CONTRA 4 > TRIVIA

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Select a trivium:

Never Change, Konami
Like A (Mini)Boss
The Code Is Still Great
Heretic’s IDDQD
Jukebox Jam
Arcade Super Contra Is Awesome
Rejected By Black Viper
Ode To The Portable Precursor
Neo City Nightmare
Veteran Chopper
Not Quite Doppelgangers
Visceral Face
Common Alien Behavior
Nintendo Dual Spirits
80’s-90’s Are Where It’s At
Planet Of The Aliens
Terminated
Aliens From Sweden
More Than Alter-Egos
It’s What Europe Gets For Probotector
Shout-Outs
Air Is Obsolete
Those Dreaded Mini-Bosses
No Cars To Use
It’s The Robot
Konami-Branded Guns
Looks Are Everything
Recycled Relics
Familiar Foes

NEVER CHANGE, KONAMI

The museum incorrectly labels the Japanese version of arcade Contra as Gryzor; it is actually named Contra. This is a very common misconception.

The text in this bonus feature was handled entirely by Tomm Hulett, (possibly former) member of Konami Digital Entertainment. Full credit goes to him for this misinformation.

 
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LIKE A (MINI)BOSS

The track car mini-boss in the first stage can be controlled after it is disabled.

In general, using this vehicle is not beneficial since the biggest threat in this stretch of the stage would be the vehicle itself, before being destroyed.

 
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THE CODE IS STILL GREAT

For the longest time, it was believed that Contra 4 had no cheat code to increase the number of lives. The Konami Code was known only to upgrade the player’s weapons on the Normal and Hard difficulty settings; the only known way to greatly increase the lives count was through a glitch (see here).

Nearly 6 years later, in 2013, Issue 3 of Nintendo Force Magazine revealed that the Konami Code, when entered in a different way, grants the player 30 extra lives. It works only on the Normal and Hard difficulty settings. This cheat is explained here.

nforceiss3

 
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HERETIC’S IDDQD

The Konami code to upgrade guns can actually be detrimental to the player in this game. Although it upgrades the player’s weapon powerups (so the code is only useful in the Normal and Hard modes) the first time it’s entered, it kills the player when inputted any additional time during the same level.

 
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JUKEBOX JAM

Contra 4 being almost entirely a fan compilation of a game, its musical score pays homage to its 8 and 16 bit predecessors. The following lists every track that uses previous Contra game music as inspiration and/or uses portions of their tunes.

Title screen theme: Contra title screen theme
Stage clear theme: Contra III stage clear theme (combination of the NES versions of Contra and Super Contra)
Game over theme: Contra game over theme
Jungle stage themes (all difficulties): Contra Jungle stage theme
Wall boss phase 1 theme: Contra Jungle stage theme, Contra III stage 4 theme
Waterfall theme: Contra Waterfall stage theme
Laboratory boss phase 2/City boss theme: Contra Waterfall stage theme
Base theme: Contra Base stages theme
Base/Factory boss theme: Contra Bass stage boss theme
City stage theme: Contra III stages 1 & 4 themes
Alien Hive stage theme: Contra Alien’s Lair theme
Black Viper theme (approaching true final boss): Contra III stage 6 theme
Game clear theme: Contra title screen & stage clear themes
Ending theme: Contra Jungle & Waterfall stage themes, Contra game over theme

 
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ARCADE SUPER CONTRA IS AWESOME

Mad Dog and Scorpion’s attires pay homage to the attires of Bill and Lance’s sprites in the arcade version of Super Contra; same with Jimbo and Sully’s alternate attires.

Additionally, page 11 of the bonus Contra III comic depicts Bill uttering a familiar line:

whtthisplace

 
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REJECTED BY BLACK VIPER

Metal Alien, the Xenomorph rip-off from Super Contra on the arcade and Contra III: The Alien Wars, was planned to appear in Contra 4. Concept sketches are shown in the museum, but the enemy was scrapped.

 
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ODE TO THE PORTABLE PRECURSOR

During the intermission screen before each stage, your character runs across the bottom screen. This is a reference to Operation C on the Game Boy, where the same kind of intermission screen is used.

 

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NEO CITY NIGHTMARE

The name of the BGM for the City stage is Neo City. This is a reference to the North American release manual of Contra III, which makes mention of the same city. In turn, Contra III’s use of this name is in reference to the setting of Contra Force.

 
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VETERAN CHOPPER

The helicopter you drop from at the start of level 1, which assists you throughout the game is based off the one in NES Super C, which you also drop off from in the first level.



 
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NOT QUITE DOPPELGANGERS

In Japan, the extra characters, Jimbo and Sully, are renamed to Spirits Bill and Spirits Lance.

North American release:

Japanese release:

Jimbo and Sully are the names given to Bill Rizer and Lance bean in the North American version of Contra III: The Alien Wars. This was done to solve a continuity problem since Contra III in North America follows the timeline of the Japanese continuity, unlike its predecessors. The developers may have felt that many Japanese players would be unfamiliar with Jimbo and Sully.

 
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VISCERAL FACE

In the North American version, there is a hidden face in the last level, shortly before the boss battle:

The significance of this face is not known.

 
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COMMON ALIEN BEHAVIOR

The first section of stage 2 features bug-like aliens crawling down through the vents above. Some even crawl directly along the wall. This motif is very similar to battle scene in the film Aliens, where the alien creatures close in on the protagonists through the ceiling vents.

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NINTENDO DUAL SPIRITS

The Japanese localization is named Contra: Dual Spirits. This is an obvious play on “DS”, apart from referencing the profound use of both screens for gameplay. Additionally, it may be a subtle allusion to the simultaneous presence of Bill and Lance with Mad Dog and Scorpion.

 
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80’S-90’S ARE WHERE IT’S AT

Besides the game, the instruction manual is also a tribute to both the earlier Contra games and the 8 and 16 bit video gaming era in general, being full of jokes and stylistic writing.

 
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PLANET OF THE ALIENS

This game’s variant of Contra III’s Gigafly is named Dreaded Pus-Sucker of SV-326. This is very likely a reference to the films Alien and especially Aliens, in which the deadly alien species are encountered (and later fought) on Planet LV-426.

 
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TERMINATED

Like the stage 3 mini-bosses and main boss in Contra III, the stage 6 boss references the Terminator cyborgs from the eponymous series.

terminated

This is more evident by the scenario of the second half of the battle:

c4terminated2

The player is briefly chased by the boss, now damaged, as it crawls through the narrow tunnels. To defeat it, the player(s) must shoot and close a pair of sliding doors on it, crushing its head off.

 
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ALIENS FROM SWEDEN

The name of the winged Reaper enemies is Ingrid Birdmen. This is an obvious play on the name of Swedish actress, Ingrid Bergman.

 
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MORE THAN ALTER-EGOS

Contra 4 treats Mad Dog and Scorpion as separate characters from Bill and Lance. In the NES Contra games (except Contra Force) and Operation C, Mad Dog and Scorpion are actually the names given to Bill and Lance. Wayforward was likely poking fun at this.

 
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IT’S WHAT EUROPE GETS FOR PROBOTECTOR

Despite the game’s praise and anticipation from Europe, Contra 4 has not yet received a PAL release. It is interesting to note that Probotector is an unlockable character in the game.

 
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SHOUT-OUTS

In one part of the end credits, the following can be seen:

A few credits worth noting include: Bender Bending Rodriguez (from the cartoon Futurama), The Contra headquarters (another Contra fan site, that conducted an interview with Wayforward before Contra 4’s release) and Neal Tew for the PocketNES emulator’s code (the emulator on which the included Contra and Super C run).

 
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AIR IS OBSOLETE

The large sea ship you encounter in level 5 is likely a nod to the alien ship fought in Contra III’s fourth stage. Both are confronted using similar vehicles and fought in a sequential style. However, you do not destroy this sea ship.



 
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THOSE DREADED MINI-BOSSES

The bony snake fish mini-bosses of level 5 attack and are damaged the same way as the segmented snake mini-boss fought on skis in Contra: Shattered Soldier’s first stage. They also share similarities to the snake mini-boss in stage 3 of Contra: Legacy of War.

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NO CARS TO USE

In addition, the stage 4 boss battle against the battered missile hugger is also somewhat similar to a boss from Contra: Hard Corps (the giant mech):

Contra_Hard_Corps

 
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IT’S THE ROBOT

One of the characters you can unlock is Probotector. I’m sure you know Probotector’s history (if not, see Titles):



 
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KONAMI-BRANDED GUNS

There’s something humorously familiar about one of the prototype guns used in some of the challenges:

Look closely and you’ll see that the bullets are actually tiny Vic Vipers, the player’s ship in the Gradius series.

Similarly, the other prototype weapon is the laser from NES Contra and Super Contra (which originated from the original arcade Contra):



 
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LOOKS ARE EVERYTHING

It is pretty obvious why Sheena and Lucia have been included in Contra 4 as bonus characters. Notice how much attention to detail is given to the physics of Sheena and Lucia in terms of their firing animations. It is even showing from the way they stand when shooting. Heck, just take a look at how they are portrayed in Contra 4, in general; certainly not just veterans in warfare. Screenshot do not easily depict character animation, so just look at some portraits from the game:



 
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RECYCLED RELICS

A significant amount of content from its predecessors have been reused in Contra 4. They span all aspects of the game, from sound/music to gameplay and from obvious to highly subtle. Often, they undergo minor modifications and variations. Similarly, the concept may be reused in a new or different application. The reuse may not even be intentional (ie, independent implementation). All such elements are listed below. In parentheses are any particularities or if the given element pertains to a specific version of a Contra game.

Conceptual

-Stage themes (details below):
Jungle
Laboratory
Waterfall
Enemy Base
Harbor
Ocean
City
Alien

-Stage names during gameplay (NES Contra)

-Pre-stage player running sequences (Operation C)

-Player characters:
Bill Rizer (arcade Contra)
Lance Bean (arcade Contra)
Mad Dog (NES Contra)
Scorpion (NES Contra)
Jimbo (Contra III: The Alien Wars, North American release)
Sully (Contra III: The Alien Wars, North American release)
Spirits Bill and Spirits Lance in the Japanese release (SFC Contra Spirits)
Sheena Etranzi (Contra: Hard Corps)
Lucia (Contra: Shattered Soldier)
Probotector (PAL releases of early console Contra games)

-Black Viper (Operation C)

-Devastation in the intro sequence (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Neo City (Contra III: The Alien Wars, North American release)

-Powerups appear in flying blimps (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Powerups appear in containers embedded in the ground in stages 1,2 (NES Contra)

-Jet bike sequences (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Left-scrolling sections of stage 9 (MSX Contra)

-Helicopter insertion (arcade Super Contra)

-Assistant helicopter (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Black Viper, the final boss, in a glass tube (Operation C)

-Helicopter escape after final boss is defeated (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Unlockables, including characters (Neo Contra)

-Stats screen (Operation C)

Sound Effects

-Selection in the main menu (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Change selection in the main menu (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Pause (NES Contra)

-Player landing at the start of some of the stages (NES Contra)

-Player running in the pre-stage sequence (NES Super Contra)

-2 lines of Bill/Lance/Mad Dog/Scorpion’s lines upon respawning (Contra: Hard Corps)

-Jimbo and Sully’s lines upon respawning (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-2 lines of Sheena upon respawning (Contra: Hard Corps)

-Extra life gained (Contra: Shattered Soldier, Neo Contra)

-Helicopter blades (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Helicopter sputtering (arcade Super Contra)

-Jet bike revving (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Powerup acquisition (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Normal Gun (NES Contra)
Machine Gun, both power levels (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Spread Gun, both power levels (arcade Contra)
Laser Gun, power level 1 (NES Contra)
Prototype Laser Gun (NES Contra)

-Damage of mechanical bosses and strong enemies (NES Contra)

-Heartbeat (Contra: Shattered Soldier)

-Enemy grenade thrown (arcade Contra)

Music

-Stages:
Jungle theme 1 (NES Contra)
Jungle theme 2 (NES Contra)
Laboratory theme 2 (NES Contra)
Base theme (arcade Contra)
Ocean theme (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
City theme (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Wall boss phase 1 theme (NES Contra, Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Pursuit theme (NES Contra)

-Base/Factory battle theme (NES Contra)

-Alien Heart battle (NES Contra)

-Black Viper Throat Ascension theme (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Intro theme (NES Contra)

-Victory theme (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Final victory theme (arcade Contra)

-Game Over theme (NES Contra)

-Ending theme (NES Contra)

Visuals

-Fiery “C” in the title; very similar font and design of the rest of the letters (arcade Contra)

-Overall visual style (NES Contra)

-Player characters:
Bill/Lance/Mad Dog/Scorpion/Probotector and their animation (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Jimbo/Sully and their animation (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Bill, Lance, Mad Dog, Scorpion and Probotector are essentially sprite variants; same with Lucia and Sheena; same with Jimbo and Sully (arcade Contra)

-Bill and Lance’s attires (NES Contra)

-Scorpion and Mad Dog’s attires (arcade Super Contra)

-Jimbo and Sully’s alternate attires (arcade Super Contra)

-Sheena’s attire (Contra: Hard Corps)

-One of Sheena’s alternate attires (Contra: Shattered Soldier)

-Lucia’s attire (Contra: Shattered Soldier)

-One of Lucia’s alternate attires (Contra: Hard Corps)

-Jimbo and Sully (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Probotector (Probotector series of games)

-Very large variety of images related to all prior official, mainstream Contra games (Contra series)

-Some player sprites and animation (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Roll-up jump (arcade Contra)

-Gun powerups are represented by falcon sprites (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Normal Gun (NES Contra)
Machine Gun, power level 1 (NES Contra)
Spread Gun, both power levels (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Crush Missiles, both power levels (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Homing Missiles, both power levels (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Fireball Gun, power level 1 (arcade Contra)
Fireball Gun, power level 2 (NES Super Contra)
Prototype Laser Gun (arcade Contra)
Barrier (Contra III: The Alien Wars, loosely)

-Opposition (see here for more information):
Unarmed Foot Soldier (NES Contra)
Dirk McShooter (NES Contra)
Sandbag Sniper (arcade Super Contra)
Smart Turret (arcade & NES Contra)
Grassy Knoll (NES Super Contra)
Red Nicky Napalm (side view; NES Super Contra)
Mr. Scuba (arcade Contra)
Black Dirk McShooter (NES Contra)
Rifle Foot Soldier (arcade Contra)
Grenadier (tunnel; arcade Contra)
Bowling Pin Mine (arcade Contra)
Manned Turret (arcade Contra)
Unarmed Ingrid Birdman (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Sniper Ingrid Birdman (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Pocket Rocket (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Jetpack Reaper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Protected Tunnel Target (NES Contra)
Base Rifle Reaper (tunnel; Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Base Wing Reaper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Unarmed Reaper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Rifle Reaper (side view; Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Sniper Reaper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Grenadier Reaper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Man-Faced Mutt (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Slug (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Dreaded Pus-Sucker of SV-326 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Jet Bike Sniper Reaper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Jet Bike Grenadier Reaper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Ceiling Rush Alien (Super Contra)
Face Hugger (arcade Contra)
Face Hugger Egg (arcade Contra)
Alien Grunt (NES Super Contra)
Dropping Ceiling (NES Super Contra)
Cotton Ball (arcade Contra)

-Enemy bullets (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Enemy grenades (NES Super Contra)

-Bosses and strong enemies blink white when damaged (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Explosive death animation of certain enemies (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Certain enemies jump when killed (arcade Contra)

-Death animation of certain bosses (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Mountainous background in stage 1 (arcade Contra)

-Glass containment tubes, including cracked ones, in the background at the start of stage 2 (Operation C)

-Foreground scenery at the end of the laboratory section in stage 2 (arcade Super Contra)

-Area map for the tunnel stages (arcade Contra)

-Devastated city background in stage 7 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Foreground scenery near the end of stage 7 (arcade Super Contra)

-Glass tubes background in stage 9 (Operation C)

-Pulsing stage background in stage 9 (NES Contra)

Gameplay

-Side scrolling (horizontal and vertical; arcade Contra)

-Pseudo-3D tunnel perspective (arcade Contra)

-Simultaneous 2 player mode (arcade Contra)

-Ability to take the other player’s lives to return in the game (NES Contra)

-Character selection with somewhat differentiating properties (Contra Force, Contra: Hard Corps)

-Difficulty settings, which affect starting number of lives (Contra: The Alien Wars)

-1-hit death (arcade Contra)

-Death pits (arcade Contra)

-Temporary invincibility upon respawning (arcade Contra)

-Invincibility upon defeating the stage boss (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Continue system (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Ability to save some progress and unlocked features (Contra: Shattered Soldier)

-Point-based life gaining system (arcade Contra)

-Konami Code variant (NES Contra)

-Separate Konami Code variant for extra lives (NES Contra)

-Sound Test (NES Contra)

-NES Contra and Super C as unlockables (entire games)

-8 aiming directions (NES Contra)

-Hanging on rails and climbing walls/ceilings (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Position lock (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Shooting mechanics (arcade Super Contra)

-Powerup arsenal (arcade Contra)

-Powerups, when equipped, lost upon death (arcade Contra)

-Ability to hold 2 guns (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Ability to upgrade powerup guns (arcade Super Contra)

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Normal Gun (arcade Contra)
Machine Gun, power level 1 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Spread Gun, both power levels (arcade Super Contra)
Crush Missiles, especially power level 1 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Laser Gun, both power levels (Contra III: The Alien Wars, loosely)
Homing Missiles, power level 1 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Homing Missiles, power level 2 (Operation C)
Fireball Gun, power level 1 (arcade Contra)
Fireball Gun, power level 2 (NES Super Contra)
Prototype Laser Gun (arcade Contra)
Prototype Homing Missiles (Operation C)
Special (NES Contra)
Barrier (arcade Contra)

-Gun powerups blink and disappear after a brief moment if not picked up (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Opposition (see here for more information):
Unarmed Foot Soldier (NES Contra)
Dirk McShooter (NES Contra)
Sandbag Sniper (arcade Super Contra)
Smart Turret (arcade & NES Contra)
Grassy Knoll (NES Super Contra)
Red Nicky Napalm (NES Super Contra)
Blue Nicky Napalm (NES Super Contra)
Mr. Scuba (arcade Contra)
Black Dirk McShooter (NES Contra)
Rifle Foot Soldier (arcade Contra)
Grenadier (tunnel; arcade Contra)
Tunnel Target (arcade Contra)
Base Core Target (arcade Contra)
Tunnel Turret (arcade Contra)
Bowling Pin Mine (arcade Contra)
Manned Turret (arcade Contra)
Proboterror (arcade Contra, loosely)
Unarmed Ingrid Birdman (arcade Contra)
Sniper Ingrid Birdman (arcade Contra)
Pocket Rocket (Contra: Shattered Soldier)
Jetback Reaper (Contra: Legacy of War, loosely)
Scuba Reaper (Operation C, loosely)
Protected Tunnel Target (NES Contra)
Base Rifle Reaper (arcade Contra)
Base Wing Reaper (arcade Contra)
Unarmed Reaper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Rifle Reaper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Sniper Reaper (arcade Contra)
Grenadier Reaper (arcade Contra)
Man-Faced Mutt (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Slug (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Dreaded Pus-Sucker of SV-326 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Jet Bike Sniper Reaper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Jet Bike Grenadier Reaper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Organic Target (arcade Contra)
Organic Turret (arcade Contra)
Ground Vent Rush Alien (arcade Contra)
Face Hugger (arcade Contra)
Face Hugger Egg (arcade Contra)
Alien Grunt (NES Super Contra)
Winged Alien – Purple and Gold (arcade Super Contra)
Dropping Ceiling (arcade Super Contra)
Gaping Maw Kettle (arcade Contra)
Cotton Ball (arcade Contra)

-Bosses (see below)

-Bosses have increased health in 2 player mode (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Stages:
Jungle (NES Contra)
Laboratory (NES Contra, Operation C)
Base (NES Contra)
Harbor (Operation C, Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Ocean (Contra III: The Alien Wars, Contra: Hard Corps)
Factory (NES Contra)
City (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Alien Hive (NES Contra)
Harvest Yard (NES Contra, Operation C)

-Exploding bridges in stage 1 (arcade Contra)

-Player is immune while ducking underwater in stage 1 (NES Contra)

-Snipers on thin towers in stage 1 (Operation C)

-Destructible ground, forming death pits, in stage 1 (NES Super Contra)

-Ability to drive a vehicle in stage 1 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Wall boss’ cores fire laser beams (Neo Contra)

-Moving boulder platforms in stage 2 (arcade Contra)

-Falling boulders in stage 2 (arcade Contra)

-Elevator segment in stage 2 (NES Super Contra)

-Descending elevator segment in stage 2 (Operation C)

-Thin towers during the soldier gauntlet at the top of the waterfall in stage 2 (Operation C)

-Defeated enemies in the tunnel stages provide gun upgrades (NES Contra)

-Missile riding sequence in stage 4 (Contra: Hard Corps)

-Boss battle while hanging on a wall-type surface in stage 4 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Mutant Fish gauntlet at the start of stage 5 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Enemies break out of building glass in stage 7 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Fiery pits in stage 7 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Carry Mosquito rail section in stage 7 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Gun upgrades dropped during brain battle in stage 9 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

 
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FAMILIAR FOES

Contra 4 is not without a few returning bosses.

Classic wall:

It has an unexpectedly satisfying second form:

Because the only thing better than a wall is a much larger wall, right? Anyway…

The waterfall alien (Shadow Beast Devil Statue Guromeides):

A combination of both base stage bosses from NES Contra (Lone Inflammatory Eye Garumakiruma and Splitting Illusionary Ogre Godomuga):

The submarine boss battle from Operation C (Small Missile Submarine “Nouel”):

In fact, the first half of the stage where the submarine is fought (stage 4, Harbor) pays homage to the first stage of Operation C (where the original submarine is fought).

The giant terminator (Daikaku Robo Big Fuzz):

The alien heart (Emperor-Demon Evil Heart Gomera Mosking):

The triple-headed alien (Emperor-Demon Gyaba):

You even have brief, recurrent encounters with the brain you can see mounted in its head. It is obviously the brain from Contra III (Living Brain Organism Searle):

It is not a boss or mini-boss, but an intermission enemy from the main boss battle. The brain has 3 attack methods, one of which is similar to one of its attacks in Contra III.

 
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