CENSORSHIP

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Censorship within the Contra games had occurred predominantly to the PAL releases of the earlier titles, unarguably during the series’ height in popularity. The most notable aspect is the renaming of Contra to Probotector, as well as the in-game changes accompanying it. Here, the violence is toned down by replacing human characters with robots, and alterations to other aspects to appear more robotic or alien in nature.

The primary reason for the changes in name and graphics are the policies in Europe regarding violence. In particular, Germany’s BPjM laws prohibited the sale of violent video games to minors; this would negatively affect the sales of Contra games. Featuring robots instead of humans greatly tones down the violence to resolve this issue.

The only other instance of censorship in the Contra series would be seen much later, in a subtler form. Additionally, there is one instance of improper censorship seen in one of the ports, which is also discussed here.

Listed below are the changes, if any, that had been made to each Contra game in order to tone down the violence, when they were localized to PAL regions.

Contra (NES):
-Renamed to Probotector.
-All human characters have been changed to robots.
-The 2 playable protagonists have generic robotic designations for names.
-The helicopter in the ending has been replaced by a fighter jet to better suit the futuristic feel to the game.

Super Contra (NES):
-Renamed to Probotector II: Return of the Evil Forces.
-All human characters have been changed to robots.
-The 2 playable protagonists have generic robotic designations for names.
-The helicopter at the start of stage 1 and the one fought as a boss on the same stage have been redesigned to better suit the futuristic feel to the game.

Operation C (GB):
-Renamed to Probotector.
-All human characters have been changed to robots.
-The playable protagonist has a generic robotic designation for a name.

Contra (GB):
Note: This pertains to the Contra game in the compilation Konami GB Collection Vol. 1.
-Renamed to Probotector.
This entry has surprisingly undergone no other censorship. Despite the name change, including for the title screen, the Japanese version is retained in its entirety.

Contra III: The Alien Wars (SNES):
-Renamed to Super Probotector: The Alien Rebels.
-The 2 playable protagonists have been changed to robots and have generic robotic designations for names.
-The protagonists’ appearances have also been changed appropriately for the intro, ending and multiple intermission sequences.
-The references to previous Contra games in the end credits have been changed appropriately.
However, everything else remains the same. There are no appearances of humans during gameplay, for example; all enemies are already either aliens or are robotic in nature.

Contra: The Alien Wars (GB):
-Renamed to Probotector 2
-The playable protagonist has been changed to a robot and has a generic robotic designation for a name.
-The protagonist’s appearance has also been changed appropriately for the intro, ending and multiple intermission sequences.
-The secondary protagonist that appears in the intro sequence, who is unplayable, is also a robot instead.
However, everything else remains the same. There are no appearances of humans during gameplay, for example; all enemies are already either aliens or are robotic in nature.

Contra: Hard Corps (Genesis):
-Renamed to Probotector.
-Several characters have been changed to robots: the playable protagonists and the Hard Corps Commander.
-Deadeye Joe and Colonel Bahamut have been changed to aliens and are not referred to by any names.
-The sequence where the player character comments on the unnamed robot has been removed.
-Dr. Geo Mandrake is not a traitor in this release; he therefore does not appear in several later parts of the game that he does in the overseas counterparts.
-The alien cell has been replaced by the X-Drive, a powerful energy source.
-At the start of Stage 5B, the helicopter pilot helps the player, not the Alien Pawn (Deadeye Joe).
-The offer to defect, proposed to the player by Colonel Bahamut near the end of one of the paths, has been removed.
-All instances of vulgar have been replaced by mild words.
-All human enemies have been changed to robots.

Contra ReBirth (Wii):
-For the North American and PAL region releases, the composite sketch of Chief Salamander in one of the intermission sequences has been changed from a man resembling Adolf Hitler to a humanoid reptile.
This is the only instance of a Contra game undergoing censorship outside PAL regions, occurring in North America. Additionally, it is the only instance where the censorship does not involve robots or the Probotector name.

 
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