Emperor Demon Dragon God Java (天王鬼龍神 ジャバ Tennō Ki Ryūjin Jaba?) is the first main antagonist in the Contra series. He was introduced in 1987 as the final boss in the arcade version of Contra. He belongs to the Red Falcon organization, being its highest ranking member in that game and the leader in command of the first alien invasion attempt on Earth.
He is actually identified as two separate entities: his head and upper body are known as "Emperor Demon Dragon God Java", and his heart is known as "Gomeramos King".
The real purpose of the invasion was not to conquer the planet, however, but to retrieve an artifact of great power that had been taken from a shrine belonging to them in Jupiter by the humans.
He and his army came to Earth inside a giant meteorite that crashed near the Galuga Archipelago. They took control of the island and brainwashed the local military forces in order to do their bidding.
The Federation sent two commandos from the Contra task force, known as Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, to infiltrate and stop the invading forces. Both soldiers alone successfully managed to neutralize the controlled local army and the aliens, ultimately breaking into their nest, which actually happened to be a gigantic biomass that conformed Java's own body.
After successfully defeating Java's upper body, they delved further into the biomass until coming face to face with his still living heart, which after a ferocious battle was also destroyed.
Other invasion attempts commanded by other alien leaders followed after this defeat, with Java (or other creatures of the same species) included in their ranks.
In the original Contra, the game's final stage can be considered the entire biomass alien entity that is Java, with the hero first battling his head and then at the stage's conclusion, his heart. Throughout the series, he is usually depicted as a large dragon-like alien head form, inspired by the xenomorph from the Alien franchise.
In Contra III: The Alien Wars, the alien head form is slightly altered through the addition of tiny arms. As a result, his appearance loses some resemblance to the iconic film creature.
In most cases, Java materializes as a giant heart the player needs to battle against. This form is characterized as covering up an entire wall, pulsating rapidly as it provides life across the biomass. This form usually has a set of alien eggs surrounding it on both the floor and ceiling as defense against potential attacks. These eggs will release an unrelenting hoard of spider-like creatures resembling the facehugger from the Alien franchise.
Contra: Hard Corps continued to reimagine his appearance through dramatic alterations. When both forms are fought within the same game, Java's giant heart always follows his head form.
In both Contra: Hard Corps and Contra: Shattered Soldier, human antagonists use his DNA and cells to do research and to use later to create new monstrosities. In later entries of the series, he only makes appearance in the form of a giant heart.
Given that character names and storylines are often changed or altered when a video game is released between different markets (especially in a series that has multiple games released throughout several decades like Contra), continuity issues commonly occur. The name "Red Falcon" is heavily affected by this; because the Japanese market originally envisioned the Red Falcon only as an alien terrorist organization and not an actual alien leader, there is no legitimacy on what Red Falcon's true appearance is meant to be.
Emperor Demon Gava and Emperor Demon-Breeding Heart Gomeramos King, the two creatures the player faces at the end of Contra, are generally considered to be components of his physical form, but this is only the case in North America, as in Japan, those creatures only make up the Red Falcon army and are not necessarily the leader of the organization. In fact, no definitive Red Falcon leader is ever clearly identified in the Japanese Contra timeline. With that said, the final boss of Super Contra, known as Jagger Froid in North America, which makes multiple appearances throughout the series, is commonly confused with Red Falcon.
Major inconsistencies began in the North American Contra III: The Alien Wars, when the alien head form of the supposed Red Falcon in the game's final was misidentified (or retconned) and renamed "Para-Slug". The Japanese names, however, remain consistent throughout the series.
- Contra — Appears as a dragon or xenomorph-like alien head and a giant heart.
- Contra III: The Alien Wars — Appears as a dragon-like alien head (renamed Para-Slug) and a giant heart.
- Contra: Hard Corps — Appears as a dragon or frog-like alien head and a giant heart.
- Contra: Shattered Soldier — Appears as a fish-like alien head and a giant heart.
- Contra 4 — Appears as a giant heart.
- Contra ReBirth — Appears as a giant heart.
- Contra: Evolution - Appears as a dragon or xenomorph-like alien head and a giant heart.
IGN ranked Red Falcon 76th being one of the Top 100 Villains due to his persisting resurrections.
- In the Game Boy port, Contra: The Alien Wars, three Javas are fought in the final stage; the additional two appear to make up for the other missing minibosses of the level, Gomeramos King and the Metal Alien.
- Despite being referred to as a male, Java is capable of giving birth, although this is done by vomiting his offspring out into the world. Even though he is called "dragon" in its original Japanese name, his overall shape (and subsequent renaming in Contra III as "Para-Slug") may suggest his physiology is similar to that of a gastropod, with hermaphrodite characteristics.