Searle (頭脳生命体サール Zunou Seimeitai Sāru?, lit. "Living Brain Organism Searle") is a recurrent boss in the Contra series. It is Emperor Demon Gava's own self-sentient and mobile brain, who won't stop fighting even if its body has been destroyed.
Living Brain Organism Searle is Emperor Demon Gava's own self-sentient brain. It made its first appearance in Contra III: The Alien Wars, where it becomes exposed after its owner's body is destroyed. A rather disturbing enemy consisting of a living giant brain bearing a single eye on its center. It has the ability to levitate and to defend itself via a wide repertoire of attacks.
While Searle does not attack directly, the orbs rotating around the brain will decide what attack he will perform. Searle is invincible at this point, so the player has to shoot one of the orbs to get started in a sort of lottery fashion. Depending on which orbs the player ends up getting by shooting, the battle against Searle can be either very hard or relatively easy.
- Shield Orb
About five or six gray orbs will surround the player and slowly begin to converge until they eventually kill them. M-80,000 Helio Bombs help greatly here; otherwise, the player probably will not be able to destroy all the orbs in time as they are very resilient.
- Snake Orb
One of the hardest attack patterns. A large snake-like formation is constructed with these orbs and then it starts to rapidly slither left and right around the screen in a wavy serpentine motion for about thirty seconds. Its movement is incredibly fast and hard to predict, often resulting in the loss of at least one life. The player should better have excellent timing and dexterity to survive this nightmarish pattern. It is recommended to avoid getting this orb at all costs.
- Blue Orb
Another one of the hardest attack patterns. These indestructible bubble-like blue orbs are released in large quantities, linger very long, and bounce around unpredictably and erratically. There are no best strategies for this attack pattern other than just dodging them as best as possible. This pattern is also bound to result in at least one death.
- Stone Orb
One of the tougher attack patterns but definitely not the hardest. Searle will move all the way to the lower right side of the screen and two or three (depending on the difficulty level) formations made of three orbs will start "leap-rolling" toward the player. The player has to time their jumps well in order to get over the first formation and still have time and good positioning to jump over the next one(s) the same way.
- Thorn Orb
The player should try aiming for this orb as much as possible. While this is the best orb one can get due to the multitude of power-ups that Searle will start tossing around, he also churns spikes among them, so there is still a chance the player can die. Each item/spike will explode the moment it touches the ground, luring the player to risk approaching the monster in an attempt to snatch a power-up and potentially killing them with a spike if they are not able to get out of the way in time. The player should be careful and try to identify which item is being thrown as fast as possible, and also be prepared to retreat if necessary.
- Walker Orb
Searle grows a pair of legs made of orbs and starts walking left and right in an attempt to stomp the player. He can be avoided by moving either to the left or right edge of the screen and jumping at the right time (usually the legs do not reach the edges, but it is better to be prepared in the rare case they do). Since it moves in a manner that is difficult to follow, it is not recommended to stay below this creature.
- Brain Orb
A group of smaller brains surround Searle; these brain orbs do nothing other than protect him with their bodies. This is the easiest non-bonus orb the player can get, as they can be destroyed, leaving an unprotected opening where the player can attack the monster himself.
- Eye Orb
These eyeballs are shot out by Searle in an upward arc that then fall all over the battlefield. These orbs are similar to the Blue Orbs, except that these can be destroyed, which makes the battle much easier, along with their patterns being a bit more predictable.
Every time one of these attacks has finished, Searle will momentarily phase out and reappear once more at the center of the screen. It will then spawn another set of spinning orbs and repeat the cycle all over again.
Searle also has a second form known as Six Men Feromedos (although it has only been seen in Contra III), where he summons and clads himself inside a hard shell bearing disturbing alien motifs which also gives him the ability to climb on walls at great speed thanks to the four beast-like limbs it counts with. Being that this fiend is even at an inner level than Gava himself, Searle could be considered to be the true mastermind behind the alien invasion that took place during the Alien Wars, the same way as Gomeramos King was in the first Contra after defeating Demon Dragon God Java.
First appearance of this enemy in the series. Brain Organism Searle appears after defeating Emperor Demon Gava, being his own self-sentient brain.
The boss features several possible phases it can go through during the fight. Eight orbs will appear spinning around it; when shot, the orb that was hit will determine its next attack. After going through it, it will go back to its spinning orbs phase and the player has to hit another one. The player can choose which orb to hit if they have good aim or wait for the spinning to slow down. This can be used as a strategy, as some attacks may provide power-ups or bombs. The boss is only vulnerable when in an attack pattern.
Once the brain has been defeated, a military helicopter will breach the aliens' nest from above and the player will latch onto it. Unless playing the game on a lower difficulty, the still-living brain will summon and clad itself inside hard armor bearing four tentacle arms and proceed to chase the helicopter up the way out in a final confrontation. The boss attacks from below with tackles and tentacle strikes; the player has to jump when necessary while also trying to find a moment to aim down and shoot at the creature.
Searle appears after defeating Emperor Demon Gava. If the sight of a giant floating brain bearing an eye on its center wasn't disturbing enough, this time around the organism features a child-like humanoid face underneath.
Unlike its Contra III incarnation, it does not use the spinning orbs but sends out mines which rotate around the room. It also sends out energy balls that rotate around the room, like the mines, but they also go outward. In addition to those attacks, it shoots fireballs at the player and fires exploding balls as well. Searle also remains completely stationary, unlike its previous appearance.
Even though Searle himself does not appear in Contra 4, Black Viper's Gava-like final form has its weak point being a Searle-like brain, although it lacks the spinning orb attacks. Black Viper will sometimes retreat upward and send copies of the brain, some of which retain one of the attacks Searle had in Contra III: the bouncing eyeball orb attack. However, the brain is completely dependent and vital to Black Viper, and she will die once it has sustained enough damage, which can be done by shooting one of her serpentine arms until it blows up, which leaves a spot where the player can momentarily grapple on to and shoot the Searle-like organism.
- Brain Organism Searle and Six Men Feromedos do not appear In the Game Boy port, Contra: The Alien Wars; the game immediately ends after defeating Emperor Demon Gava on any difficulty setting.
- Searle may have been inspired by the Xaerous Brain or the Brain Golem from the Gradius and Salamander series, another two Konami franchises.
- Although Searle does not appear in Contra 4, one of Black Viper's brain attacks is the eyeball orb attack from Contra III, which sends bouncing eyeballs downward (miniature brains in Contra 4).