CONTRA 4 > ARSENAL
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Although Contra 4 offers no new guns or powerups, its arsenal is a balanced mix of Contra, Super Contra and Contra III.
The Normal Gun is brought back as the default weapon; players can hold 2 guns; the powerup guns share functions from the aforementioned Contra games. Returning from the original arcade Super Contra is the ability to upgrade a powerup gun to a second level by acquiring another icon of the same gun; this only applies to the Normal and Hard difficulties, as Easy mode provides automatically upgraded powerup guns.
All guns have automatic firing, but the firing rate for most guns can be increased by rapidly pressing the fire button.
A newly introduced feature for the arsenal is the ability to discard the currently equipped powerup gun. The player has the opportunity to re-acquire it before its icon disappears. If the player has an upgraded powerup gun, they can discard both pickups of the gun. This feature is exclusive to the Normal and Hard difficulty settings.
Powerups are acquired through various objects and enemies scattered throughout the game.
-Specific enemies in the Base stage:
-Specific enemies in the Factory stage:
-Specific enemies in the Alien Hive stage:
-The interval brain enemy during the battle with the true final boss:
The player starts with this gun and, assuming they have a gun powerup, will revert to it when respawning after death or discarding their gun. It can be fired at a fast rate by rapidly pressing the fire button.
Machine Gun (M):
Shoots a rapid stream of bullets, fired automatically. After upgrade, dual Machine Guns are fired, shooting bigger and stronger bullets. The upgraded Machine Gun is the most powerful gun in the game; it’s also the most effective against bosses/mini-bosses.
Fireball Gun (F):
Shoots small fireballs in a corkscrew trajectory. Can be difficult to use as a result of this, as well as its slow rate of fire. Deals slightly more damage than the regular bullets. When upgraded, it functions like the Fireball Gun from the NES version of Super Contra. Shoots large fireballs that, upon impact, explode into 4 smaller fireballs that spread diagonally out. Per shot, the fireball is the most damaging of all gun bullets. Firing rate for both power levels can be increased by rapidly pressing the fire button.
Laser Gun (L):
Shoots short, thin beams that inflict a moderate amount of damage. Upon upgrade, it fires thicker beams at a high rate; the beams penetrate enemies and obstacles. Firing rate for the primary power level can be increased by rapidly pressing the fire button.
Spread Gun (S):
The series’ staple. Shoots 3 large bullets that fan out. It is effective against large groups of enemies and does high damage at close range. When upgraded, it instead shoots 5 large bullets that fan out. The upgraded form is even more useful for large groups of enemies and causes much more damage at close range. It is a very useful gun and some may consider it a game breaker. It becomes very handy to use in combination with the upgraded Machine Gun. Firing rate for both power levels can be increased by rapidly pressing the fire button.
Homing Missiles (H):
Similar to the Homing Missiles from Contra III, the bullets actively seek enemy targets. It shoots small missiles in single file, dealing moderate damage. However, it has a slow rate of fire and can occasionally miss targets at crucial moments. When upgraded, it shoots 3 homing missiles at a time, able to inflict considerable amounts of damage. Firing rate for both power levels can be increased by rapidly pressing the fire button.
Crush Missiles (C):
Fires smalls blue missiles. The missiles create multiple small explosions upon impact. Its range is limited when aiming upwards, across both screen. After upgrading, shoots large missiles that travel long distances, but they cause the same amount of damage as the primary form. Firing rate for both power levels can be increased by rapidly pressing the fire button.
A falcon powerup without a letter. It clears all enemies on-screen.
The player is surrounded by a gold, transparent sphere, during which they are protected from enemies and attacks. The effect lasts for approximately 30 seconds.
Not a regular weapon, but is still used to attack enemies. Found near the end of the first stage, it is first encountered as an optional mini-boss. After disabling it (either by direct damage or by killing the machine’s operator), the player can board it and use it for the length of the rail. Its cannonball isn’t very effective, although no real enemy threats are encountered during use; it cannot be damaged while used by the player. The Track Car is more useful to bypass a stretch of the stage without risking any of the player’s lives.
The following 2 guns are special “prototype” weapons that are exclusive to certain challenges in Challenge Mode.
V Homing Missiles:
Similar to the upgraded Homing Missiles powerup, except it shoots 5 homing missiles at a time and has a slower rapid fire rate. The projectiles also have a greater miss rate than the Homing Missiles, especially at close range. They frequently miss a target and instead circle around it. The most notable feature about this gun is that its missiles are miniature Vic Viper ships.
Classic Laser Gun:
This laser weapon is taken from the arcade/NES version of the first Contra, as well as the NES version of Super Contra. Fires a “sticky” laser beam that resets each time the fire button (Y) is pressed. It causes moderate damage, but its awkward mechanism makes it difficult to use.