Information about the various types of weapons that have appeared throughout the Contra series. Most weapons have limitless ammunition and do not suffer any real world mechanical impediments (only limited to in-game mechanics).
In most of the classic titles, weapons can be found by shooting Flying Capsules (also known as Power-Up Capsules, Weapon Wings, or Flying Item Pods). These are small blimps bearing the Red Falcon motif which travel from one end of the screen to the other in a wave-like pattern.
Flying Capsules only appear at determined sections of the map and always carry the same power-up within them. Once shot, the weapon contained will spring out of the blimp; care must be taken when shooting one or the weapon could end up falling inside a bottomless pit or land on a section of the map where it could become mandatory to pick it up, forcing the player to change their current weapon.
Pill Box SensorEdit
Pill Box Sensors are metallic hatches embedded on the terrain at determined sections of the map. These usually open and close periodically, revealing a Red Falcon insignia inside, at which point the player can shot them to reveal the weapon they contain.
In most recent games (mainly 3D ones), the appearance of Flying Capsules has been replaced by different characters already counting with a specific weaponry repertoire particular to them. In some occasions, such as in Contra: Hard Corps, Flying Item Pods still appear and their contents are used to upgrade a specific weapon within the character's arsenal.
The Rifle is the default weapon for a majority of the Contra games. It has a semi-automatic rate of fire and deals relatively low damage. As such, it is not very popular among fans, being referred to as a pea-shooter.
The Machine Gun (M), also known as Heavy Machinegun, is the first available power-up in the game. It is similar to the default Rifle in terms of damage, but it is fully automatic and fast-shooting, the only such weapon in the original game.
In Contra III: The Alien Wars, the Machine Gun replaces the Rifle as the default weapon. This arrangement is carried forward into almost all Contra sequels. There are exceptions, however, such as if a distinctive character instead uses a sword as a primary weapon.
The Spread Gun (S), also known as Spread, Spread Shot or Spray Gun, is a power-up that enables to shoot in five different directions. It is semi automatic, but starting from Contra III: The Alien Wars it was capable of fully automatic fire, albeit slower compared to the Machine Gun, and deals relatively high damage. It is often regarded as the best weapon in Contra. Limitations in the first few games prevented the spread gun from continuously firing up to five rounds on each shot, and would start to fire three rounds if fired too fast.
Up-close firing may result in multiple hits in a single shot, a desired quality when handling bosses.
This weapon is available in almost every Contra game. There are weapons, introduced in later games which duplicate the qualities of the Spread Guns. For example, Contra: Legacy of War introduced a spread ground torpedo, while C: The Contra Adventure introduced a self-forging grenade which launched a grenade which produced shrapnel which were thrown forward and bounced along the surface until exploding when hitting an enemy.
The Laser (L), also known as Laser Gun, fires a laser beam which inflicts high damage upon impact. However, it was not a popular weapon in the first game as it was limited to a slow rate of fire. In addition, if a consecutive laser was fired after the first, the first laser would disappear. This was revamped in later games, and it soon became a popular weapon for dealing high damage.
Laser guns in later games also sport additional properties such as homing or shooting in a specific direction. Neo Contra introduced a satellite laser in which the laser is fired from an orbiting satellite.
The Flame Thrower (F), also known as Fire Gun or Fire Ball, is a weapon that shoots fireballs that spiral toward the target in the original Contra. In Super C, however, the weapon operates in a completely different way: it fires one huge fireball that breaks off into eight smaller fireballs when it strikes a target. Charging the weapon will produce a large fireball that breaks into even more fireballs.
The Homing Gun (H), also known as Homing Shot or Homing Missiles, fires rockets that home in on enemies, eliminating the need to aim. It first appeared in Operation C and later in Contra III: The Alien Wars, slowly also becoming a staple in the series. The damage of the projectiles is usually very low in order to compensate this weapon's high versatility.
The player is advised not to get overconfident assuming the projectiles will do all the work, as in some games they tend to miss their targets frequently or may remain occupied seeking other enemies instead of the ones that are currently posing a greater threat to the player. Furthermore, in some games there is a limit of the number of projectiles that can be on the screen at a time, potentially leaving the player vulnerable while all of them are seeking other targets.
Variations of the Homing Gun exist, including a homing chopper in which the projectile is powered by a propeller.
The Crush Gun (C), also known as Crush or Crash, are blue missiles that deal high damage but suffer from short range, so they are hard to use in levels that include lots of long range engagements. When upgraded in Contra 4, they can be used from a longer distance.
Once it hits an object or reaches a certain distance, the missile will detonate and the explosion will remain in place for a short time, dealing additional damage which can potentially amount for a heavily destructive attack.
Besides weapon upgrades, there are also power-ups that enhance the performance of the current weapon, act as an extra weapon or give the player temporary extra power.
The Rapid Fire (R) power-up, also known as Rapid Bullets, is a special upgrade that increases the rate of fire possible for the current weapon. Its effects can be seen better in the "Base" stages of the original Contra, where the weapon projectiles appear to move faster. However, many people did not know about its effect at first, and it was often regarded as "rarely useful". This upgrade cannot be used simultaneously with the Laser.
The power-up was removed from Contra III: The Alien Wars as the default rifle was replaced by a fully automatic machine gun; and also from Contra 4, as all weapons in the game were capable of fully automatic fire.
The Barrier (B), also known as Barrier Shield or Force Field, is a power-up that first appears in the third level of the original Contra. It is a special power-up that makes the affected player have temporary invincibility. The player will flash red and blue, and any enemies that make contact with them will be destroyed instantly. It was made more prevalent in Super C.
The Mega Shell, also known as Mass Destruction, is a special power-up that is unique in the fact that it is not represented by a letter but by a symbol of a falcon, referencing to the antagonist "Red Falcon". When it is picked up, the screen will flash and all onscreen enemies will be destroyed. Therefore, it is a highly valuable power-up. It is not collectable and is used instantly once the character touches this smart bomb.
The Bomb, also known as M-80,000 Helio Bomb, is a special weapon introduced in Contra III: The Alien Wars. Unlike regular power-ups, it is a collectable item. When activated, it sets off an explosion that instantly destroys all enemies caught within its considerable blast radius and deals considerable damage to bosses, somewhat replacing the Mega Shell in use. If the player dies, all bombs in stock will be lost.