Contra Wiki
Contra Wiki
This weapon is sometimes referred to as "Mega Shell". For the proper bomb that detonates upon pickup, see Mega Shell.

The Hyper Shell (or simply Shell), also known simply as Bomb, Super Bomb or M-80,000 Helio Bomb, is a recurring weapon in the Contra series. It is an advanced variant of the Mega Shell that can be activated on demand.

General description[]

The Hyper Shell is an advanced variant of the Mega Shell that was introduced in the arcade version of Super Contra, where it only appears in the top-view stages. When activated, it will instantly detonate and deal extreme damage to all enemies onscreen, usually destroying them all, removing all projectiles, and dealing significant damage to bosses, so it is advised to be saved for the toughest situations. Unlike regular power-ups, it is a collectable item and will remain in the player's inventory until used. If the player doesn't use their Hyper Shell right away and manages to pick up another one, they'll stack up. If the player dies, all bombs in stock will be lost.

Game specific information[]

Super Contra[]

First appearance of the Hyper Shell bomb variant in the series. The Hyper Shell is a collectable item that only appears and can be used in the top-view stages. When activated, a missile head-like shell is released upward from the player character's position and detonates, producing a series of large explosions on the field (harmless to the player) that deal extreme damage to all enemies onscreen, as well as remove all projectiles, and deal significant damage to bosses.

Up to four shells can be collected at a time. When a Hyper Shell has been collected, an indicator will appear on the heads-up display, labeled simply "Shell", informing there is at least one bomb in stock, although there won't be any indicator informing how many shells the player has left.

If the player doesn't use their shells in Area 2, they'll retain their stock in Area 5 to use them there if they want to. Furthermore, if the player still has shells in stock after completing the game, these will carry on to the next loop(s).

This bomb variant doesn't appear in the NES conversion of the game, Super C, which instead reuses the original Mega Shell from the NES port of Contra, which isn't collectable and detonates instantly on pickup.

Contra III: The Alien Wars[]

This bomb item received a makeover in Contra III: The Alien Wars, localized in the English instruction booklet as the M-80,000 Helio Bomb. Unlike Super Contra, the bomb can be used in both the side-view and top-view stages. When activated, a circular blast made with Mode 7 effects will start expanding from the player's position until it reaches the edges of the screen, covering everything within its enormous radius and dealing extreme damage to any enemy it comes in contact with. However, it won't destroy standard (i.e., bullet type) and some other types of projectiles, and the player will still be vulnerable to them while within the explosion (only a few types of projectiles can be destroyed this way). Likewise, they'll also still be vulnerable to other types of damage, such as falling into pits and other environmental hazards. Up to nine bombs can be collected in this game.

In the Game Boy port, Contra: The Alien Wars, bombs are activated by pressing the SELECT button. The explosion's damaging effect is basically the same, although with reduced visual effects due to hardware limitations, with the screen simply flashing to a negative tone for a brief moment.

In the Game Boy Advance port, Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX, both bombs and the dual-weapon spinning attack were completely removed.

Contra: Hard Corps[]

A similar variant to that from Contra III appears in Hard Corps, simply called Bomb. Its effect is pretty much the same, but due to hardware limitations, instead of an expanding Mode 7 blast, the screen will split a second flash with nine exploding fireballs being released in a rotating circular manner from the player character's position, while a blue halo also expands horizontally at a greater speed, heavily damaging and most likely killing all onscreen enemies, removing projectiles, and significantly damaging bosses. Like in the previous game, up to nine Bombs can be collected. However, this is normally impossible to achieve, as only three Bombs in total can be collected from Item Pods, and it is near impossible for the tiny walking flower that appears during the Monster Genesis Machine boss fight in the Trap stage to drop five Bombs in a row, which would still only bring the total to eight maximum collected during any route. While the Bomb's explosion is onscreen, no other weapon can be fired by that player.

The main difference between this variant and the one from Contra III is the way the bomb is activated. Likely due to the standard Genesis/Mega Drive controller having only three buttons, and each one already assigned to a particular function (shoot, jump and switch weapons), the Bomb is placed on the player's weapon inventory instead, occupying the fifth slot. To use it, the player must press the SWITCH button until the Bomb is selected and then press the ATTACK button to activate it.

Unlike special weapons, and much like the default weapon, if a player dies while the Bomb is selected as the current weapon, their collection won't be lost. However, all Bombs are still lost on their final life lost.

Contra: Legacy of War[]

Called Super Bomb in Legacy of War, this explosive weapon behaves practically the same as its arcade Super Contra counterpart, producing a series of large explosions that deal heavy damage to all onscreen enemies, although the duration of this attack is very short in comparison. The player can collect up to nine of these bombs.






Sound Location
Contra III: The Alien Wars
Contra: Hard Corps


  • In several screenshots taken for the Contra: Hard Corps instruction booklets, it is shown that the players somehow have 69 Bombs in their inventory each in the first stage.

See also[]