Emperor Demon Gava (天王鬼 ギャバ Tennō Ki Gyaba?) is one of the main antagonists in the Contra series. He was introduced in 1988 as the final boss in the arcade version of Super Contra. He belongs to the Red Falcon organization, being its highest ranking member and presumably its leader, as he is often encountered as the final boss near the end of many games.
Because the American localization of the first games referred to "Red Falcon" as both the name of the alien army as well as its unseen leader, coupled with the fact that Gava was the final boss in the second and third games (in particular the latter, where he is shown to have triggered the massive "Alien Wars"), this alien entity was considered for years to be the true face of the enemy and associated the name "Red Falcon" with him. In Japan, that name has only been used to refer to the alien army. Contra 4, released in 2007, officially labeled this creature as being Red Falcon itself, adding to the confusion, along with it being male.
Gava is found at the very end of the aliens' nest level. He emerges from what might have been his prior form: an organic beast consisting of three, slightly fused, monstrous faces aligned horizontally. The design of these faces are similar to Gerbis's head, the boss of the Jungle stage (an immobile alien structure that protected the entrance to the hive). This organic barrier shoots energy projectiles at a high rate of fire, with large mite-like aliens coming out of tunnels on the sides.
With the destruction of the barrier, a hardened bulbous-like mass is all that remains with a victory theme playing in the background, giving the illusion that players have beaten the game. Moments later however, the mass breaks apart, revealing a tunnel from which Gava's head emerges. His two snake-like arms come out from two holes located on the sides. Gava's attacks are extending his arms out periodically toward the players and releasing several aliens with scythes from his mouth. He has many vulnerable areas that can be destroyed, such as both his eyes, the snake-arms, the pulsing-lungs located on the sides of his neck (when destroyed, the speed and rate in which his arms can extend are diminished considerably), and his main weak point: the red core located on his forehead containing an alien embryo, complete with an umbilical cord. Gava will attempt to protect this embryo by spewing out several small, floating masses that will spin around the red core which can be destroyed.
After sufficient damage has been dealt to him, his entire body begins to explode; amidst the explosions, the alien embryo can be seen crawling out of Gava's forehead before it unfolds its wings and flies away. The fate of this newborn alien is never revealed in future titles, but it can be assumed that it grew up into the new Gava that serves as the main antagonist of the sequel, Contra III: The Alien Wars.
The events featured in Super C (the console version of the arcade Super Contra) are considerably changed. To begin, Gava is no longer the final boss, due to the game featuring additional hive levels beyond the one he is featured in. His boss fight is largely simplified and easier overall: he does not possess two snake-arms, but instead releases fully independent alien serpents that come out of the holes located on Gava's sides before hiding away into the other and vice versa. The destructible lung-like organs and red core containing the alien embryo on his forehead are absent. His eyes can no longer be destroyed but instead act together as Gava's main weak points. He only releases red homing fireballs from his mouth. Contrary to the arcade version, defeating him does not bring about the end of the alien invasion, as it would seem Kimkoh takes command of the remaining army following Gava's death.
This marks Gava's first appearance in the entire Contra series. A specific detail that always remains with each incarnation is the inability for players to see his entire body; he is so massive that only his upper body is ever visible onscreen, leaving it entirely unknown on what his lower half looks like, let alone how large it actually is. A plausible theory is that his lower half is directly connected to the surrounding alien hive, making the entire area simply an extension of his physical being.
Interesting to note is that Gava's size in this game remains as the most massive he has ever been in any Contra game.
Gava and his Red Falcon organization returns and launches the most massive attack on Earth yet: using unknown means, he fires a massive beam on a populated human city, effectively turning it into a ruin. His face ominously appears as a giant apparition in the sky.
He is not seen again until the final battle of the game, within the alien hive. He drags himself down from the tall ceiling when Bill Rizer and Lance Bean reach his lair (unlike his prior incarnation, in which Gava crawled across the floor). In his default form, his attacks are: extending his two snake-like arms (their patterns are much more versatile), and when he temporarily retracts towards the ceiling, not only do each of his arms spew out three projectiles, he also spawns large floating alien grubs (identical to the ones birthed by the Parasite Slug) from his mouth. Like his prior incarnation in the arcade version, Gava features several destructible body parts, increasing the difficulty of the battle as players proceed to remove them. If either of his arms are killed, runner aliens will fall out of the gaping hole every time he retracts to the ceiling. If both his arms are killed, Gava will stop retracting entirely and will remain close to the floor, constantly releasing runner aliens from both arms wounds. If both his eyes are blown out, he will spit out alien grubs at a faster rate. His main weak point is the red core located on Gava's forehead, and hitting this area will cause a slight shaking of the entire area.
After sufficient damage, his entire body will begin to explode continuously until his face disappears and reveals his giant brain with a single eye in the front. This is the start of the second phase of the battle: the brain rotates eight different spheres around itself, each representing an attack it is capable of unleashing. Shooting one of these will trigger the attack associated with the sphere. Some of these attacks offer very little danger while others are incredibly difficult to maneuver and dodge. The challenge comes from having to aim the rapidly rotating objects in order to hit and trigger a desired attack that not only favors the heroes' survival, but also leaves the brain open to as much damage as possible.
When Gava's brain is defeated, it will turn into a dull purple and fall to the ground. Bill and Lance are picked up by their helicopter which infiltrated the weakened hive from above. Gava's brain, however, will regain its red coloring before covering itself in a hardened, living organic armor featuring four climbing limbs. It will use them to chase after the escaping helicopter in a final attempt to kill the heroes riding on it. Curiously, despite being clearly an armor of some sort, this alien requires less firepower to take down. It eventually explodes and presumably takes the whole hive with it.
Gava is a boss in Neo Contra. After he is defeated, his brain will then function as the next boss.
Emperor Demon Gava
You will recognize this creature from previous Contra titles, since he was the final boss in the arcade version of Super Contra (and a regular boss in Super C, the NES version), as well as a boss in Contra III: The Alien Wars and Contra: Shattered Soldier. This time his head is inside a capsule in the center of the room, with four smaller heads in floating capsules around him. Each head has both a bullet attack and the big head also has an electric attack. The smaller heads will stomp the ground, causing a wave of bullets to spread outward in all directions. The larger head can emit multiple bolts of electricity, but it only impacts a small area. It is very similar to the mecha in Stage 3. The big head is shielded, but it is constantly dropping a section of shield to release a wave of bullets. Usually it only drops one or two sections of shield at a time (each section is about 1/6 of the full shield), however it will on occasion drop the entire shield and flood the room with bullets. The bolts never stop moving, so get used to run-and-gun tactics.
The electrical bolts are easy to avoid by themselves since they move fairly slowly. The danger is that they tend to blend in with the background and get lost in the field of bullets constantly flying at you. It's easy to get so busy trying to doge the projectiles that you run into a bolt of electricity. The bullet attack from a single small head is easy to avoid, but you can get caught in the cross fire of two small heads if you're not careful. The larger head's bullet attack is harder to avoid because the only way to hit it is through the opening it creates to fire on you.
Yet again, as was the case with Guerrilla and Animal Contra, prioritize destroying the smaller heads with lock on beams since you won't get percentage points for them if you take out the big head. Take them out one at a time since every time you destroy one it reduces the amount of things that can kill you. The big head is more of a problem since it will blanket practically any spot that would give you a clear shot with gun fire. You can either try to aim a shot at the head from where it isn't shooting, (but this requires very precise aim) or, since you can clearly see where the shield will drop (it turns brown right before it drops), you can get a shot off before it starts firing, though this is quite dangerous. The best time to hit it is after it drops the entire shield since it will stay down longer than usual. Basically, get in hits whenever you can and once you get rid of the smaller heads the only threat is the big head's wave of bullets.
Don't try using the Katana since it's suicidal with said weapon (you can't get close enough to attack). However, the weapon that makes this guy laughably easy is the 6V Laser (Weapon Set F) since it can go through the shields for some bizarre reason whatsoever. Just take out the smaller heads, stay behind a shielded section and fire away.
Brain Organism Searle
As in Contra III, after Gava dies, his brain remains behind to finish the fight. While the brain remains stationary there is still a lot of activity on the ground. 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 sent out energy balls that rotate around the room, must like the mines, but also slowly spiral outward. 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 side step 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'll 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 tends to intercept the slower projectiles so you will miss a fair amount of the time. As with the Head, the 6V laser can take it down very quickly since it can cut through the mines.
In this game, he appears at the end of Stage 5, although he is not the actual final boss. He also looks more insect-like compared to his other appearances, like having human incisors rather than sharp alien teeth, and having insect papillae. He shoots two long lasers from his eyes (warned by two thin lasers), fires miniature versions of the centipede boss from Stage 1 from his two "arm" holes instead of the cycloptic serpents, and has miniature Kimkohs assisting him.
- Age: 42 (humanoid form), ??? (alien form)
- Height: 200 cm (humanoid form), 48 m (alien form)
- Weight: 130 kg (humanoid form), 12,000 t (alien form)
- Super Contra (1988)
- Contra III: The Alien Wars (1992)
- Contra: Shattered Soldier (2002, Gava actually appears when Lance Bean fused)
- Neo Contra (2004)
- Contra 4 (2007, in visual similarities only to Black Viper's final form)
- Contra ReBirth (2009)