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COMMODORE 64



 
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Release Information
Overview
Stages
Arsenal
Opposition
Cheats, Assistance
Full Plot
Soundtrack
Variants
Regional Differences
Developmental Material
Technical Information
Trivia
Promotional Media

RELEASE INFORMATION

Title: Gryzor

Media/Formats: Cassette Tape
Disk

Developer: Ocean Software

Publisher: NTSC-J: Unreleased

NTSC-U: Konami

PAL: Ocean Software

Release: NTSC-J: Unreleased

NTSC-U: 1988

PAL: February, 1988

 
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OVERVIEW

The Commodore 64 version of Gryzor is generally considered the lowest in quality of Ocean’s 3 main Gryzor releases. Although it contains certain elements from the original that the CPC counterpart lacks, its unplayability is ultimately detrimental to its overall quality. However, it’s worth noting that Ocean wasn’t involved in this game’s development.

The biggest issue lies in the gameplay. A problem with the controls is that, due to the fact that the joystick only has a single action button (for shooting), jumping is achieved by pressing spacebar on the keyboard. Most players are uncomfortable with this setup and it is the biggest drawback. Another issue is that the player moves too fast relative to the enemies; players inadvertently run or land into dangers.

Additionally, the weapons’ rate of fire is tremendously slow (their maximum firing rate is attained by holding down the fire button), especially compared to other versions of Contra. This increases the difficulty of the base stages, which are already difficult due to the short time limit that counts down disproportionately quickly.

Other issues include the audio and visuals. Despite featuring more colors than the ZX Spectrum version, this game presents a bland display; in addition, the character sprite was poorly designed, sharing no resemblance or parallel to the source material. Despite having the same soundtrack as the other 2 main Ocean counterparts, it is unpleasant in this version. The rendition of the base theme, heard in all of the levels, is obnoxious and becomes a distraction during gameplay.

c642p

Multiplayer mode is the same as in the CPC game (not simultaneous); the game switches to the other player once the current one either reaches the end of the level or loses all of their lives. There are no continues, but the player is awarded an extra life for completing a stage. The fireball weapon is also not present in this version. Conversely, this game features all of the levels and bosses.

The Commodore 64 version is the third to be released among Ocean’s 3 main versions of Gryzor.

Covers:

NTSC-U

conc64

PAL

Cassette Tape Release:

gryc64tap

Disk Release:

gryc64dsk

 
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STAGES

Note: These stage names are unofficial.

Stage 1: Jungle
Stage 2: Base 1
Stage 3: Defense Waterfall
Stage 4: Base 2
Stage 5: Defense System 2
Stage 6: Tundra Alien Fortress (Snow Field, Energy Zone, Hangar, Alien’s Lair)

 
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ARSENAL

The guns in this version of Gryzor are notable for their slow firing rate. The same powerup icon is used for all the guns and the barrier, which makes it difficult to determine which powerup is going to be selected.

Powerups are acquired through various objects and certain enemies scattered throughout the game.

-Ground canisters:

c64item1

-Powerup capsule itself hovering across the screen:

c64item2

-Specific enemies in the Base stages:

c64enemy

Normal Gun:

The player starts with this gun and, assuming they have a gun powerup, will revert to it when respawning after death.

Rifle (R):

c64item3

Shoots the regular bullets at a fast rate.

Laser (L):

c64item5

Shoots a long laser beam that causes heavy damage.

Scatter (S):

c64item4

Shoots 3 bullets that fan out. Useful for multiple targets and large groups of enemies at far range and inflicts heavy damage at close range.

Barrier (B):

c64item6

Protects the player from enemies and attacks for approximately 30 seconds.

 
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OPPOSITION

Most, if not all of the names provided here are unofficial. Due to the ambiguity of enemy names between regions, the lack of names for several of them and the absence of various documents, it is impractical to list the correct designations. Help is strongly encouraged and always appreciated to fill in these blanks. The Opposition section serves primarily to describe and depict the enemies for bookkeeping; thus, the content presented below hopefully satisfies this criterion.

Fodder Enemies, Objects

Unarmed Foot Soldier:

gryc64ufs

The weakest and most basic enemy of Contra. They predominantly run leftwards along sections of numerous stages. Occasionally, they jump off the edge of grounds in an attempt to chase the player, though this sometimes results in them falling to their death.
Found in stages: 1,3,6

Rifle Foot Soldier:

gryc64orfs

Visually indistinguishable from the Unarmed Foot Soldiers, except that they run rightwards. Nearly functionally identical, as well. However, when players are at a lower altitude than them, they fire bullets that drop straight down, once every few steps.
Found in stages: 1,3,6

Smart Turret:

gryc64smtu

Embedded in the ground, these turrets are able to fire in 8 directions, like the player. They actively seek out the player’s position.
Found in stages: 1,3

Base Core:

gryc64basco

Placed in various positions on corridor walls. The cores are the goal of the corridors. All other opposition are optional; destroying these will clear the enemies present and disarm the Electrical Barrier to allow the player to proceed. The last Base Core of each Base stage is treated as the boss of those stages.
Found in stages: 2,4

Base Rifle Foot Soldier:

gryc64brfs

Runs across some corridor walls, firing a single bullet.
Found in stages: 2,4

Running Grenadier:

gryc64basgrenadier

Runs across some corridor walls, briefly stopping to throw a grenade at the player’s position.
Found in stages: 2,4

Powerup Dropper:

c64enemy

Harmlessly run across the far end wall in various corridors. Upon defeat, they yield a gun powerup for the player.
Found in stages: 2,4

Base Turret:

gryc64bastu

Placed in various positions on various corridor walls. These turrets fire a bullet less than once per second. They actively aim at the player’s position.
Found in stages: 2,4

Steel Barricade:

gryc64stelbarric

Placed in front of the far end wall of various corridors. These short metal walls serve as a temporary shield for enemies, turrets and cores. They appear cracked and damaged the more they are shot.
Found in stages: 2,4

Fire Ring:

gryc64firing

Shot by Lone Inflammatory Eye Garumakiruma and by Splitting Illusionary Ogre Godomuga. Their large size makes them easy to hit, but also difficult to dodge.
Found in stages: 3

Manned Turret:

gryc64mantu

Consists of a kneeling soldier who is protected by a gun turret. He fires 2 bullets approximately once every 1.5 seconds.
Found in stages: 3,6

Moonwalker:

gryc64moonwalk

Named so due to the fact that they move backwards. These enemies run backwards along the computer screen, firing a shot shortly before diving diving in the direction they were running. They attempt to change their firing aim to follow the player.
Found in stages: 5

Jet Pack Soldier:

gryc64jetpacks

They fly a short distance in the air before lowering to the ground and moving in the direction opposite to the side of their exit from the High Speed Anti-Gravity Hovercraft; they wield a blade. If dodged, these soldiers simply hover off-screen.
Found in stages: 6

Alien Fetus:

gryc64alfet

Spat from the mouth of Emperor-Demon Dragon God Java. These alien creatures fly across the screen, zig-zagging in various altitudes.
Found in stages: 6

Wall Mouth:

gryc64wallmou

Alien mouths embedded in the walls. They spit out Organic Rings in the direction of the player.
Found in stages: 6

Organic Ring:

gryc64orgring

Spat out from Wall Mouths. They bounce on the floor and ceiling.
Found in stages: 6

Mini-Bosses

Defense System 1:

gryc64defsys1

The mini-boss battle that follows Base 1. When first reached, the player is confronted by the first phase, consisting of Triple Turrets (TT) and Defense Cores (DC) in the following arrangement:

TT DC TT
DC DC DC

The Triple Turret cycles between opening up to fire 3 bullets in a spread formation and closing for a few seconds. It’s vulnerable only in the latter phase. The Defense Cores, which are harmless, are the goal of the first phase. Although destroying the Defense Cores activates the second phase, it is recommended to destroy the Triple Turrets beforehand in order to make the second phase easier.

gryc64infleye

The ultimate goal of this battle is destroying Lone Inflammatory Eye Garumakiruma, the second phase. This eye-shaped robot slides back and forth within the security screen, actively aiming and shooting large destructible Fire Rings at the player. The firing frequency increases as it is sustains more damage. The robot pulses faster as it takes more damage.
Found in stages: 3

High Speed Anti-Gravity Hovercraft:

gryc64hovcraf

A small ship that floats in the air above the player and slowly approaches him. Its left and right side doors open and unload an infinite number of Jet Pack Soldiers. Additionally, the ship drops disc mines from a ventral hatch. This mini-boss is optional, but will likely cost a life to skip.
Found in stages: 6

Heavy Armored Vehicle Sweeping Dogura:

gryc64tank

When first confronted, this forklift slows down to a stop. Its prominence is the large amount of shots required to destroy it. In contrast, its only attack is firing a stream of bullets. From afar, they’re dodged simply by not jumping; if close to the vehicle, it fires the bullets diagonally down. As this mini-boss sustains more damage, it blinks different colors.

If the vehicle not destroyed in a certain amount of time, it will stop firing, resume driving and (if not destroyed in time) kill the player as it leaves the screen. In this sense, this forklift is an optional mini-boss.
Found in stages: 6

Helmet Demonic Titan Soldier Gorudea:

gryc64pred

A large, armored super-soldier that is confronted twice: at the start and end of the Energy Zone. This mini-boss walks back and forth, tossing disc mines (while jumping) that either slide along the ground or float across the screen. The player must jump or duck, respectively. When damaged more and more, he blinks faster and faster. This mini-boss is optional, but will cost a life to skip.
Found in stages: 6

Emperor-Demon Dragon God Java:

xo93k5

Fought at the start of the Alien’s Lair. Large xenomorph head that spits out Alien Fetuses. This mini-boss is optional, but will cost a life to skip.
Found in stages: 6

Bosses

Wall:

gryc64wall

Building entrance to the first Base stage. This defense bunker consists of dual Bullet Cannons at mid-level and the Wall Core at ground level. The Bullet Cannons frequently drop bullets. As the cannons are optional, simply destroying the Wall Core will defeat the boss and complete the stage.
Found in stages: 1

Base Core:

gryc64basco

Placed in various positions on corridor walls. The cores are the goal of the corridors. All other opposition are optional; destroying these will clear the enemies present and disarm the Electrical Barrier to allow the player to proceed. The last Base Core of each Base stage is treated as the boss of those stages.
Found in stages: 2,4

Shadow Beast Devil Statue Guromeides:

Resting atop the waterfall, this building is the entrance to the second Base stage. At the lowest level and most laterally, on each side, a Round Turret is placed. These actively seek the player’s position and fire bullets less than once per second. They can aim in at least 6 directions. Medially and more superior, the Quintuple Turret is placed. This weapon, as its name implies, consists of 5 shielded turrets that occasionally fire 5 bullets that fan out. The exposed weapon takes damage, thus it is vulnerable only when it opens up. The Quintuple Turret activates only when the Round Turrets are destroyed.

The Quintuple Turret ultimately serves as a barrier to the gem-shaped Tower Core, found at the head (roof). Thus, destroying it exposes the harmless core, rendering it vulnerable to damage. It is the primary goal of this boss battle, however, it can only be damaged when all other components are destroyed. The core blinks faster as it takes more damage.

Besides the tower, Unarmed Foot Soldiers occasionally run across from either side of the ground. They stop spawning once the Tower Core is exposed.
Found in stages: 3

Defense System 2:

gryc64defsys2

The boss battle that follows Base 2. When first reached, the player is confronted by the first phase, consisting of a Shell Turret (TT) and Defense Cores (DC) in the following arrangement:

TT
DC DC DC

The Triple Turret cycles between opening up to fire 3 bullets in a spread formation and closing for a few seconds. It’s vulnerable only in the latter phase. The Defense Cores, which are harmless, are the goal of the first phase. Although destroying the Defense Cores activates the second phase, it is recommended to destroy the Triple Turrets beforehand in order to make the second phase easier.

In addition to the aforementioned defense components, an enemy type runs across the computer screen and attacks the player: Moonwalker. When phase 2 begins, they stop spawning.

cdi3lvc

The ultimate goal of this boss battle is destroying Splitting Illusionary Ogre Godomuga, the second phase. It consists of a pair of head-shaped robots that, on a periodic and temporary basis, simultaneously split into 2 virtual blinking images that separate a short distance before retracting and merging. Each head is vulnerable only when merged. Both the merged form and each virtual image launch Fire Rings at the player. The firing frequency increases as they receive more damage. Additionally, the heads blink faster as they receive more damage.
Found in stages: 5

Emperor-Demon Evil Heart Gomera Mosking:

gryc64finboss

Final boss of the game, an alien heart. The heart itself does not attack the player. The challenge comes from its defenses: 3 Invincible Wall Mouths. As the heart receives more damage, its striations pulse faster.
Found in stages: 6

Other Dangers

Exploding Bridge:

gryc64explbrid

This bridge is rigged with explosives, likely mines. When the player runs over certain spots, the explosives detonate, killing the player if they don’t evade quickly.
Found in stages: 1

Timer:

gryc64timer

Not a danger that’s tangible with the player, but still a restriction that risks the player’s remaining lives. The player must complete each Base stage within their respective time limits. Otherwise, they lose a life every time that the limit is passed.
Found in stages: 2,4

Electrical Barrier:

gryc64elecbarr

Though these don’t cost a life, they temporarily stun the player if the player attempts to run forward, rendering them vulnerable to other enemy attacks.
Found in stages: 2,4

Death Pit:

gryc64dethpt

As the name implies, falling into these kills the player. Some are deep pits that make for a very high fall and a usually unknown or inescapable landing area. Others contain a deadly surface or a pool of dangerous substances. This danger is not present in some versions of Gryzor.
Found in stages: 3

Bridge Blaze Wall:

gryc64bridblazewal

The early bridge in the Waterfall stage has been set on fire and a large blaze wall moves back and forth along the bridge’s length. This danger is not present in some versions of Gryzor.
Found in stages: 3

Falling Boulder:

gryc64falbould

Out of holes in mountain rock, these indestructible boulders occasionally drop out and fall straight down. This danger is not present in some versions of Gryzor.
Found in stages: 3

Flame Pipe:

gryc64flampi

These pipes periodically burst out a large beam of flames. They’re the prominence of the Energy Zone.
Found in stages: 6

Electrical Shower:

gryc64electr

These traps periodically emit tall electrical bolts, fatal if contacted. They’re the prominence of the Energy Zone due to their highly unpredictable nature.
Found in stages: 6

Invincible Wall Mouth:

gryc64wallmou

Alien mouths embedded in the walls around Emperor-Demon Evil Heart Gomera Mosking. They spit out Organic Rings in the direction of the player. Unlike regular Wall Mouths, these ones are indestructible.
Found in stages: 6

 
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CHEATS, ASSISTANCE

Cheats

Enter the following POKE command before running the game.

Infinite Lives:
POKE 12476,189
POKE 29187,189

 
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FULL PLOT

NTSC-U:
A group of Aliens, led by Red Falcon, has compromised the Amazon basin and plans to conquer Earth. The unnamed commando(s) are on the task of neutralizing Red Falcon and its army through their many defense zones. Aiding the heroes along the way are the aliens’ own weaponry that can be acquired as powerups. Battling through a jungle, waterfall, snowfield and several bases, the commandos ultimately prevail.

Characters

Unnamed Commando – protagonist; playable

Red Falcon – antagonist organization

PAL:
Earth is invaded by the Durrs, an alien race from the fictional planet Suna. Occupying an unspecified location, these aliens have set up a planetary weather control system, the Atmosphere Processing Plant (APP). In controlling Earth’s weather, the Durrs intend to set forth another ice age and subsequently take over the planet.

Tasked with battling these aliens is Lance Gryzor, FED (Federation of Earth’s Defenses) soldier, who must destroy the (literal) heart of the weather control system. As Lance progresses through the battlegrounds, he encounters some of the effects of the APP in his surrounding environment. However, he ultimately prevails and puts a stop to the aliens’ plan.

Characters

Lance Gryzor – protagonist; playable

Durrs – alien antagonists

 
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SOUNDTRACK

•Sandinista
•Fortress Maze 1

 
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VARIANTS

The tape and disk releases are used as the bases for the following variants.

Tape and disk variants of Gryzor (PAL) are verified to exist. Although only disk copies of Contra (NTSC-U) are known to exist, a tape release may have been created. Unless otherwise noted, all of these variants are identical with respect to game content.

Waterfall Stage Variants:
There appear to be 2 major variants of Gryzor, found among the tape releases. One is identical, in-game, to the North American release. Another version lacks almost all of the waterfall stage, containing only the boss battle. In addition, the laser and spread gun (scatter) sound effects are swapped in the side-view levels.

French Tape and Disk Releases:
Packaging based on the UK tape and disk releases, respectively, but with partial text translation. Note on the main inlay back side (blue blurb on tape release; regular print on disk release) advertises the included Combat School demo.

 
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REGIONAL DIFFERENCES

NTSC-U: Contra

PAL: Gryzor

There appear to be 2 variants of Gryzor. One is identical, in-game, to the North American release. Another version lacks almost all of the waterfall stage, containing only the boss battle. In addition, the laser and spread gun (scatter) sound effects are swapped in the side-view levels.

-The NTSC-U version lacks a title screen. The other difference between the NTSC-U and PAL versions lies in the credits displayed in the main menu.



 
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DEVELOPMENTAL MATERIAL

There is currently no known developmental material to present.

 
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TECHNICAL INFORMATION

None yet.

 
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TRIVIA

How One Defines First:
Technically, the DOS, Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 versions of Contra/Gryzor are the first Contra games to feature auto-fire. Super Contra is, however, the first standalone Contra game to have it.

Only One Arnie:
In the Commodore 64 Gryzor’s in-game rendition of Bob Wakelin’s artwork, Lance is absent. This is the only version where Bill is portrayed alone.

Wonderful Disappointment:
Ocean Software’s 3 main Gryzor releases are notorious for their downer and/or anticlimactic endings.

The ending to the Commodore 64 counterpart is easily the worst and most anticlimactic. It certainly makes completing this poorly designed game a waste of time and effort.

Economy Shipping:
A common practice of Konami (and possibly other game companies) with the home computer conversions that they publish is that all of the versions of a given title feature identical packaging; this includes the box, instruction manual and (usually) inserts. The package differs mainly in the actual video game media itself (ie: Commodore disks, 5.25″ DOS disks, 3.5″ DOS disks, etc.) and its labels.

To account for all of the versions, the necessary information pertaining to each is combined when listed on the box and discussed in the instruction booklets. This is an effective economical strategy for distribution, as most of the package contents are usually not specific to one version. In the instructions, for example, only the game loading and controls must be explained for each; the game’s story, company information and other such information are usually shared.

Therefore, for example, owners of a Commodore 64 title may also find information about its DOS and Amiga counterparts in the manual. The releases are distinguished from each other simply by a sticker, or the absence of one, on the front of the boxes that indicate for which home computer they are intended.

The Commodore 64 and DOS versions of Contra were both published by Konami in North America and, therefore, feature this shared packaging scheme. The former’s box has a sticker, stating that it is the Commodore 64 version, pasted over the section denoting the DOS release.

Harmless Borrowing:
There is no doubt that the penultimate boss, the alien head (Emperor Demon Dragon God Java), rips off the Xenomorph from the film Alien.

xo93k5

RobotsAliens In Disguise:
The fourth stage boss is likely inspired by the Transformers logo:

cdi3lvc

x73njf

The Biggest Misconception:
A severe misconception involves the North American artwork for the cartridge, manual and box of NES Contra. The second character (Lance) is mistakenly assumed to be based on Sylvester Stallone. In actuality, both characters on the cover are modeled after different poses of one Arnold Schwarzenegger in his film, Predator.

Additionally, that cover art did not begin with the NES game. It originated as the template Bob Wakelin created for the Gryzor conversions released by Ocean:

This cover art would later be re-used on the back of MSX2 Contra’s cover.

When Bookkeeping Gets Complicated:
Due to the sheer number of re-releases that Ocean’s 3 main releases have received, placing all of them on Contra’s re-release page, in full detail, is impractical for a variety of reasons. As such, they are listed here, in the Trivia section. Note that these re-releases are exclusive to Europe; all feature the same version as the original.

The Hit Squad (UK)

gryc64hitsquad

Erbe Software (Spain)

gryc64erbe

Imagine (Greece; same box as Ocean’s Cassette Tape release)

-Featured in the compilations:

The In-Crowd

incrowdc64uni

The In Crowd C64

3 variations of The-In Crowd was released: disk release, 6-tape release and 4-tape release. All share the same box. The only difference is found on the 6-tape release, which includes a yellow sticker indicating it as so.

Credit to Youtube user John Gage for the scan of the 6-tape release.

Special Action

c64tapespecact

The above includes media-based variations (tape and disk). Some of these, including the original releases, feature a demo of Combat School.

 
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PROMOTIONAL MEDIA

Posters And Ads

Arcade Assault ad:

konpcad

-Konami brochure for the North American release Konami’s New Computer Games Cure Terminal Boredom:

KonamiCureFront

KonamiCureContraDoubleDribble

KonamiCureBladesOfSteelSuperC

KonamiCureCastlevaniaLifeForce

KonamiCureJackalAjax

KonamiCureRushnAttackBootCamp

KonamiCureTurtlesMetalGear

-Konami brochure for the North American release Introducing The Hardest Software Ever:

c64dosflyr

-Konami brochure for the North American release There’s Only One Thing As Exciting As Our Seven Hit Computer Games:

SAM_3336

SAM_3338

SAM_3339

SAM_3340

-Brochures for Ocean Software’s 3 main Gryzor releases:

gryprevposter

gryzxad

-Issue 1 of The Games Machine magazine mentions the upcoming C64 version release and depicts the CPC version:

gamesmac01

ACE Magazine‘s 11th issue includes an ad for Ocean’s 3 main releases of Gryzor:

ACEissue11p65ConAmi

(also in Amstrad Action, issue 034)

-Preview in Commodore User‘s March 1988 issue:

commodoreusermar881

commodoreusermar882

Computer and Video Games, issue 87 ad for The In-Crowd compilation:

cvg87

-Ad for The Hit Squad re-release:

hitsquadgryzorad

-Ads for the Erbe Software re-release:

gryzxad2

erbegryzorad

Boots ad for The In-Crowd compilation:

bootsincrowdc64

-Other ads for The In-Crowd:

ACE1500098

ACE2400028

incrowdad2

in-crowdadzx

-Ad for Special Action Compilation:

specactad

Tilt magazine (French), issue 54 review:

tilt54c64

The title is misspelled as Grysor.

Power Play magazine (under the original name Happy Computer), issue 2 preview:

powerplay8802011

Power Play magazine, issue 4 review:

 
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