All About Contra Game: A Compressive Guide

Contra, a name that resonates with power, challenge, and relentless action, stands as a pillar of the run-and-gun genre in video gaming. Since its debut in the mid-1980s, Contra has captivated gamers with its fast-paced gameplay, challenging levels, and memorable cooperative play experience. This blog post aims to dive deep into the Contra game, offering an in-depth guide to Contra, exploring its evolution, iconic moments, and the lasting impact it has had on the gaming community and beyond.

From the arcade cabinets to the latest consoles, Contra's journey through the years is a testament to its timeless appeal and the developers' ability to adapt and innovate within the franchise. Whether you're a veteran soldier looking to reminisce about your battles or a recruit eager to understand what makes Contra a revered series, this post promises a comprehensive look into the adrenaline-fueled world of Contra.

The Birth and Rise of Contra

Contra burst onto the arcade scene in 1987, quickly becoming a favourite for its intense action and cooperative gameplay. Developed by Konami, it set the standard for the run-and-gun genre with its side-scrolling shoot-'em-up style that was both challenging and immensely satisfying.

Transition to Home Consoles:

  • 1988: The release of Contra on the NES, making the franchise more accessible and introducing it to a wider audience.
  • Key Features: The game featured two commandos, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, in their fight against an alien menace, offering players an arsenal of weapons to combat diverse enemy forces.

In-depth Guide to Contra's Gameplay

Contra, a beacon in the run-and-gun genre, has captivated gamers with its straightforward yet challenging gameplay. This guide delves into the mechanics, strategies, and nuances that have defined Contra's legacy, offering both newcomers and seasoned veterans insights into mastering its levels.

Core Gameplay Mechanics

  • Run-and-Gun Action: The essence of Contra lies in its fast-paced, side-scrolling action. Players control a commando, moving through diverse environments while dodging enemy fire and responding with relentless firepower.
  • Jumping and Dodging: Mastery of the jump mechanic is crucial. Players must navigate terrain, avoid projectiles, and strategically position themselves to take down enemies.
  • Weapon Power-Ups: Scattered throughout levels are power-up capsules that upgrade the player's arsenal. These range from the Spread Gun, offering a wide attack range, to the Laser, delivering powerful, focused damage.

Advanced Strategies

  • Memorization: Success in Contra often comes down to memorizing enemy patterns and level layouts. Knowing where and when enemies appear allows players to position themselves advantageously.
  • Weapon Selection: Choosing the right weapon for the situation is key. While the Spread Gun is great for crowd control, the Laser or Machine Gun might be better for boss fights due to their concentrated damage output.
  • Co-op Play: Contra is renowned for its cooperative gameplay. Coordination with a partner can make navigating levels and defeating bosses more manageable. Sharing power-ups and covering different attack angles are strategies that can enhance the co-op experience.

Navigating Contra's Challenging Levels

Each level in Contra is designed with unique obstacles and enemy configurations. From the jungles of the Amazon to the depths of alien lairs, players must adapt their strategies to survive.

  • Vertical and Horizontal Scrolling Levels: Contra features both vertically and horizontally scrolling levels. Vertical levels require precise jumping and climbing, while horizontal levels focus more on forward progression and dodging.
  • Environmental Hazards: Apart from enemy fire, levels are filled with hazards like pits, water, and moving platforms. Awareness and quick reactions are essential to navigate these challenges.

Boss Battles

Boss fights in Contra are memorable for their scale and difficulty. Each boss has distinct patterns and weak points.

  • Learning Patterns: Bosses typically follow a set pattern of attacks. Observing and learning these patterns is crucial for dodging attacks and finding opportunities to strike.
  • Weak Points: Every boss has specific weak points. Concentrating fire on these points is the most efficient way to defeat them.

Tips for Beginners

  • Start with the Basics: Focus on mastering the jump and shoot mechanics. These are your primary tools for survival.
  • Use Continues Wisely: Contra is hard, and you'll likely need to use continues. Use early failures as learning opportunities to improve.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Don't be discouraged by early defeats. Contra is about overcoming challenges through persistence and practice.

Evolution of Contra Games

The Contra series, known for its quintessential run-and-gun action, has evolved significantly since its inception. This journey through the evolution of Contra games highlights the series' growth, the introduction of new gameplay elements, and its enduring legacy in the gaming world.

The Beginning: Contra (1987)

  • Original Release: The series debuted in 1987 with the arcade game Contra, which quickly became a hit due to its fast-paced gameplay, challenging levels, and iconic two-player cooperative mode.
  • Gameplay Foundation: Set against an alien invasion backdrop, players took on the roles of Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, armed with a basic rifle and the ability to upgrade their weapons through power-ups.

Expanding the Arsenal: Super Contra (1988)

  • Introduction of New Elements: Super Contra, the sequel, built upon the original's success by introducing new weapons and more varied levels, including vertical scrolling stages.
  • Enhanced Graphics and Sound: With improved graphics and sound, Super Contra offered a more immersive experience while retaining the core mechanics that fans loved.

The 16-bit Revolution: Contra III: The Alien Wars (1992)

  • Leveraging New Hardware: Released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Contra III: The Alien Wars utilized the 16-bit console's capabilities to deliver enhanced visuals and more complex-level designs.
  • New Gameplay Mechanics: This installment introduced new features such as the ability to wield two weapons simultaneously and the inclusion of vehicle segments, adding depth to the gameplay.

Going 3D: Contra: Legacy of War (1996) and C: The Contra Adventure (1998)

  • Transition to 3D: In the late '90s, the series attempted to transition into 3D gameplay with Contra: Legacy of War and C: The Contra Adventure. These titles received mixed reviews, as fans and critics debated the effectiveness of Contra's classic gameplay in a 3D setting.

Handheld and Compilation Releases

  • Expanding to Portable Devices: The Contra series found its way onto handheld devices, with titles like Contra 4 (2007) for the Nintendo DS, which was praised for returning to the series' roots.
  • Compilations: Various compilations, such as the Contra Anniversary Collection, have allowed new generations of gamers to experience the classic Contra titles on modern platforms.

Modern Iterations: Contra: Rogue Corps (2019)

  • Latest Entry: Contra: Rogue Corps represented the most recent attempt to modernize the series, featuring a top-down isometric view and a focus on multiplayer gameplay. However, it faced criticism for straying too far from the series' core mechanics and beloved style.

Iconic Levels and Bosses in the Contra Series

The Contra series is renowned not just for its challenging gameplay but also for its memorable levels and bosses that have tested the mettle of gamers for decades. These iconic stages and formidable adversaries have become hallmarks of the franchise, contributing to its legendary status in the gaming world.

Jungle - The First Foray (Contra)

  • Overview: The Jungle level in the original Contra is where it all begins. Its dense foliage, unpredictable enemy patterns, and the introduction of the series' staple run-and-gun action set the tone for everything that follows.
  • Significance: This level is iconic for being the first taste of Contra's relentless challenge, teaching players the fundamentals of the game's mechanics.

Energy Zone - The Fiery Gauntlet (Contra)

  • Overview: Known for its conveyor belts and streams of fire, the Energy Zone is a test of precision and timing. The level's fast-paced nature and environmental hazards push players to their limits.
  • Significance: It stands out as one of the most challenging levels in the original game, requiring mastery over the game's mechanics to survive.

The Alien's Lair - The Final Confrontation (Contra)

  • Overview: The climax of the original Contra, The Alien's Lair, pits players against the heart of the alien invasion. Its organic, otherworldly design and unique enemies make it a memorable finale.
  • Significance: This level is iconic for its atmosphere and hosting one of the series' most recognizable bosses, the heart of the alien entity.

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Notable Bosses

Red Falcon (Contra)

  • Overview: The Red Falcon serves as the main antagonist across the Contra series. Encountered in the final stage of the original game, this entity symbolises the alien threat.
  • Tactics: Defeating Red Falcon requires quick reflexes to dodge its attacks and a steady barrage of bullets to penetrate its defences.

Jagger Froid (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

  • Overview: This massive, screen-filling turtle boss from Contra III: The Alien Wars is memorable for its scale and the strategy required to defeat it.
  • Tactics: Players must navigate around their body, attacking the weak spots while avoiding a multitude of attacks from the boss and other enemies.

Gava and the Java (Contra: Hard Corps)

  • Overview: A standout boss fight in Contra: Hard Corps, Gava and the Java features a transforming enemy that shifts through various forms, each with its attack pattern.
  • Tactics: Success in this battle hinges on adaptability, as players must quickly adjust their strategies to counter each of the boss's forms.


Contra's legacy as a cornerstone of the run-and-gun genre is secure, with its blend of challenging gameplay, memorable levels, and cooperative fun standing the test of time. As we look to the future, the series' potential for further evolution and innovation remains vast, promising more adrenaline-fueled adventures on the horizon.

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1. What is Contra?

Contra is a popular run-and-gun action game series developed by Konami. It debuted in 1987 and is known for its challenging gameplay, cooperative mode, and iconic levels and bosses.

2. How many Contra games are there?

As of my last update, there are over a dozen main entries in the Contra series, along with several spin-offs and compilations. The series has evolved across various gaming platforms, from arcades and home consoles to handheld devices and mobile phones.

3. What makes Contra so challenging?

Contra is renowned for its high difficulty level, which stems from fast-paced enemy attacks, complex level designs, and limited player lives. Mastery requires quick reflexes, precise timing, and strategic use of weapons and power-ups.

4. Can Contra be played in multiplayer mode?

Yes, one of Contra's defining features is its cooperative multiplayer mode, allowing two players to tackle the game's levels together. This mode has been a staple of the series since its inception.

5. Are there any modern versions of Contra?

Yes, the Contra series has seen modern iterations, including Contra: Rogue Corps released in 2019. Additionally, compilations like the Contra Anniversary Collection have made classic Contra games accessible on contemporary gaming platforms, allowing new generations of players to experience the series.

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