarly to the Intruder enemy from the Gradius series, that hunts enemies on the screen and leaves its confines after twelve seconds have passed.

When Sheena collects the F power-up, she equips the Flame Weapon and uses the "Guardian" Overload, while Browny equips the Flame Blast and uses the "Shield" Overload.

Flame Thrower type weapons are also used by various enemies such as the Armadillo Turret and Spidal, the latter which can also fire a spinning fireball identical to the fireball weapon from Contra (the game Operation Galuga is based on).

Gallery[]

Screenshots[]

Icons[]

Artworks[]

Audio[]

Sound Location
PL FIRE Contra (NES)
Contra: Hard Corps (Fang)

Trivia[]

  • The Flame Thrower could be based on the flamethrower weapons used in the Alien franchise, in which humans are often seen using fire based weaponry against the xenomorphs; specifically Ellen Ripley, the main protagonist, who used a flamethrower against the alien Queen and her hive in Aliens.
  • The unused Hazmat Soldier from Contra 4 also wields a flamethrower. This is one of the few instances (if not the only instance) where a character other than the player character is seen using a flamethrower weapon.
  • The Flamethrower in Contra: Operation Galuga is the only weapon from Contra 4 to be altered. All other obtainable weapons from the latter are reused in the former with near identical behavior.
Contra ReBirth F power-up
  • The Flamethrower was set to appear in Contra ReBirth before ultimately being scrapped. Only a sprite of its power-up remains within internal files, making it unknown how the weapon would have operated.

See also[]

References[]

  1. Contra North American arcade flyer with instructions.
  2. Contra (NES) instruction booklet, page 9. (NES-CT-USA)
  3. Contra: Tournament
  4. Contra (MSX2)
  5. Operation C instruction booklet, page 7. (DMG-CN-USA)
  6. Contra III: The Alien Wars instruction booklet, page 11.
  7. Contra: Shattered Soldier instruction booklet, page 12.
  8. Neo Contra instruction booklet, page 15.
  9. Contra 4 Japanese instruction booklet.
  10. Contra Returns
  11. Contra: Operation Galuga
  12. @ContraSoldier (Contra Official(魂斗羅公式)) at X (January 16, 2024).
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