Contra Wiki
Contra Wiki
Contra Arcade High Score List

Score Ranking screen from the arcade version of Contra.

Score is a recurring game mechanic featured in the Contra series. It is a numeric counter that indicates the amount of points a player has collected during the course of the game. These are usually obtained by defeating enemies and by finishing a level, with their values generally differing in relation to the progress that has been made into the game. Reaching a determined amount of points will usually award the player an extra life.


In just about every arcade game released, a score mechanic was included to reward the player for various gameplay elements and actions, with players competing for high scores recorded, forcing some players to play these games repeatedly in an act of competition. The first two Contra arcade games are no exception. A score counter is used in these two games to grant players extra lives when reaching certain limits and players can achieve these by shooting at just about everything. Anything that grants score can only be obtained for one player each, meaning competition between two heroes is likely as players prove to become the "better" hero.

Because the mechanic was integrated well into the Contra games, the Score mechanic has recurred in most (if not all) of its titles, acting as a staple feature for the series.




Before a game is started, a list of high scores can be seen after the demo reel. When a credit is inputted, the screen will display a notice, reminding the player that they are awarded an extra life after reaching a score total of 30,000 points, then will receive extra lives after every 70,000 points obtained. Score is constantly displayed as the player is traversing through stages. A player's score is not visible until they have entered the game. This means that if one player is active, the other player's score is hidden until they enter the game. As long as that playthrough continues, a score is always visible even after a player has lost all their lives.


The score is immediately shown at the start of every stage, including the first stage, along with the current lives counter, both blinking in and out on the screen. In game, there is no visible way to track a player's score, as the numbers are all hidden from normal view. When all players receive a Game Over, they are taken to the Continue screen, which displays the players' last known score before the final life was lost. The continue screen is basically identical to the scoring screen shown before a stage. When a continue is used or an extra life is borrowed from a partner to continue mid-game, the returning player's score is reset to 0. Player 2's score will always display alongside Player 1's score even if there is only a one player game in effect.

Contra III: The Alien Wars[]

The scoring system behaves similarly to the NES version of Contra. When a stage is cleared (other than the final stage), an image is displayed before the score display screen appears. This means that after viewing this Score display screen, another one will appear just before the next stage. A Hi Score is now listed on the top of the score display screen noting the current highest score achieved during any game played. The Hi Score will always reset to default if the system is shut off. In this game, there is now a Stage Clear bonus of 10,000 point each time a stage is cleared and is added visually in the screen it is displayed on. The Clear Bonus is awarded to each player that is alive at the end of a stage, and is perhaps the only time throughout the entire Contra franchise where score is applied to two players simultaneously instead of just to one player. A Final Score screen will be displayed as the absolute last image before being taken back to the main menu, showing the final score achieved for players during their current playthrough. Difficulty does not appear to affect the scoring system. As listed in the Super Probotector instruction booklet, the first time a player (starting on a new Continue) reaches 20,000 points, they are rewarded with an extra life. Afterward on the same continue, an extra life is granted upon every 60,000 points obtained.

Contra: Hard Corps[]

Score is only visible when receiving a Game Over or at the end of a path for the current game. In this game, if a player has a specific Weapon power-up and picks up a duplicate letter associated with the weapon already in possession, they will receive an additional 573. In a one-player game, the score will display the proper position of the player that is playing, due to allowing a one-player game to be played on player 2's slot only instead of just player one's controller slot (player one's score is on the left while player two's score is displayed on the right). The current stock of extra lives are no longer displayed in a Score display screen.

In the Score display screen, appears a unique formation of stars that resembles the letter 'C' (as in "Contra"). These stars can be controlled using Player 2's controller, with the following outcomes:

  • A/B = Zooms out/in
  • C = Resets to original default motion
  • D-Pad left = Spins axis sideways
  • D-Pad right = Rotates axis vertical
  • D-Pad up = Rotates axis sideways
  • D-Pad down = Stops movement

Contra: The Alien Wars[]

Behaves similarly to its Super NES counterpart with minor details implemented. The stage clear bonus appears to be missing. Each time a stage is cleared (except the final stage), a password is awarded to the player so that they may continue the game from the start of the next level. during the credits, the final batch of text displayed includes the player's final score.

Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX[]

Behaves similarly to its Super NES counterpart with minor details implemented. It is unclear if the Stage Clear bonus is removed in Contra Advance, as there isn't a screen that displays such a bonus at the end of a stage anymore. There is a rank at the end of the final level noting how well a player's progress was overall. Whenever the score is being displayed after clearing Stages 1-5, a password is shown at the bottom of the score display screen, so the player can continue their game from the main menu. These passwords do not appear in a co-op game, requiring a full run of the game from the first stage in this mode.

Contra: Shattered Soldier[]

Score is displayed when the game is paused. In a one player game, that player's score is centered on the pause screen. In a co-op game, player 1's score is positioned left while player 2's score is positioned right. Player 1's score is highlighted in blue while Player 2's score is red. A high Score is displayed on the top-center of the Pause Menu.

A Hit Rate counter is displayed on the top-center of the screen. Hit Rate is used to determine a player's overall rank in a stage, as well as any lives or continues used. During the final Results of a stage, a player will lose ranking percentage for every life loss and continue used. A Higher Hit Percentage equals to a higher rank. Ranking ultimately determines game progression.

Neo Contra[]

Score behaves near identical to its previous installment, Shattered Soldier. A high Ranking may lead to unlockable content.

Contra 4[]

Behaves similarly to its Contra III incarnation, in which the score display is visible not only during a Game Over, but also before each start of a stage, which also displays the player's chosen character entering from the left side and running toward the right side of the screen. The score no longer displays at the end of the game after the credits. A High Score is also saved, displaying the highest score obtained. The life counter can display the number 100 despite only being able to obtain 98 extra lives max. This can be seen using a glitch to obtain 99 lives, which involves the use of the scoring system to grant an extra life to the performing player.

The scoring system is not used in Challenge Mode.

Contra ReBirth[]

Score remains hidden from view and can only be seen during pre-stage intermissions. Unlike previous games, Score does not seem to affect anything at all and is merely a visual. This is due to score not awarding the player with extra lives within this installment of the Contra series.

A Stage Clear bonus is awarded for clearing any stage, but only if the player did not use a majority of continues. A pre-set bonus is awarded at the end of a stage, with this bonus decreasing by a certain amount each time a player loses an extra life.

Hard Corps: Uprising[]

Score is displayed above a player's Health Meter and Life counter. Score behaves identical to previous Contra titles in Arcade Mode. Certain pickups award massive amounts of points, especially the hidden items. A combo meter is present that acts as a Score multiplier as long as a player continuously hits with their weapon before the gauge depletes. The more kills made, the higher the Combo Meter will rise. Taking damage resets the meter. A ranking system is also present at the end of a stage which will affect a player's overall ranking. Each player has a separate scoring system; the higher the score equates to a higher rank. Rank is determined by overall stage efficiency, such as Time cleared and "Special bonus" (clearing the stage with as little damage as possible, with no damage runs granting a massive amount of points). Clearing the stage with a higher rank will award more points at the end. When playing the game in Rising Mode, score is converted into CP (Contra Points) used to purchase items and upgrades at the Shop. A player's highest rank is recorded, though only for player 1. If a player is defeated when the stage is cleared, they receive no bonus points and a rank of D.

A trick can be used to gain a massive amount of CP for one player during a 2 player game. To do this, one player must be in defeated status when crossing over to the next level and the surviving player must clear the stage as normal. On the next level, the defeated player must return to battle via a borrowed life just before the stage is cleared. Once the stage is cleared, the returning player will be awarded 525,0000 bonus points, the highest possible bonus reward primarily rewarded for not taking any damage throughout the stage. The reason this occurs is likely that the game only checks to see if a player received damage or not, regardless of status. This exploit can be used to obtain much Contra Points easy without much effort.