Possesses a strong exoskeleton and fires powerful beams from either of the heads on its arm-like tendrils.
A massive alien from outer space.
~ Contra 3D official profile description
Not to be confused with Java.
For the alien army, see Red Falcon.

Emperor Demon Gava (天王鬼 ギャバ Tennō Ki Gyaba?) is one of the main antagonists in the Contra series. He was introduced in 1988 as the final boss of the arcade version of Super Contra. He is the main leader of the Red Falcon army and is often encountered either as the final boss or near the end of several games.

Gava leaded two hostile mobilizations against planet Earth in an attempt to retrieve a powerful artifact that originally belonged to a supreme alien race. The second of these conflicts was known as the "Alien Wars", which culminated with his death, the total destruction of his army, as well as countless human lives lost.

Cells retrieved from his body were used in military experiments after the war, with diverse outcomes that triggered the events of many following installments in the series.


Super Contra

Gava is found at the very end of the aliens' nest level. He emerges from what might have been his prior form: a creature consisting of several fused faces aligned horizontally. This organic barrier shoots energy projectiles at a high rate of fire, with large mite-like aliens coming out of tunnels on the sides.

With the destruction of the monster, a hardened bulbous-like mass is all that's left behind and a victory fanfare plays in the background, giving the false impression of beating the game. However, after a moment, the mass breaks apart revealing a tunnel from which Gava's head emerges. His two snake-like arms come out from two holes located on the sides. Gava's attacks consist in extending his arms out periodically toward the players and releasing several aliens with scythes from his mouth. He has many vulnerable areas that can be destroyed, such as both his eyes, the snake-arms, the pulsing-lungs located on the sides of his neck (when destroyed, the speed and rate in which his arms can extend are diminished considerably), and his main weak point: the red core located on his forehead containing an alien fetus. Gava will attempt to protect this gestating alien by spewing out several small, floating masses that will spin around the red core (these can be destroyed).

After sufficient damage has been dealt to him, his entire body begins to explode; amidst the explosions, the alien fetus can be seen crawling out of Gava's forehead before it unfolds its wings and flies away. The fate of this newborn alien is never revealed in future titles, although it could be speculated that it grew up into the new Gava that serves as the main antagonist of the sequel, Contra III: The Alien Wars.

The events featured in Super C (the console version of the arcade Super Contra) are considerably changed. To begin, Gava is no longer the final boss, due to the game featuring additional hive levels after the one he is featured in. His boss fight is largely simplified and easier overall: he does not possess two snake-arms, but instead releases fully independent alien serpents that come out of the holes located on Gava's sides before hiding away into the other. The destructible lung-like organs and red core containing the alien embryo on his forehead are absent. His eyes can no longer be destroyed, but instead act together as Gava's main weak points. He only releases red homing fireballs from his mouth. Contrary to the arcade version, defeating him does not bring about the end of the alien invasion, as it would seem Kimkoh takes command of the remaining army following Gava's death.

A specific detail that always remains with each incarnation is the inability for players to see his entire body; he is so massive that only his upper body is ever visible onscreen, leaving it entirely unknown on what his lower half looks like, let alone how large it actually is.

Contra III: The Alien Wars

Gava returns with his army and launches the most massive attack on Earth yet: using unknown means, he fires a massive beam on a populated human city, turning everything into ruins. His face ominously appears as a giant apparition in the sky. He is not seen again until the final battle of the game, inside the alien hive.

Emperor Demon Gava

He drags himself down from the ceiling when Bill Rizer and Lance Bean reach his lair (unlike his prior incarnation, in which he crawled across the floor). In his default form, his attacks are: extending his two snake-like arms (their patterns are much more versatile), and when he temporarily retracts toward the ceiling, not only do each of his tendrils spew out three projectiles, he also spawns large floating alien grubs (identical to the ones birthed by the Para-Slug) from his mouth. Like his prior incarnation in the arcade version, Gava features several destructible body parts, increasing the difficulty of the battle as players proceed to remove them. If either of his arms are killed, runner aliens will fall out of the gaping hole every time he retracts to the ceiling. If both his arms are destroyed, Gava will stop retracting entirely and will remain close to the floor, constantly releasing runner aliens from both arms wounds. If both his eyes are blown out, he will spew out alien grubs at a faster rate. His main weak point is the red core located on his forehead, and hitting this area will cause a slight shaking of the entire area.

Brain Organism Searle

After sustaining sufficient damage, his entire body will begin to explode continuously until his face disappears, revealing his giant brain with a single eye in the front. This is the start of the second phase of the battle: the brain rotates eight different spheres around itself, each representing an attack it is capable of unleashing. Shooting one of these will trigger the attack associated with the sphere. Some of these attacks offer very little danger while others are incredibly difficult to maneuver and dodge. The challenge comes from having to aim the rapidly rotating objects in order to hit and trigger a desired attack that not only favors the heroes' survival, but also leaves the brain open to as much damage as possible.

When Gava's brain is defeated, it will turn into a dull purple color and fall to the ground. Bill and Lance are picked up by their helicopter which infiltrated the weakened hive from above. Gava's brain, however, will regain its red coloring before covering itself in a hardened, living organic armor featuring four climbing limbs. It will use them to chase after the escaping helicopter in a final attempt to kill the heroes riding on it. Curiously, despite being clearly an armor of some sort, this alien requires less firepower to take down. It eventually explodes and presumably takes the whole hive with it.

Neo Contra

Gava is a boss in Neo Contra. After he is defeated, his brain will then function as the next boss.

Emperor Demon Gava

You will recognize this creature from previous Contra titles, since he was the final boss in the arcade version of both Super Contra (and a regular boss in Super C, the NES version) and Contra III: The Alien Wars, and a regular boss in Contra: Shattered Soldier. This time his head is inside a capsule in the center of the room, with four smaller heads in floating capsules around him. Each head has both a bullet attack and the big head also has an electric attack. The smaller heads will stomp the ground, causing a wave of bullets to spread outward in all directions. The larger head can emit multiple bolts of electricity but it only impacts a small area. It is very similar to the mecha in Stage 3. The big head is shielded, but it is constantly dropping a section of shield to release a wave of bullets. Usually, it only drops one or two sections of shield at a time (each section is about 1/6 of the full shield); however, it will on occasion drop the entire shield and flood the room with bullets. The bolts never stop moving, so get used to run-and-gun tactics.

The electrical bolts are easy to avoid by themselves since they move fairly slowly. The danger is that they tend to blend in with the background and get lost in the field of bullets constantly flying at you. It's easy to get so busy trying to doge the projectiles that you run into a bolt of electricity. The bullet attack from a single small head is easy to avoid, but you can get caught in the crossfire of two small heads if you're not careful. The larger head's bullet attack is harder to avoid because the only way to hit it is through the opening it creates to fire on you.

Yet again, as was the case with Guerilla and Animal Contra, prioritize destroying the smaller heads with lock-on beams since you won't get percentage points for them if you take out the big head. Take them out one at a time since every time you destroy one it reduces the amount of things that can kill you. The big head is more of a problem since it will blanket practically any spot that would give you a clear shot with gunfire. You can either try to aim a shot at the head from where it isn't shooting (although this requires very precise aim) or, since you can clearly see where the shield will drop (it turns brown right before it drops), you can get a shot off before it starts firing, although this is quite dangerous. The best time to hit it is after it drops the entire shield, since it will stay down longer than usual. Basically, get in hits whenever you can and once you get rid of the smaller heads the only threat is the big head's wave of bullets.

Don't try using the Katana since it's suicidal with said weapon (you can't get close enough to attack). However, the weapon that makes this guy laughably easy is the 6V Laser (Weapon Set F) since it can go through the shields for some bizarre reason whatsoever. Just take out the smaller heads, stay behind a shielded section and fire away.

Brain Organism Searle

As in Contra III, after Gava dies, his brain remains behind to finish the fight. While the brain remains stationary there is still a lot of activity on the ground. Throughout the entire battle a large number of mines will be spinning around the room, which are hard to avoid since they sort of blend in with the background. The brain will also send out energy balls that rotate around the room like the mines, but also slowly spiral outward. In addition to the orbs flying around, the brain can also shoot fireballs directly at you and drop exploding balls randomly around the screen.

The explosions are easy to avoid since they sit on the ground for a short time before detonating, and the fireballs don't seek, so you can sidestep them. The mines and energy balls are much harder to avoid since there are so many of them and they move very quickly. As with several other bosses, focus on not getting hit more than shooting the boss. The brain is directly a head of you and remains there, so you really can't miss.

Once the fight begins, hold down the movement-lock buttons so you will remain facing directly ahead as you move about. Simply fire with whatever you have and it will go down fast. Fast moving projectiles like the various lasers and machine gun are your best bet, despite being weaker than your heavy weapons. The orbiting mines/energy tend to intercept the slower projectiles, so you will miss a fair amount of the time. As with the head, the 6V Laser can take it down very quickly since it can cut through the mines.

Contra ReBirth

In this game, he appears at the end of Stage 5, although he is not the actual final boss. He also looks more insect-like compared to his other appearances, having human incisors rather than sharp alien teeth and having insect papillae. He shoots two long lasers from his eyes (telegraphed by two thin lasers), fires miniature versions of the centipede boss from Stage 1 from his two "arm" holes instead of the cycloptic serpents, and has miniature Kimkohs assisting him.

Regional differences

See also: Java (regional differences)

Because the American localization of the first games referred both the name of the alien army, as well as its leader as "Red Falcon", coupled with the fact that Gava was the final boss of the second and third games, this alien entity was considered for years to be called "Red Falcon" in the West — the same confusion that happened with Java in the first game, who was also believed to be called "Red Falcon". The confusion went to the point of making believe both alien leaders were one and the same, often explained as Gava being the same boss from the first game (Java) that had returned to exact revenge against the forces of the Earth. However, in the original Japanese storyline, the name "Red Falcon" has only been used to refer to the alien army and never to its leader.

To complicate matters more, Contra 4, released in 2007, officially labeled this creature to be "Red Falcon" itself, adding to the confusion.

Personal information

Humanoid form
  • Age: 42
  • Height: 200 cm
  • Weight: 130 kg
Alien form
  • Age: ???
  • Height: 48 m
  • Weight: 12,000 t








  • Gava appears to be inspired by the final boss of the 1987 arcade game Battlantis, also by Konami.
  • In Neo Contra, Gava may actually be a prototype of Project C, due to having part of a human face melded with his beastly appearance, implying his DNA may have been tampered with Bill's. This is mere speculation, though.

See also


  1. The Contra 4 instruction booklet states Black Viper is Red Falcon's sister. However, the same game also officially states Emperor Demon Gava to be Red Falcon himself, thus making Black Viper and Emperor Gava siblings.