Emperor Demon Dragon God Java (天王鬼龍神 ジャバ Tennō Ki Ryūjin Jaba?), formerly known in western releases as "Red Falcon", is the first main antagonist in the Contra series. He was introduced in 1987 as the final boss of the arcade version of Contra. He belongs to the Red Falcon army, being its highest-ranking member in that game and the leader in command of the first alien invasion attempt on Earth.
He is actually identified as two separate entities: his head and upper body are known as "Emperor Demon Dragon God Java", while his heart is known as "Gomeramos King".
Java is depicted as an enormous alien creature that in 2633 invaded planet Earth. He was the commander of the intergalactic army known as Red Falcon in that campaign, being its highest-ranking member. However, the real purpose of the invasion was not actually to conquer the planet, but to retrieve an artifact of great power that had been stolen by the humans from a shrine belonging to them in Jupiter. He and his army came to Earth inside a giant meteorite that crashed near the Galuga Archipelago. They took control of the island and brainwashed the local military forces in order to do their bidding.
The Federation sent two commandos from the "Contra" task force named Bill Rizer and Lance Bean to infiltrate and stop the invading forces. Both soldiers alone successfully managed to neutralize the controlled local army and the aliens, ultimately breaking into their nest, which actually happened to be a gigantic biomass that conformed Java's own body.
After successfully defeating Java's upper body, they delved further inside his organism until coming face to face with his still living heart, which after one last desperate struggle was also destroyed.
Other invasion attempts commanded by other alien leaders followed after this defeat, with Java (or other creatures of the same species) included within their ranks.
In the original Contra, the game's final stage as a whole is considered to be the entire alien entity that is Java, with the hero first battling his head and then, at the stage's conclusion, his heart. Throughout the series, Java is usually depicted as a large worm or dragon-like alien head. He vomits an endless supply of Bundles - flying and persistent creatures that attack the player. The player is obstructed by a mount of immovable boulders (or skulls) and cannot progress to the next corridor until Java is destroyed.
In most cases, after the head has been destroyed, Java materializes one last time as a giant heart the player needs to do battle with. This form is characterized for covering up an entire wall, pulsating rapidly as it provides life to the rest of the biomass. This form usually has a set of alien eggs surrounding it on both ground level and ceiling as a last means of defense against potential threats, which release an unrelenting hoard of spider-like creatures.
Java made his first reappearance in Contra III: The Alien Wars, where he appears as one of the many minibosses that are fought throughout the last stage. While both of his forms —head and heart— do appear and the level's layout is similar to that from the first game, he is neither a primary antagonist, nor does it necessarily mean that his heart is providing life to the rest of the biomass. In fact, no plot involvement was given to him ever again, neither in this nor any other game he also appeared in; being relegated to appear only as a recurrent miniboss, which could imply the possibility that he is just one individual of a race of giant slug-like Java creatures.
Contra: Hard Corps continued to reimagine Java's appearance through dramatic alterations, this time being much more mobile and somewhat resembling either a fish or a frog, and as such, having visible eyes for the first time. He appears as an optional miniboss near the end of one of the many paths the player can take.
In some of the later entries in the series, Java only makes an appearance in the form of a giant heart, with the exception of Contra: Shattered Soldier, where he appears as an eel-like alien that spends most of its time eating shredded meat, completely independent of a heart.
- See also: Gava (regional differences)
Given that character names and storylines are often changed or altered when a video game is released between different countries, continuity differences may often occur. The name "Red Falcon" is heavily affected by this; because the Japanese market originally envisioned Red Falcon only as an alien/terrorist organization and not an actual alien leader, there is no legitimacy on what Red Falcon's true appearance is meant to be in the West.
Due to liberties taken when the first games were localized in North America, both Java and Gomeramos King —the two creatures the player faces at the end of Contra— were generally considered to be components of "Red Falcon"'s physical form, thus making this name refer to both the army and also its leader. However, in the original Japanese storyline, those creatures, already being given names of their own (which never made it to North America) only make up the leaders of the Red Falcon army. Furthermore, the final boss of Super Contra, Gava (known in North America as Jagger Froid), who is stated to be the real leader of the alien army, is also commonly confused with the name "Red Falcon".
All this brought a major inconsistency in the North American localization of Contra III: The Alien Wars, when Java, until then known as "Red Falcon", made a reappearance in the game's final stage, and perhaps as a consequence he was renamed as "Para-Slug". However, in Japan all the names remain consistent throughout the series.
- Contra — Appears as a giant dragon or chestbuster-like alien head.
- Contra III: The Alien Wars — Appears as a giant dragon-like alien head (renamed Para-Slug).
- Contra: Hard Corps — Appears as a giant fish/frog-like alien head.
- Contra: Shattered Soldier — Appears as a fish-like alien head.
- Contra: Evolution — Appears as a giant dragon or chestbuster-like alien head.
IGN ranked Red Falcon 76th being one of the Top 100 Villains due to his persisting resurrections.
- In the Game Boy port, Contra: The Alien Wars, three Javas are fought in the final stage; the additional two make up for other missing minibosses from the original version of that level, Gomeramos King and the Metal Alien.
- Java's general physical appearance appears to be inspired by the chestbuster from the Alien franchise.
- In Contra III: The Alien Wars, the alien head form is slightly altered through the addition of tiny arms. As a result, his appearance loses some resemblance to the iconic film creature.
- Despite being referred to as a male, Java is capable of giving birth, although this is done by vomiting his offspring out into the world. Even though he is called "dragon" in its original Japanese name, his overall shape (and subsequent renaming in Contra III as "Para-Slug") may suggest his physiology is similar to that of a gastropod, bearing hermaphrodite characteristics.