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AMSTRAD CPC



 
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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: Unreleased

PAL: Ocean Software

Release: NTSC-J: Unreleased

NTSC-U: Unreleased

PAL: 1987

 
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OVERVIEW

fbh5

Gryzor for the Amstrad CPC is one of the earliest home versions of arcade Contra (the European release, named Gryzor, in particular). Licensed by Konami, this and a few other home computer conversions were handled by Ocean Software. Of the 3 main conversions from Ocean, this is considered the superior game. It has the best controls, superior visuals over the other 2 and it is the most accurate of the 3.

However, it does have its set of differences and drawbacks. The snowfield level, the armored trooper mini-boss and fireball gun are absent in this game. There are additional, minor changes in the structure of the levels.

Audio has also taken a setback, as sound effects and music cannot be heard simultaneously; one or the other must be selected. The soundtrack consists only of the end credits and base themes, like the other 2 Gryzor conversions. However, they are taken entirely from the 128K ZX Spectrum version. Like the counterparts, the base theme is heard in all of the levels. There are also much fewer sound effects.

The controls, despite being the best of the 3 versions, can be awkward at first. The player jumps simply by pressing up on the joystick; similarly, pressing down drops the player to a lower platform, if possible. The player can only aim up/down and duck by first holding the fire button. Multiplayer mode is similar to Gryzor on the arcade; that is, it isn’t simultaneous play. When one of the players either finishes the level or loses all their lives, the game switches to the other. There are no continues, but the player is awarded an extra life after completing each stage.

The most notable difference is the fact that this version does not scroll in the levels. Rather, each level is divided into screens that the player must progress across; so the levels work through flip-screen based gameplay. This is also the case with the MSX2 version of Contra (see here). This change, as well as the drawbacks, were likely sacrifices made to retain its accuracy in other respects. Regardless, the Amstrad CPC version of Gryzor is generally the most playable of Ocean’s 3 Gryzor games.

cpc2p

The Amstrad CPC version is the first to be released among Ocean’s 3 versions of Gryzor.

Covers:

Cassette Tape Release:

cpctap

Disk Release:

grycpcdsk

 
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STAGES

Note: These stage names are unofficial.

Stage 1: Jungle
Stage 2: Base 1
Stage 3: Defense System 1
Stage 4: Waterfall
Stage 5: Base 2
Stage 6: Defense System 2
Stage 7: Alien Fortress (Energy Zone, Hangar, Alien’s Lair)

 
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ARSENAL

In this conversion of Gryzor, all weapons are automatic. The Fireball Gun is absent in this version.

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

-Ground canisters:

cpcitem1

-Blimps:

cpcitem2

-Specific enemies in the Base stages:

cpcenemy

Normal Gun:

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

Rapid Fire (R):

cpcitem5

Shoots the regular bullets at a fast rate.

Laser Gun (L):

cpcitem3

Shoots a long laser beam that causes massive amounts of damage. Although it is the strongest gun, it has a slow rate of fire.

Spread Gun (S):

cpcitem4

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):

cpcitem6

Protects the player from enemies and attacks for 60 seconds, during which the player blinks rapidly.

 
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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

Foot Soldier:

grycpcufs

The weakest and most basic enemy of Contra. They predominantly run along sections of numerous stages. 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: 1,4,7

Standing Sniper:

grycpcstsn

This soldier stands in place, actively changing aim to follow the player and firing in a constant pattern.
Found in stages: 1,4,7

Guerrilla Sniper:

grycpcguerrsn

Hidden in the background bushes, these enemies periodically spring out and shoot horizontally towards the player’s side. They are vulnerable only when they stand up to fire.
Found in stages: 1

Smart Turret:

grycpcsmtu

Embedded in the ground, these turrets are able to fire in 8 directions, like the player. Alternating between closed and open, vulnerable in both states, they actively seek out the player’s position.
Found in stages: 1,4

Ground Turret:

grycpcgroundarctu

Hidden in the ground, they rise up and out when the player reaches close proximity. Always facing to the left, they simply fire straight ahead, horizontally.
Found in stages: 1,4

Base Unarmed Foot Soldier:

grycpcbufs

Simply runs across the far end wall in various corridors.
Found in stages: 2,5

Base Rifle Foot Soldier:

grycpcbrfs

Runs across some corridor walls, firing a single bullet when he first appears.
Found in stages: 2,5

Bowling Pin Soldier:

grycpcrpg

Soldier who runs across some corridor walls, tossing Bowling Pin Mines to the player.
Found in stages: 2,5

Powerup Hopper:

cpcenemy

Harmlessly hop across the far end wall in various corridors. Upon defeat, they yield a gun powerup for the player. Distinguished from the rest of the enemies by their orange attire (all other soldiers sport blue uniforms).
Found in stages: 2,5

Base Turret:

grycpcbastu

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: 2,5

Base Sub-Core:

grycpcbassubco

Disarmed and placed in various positions on corridor walls, these small cores are exposed when reached by the player. The Base Sub-Cores (and Base Cores) are the goal of the corridors. These ones are found on all corridor walls that precede the one with the Base Core. All other opposition are optional; destroying these will clear the enemies present and disarm the electrical barrier to allow the player to proceed.
Found in stages: 2,5

Bowling Pin Mine:

grycpcrpge

Thrown by the Bowling Pin Soldiers towards the player. They can be destroyed.
Found in stages: 2,5

Steel Barricade:

grycpcstelbarric

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: 2,5

Fire Ring:

grycpcfirering

Shot by Lone Inflammatory Eye Garumakiruma.
Found in stages: 3

Defense Gunner:

grycpcdefgunner

Runs across the 2 computer platforms, shooting a bullet straight down when he first appears, before he runs off-screen.
Found in stages: 6

Grenadier:

grycpcgrenadi

Stops running to drop grenades indefinitely.
Found in stages: 7

Manned Turret:

grycpcmantu

Consists of a kneeling soldier who is protected by, and shoots through, a gun port shield. He fires a bullet approximately once every 1.5 seconds.
Found in stages: 7

Alien Fetus:

grycpcalfetus

Spat from the mouth of Emperor-Demon Dragon God Java. These alien creatures fly across the screen, homing in on the player.
Found in stages: 7

Wall Mouth:

grycpcwalmth

Alien mouths embedded in the walls. When approached, they actively aim at the player’s position, spitting out indestructible cotton balls.
Found in stages: 7

Face Hugger Egg:

grycpcfhe

These alien eggs surround and protect Emperor-Demon Evil Heart Gomera Mosking. They hatch an unlimited number of Face Huggers.
Found in stages: 7

Face Hugger:

grycpcfh

Spawned from Face Hugger Eggs. These alien arachnids rapidly crawl along the ceiling or ground, swapping surfaces through the air, and home in on the player.
Found in stages: 7

Mini-Bosses

Emperor-Demon Dragon God Java:

siwqlc

Fought at the start of the Alien’s Lair. Large xenomorph head that spits out Alien Fetuses.
Found in stages: 7

Bosses

Wall:

grycpcwall

Building entrance to the first Base stage. This defense bunker consists of dual Mortar Cannons at mid-level and the Wall Core at ground level. The Mortar Cannons frequently fire bombs. The core turns red when nearly destroyed. Although the Mortar Cannons are optional, it is highly recommended to destroy them before running towards the building. When the Wall Core is destroyed, the cannons remain unaffected, allowing them to kill the player as he proceeds.
Found in stages: 1

Base Core:

grycpcbascore

Primary goal of the Base stages, they are found on the center of the corridor wall immediately before a boss battle. Initially disarmed, these large cores are exposed when reached by the player. They take more damage than Base Sub-Cores. All other opposition are optional; destroying these will clear the enemies present and disarm the electrical barrier to allow the player to proceed to the boss battle that follows.
Found in stages: 2,5

Defense System 1:

grycpcdefsys1

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

ST DC ST
DC DC DC

The Shell Turret cycles between opening up to fire 3 shells in a spread formation and closing for a few seconds. It’s vulnerable only in the latter phase. The Defense Cores are harmless and merely serve as a temporary barrier. They permanently pulse red when almost destroyed. Destroying a single Shell Turret activates the second phase; however, it is recommended to destroy all of the components beforehand in order to make the second phase easier.

grycpcinfleye

The second phase of this boss battle is Lone Inflammatory Eye Garumakiruma. This eye-shaped robot slides back and forth within the security screen, actively aiming and shooting destructible Fire Rings at the player. The firing frequency increases as it is sustains more damage.

The stage will not be complete until the Shell Turrets and phase 2 are destroyed.
Found in stages: 3

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 Smart Turret is placed. Medially and more superior, a Shell Turret is placed.

The Shell 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; all other components are optional (though it is impractical to destroy the Tower Core without first destroying the Shell Turret). Besides the tower, Foot Soldiers occasionally run across from either side of the ground.
Found in stages: 4

Defense System 2:

grycpcdefsys2

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

ST
DC DC DC
DC

The Shell Turret cycles between opening up to fire 3 shells in a spread formation and closing for a few seconds. It’s vulnerable only in the latter phase. The Defense Cores are harmless and merely serve as a temporary barrier. They permanently pulse red when almost destroyed. Destroying the lone Shell Turret activates the second phase; however, it is recommended to destroy all of the components beforehand in order to make the second phase easier.

In addition to the aforementioned defense components, an enemy type runs across 2 height levels on the computer wall and attacks the player: Defense Gunner. When phase 2 begins, they stop spawning.

6x4qbl

The second phase of this boss battle is Splitting Illusionary Ogre Godomuga. 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 fire indestructible bubble dimers straight down.
Found in stages: 6

Emperor-Demon Evil Heart Gomera Mosking:

grycpcheart

Final boss of the game, an alien heart. The heart itself does not attack the player. The challenge comes from its defenses: several Face Hugger Eggs (that spawn Face Huggers) surround it and some Wall Mouths can be present (if not destroyed prior to confronting the boss). All defenses are optional, but destroying at least some of them will make the battle easier. As the heart receives more damage, its feeding vessels pulse faster.
Found in stages: 7

Other Dangers

Exploding Bridge:

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:

grycpctimer

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: 2,5

Death Pit:

grycpcdethpt

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.
Found in stages: 4

Falling Boulder:

grycpcfalbould

Out of holes in mountain rock, these indestructible boulders occasionally drop out and fall straight down.
Found in stages: 4

Exposed Flame Pipe:

grycpcflampi

These pipes periodically burst out a large beam of flames. They’re the prominence of the Energy Zone.
Found in stages: 7

Claw Compactor:

grycpcclawcompac

Compactors with claws at their base instead of the usual smasher set-up.
Found in stages: 7

 
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CHEATS, ASSISTANCE

Cheats

Enter the following POKE commands before running the game.

Infinite Lives:
POKE &1526,&b7 | Alternatively, POKE &1526,&A7

Never Die:
POKE &10DD,&00

Invincibility:
POKE &10BE,&00
POKE &10C4,&00

Don’t Lose Current Gun After Death:
POKE &1555,&3A

Always Have Normal Gun:
POKE &02D9,&00
POKE &02DE,&06
POKE &02DF,&01
POKE &02E0,&0C
POKE &1712,&CD
POKE &1404,&A8
POKE &15A9,&B2

<Always Have Rapid Fire:
POKE &02D9,&01
POKE &02DE,&03
POKE &02DF,&01
POKE &02E0,&0C
POKE &1712,&CD
POKE &1404,&A8
POKE &15A9,&B2

Always Have Spread Gun:
POKE &02D9,&02
POKE &02DE,&06
POKE &02DF,&03
POKE &02E0,&0C
POKE &1712,&CD
POKE &1404,&A8
POKE &15A9,&B2

Always Have Laser Gun:
POKE &02D9,&03
POKE &02DE,&06
POKE &02DF,&09
POKE &02E0,&09
POKE &1712,&11
POKE &1404,&5B
POKE &15A9,&78

 
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FULL PLOT

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.

Unfortunately, in a drastic twist ending, it is revealed that a backup mechanism was installed in the heart: its destruction results in a catastrophic destruction of the Earth.

Characters

Lance Gryzor – protagonist; playable

Durrs – alien antagonists

 
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SOUNDTRACK

•Fortress Maze 1
•Sandinista

 
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VARIANTS

The tape and disk releases are used as the bases for the following. Unless otherwise noted, all variants are identical with respect to game content.

128K Variant:
Contains both music and sound options and all levels are loaded directly. It was released in both tape and disk formats.

64K:
Features sound only and is multi-load.

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

Gryzor for the Amstrad CPC was released only in Europe.

 
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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.

Chicken And Egg:
In the main menu high score table, 1st and 2nd places are awarded to Who Watches and The Watchmen ?, respectively. This is a reference to the DC comics series, The Watchmen, which had been a new creation at the time of Gryzor’s development and release.

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

The Amstrad CPC version’s ending is a mockery of the player’s efforts, especially considering that it is a challenging version of Contra.

However, many players enjoy the ending for its absurdity and near aversion of the trope of disappointing endings often seen in video games of its time period.

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.

siwqlc

Similarly, the eggs surrounding the heart (Emperor-Demon Evil Heart Gomera Mosking) that constantly spawn alien arthropods are based on the Eggs from Aliens that spawn Face Huggers.

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

6x4qbl

x73njf

Familiar Main Menu:

In the Amstrad CPC conversion of the arcade game Renegade, the main menu is nearly identical in style, layout and appearance to Gryzor:

renegadecpc

Renegade for the CPC was also released in 1987, developed by Ocean Software. Mark K Jones designed the art and graphics for both conversions, hence the strikingly similar main menu.

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 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 conversions 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 of each conversion by Ocean. Note that these re-releases are exclusive to Europe; all feature the same version as the original.

Erbe Software (Spain)

grycpcerbe

The Hit Squad release by Erbe Software (Spain)

erbehitspain

The Hit Squad Arcade Collection 24 (UK)

grycpchitsquad

-Featured in the compilations:

Micro Club No. 6

cpcmicroclub6

La Sélection (tape and disk formats shown)

laselctncpccas

grycpclaselection

selectioncpcdisk

The In-Crowd (4-tape and 6-tape formats shown)

grycpcincrowd

cpcincrowd6tap

Both have identical boxes, with the only difference being the 6-tape release includes the sticker indicating it as such.

Special Action (tape and disk formats shown)

grycpcspecialaction

amsdskspecact

6 Super Hits

grycpc6superhits

Dynamite (disk and tape formats, which use identical boxes)

grycpcdynamite

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

Inside Joke Records:
The final screen of the game’s ending states that the game’s soundtrack is available on Jean-Michael Fenton Records. This label is a portmanteau of Jean-Michael Masson and Roger Fenton, 2 former employees at Ocean Software. Therefore, this advertisement is likely an inside joke.

Role Reversal:
In this conversion of Gryzor, Lance (Gryzor) is player 1 while Bill is player 2. This fits the new storyline created for Ocean’s home computer versions. Actually, other than in this main menu, Bill is never mentioned anywhere else in Ocean’s Gryzor games.



 
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PROMOTIONAL MEDIA

Posters And Ads

-Brochures for Ocean Software’s Gryzor releases:

gryprevposter

gryzxad

-Ocean Software 1987 catalog:

ocean87cat

-Ocean Software and Ocean-Imagine 1988 catalog:

ocean&oceanimagine88

-Ocean Software 1989/1990 catalog:

ocean8990cat

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

ACEissue11p65ConAmi

(also in Amstrad Action, issue 034)

ACE Magazine, issue 5’s review of the game (and mention of the C64 and Spectrum versions, which had not yet been released):

ACE050

ACE Magazine‘s 6th issue (March, 1988) includes an advertisement for Gryzor and Combat School:

ace6mar88

The ad features a controversial element, the rifle that faces horizontally: that rifle type was shortly afterward discovered be have been used in a murder around this time…

-Consequently, a version of the above ad was featured in Crash issue 51 (April, 1988) without said rifle:

crash51apr88

-French version of the above ad:

cpcadfrench

Computer and Video Games, issue 76 review of the game, with mention of the other 2 versions:

CVG076

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

Titres Amstrad 1988 booklet ad (credit to user Mastergurt of the Gamopat Forums):

titresamstrad1988

Titres Amstrad 1988-1989, promoting Gryzor and one of its compilations, Dynamite:

amstradcatal8889dynamit

-Ads for the Dynamite compilation:

Compilation-Ocean_Dynamite__FRENCH

dynamitecpc2

Power Play magazine (under the original name Happy Computer), issue 3 review (and mention of the other 2 versions from Ocean):

powerplay8803034

-Tips for the game from the magazine immediately above:

powerplay8803052happycomp

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

gamesmac01

The Games Machine magazine, issue 3; introductory page:

TheGamesMachine03_0001

Minor error, where Gryzor’s artwork is in place of that of Terrorpods:

gamesmachinemistake

Review of the CPC and Spectrum versions (and mention of the C64 version):

TheGamesMachine0308802

 
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