Contra Encyclopedia home page

Contra III: The Alien Wars main page

With the arrival of this 16-bit Contra game, numerous upgrades/ conventions to the weapon system were introduced. These would be retained to various degrees in almost all subsequent Contra titles. One of the more famous upgrades/ conventions is the ability to hold 2 guns at a time. Another innovation is the portable bombs. As in Operation C, all weapons feature automatic firing.

A trick to maximize damage to bosses or strong enemies is to rapidly cycle between both weapon slots if they hold powerful weapons; more shots are fired, bypassing the bullet limit of both guns. If the player holds L and R while firing, both guns are fired in a theatrical, rotating fashion; it is mainly useful for the overhead stages.

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



-Specific enemies in Stage 2:


-Specific Stage 2 boss components:


-Specific enemies in Stage 5:



-Specific roulette choice during the brain (mini-)boss battle in Stage 6:


Default Machine Gun:

The player starts with this gun and, assuming they have a gun powerup, will revert to it when respawning after death. Fires a rapid stream of weak bullets.

Flamethrower (F):


The Fireball Guns of previous titles have been upgraded to a full-blown flamethrower. Deals moderate, but constant, amounts of damage. Its drawback is the short range; however, it is advantageous in the overhead stages as it can burn through solid obstacles.

Laser Gun (L):


In the side view stages, it shoots piercing beams at a decent rate that deal high amounts of damage. In the overhead stages, a constant, short-range beam protrudes the gun. The Laser has received a drastic improvement over many of its preceding counterparts. It is the second most powerful weapon to use.

Spread Gun (S):


The series’ staple. Shoots 2 sets at a time of 5 large bullets that fan out. Unlike its predecessor counterparts, it is a much weaker and slower weapon. As a result, it is not the most powerful, or useful, weapon in the game. However, it is still effective against large groups of enemies and does high damage at close range, especially if cycling between 2 Spread Guns.

Homing Missiles (H):


Similar to the Homing Gun from Operation C, the bullets actively seek enemy targets. It shoots small missiles in single file and at a high rate. However, it’s weaker than the Default Machine Gun and can occasionally miss targets at crucial moments.

Crush Missiles (C):


Rapidly fires small blue missiles in short intervals. The missiles create multiple small explosions upon impact or after a short distance. This is the most powerful weapon in the game. However, the missiles have short range and there’s an interval between each batch of shots.



Portable explosives that create an expanding, solid-colored, circular blast. While it can destroy most small enemies with ease, it is merely a small boost during boss battles. The player can carry a maximum of 9 Bombs. No matter the circumstances, the amount is reset to 1 when the player respawns after death.

Barrier (B):


Creates a green sphere around the player, protecting them from enemies and attacks. The effect lasts approximately 30 seconds and the sphere changes colors to indicate its end.



Not a regular weapon, but is still used to attack enemies. The tank destroys all enemies in its path and launches a very strong, flame-trailed missile. It can only be used in a small segment of the first half of the first stage. The tank can be destroyed by excessive damage from enemies.

Credit to Game Kommander for most of the images presented.

Top of page

Contra III: The Alien Wars main page

Contra Encyclopedia home page


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: