Packaging illustration for the NES version. The two human characters, Bill and Lance, were drawn by British artist Bob Wakelin, while the background was reused from the original Japanese promotional art.
|Genre(s)||Run and gun|
|CPU||Hitachi 6309 (12 MHz)|
|Sound||Motorola 6809 (3 MHz) driving a Yamaha YM2151|
Raster, standard resolution (Used: 224×280)
Contra is a run and gun video game developed and published by Konami, originally released as a coin-operated arcade game on February 20, 1987. A home version was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988, along with ports for various computer formats, including the MSX2. The home versions were localized in the PAL region as Gryzor on the various computer formats and as Probotector on the NES, released later. Several Contra sequels were produced following the original game.
The game can be played by one or two players, but due to the graphical limitations of the NES, Bill and Lance lost their individualized character designs. Instead, they are both depicted as shirtless commandos distinguished by the colors of their pants (blue pants for the first player and red pants for the second). When one player loses all of his lives, he is given the option to use the other player's stock to keep fighting.
The NES version recomposes the 7 stages of the arcade version into 8 stages. Stages 2 and 3 were combined into one stage, resulting in the renumbering of the Waterfall level from Stage 4 to Stage 3, while Stages 5 and 6 were combined into the new Stage 4. The final four stages of the NES version (the Snowfield, Energy Zone, Hangar and Alien Lair) are based on the different areas featured in the arcade version's final stage. The level designs themselves are drastically different from the arcade version too. The two base stages for example (Stage 2 and 4), no longer have their mazelike structures nor is there any time limit involved. The boss of the waterfall stage was also changed from a diamond-shaped sensor to an alien statue.
Contra was one of the early NES games to feature the Konami Code. Inputting the code at the title screen starts the player with thirty lives instead of the usual three. The cheat will be in effect as well when the player runs out of lives and uses a continue to retry a stage.