Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX, known in Japan as Contra: Hard Spirits (魂斗羅 ハードスピリッツ?), is a run-and-gun action platformer video game developed by Cing Inc. and published by Konami for the Game Boy Advance handheld system.
After Contra: The Alien Wars for the Game Boy, Konami released a second portable version of Contra III in 2002 for the Game Boy Advance titled Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX, which was released in Japan as Contra: Hard Spirits (魂斗羅 ハードスピリッツ?). Unlike the original Super NES game and the previous Game Boy adaptation, Contra Advance was released in Europe and Australia under the "Contra" name without the "Probotector" title and robotic characters.
The designers made changes to many of the features of the original game due to the Game Boy Advance's lack of X and Y buttons.
- Bombs and the ability to wield two weapons were removed.
- The player can now lock their character's aim like in Contra: Shattered Soldier (allowing them to move anywhere while shooting at one direction).
- The player is given a choice to revert to their previously held weapon when picking a new one.
- The top-view stages (Stage 2 and 5) from the original Super NES game were replaced with two stages from Contra: Hard Corps (the Military Train and Big Battle stages).
- This version only has two difficulty levels, Easy and Normal, with Easy mode cutting the game's length at the end of the fourth stage.