'Contra', is a master of the fighting spirit and guerrilla tactics.
~ Famicom intro
For other uses, see Contra (disambiguation).

Contra, distributed as Gryzor in Europe and Oceania, is a 1987 run-and-gun action game developed and published by Konami originally released as a coin-operated arcade game on February 20th, 1987. A home version was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988, along with ports for various computer formats, including the MSX2. The home versions were localized in the PAL region as Gryzor on the various computer formats, and as Probotector on the NES, released later. Several Contra sequels were produced following the original game.


In 2633, two armed Elite Marine Commandos "Contra" named Bill and Lance are sent on a mission to neutralize a terrorist organization called Red Falcon that is secretly planning to take over the entire world and it is up to this two man army to put an end to this madness once and for all.


Contra is a run-and-gun platformer, notorious for its difficulty. It gives the player a gun which can shoot infinitely, and can be upgraded to have new abilities and shoot different projectiles.

The weapons can be found in pill-box sensors, or in weapon capsules. If they are destroyed, the power-up falls out and can be collected to upgrade the player's weapon. This weapon can be lost when the player comes into contact with a deadly enemy or obstacle, losing a life instantly. The character can shoot in eight directions, and can crouch. The player starts with three lives, which are represented by medals. The player can earn extra lives by destroying enough enemies and raising his or her current score. you can steal some lives to join the game. The game also has several "3D" sections, in the second stage (Base 1) and fifth stage (Base 2). There are electric barriers that can kill the player if he or she comes into contact with them. To proceed, you will have to destroy the orb in middle of the room. There is a boss on every stage. In order to proceed to the next stage, the player needs to defeat this boss. There is a total of 8 stages.


Red Falcon

Main article: Red Falcon

The main antagonist is the invading alien army known as Red Falcon. Their members serve as the in-game enemies and come in many different varieties; these include brainwashed human soldiers, machines, and alien creatures.


Main article: Alien

The first alien appears as the boss of the third stage, the Waterfall. After this boss fight, other kinds of aliens are seen throughout the rest of the game. These range from small, deformed creatures to lethal mandibles mounted on walls and ceilings (as seen in the final stage, the Aliens' Lair).


Stage 1 - Jungle

Stage 2 - Base

Stage 3 - Waterfall

Stage 4 - Base 2

Stage 5 - Snow Field

Stage 6 - Energy Zone

Stage 7 - Hangar

Stage 8 - Alien's Lair


  • Introduction - Contra
  • Stage 1 - Battle in the Dense Forest
  • Stages 2 and 4 - Labyrinth Fortress
  • Stage 3 - Waterfall of Bloodshed
  • Stage 5 - Fortress in the Ice
  • Stage 6 - Fortress in the Fire
  • Stage 7 - Fortress in the Fire (arcade), Battle in the Dense Forest (NES/Famicom)
  • Stage 8 - Horrible Heartbeat
  • Boss clear - Triumphant Return
  • Final Boss clear - Alien Dead Jingle
  • Ending / Credit Roll - Sandinista
  • Game Over - The End

Ports and remakes

  • Contra (LCD) — A 1989 handheld version in LCD format published by Konami.
  • Contra (MSX2) — A 1989 expanded port of Contra for the MSX2 Japanese home computer.
  • Contra (mobile) — A 2003 remake of Contra for mobile platforms.
  • Contra: Evolution — Another remake of Contra (2010) also for mobile platforms.


Much of the game's popularity came from its two-player simultaneous cooperative gameplay, which was an uncommon feature in video games at the time. Another aspect of the game's huge success was its motif and inspiration; Contra is mainly inspired by a combination of three hugely popular contemporary action films: Commando, Rambo and Aliens. In fact, many of Red Falcon's forces are inspired in the Alien franchise, such as facehuggers and ovomorphs. In addition, Bill Rizer's and Lance Bean's physical designs were based on Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, respectively; the two box-office guarantee action movie stars at the time.

While successful in the arcades, the game became, and remained, wildly popular and remembered when it was ported to Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988, right after its arcade release a year prior. It has been voted No.1 by many websites, notably IGN's as being the "Toughest Game to Beat"[1]. Nintendo Power ranked it the seventh best Nintendo Entertainment System video game, calling it one of the best multiplayer NES Games.[2]. ScrewAttack named it the fifth best NES of all time in the 1980s.[3]

Related products


Promotional artwork


  • Title screen
  • The main character starts with three lives.
  • Two player mode.


Contra (Japanese commercial)

Contra (Japanese commercial)


  • The Japanese release include additional backgrounds, a map showing the player location, the characters communicate via radio and different animated title screen and ending. All this was possible thanks to the VRC-2 chip made by Konami for their games. However, in the North America this doesn't appeared due to the fact that Nintendo made standard games for its commercialization in America and Europe, the chip was not included in this game.
  • The American version of this game was set in contemporary times, as opposed to the futuristic setting of the Japanese version. Also, Bill and Lance's names were changed to Mad Dog and Scorpion in the American release.
  • If the player keep pressing the buttons Start and Select before and during the credits, you will see a hidden message that talks about red falcon being invincible, and that soon it would take over “all the bases”, it is not clear what bases they refer to.
  • In the European versions the main characters (and some enemies) are replaced with robots due to a German law of showing violence to minors.
  • In the European versions the third boss has different arm colors.
  • The game has a famous cheat code called the Konami Code. The player can get 30 lives after pressing the following button combination on the title screen: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start (this code works in every version).
  • The title screen is different in every version.
  • The MSX2 port features 19 levels instead of 8. Instead of the story ending after destroying the Alien Heart, the game continues into many underground corridor levels and a few bases inbetween them. The final level is a deep red in color alien lair, and the final boss is some sort of portal between dimensions. All of this was, unfortunately, done at the cost of the game being a screen-to-screen scroller. Any of the new levels do not have unique music.
  • Even in the original arcade version, the player is only allowed to continue up to three times. If they fail to complete the game upon the fourth chance, the game will be entirely over and they will have to start once again from the beginning.


  2. (Magazine) Nintendo Power - The 20th Anniversary Issue!. Nintendo Power. 231. San Francisco, California: Future US. August 2008. p. 71.