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Searle (頭脳生命体サール Zunou Seimeitai Sāru?, lit. "Living Brain Organism Searle") is a recurring boss in the Contra series. It is Emperor Demon Gava's own sentient and mobile brain, who won't stop fighting even after its body has been destroyed.

Description[]

Living Brain Organism Searle is Emperor Demon Gava's own sentient brain. It made its first appearance in Contra III: The Alien Wars, where it becomes exposed after Gava's body is destroyed. A rather disturbing enemy consisting of a living giant brain bearing a single eye on its center. It has the ability to levitate and to defend itself via a wide repertoire of attacks.

While Searle does not attack directly, the orbs rotating around him will decide which attack he will perform. Searle is invincible at this point, so the player has to shoot one of the orbs to get started in a sort of lottery fashion. Depending on which orbs the player ends up getting by shooting, the battle against Searle can be either very hard or relatively easy.

Appearances[]

Contra III: The Alien Wars[]

First appearance of this enemy in the series. Brain Organism Searle appears after defeating Emperor Demon Gava, being his own sentient brain.

The boss features several possible phases it can go through during the fight. Eight orbs appear spinning around it; when shot, the orb that was hit determines its next attack. After going through it, it will go back to its spinning orbs phase and the player has to hit another one. The player can choose which orb to hit if they have good aim and/or wait for the spinning to slow down. This can be used as a strategy, as some attacks may provide power-ups or Helio Bombs. The boss is only vulnerable when in an attack pattern. Searle's body never inflicts damage directly, and during the roulette spinning, the spinning orbs will not damage the player at all. In Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX, however, Searle's body always inflicts damage at any given time until defeated.

Once the brain has been defeated, it starts to explode, then teleports to the center of the room with a darkened coloration and its eye closed. A military helicopter will then breach the aliens' nest from above and the player will latch onto it. If playing the game on Easy or non-Japanese Normal mode, Searle's eye begins to blink, and his blood-red coloration returns. The brain then suddenly vanishes and the base begins to explode. If playing the game on Japanese Normal or Hard mode difficulty settings, the seemingly dead brain will suddenly come back to life and clad itself inside a hard carapace bearing four tentacle limbs tipped with skeletal hands. It will then proceed to chase the helicopter up the way out in a final confrontation. The boss attacks from below with physical tackles and claw swipes; the player has to jump when necessary, while also trying to find a moment to aim down and shoot at the creature.

Being that this fiend is only a vital organ keeping Gava himself alive, Searle could be considered to be the true mastermind behind the alien invasion that took place during the Alien Wars, the same way as Gomeramos King was in the first game after defeating Demon Dragon God Java.

Attacks[]

Shield Orb
Searle - 05

Eight flashing gray orbs will surround the player and slowly begin to converge until they either eventually kill them or are destroyed. M-80,000 Helio Bombs help greatly here; otherwise, the player probably may not be able to destroy all the orbs in time, as they are remarkably resilient. In Hard Mode, the orbs take significantly more damage to destroy. In a co-op game, only one player will be surrounded by orbs while the other player is spared. The second player can either help their partner escape or risk losing their life and focus on firing at Searle directly. Note that the Shield Orbs are always lethal to the touch at all times they're active, meaning the partner trapped by the orbs shouldn't move too close to the non-trapped partner, lest they drag them to their doom as well.

In Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX, if the surrounded player makes contact with Searle and loses a life, the orbs immediately explode, ending the attack.

Snake Orb
Searle - 06

One of the hardest attack patterns. A large snake-like formation is constructed with these orbs and then it starts to rapidly slither left and right around the screen in a wavy serpentine motion for about thirty seconds. Its movement is incredibly fast and hard to predict, often resulting in the loss of at least one life. The player should better have excellent timing and reflexes to survive this nightmarish pattern. It is recommended to avoid getting this orb at all costs. When Searle begins this attack, it starts on the ground until the entirety of the snake is unleashed, then Searle rises high above the screen. When the attack is about to end, Searle returns to the center of the floor to absorb the snake being once the attack has reached its end.

In Contra Advance, the snake moves significantly slower.

Blue Orb
Searle - 07

Another of the hardest attack patterns. These indestructible bubble-like blue orbs are released in large quantities, linger very long, and bounce around unpredictably and erratically. There are no best strategies for this attack pattern other than just dodging them as best as possible. This pattern is also bound to result in at least one death. The blue orbs absorb weapons fire, making Searle much harder to hit if large quantities are present.

In Contra Advance, there is only three orbs present at a time.

Stone Orb
Searle - 08

One of the tougher attack patterns, but definitely not the hardest. Searle will move all the way to the lower right side of the screen and two or three (depending on the difficulty level) formations made of three orbs each will start "leap-rolling" left toward the player. The player has to time their jumps well in order to get over the first formation and still have good positioning and time to jump over the next one(s) the same way. The player must also take care as to not come into contact with Searle. The orbs are solid and absorb a variety of weapon shots. In Hard mode, frame perfect jumps are a must to escape safely, the best timing being over a horizontal moving stone formation. There is a way to avoid this attack altogether due to tiny gaps between the connected pile of stone orbs. If one walks to either side of the room's edge, takes a small step in the opposite direction and goes prone in a certain spot, the player will never be hurt from the entirety of this attack. It is recommended to use the rightmost spot near Searle, between him and the wall (although one needs to be quick in positioning themselves before the attack starts). If crouching on the correct spot, not only is the player safe from harm, but can also deliver damage to Searle at point-blank range.

In Contra Advance, there are seven sets of two-orb formations. An eighth formation appears but is almost immediately destroyed as the attack concludes. Because Searle damages the player at any given time, and due to game's resolution, the gaps in the orbs can no longer be used to escape this attack, and the aforementioned trick no longer works here.

Thorn Orb
Searle - 09

The player should try aiming for this orb as much as possible. However, while this is the best orb one can get due to the multitude of power-ups Searle will start tossing around, he also churns spiked blocks among them, so there's still a chance the player can die. Each item/block will explode the moment it touches the ground, luring the player to risk approaching the monster in an attempt to snatch a power-up and potentially killing them with a spiked block if they're not able to get out of the way in time. The player should be careful and try to identify which item is being thrown as fast as possible, and also be prepared to move out of the way if necessary. In Hard mode, an increase in both power-ups and spiked orbs are present; and also, their dropping speed is twice as fast.

Walker Orb
Searle - 10

Searle grows a pair of leg-like limbs made of orbs and starts "walking" left and right in an attempt to stomp the player. He can be avoided by moving either to the left or right edge of the screen and jumping at the right time (usually the legs do not reach the edges, but it's better to be prepared in the rare case they do). Since it moves in a manner that is difficult to follow, it's not recommended to try to stay under him. The directions it moves in are somewhat random; so, if lucky, Searle may not even walk close to a player at all.

In Contra Advance, the legs perform an actual pattern of alternating left and right, and due to a smaller screen size than the Super NES, the legs always reach the edge of the room when stomping, so timed jumps are necessary to avoid the attack. If timed well, the leg will quickly move away, allowing the hero to land back safely. Otherwise, the player needs to be directly underneath Searle just before the attack begins to be "safe" from harm.

Brain Orb
Searle - 11

A group of smaller brains surround Searle; these brain orbs don't do anything other than protect him with their bodies. This is the easiest non-bonus orb the player can get, as the small brains can be destroyed, leaving an unprotected opening where the player can attack the monster himself. The Crush Gun is particularly effective during this attack, as the explosions the missiles produce will remain in place for a short time and potentially deal heavy damage to many brain orbs at once, as well as to Searle himself. Destroying these small brains may also grant a player with enough points for an Extra Life.

Eye Orb
Searle - 12

These eyeballs are shot out by Searle in an upward arc that then drop all over the battlefield. These orbs are similar to the Blue Orbs, except these can be destroyed, which makes the battle much easier, along with their patterns being a bit more predictable. Also, during this attack, Searle replaces its original eye with one of these orbs. The eyes may grant enough points for an Extra Life if continuously destroyed.

In Contra Advance, there can be a total of four bouncing eyes at once. When a fifth one appears, one of the eyes will travel off-screen to make room for a new eye produced.

Every time one of these attacks has finished, Searle will momentarily phase out and reappear at the center of the screen. It will then spawn another set of spinning orbs and repeat the cycle all over again. On Easy mode, only four out of the eight attacks can be executed, with only four spinning orbs with large spaces between them, where the other four missing orbs would be. The attacks on Easy mode are: Shield Orb, Eye Orb, Brain Orb and Walker Orb.

Six Men Feromedos
Searle - 02

Searle also has a second form known as Six Men Feromedos (doesn't appear in the Game Boy port of The Alien Wars), where he summons and clads himself inside a hard shell that, making honor to its name, bears the disturbing motif of six humanoid heads with tubes coming out of their mouths. This armor gives Searle the ability to climb on walls at great speed, thanks to the four beast-like limbs it counts with. Its only attacks while in this form are ramming at the fleeing helicopter above with its spiky upper shell, and performing long reaching claw swipes. This form only appears in Hard mode and non-international Normal mode.

To escape this nightmare once and for all, the heroes need to time their jumps whenever Six Men Feromedos rushes toward the helicopter. If they are hanging on the sides, then they must also avoid the constant alternating claw swipes being swung at the helicopter's edges. In Hard mode, Six Men Feromedos immediately starts the battle with claw swipes. Six Men Feromedos will only be damaged in the center of its body, so the heroes must take care not to accidentally jump off the helicopter when jumping to avoid the attacks and aiming downward. If the player has any Helio Bombs remaining, it is highly recommended to unload them all. Dealing enough damage will cause Six Men Feromedos to explode along with the rest of the alien hive, finally placing an end to the Alien Wars.

In Contra Advance, Six Men Feromedos won't claw swipe until a certain amount of time has passed. If the player is quick enough, it is possible to take it out before it even has a chance to claw swipe.

Neo Contra[]

Enlarged brain of Gava. The psychic ability has become stronger since it has broken out of the life support system. Life-forms called "Iga" are summoned from a different dimension and plasma fireballs are generated from airborne elements.
~ Official description

Searle serves as the last boss of Stage 5 (or the final boss overall, if the player failed to acquire an overall A or S Rank). In a strongly similar fashion as Contra III, eliminating the previous boss will cause a one-eyed brain-like organism to appear in the defeated boss's place. Searle's appearance is mostly identical to its Contra III appearance, but this time around the creature also features a disturbing childlike humanoid face underneath itself.

Searle remains mostly stationery in the center of the room, flailing about. 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 classic "Konami rotation" pattern. 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 G V Laser can take it down very quickly since it can cut through the mines. If used previously, the Drill may also prove advantageous due to the boss being primarily stationery.

Contra 4[]

Even though Searle himself doesn't appear in Contra 4, Black Viper's Gava-like final form has its weak point in the form of a Searle-like brain, although it lacks the spinning orb attacks. Black Viper will sometimes retreat upward and send copies of the brain, some of which retain one of the attacks Searle had in Contra III: the bouncing eyeball orb attack. However, the brain is completely dependent and vital to Black Viper, and she will die once it has sustained enough damage, which can be done by shooting one of her serpentine arms until it blows up, leaving behind a spot where the player can momentarily grapple onto and shoot the brain.

Contra: Rogue Corps[]

A new incarnation of the Searle appears as a boss in Contra: Rogue Corps. This Fiend boss is only found in the final section of the Exploration Mission "Chaos Finale". It resembles a large cyborg crab, possessing a head shaped like a brain sporting a single eye, and body and markings similar to the ones seen in Six Men Feromedos. The creature also possesses two mechanical sharp pincers with individual single eyes which change color according to attack patterns. The Searle attacks by jumping around while trying to smash its enemies, releasing large energy waves from its pincers, and summoning soldier-type Fiends and Fiend orbs to shoot laser beams across the circular battle arena (being also capable of consuming the former in order to regain partial health). Additionally, the boss can burrow into ground, and re-emerge under the feet of enemies, harming them in the process. Later in the battle, two structures besides the arena exit will emerge and constantly shoot laser beams and barrages of missiles. After the Searle is defeated, it will fall backwards and its body will be sucked into a portal.

Notes[]

  • In Contra III: The Alien Wars, according to internal data, Searle possesses close to 30,000 HP at the start of the battle, making it impossible to defeat him early in the encounter. After about seven attack cycles, his HP drops a significant amount, enough for players to eliminate the boss with concentrated firepower.
  • Neither Brain Organism Searle nor Six Men Feromedos appear in Contra: The Alien Wars, the Game Boy port of Contra III: The Alien Wars; the game immediately ends after defeating Emperor Demon Gava on any difficulty setting.
  • Searle also makes an appearance in Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX. Due to hardware changes, the boss has been slightly changed overall. Armored Searle is fought only on the Normal difficulty.

Gallery[]

Screenshots[]

Sprites[]

Artworks[]

Trivia[]

Brain Golem - 01

Golem from the Gradius series.

Searle - 13

Searle's Walker Orb attack.

  • Searle is apparently inspired by the Golem, a recurring boss from the Gradius and Salamander series (also by Konami); in particular, its "Walker Orb" form in Contra III: The Alien Wars.
  • In Contra III, one of the ending photos features Bill Rizer and Lance Bean facing off against Searle. However, in the European version, Super Probotector, there are no characters confronting him, leaving the photo showing Searle alone. This possibly was a workaround by the localization team to avoid drawing the Probotector characters.
  • Although Searle itself does not appear in Contra: Hard Corps, two fleshy eyeballs defending the mutated Gomeramos King bear a slight resemblance to Searle. The fleshy eyes also attack in a somewhat similar manner to some of Searle's attacks from Contra III.
    • The first attack slightly resembles the Shield Orb attack, where spheres surround the player(s). Although the eyes cannot be shot like the gray orbs, the eyes will eventually close in on the center of the room, similar to how the gray orbs close in on a player if not destroyed in time.
    • During the second attack, the eyes bounce around the room in a similar fashion as Searle's Blue Orb and Eye Orb attacks.
    • The third attack consists on the eyes jumping around the room similar to Searle's Stone Orb attack. Also, like the stone orbs, the eyes themselves can absorb certain weapons fire.
  • Even though Searle doesn't appear in Contra 4, one of Black Viper's brain attacks is the same as his eyeball orb attack from Contra III, which sends bouncing eyeballs downward (miniature brains in Contra 4).
  • The Zelos Force boss from Contra ReBirth borrows the bouncing projectiles attack from Searle, and is likely a homage to this recognizable attack.
  • The name "Searle" may be referencing John Searle, a philosopher known for contributions to the philosophy of the mind and studies of the consciousness, among others. The "Chinese Room" thought experiment is a concept developed by Searle to explain how a computer is not capable of true intelligence, but only of simulating intelligence through manipulation of symbols without understanding their inherent meaning.
  • Searle makes two minor appearances in the Bombergirl Short Comics; first in 2020, along with some other Contra enemies, and second in 2023.

See also[]

External links[]

Contra III: The Alien Wars
Organizations
Contra
Bill RizerLance BeanJimboSullyRD008RC011
Red Falcon
Bosses
Slave Beast TakaBosco SpiderBig FuzzAnti-Contra Battleship DodriguezAnthellEmperor Demon GavaLiving Brain Organism SearleSix Men Feromedos
Minibosses
Middle FortressMagnus Mk.2Dome DefenderTri-Transforming Wall WalkerGarth BaseBrother Robots Kenny 1 & 2High Speed Tank BoobyTetranduckerSensor ArmFierce CannonRocket Ninja SasakiOggie GeneratorJavaGomeramos KingKimkohMetal Alien
Stages
Occupied City StreetDestroyed HighwayFactory ZoneAir BattleSheer CliffAlien's Main Base
Soundtrack
Contra III: The Alien Wars Original Video Game Soundtrack
Neo Contra
Organizations
Contra
Bill Rizer (clone) • Jaguar
Neo Contra
Bosses
Guerilla ContraPlant ContraPheromone ContraAnimal ContraSearleMaster Contra
Minibosses
Gigamech • GegebonneMagnusMystery GEarth DragonGeroikaDograTarakoid SLand Worm • Beam Frame Mech • Drone Frame Mech • Tarakoid MKimkohGirongaGava
Stages
Frontline Base 985Stage 2BaseAircraft CarrierNeo Contra Research FacilityMaster C BaseSpace
Soundtrack
Neo Contra Original Soundtrack
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