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-This screenshot, taken from neoseeker, depicts different rail structure in the lower screen. It appears that it was taken in the June 27 build:


-The following pair of screenshots are taken from 1Up. On the left, the gun turret features a cruder design and in the place of the B powerup from the final, there’s a C. This appears to be an earlier version than the June 27 build:


-The following is from neoseeker. Taken near the end of the first rightward stretch inside Black Viper (Harvest Yard stage). An H powerup is found on the lower screen, as opposed to the S on the top screen in the final. A mouth is also missing from the ground beneath the player. Likely taken from the June 27 build:


-The player has infinite lives and possibly invincibility in this screenshot:


-From neoseeker. The blue grenadier is absent from the roof of the building:


-This is the first bridge encountered in the Jungle stage. In the final release, it does not explode and no powerup blimps appear at this point. The build version is unclear:


-From neoseeker. This screenshot depicts the climb up the missile in the Harbor stage. This section contains drastically different platforming sections and a busier background, with beams as support structures:


-Screenshot from nintendolife. Also likely from the June 27 build, with different rail structure in the lower screen:


-From neoseeker. The enemy placements on the grassy ledges are different from the final; possibly taken from the June 27 build:


-Credit to The Contra Headquarters for the following shot. Based on the presence of a map, this build is later than the June 27 version, possibly the July 11 demonstration. Notice, however, that the highlight of the current corridor is misaligned and there are no indications for which corridors yield gun powerups:


-Screenshot taken from GameSpy (now defunct). In addition to featuring infinite lives and (possibly) invincibility, the player’s bullets can cross from one screen to the other (which is not the case in the final version). This is evident by the presence of the powerups on the lower road. Build version is unknown:


-From GameSpy. Another screenshot that is likely taken from the June 27 build. It is in fact the same area as one of the screenshots above (with the different rail structure on the lower screen); only now, the player is hanging from the upper screen:


The following scans depict some very interesting early screenshots of Contra 4; possibly the earliest. They have been scanned from the August 2007 issue (#218) of Nintendo Power magazine. Note: Despite being present in the August issue, these screenshots had already been available on the internet as early as June of the same year.

-Track car mini-boss; notice that its explosive fireball has different graphics:


-End boss of the City stage; strong palette differences can be seen:


-Start of the Laboratory stage; one prominent feature is that the alien bugs appear to crawl along the walls only, as opposed to crawling primarily through the ducts; the creatures are also less detailed:


-This section of the Jungle stage is very different from the final. More importantly, notice that it depicts the 4-player mode that was planned, according to initial statements:


-At the Missile Hugger 3000 mini-boss of the Harbor stage; this area is drastically different, featuring smaller, but more numerous steel bars and even platforms to stand on; 4 player mode is presented again:


-Waterfall stage; that scuba soldier is absent from this area in the final:


Notice in the screenshots above that the Crush Missiles are different from the final version; they appear to fire in a pattern of 2 alternating heights. The Machine Gun bullets are also different, appearing larger and more spherical. It can be concluded from this set of shots that a large fraction of the game had already been completed in June of 2007.

-From GameSpy. Another shot from the drastically different missile climbing section:


-From IGN. Another section of the Jungle with different enemy placement:


-Another base screenshot, courtesy of The Contra Headquarters. Once again, the highlight on the map is misaligned:


-Cropped shot of the start of the Jungle stage. Notice the standing sniper is on the middle platform, as opposed to the top one in the final:


-From GameSpy. What can be said for certain is the crude turret design, as seen in a screenshot above:


-Sample of the Jungle stage, by Game Videos (now defunct). It is taken from an unknown build. Notice that the first bridge is destroyed by a suicide bomber. Powerup locations are also different:

-Sample of the Ocean stage, by Game Videos. It is taken from an unknown build:

-Longer sample of the Ocean stage, by Game Videos. It is taken from an unknown build. The background theme played in this video is an early rendition of the Ocean stage’s theme:

-Sample of the City stage, by Game Videos. It is taken from an unknown build:

-Sample of the Jungle stage, with music and demonstration of the Machine Gun and Spread Gun; by Game Videos. The background theme played in this video is an early rendition of the Waterfall theme:

-Sample of the Jungle stage, by Game Trailers at E3. This is likely the July 11 build:

-Brief footage from E3:

-Interview of Simon Lai, by Handsome Tom, at the 2007 E for All expo. Gameplay footage is spliced in:

-E3 montage, by Games Radar:

-Interview with Tom Hulett, by Game Trailers; features segments of gameplay footage from an unknown build:

-Compilation of early screenshots from 1Up:

-1Up show’s segment on Contra 4, which features samples of video footage from many of their early videos:

GameSpot Contra 4 E3 Demonstration, featuring Simon Lai of Konami:

This is a very interesting video due to the many differences present in the E3 build demonstrated by Simon Lai.

General – The gun powerup falcons flicker when they appear, until they land on the ground. The player’s death sound effect is missing. The color palette bar from the June 27 prototype is also present in this build.

0:34 – The player starts with 98 lives, when selecting stages from the Debug Menu, in this build.

1:01 – A camouflaged turret is present on the upper path (slightly off-screen in the video), which is absent in the final.

1:21 – The bridge isn’t destroyed due to the absence of a suicide bomber, whereas he is present in the final.

1:35 – Buggy player respawn animation, as the player is shown jumping backwards.

1:41 – Powerup is the Spread Gun, as opposed to the Crush Missiles in the final.

1:57 – Powerup is Crush Missiles, as opposed to the Spread Gun in the final. Thus, the 2 recent gun pods have their powerups swapped.

2:14 – Gun cycling debug cheat is demonstrated; same function in the June 27 prototype.

2:24 to 2:36 – Both levels of Crush Missile are demonstrated. Both levels use the upgraded Crush missile sound effects. Primary level shoots yellow missiles, similar to the Crush Missiles in Contra: Hard Corps (Ray Poward); secondary level’s missile sprite is actually the Vic Viper homing missiles from some of the Gunplay challenges in the final. This is very unusual due to the presence of the final version’s missile sprites in the earlier June 27 build.

3:33 – The C powerup appears earlier than it does in the final.

3:50 – Destructible gravel is present, whereas it is not in the final.

4:01 – Hard to distinguish, but the powerup here is either an S or C, whereas it is an F in the final.

4:16 – Foot soldier spawns during the boss battle. Additionally, the music does not change throughout the battle.

5:23 – The Debug Menu of this E3 build is briefly shown. The following transcribes the text around the perimeter of the screen in the Debug Menu:

Top Left
.: welcome to contra :.
Revision 412/4

Top Right
release build
July 11 2007
(unclear; possibly 19:14:28)

Bottom Left
::: X of 24 ::: *

bottom right

*Where X is the current menu option highlighted, starting with Level Jungle. The Debug Menu options shown are mostly the same as those in the June 27 build; however, the 24th option is Scanline Scroll, as opposed to Sound Test.

5:42 – Scuba soldier is present at this point, whereas he is not in the final.

6:56 – Some of the submarine components, such as the spray turret, take less damage.

8:21 – The Base stage is shown. The lower screen features a slightly updated form of the preliminary map design from the early Base stage screenshots (see above). Bugs and early elements from the June 27 build are still present. For example, the M powerup on the second screen, as opposed to an L. Additionally, soldiers are stuck in place on the third screen and an S powerup is yielded, instead of an F. In general, the powerup falcons flicker in the stage in the same way when they’re falling in the side view stages.

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