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The Homing Gun (H), also known as Homing Missiles or Hunter, is a recurring weapon featured in the Contra series. It is a gun that fires either bullets or rockets that home in on enemies, eliminating the need to aim.

General description[]

The Homing Gun first appeared in Operation C and later in Contra III: The Alien Wars, slowly also becoming a staple in the series. The damage dealt by the projectiles is usually low in order to compensate for this weapon's high versatility. The player is advised not to get overconfident assuming the projectiles will do all the work, though, as in some games, they frequently tend to miss their targets or remain occupied seeking other enemies instead of the ones that are currently posing a greater threat to the player. Furthermore, in some games, there is a limit of the number of projectiles that can be onscreen at a time, potentially leaving the player vulnerable while all of them are seeking other targets.

Another slight shortcoming of this weapon is that in some games (such as Operation C, Contra III and Contra 4), if enemies come from the rear, the missiles will start their trajectory by first circling downward around the player, often making them to exit the screen at the bottom and be wasted. This forces the player to either turn around themselves to help the missiles find their targets, or to jump and leave with this enough space below them for the missiles to circle around and reach their targets.

Variations of the Homing Gun exist, including a homing chopper in which the projectiles are powered by a propeller. Additionally, certain weapons in some games have been implemented with the seeking capabilities of this gun (mainly Lasers), effectively making them a hybrid of that weapon and the Homing Gun.

Game specific information[]

Operation C[]

First appearance of the Homing Gun in the series. The standard variant of this weapon shoots up to six bullets that then seek their targets. Acquiring the weapon a second time while still possessing one will increase the speed at which the bullets travel, which in the end traduces in the player being able to shoot more often.

While the target-seeking behavior of these bullets means they'll do most of the work for the player, sometimes easily reaching targets that would otherwise be difficult to aim at, the bullets sometimes tend to miss their targets and/or end up circling around them without managing to connect. If many bullets end up in this situation, the player can be left vulnerable and unable to defend themself, so they're advised not to get overconfident with this weapon and to refrain from shooting its full load at all times.

Contra III: The Alien Wars[]

The Homing Gun returns in this game and can be obtained not long after starting the first stage. This time, the gun shoots a series of red micro missiles at a very fast rate and which travel at great speed, almost tracing a single stream of rockets with a slight spreading pattern that leave almost no space left between them. However, to compensate for this behavior that could otherwise be considered to be overpowered, the missiles deal the least damage of all weapons in the game, sometimes taking longer to fell a resilient enemy even if all missiles hit their target. Only five missiles per Homing Gun held can be onscreen at a time, which could leave the player at a disadvantage to enemy swarms if nearby enemies surround them while the missiles are tracking elsewhere from an immediate threat. A total of ten missiles can be onscreen by one player if two are held. Like other weapons, the missiles may blink in a two-player game due to sprite limitations.

Another slight shortcoming of this weapon is that if enemies come from the rear, the missiles will start their trajectory by first circling downward around the player, often making them to exit the screen at the bottom and be wasted. This forces the player to either turn around themselves to help the missiles find their targets, or to jump and leave with this enough space below them for the missiles to circle around and reach their targets.

Despite this, the seeking capabilities of the Homing Gun make it a great weapon to have in many situations, as the missiles can often reach difficult targets while there's too much chaos going on the screen and the player is more occupied in dodging attacks. When no enemies are present on initial firing, the missiles simply fly straight across, while partially spreading apart from each other. If a target the missiles were chasing is eliminated, they'll seek out a new target or will simply fly straight offscreen if no target is available. Homing missiles will home in on Power-up Capsules if they are present on the stage.

The missiles behave identical in top-view stages. They can prove useful in Hard mode against certain Dome Defender units, specifically the ones that require a 180° turn facing away from them. The missiles can tend to arc when homing in on an enemy, useful for defeating enemies lurking behind barricades. Lastly, the missiles can help in Stage 5, where enemies can appear in hard to reach or unreachable locations, or can help deal with weak enemies while the player is facing the swirling sands.

The Homing Gun behaves identically in Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX.

Contra: Hard Corps[]

Homing is Ray Poward's Weapon D. It is a powerful machine gun that fires homing micro missiles, both behaving and physically looking almost identically to the Contra III variant; and like it, each missile only contains half the firepower of a standard bullet. Visually, the missiles appear slightly different than previous counterparts, being a silver and blue capsule shape with a tiny bright yellow and white explosion attached to their backside (silver part). Homing missiles do not home in on Power-up Capsules.

Some enemies utilize similar types of missiles that bear an identical aesthetic as Ray's. The missiles are useful on the Square Terror in-between its transformations, as both the homing and rapid fire can continuously rank up points for Ray, easily gaining extra lives earlier than intended.

Contra: The Alien Wars (GB)[]

Due to limitations, the bullets appear identical to rifle rounds. Up to four homing bullets can be on-screen at one time. If four are currently present, the player cannot fire their rifle until there is less than four homing bullets on-screen. The player can still fire a Hyper Shell while there is four homing bullets present.

Contra: Legacy of War[]

C: The Contra Adventure[]

Contra: Shattered Soldier[]

When the Diver Mine is selected and the rifle is charged, the player will fire 8 simultaneous Homing Missiles in a spread-like fashion.

Neo Contra[]

A lock-on weapon that can launch four missiles simultaneously. The explosive impact of each missile is strong.
~ Instruction booklet description.

Contra 4[]

The missile weapon makes a return in Contra 4, this time dubbed Hunter. In this game, the missiles behave identically to previous homing missiles of past titles, but their rapid fire status is diminished when holding the FIRE button. A player may still rapidly fire missiles by repeatedly tapping the FIRE button. When upgraded, homing missiles fire three rounds per press of the FIRE button in a three-way vertical column before homing in on enemies. Up to 16 missiles can be onscreen at one time, although this is hardly noticed due to their fast traveling speed. A player cannot fire more missiles until there are less than 16 onscreen, which could leave them vulnerable if missiles are chasing down too many enemies at once. On smaller enemies, missiles will sometimes circle around a target as they attempt to hit it. This generally occurs if the player fires a diagonally aimed bullet over an enemy. This can also be a downside as bullet ammo is "wasted" onscreen. Like previous games, if a target the missiles were seeking is eliminated, they'll either seek out the next target or simply scatter and fly offscreen if no enemies are present.

Missiles behave identically in tunnel stages. They are useful in the Alien Hive, as they can easily eliminate ceiling crawling aliens.

Contra ReBirth[]

Contra: Evolution[]

Unlike other incarnations of this weapon, the Homing Gun in Contra: Evolution has a much slower rate of fire, launching a single homing missile every determined time, thus only allowing for about two or three missiles to be onscreen at a time. The missiles are also slower and tend to fly all about the screen seeking targets, often leaving the player without immediate means to defend themselves.

Despite of this, this weapon can prove to be very useful in some situations, such as when an enemy is positioned on a faraway platform and has covered most ways to reach it (such as a Basquez unit), the player can just find a safe spot and start shooting homing missiles at it until the area is cleared.

Hard Corps: Uprising[]

Contra Returns[]

Contra: Rogue Corps[]

Contra: Operation Galuga[]

Called Homing Missiles in this game. Its assigned color is gold.
The base level missiles have a similar rate of fire as their Contra III variation; when there is no enemy target to seek, the missiles have a slight variation in launch angle (which oscillates from the aiming direction) when fired. Visually, the missiles appear as a tall silver silo with a red tipped warhead, similar to its top-down perspective from Contra III. When upgraded to Level 2, the warhead and flame both change to blue, resembling the Crush Gun missiles from previous titles (or Ray's Homing missiles); more importantly however, the missiles gain the ability to pierce the first enemy target they strike (somewhat like a laser beam), allowing them to persist and continue travelling to seek a second target, before finally exploding upon hitting their target.
Its Overload is the "Drones", which summons four self-propelled drone units that fire lasers at nearby enemies, moving as required to follow slightly behind the player; they remain active for around six seconds before flying away.

Instead of the Homing Missiles, Browny and Fang utilizes the Homing Beam when an H power-up is collected. This variation fires a pulsating pair of two electrical orbs tied to a tether that erratically track down opponents, similarly to Big Fuzz's tracking laser beams attack. Each electrical chain lasts for three seconds and during this time it can hit one or more targets several times. When upgraded to Level 2, each electrical chain moves by 50% faster. Its Overload is the "Portal", which manifests four portals (one at character on front, the other three in different positions and directions) that convert your attacks into three blistering lasers for around five seconds.

Gallery[]

Screenshots[]

Icons[]

Audio[]

Sound Location
Contra: Hard Corps
Contra 4
Contra ReBirth

See also[]

References[]

  1. Contra: Hard Corps instruction booklet, page 14.
  2. Contra Force instruction booklet, page 10.
  3. Contra: Shattered Soldier instruction booklet, page 12.
  4. Contra: Operation Galuga
  5. Contra 4 Japanese instruction booklet.
  6. Neo Contra instruction booklet, page 14.
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