CONTRA III: THE ALIEN WARS > CONVERSIONS > GB

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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: Contra: The Alien Wars

Media/Formats: Cartridge

Developer: Factor 5

Publisher: NTSC-J: Konami

NTSC-U: Konami

PAL: Konami

Release: NTSC-J: September 23, 1994

NTSC-U: October 1994

PAL: 1995

 
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OVERVIEW

Contra: The Alien Wars retains enough source material while providing balanced gameplay. The translation from a 16-bit console to an 8-bit handheld system undoubtedly demands simplifications and omissions. However, this game was handled competently by Factor 5.

Changes include the simplification and reduction of all included stages and the removal of the jet bike stage (thus the game contains 5 stages). Many boss battles are removed as part of the level reduction; however, the fourth stage (second overhead stage) features a new boss. With the lack of Mode-7, understandably, the overhead stages do not rotate, but generally maintain the original gameplay; the strafe ability is also present.

The player can only carry 1 gun, the laser gun is removed and the game is strictly single player. There are no stage checkpoints; the continue system is the same as NES Contra and Super Contra (players restart the current stage). However, smart bombs are retained and are stronger. There are more difficulty settings, each determining the number of lives; on Easy mode, the game ends on the third stage without the proper ending.

The sound and music have taken a setback, but suit the Game Boy environment. Use of the Super Game Boy enhances the audio-visuals (see below), possibly enhancing the experience. Complaints stem from how some players feel Contra III has been “butchered”, the level of simplification showing that Factor 5, or the Game Boy in general, cannot justifiably recreate Contra III. Other players cannot adapt to the sluggish gameplay and the controls being not as solid as the original. Regardless of criticism, Contra: The Alien Wars is a solid effort by Factor 5. It puts the playability ahead of trying to retain as much of the source material as possible, a flaw that unarguably plagues the Game Boy Advance version.

Covers:

NTSC-J

coniiigbjp

NTSC-U

coniiigbna

PAL

coniiigbpal

 
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STAGES

Note: These stage names are unofficial.

Stage 1: City
Stage 2: Crossroads
Stage 3: Rooftops
Stage 4: Desert
Stage 5: Alien Cave

 
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ARSENAL

Due to constraints with the Game Boy system, the player can only hold 1 gun in this conversion. In addition, the Laser Gun is absent. Like the original SNES version, all weapons feature automatic firing.

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

-Blimps:

con3gbitem1

-Specific enemies in Stage 2:

con3gbene3

-Specific enemies in Stage 4:

con3gbene8

Default Machine Gun:

The player starts with this gun and, assuming they have a gun powerup, will revert to it when respawning after death. Although it’s a Machine Gun, it fires a somewhat slow stream of bullets.

Flamethrower (F):

con3gbitem5

Like its source material, it shoots a short-range burst of flames, dealing constant damage. Despite its short-range drawback, the Flamethrower deals ludicrous amounts of damage, unlike its source counterpart. It is the strongest gun in the game.

Spread Gun (S):

con3gbitem2

Shoots 2 sets at a time of 3 bullets that fan out. Like its source counterpart, this Spread Gun is not a very strong gun. However, it is still effective against large groups of enemies and does high damage at close range.

Homing Gun (H):

con3gbitem3

The Game Boy version’s homing weapon is very much a downgrade from its source. Essentially, it is the Default Machine Gun, but the bullets actively seek enemy targets.

Crush Missiles (C):

con3gbitem4

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

Bomb:

con3gbitem7

Portable explosives that create an immediate explosion, dimming the screen. This version is significantly more deadly than its source. 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):

con3gbitem6

Creates a spiked, blinking sphere around the player, protecting them from enemies and attacks. The effect lasts approximately 10 seconds and the sphere’s blinking slows down to indicate the end of its use.

Tank:

ciiisgbtank

Not a regular weapon, but is still used to attack enemies. The tank destroys all enemies in its path upon contact and launches a very strong 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.

Respawn Invincibility:

Not a regular weapon, but can still be used to attack enemies. The temporary invincibility upon respawning defeats/damages enemies in this conversion.

Credit to Game Kommander for most of the images presented.

 
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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.

Note: Most enemies spawn more often, have increased health and/or have faster attacks on the higher difficulty settings.

Fodder Enemies, Objects

Parked Car:

con3gbparkedcar

Mainly just a random, minor obstacle to the player. A Grenadier rests behind it, however, attempting to attack the player while protected.
Found in stages: 1

Urban Unarmed Foot Soldier:

con3gbene1

The weakest and most basic enemy. They predominantly run along sections of the stage. Their spawning number increases with increasing difficulty.
Found in stages: 1,3

Ground Turret:

con3gbgrtu

They rise out of the ground when approached and periodically fire 2 bullets at a time at the player.
Found in stages: 1

Grenadier:

coniiigbgrenadier

Toss grenades in the general direction of the player while kneeling.
Found in stages: 1

Urban Rifle Foot Soldier:

coniiigborfs

They stop running shortly after appearing to fire a bullet before they resume running.
Found in stages: 1

Kneeling Sniper:

con3gbene2

They kneel in place, usually from an elevated position, actively aiming and firing bullets at the player’s position.
Found in stages: 1,3

Stilt Tower Sniper:

coniiigbstilttowrsn

Simply a Kneeling Sniper atop a stilt tower; however, destroying him causes the tower to explode and break down.
Found in stages: 1

Asphalt Fireball:

coniiigberupbal

Flung from the Explosive Eruptions through the air, at various heights and with various ranges.
Found in stages: 1

Fiery Meatball:

coniiigbfimtbal

Large fireballs that bounce vertically in and out of the lava.
Found in stages: 1

Dome Defender:

con3gbene3

Shielding dome with a soldier enclosed within each one. The domes alternate between being closed (invulnerable) and opened (vulnerable). In the latter state, the soldier fires his machine gun in a spiral formation. These domes are the goal of the first part of Stage 2. Once all of them are destroyed, the battle with Multi-Cannon Sweeping Machine Bosco Spider begins.
Found in stages: 2

Roadside Centipede:

con3gbene4

Centipede-like robots that stalk the player. Each time they turn to change direction, they fire a wide spread of bullets.
Found in stages: 2,4

Roadside Unarmed Foot Soldier:

con3gbovhdunar

They follow the player around the stage. These enemies are extremely scarce in numbers on the Hard difficulty setting.
Found in stages: 2

Roadside Rifle Foot Soldier:

coniiigbrsrfs

They follow the player around the stage. Once their aim is aligned, they stop walking and constantly fire bullets at the player, only stopping to readjust their aim if the player evades.
Found in stages: 2

Rotating Ducker:

con3gbene5

They roll a short distance before stopping and opening up, which reveals a gun turret. The gun turret actively aims and fires a bullet at the player in an upper semi-circle arc range. It then closes up and rolls away. This enemy is vulnerable only when open.
Found in stages: 3

Gigafly:

con3gbene6

Alien mosquitoes that appear in large numbers. These don’t kill the player upon contact; instead, they carry the player to either upwards or downwards into the Desolate Sky or a Death Pit, respectively.
Found in stages: 3

Mini-Rocket:

con3gbmissile

Initially launched from the bottom, off-screen, they are revealed to originate from the Tri-Transforming Mecha Wall Walker. Later in the stage, they are launched regularly.
Found in stages: 3

Smart Turret:

con3gbene7

Embedded in various walls, these turrets actively aim and fire bullets at the player’s position.
Found in stages: 3

Scorpion Generator:

con3gbene8

Alien pods that periodically open up to excrete a Scorpion. They are vulnerable only when they open up. These pods are the goal of the first page of Stage 4. Once all of them are destroyed, the battle with Top Secret Experimental Creature Anthell begins. This enemy is not present on the Easy difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 4

Scorpion:

con3gbene9

Alien bugs that are produced by the Scorpion Generator and follow the player around the stage. This enemy is not present on the Easy difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 4

Alien Grunt:

con3gbene10

They quickly run across various parts of the stage, even jumping across gaps if needed. They also appear from the left and right sides of the screen during the battle with Emperor-Demon Gyaba. This enemy is not present on the Easy difficulty setting.
Found in stages: 5

Alien Fetus:

con3gbene11

Spat from the mouth of Emperor-Demon Dragon God Java. These alien creatures home in on the player in circular patterns. This enemy is not present on the Easy difficulty setting.
Found in stages: 5

Lateral Head:

con3gblathed

These aliens creatures are components of Emperor-Demon Gyaba. They take turns extending downwards and to the edge of the screen that is opposite to their own, before retracting. They are vulnerable only when they extend and retract. This enemy is not present on the Easy difficulty setting.
Found in stages: 5

Mini-Bosses

Wall:

wall

wall2

The player encounters 2 of these Wall mini-bosses. This defense bunker consists of a Grenadier on the rooftop and the core at ground level. As the rooftop enemy is optional, simply destroying the core will defeat the mini-boss, which then collapses to the ground.
Found in stages: 1

Tri-Transforming Mecha Copter:

coniiigbmechcopter

A flying, round, robot that is lined with spikes. The weak core is located on its inferior surface. On the direct opposite side, a flame occasionally rises upwards for a few seconds. 2 hanging beams are located on opposite ends; they alternate between rotating clockwise and counter-clockwise, briefly pausing before changing direction.
Found in stages: 3

Tri-Transforming Mecha Wall Walker:

con3gbene15

It is in fact the previous mini-boss returning and attacking the player in a different way.

In its first phase, this mini-boss uses 2 mechanical legs to crawl up the wall with the player, launching Mini-Rockets above and below the player, alternatively.

coniiigbawalwalk2

In the second phase, the mini-boss uses wall segments to form an extending and retracting enclosure around the player. The spherical center slides up and down along the length of its legs, now used as a vertical track. It moves up and down to random spots on the track a few times; at the last spot, it pauses briefly before crashing into the wall. The boss can be damaged and defeated only in the second phase.
Found in stages: 3

Emperor-Demon Dragon God Java:

head1

head2

head3

The player fights 3 of these mini-bosses throughout the stage. Large xenomorph head that spits out Alien Fetuses. This mini-boss is not present on the Easy difficulty setting.
Found in stages: 5

Shadow Beast Kimkou:

kimkou

Rises out of the ground and then charges to the left side of the screen before retracting. Next, the weak point (a face) is exposed for a few seconds, during which it shoots out projectiles that rain down in front of it at various distances; the rain pattern is random each time. The weak point is then concealed again.

The creature then burrows underground at the right side, springs out close to the left and sprints backwards before repeating the entire routine. Like its predecessor, its legs can be stood on. This mini-boss is not present on the Easy difficulty setting.
Found in stages: 5

Bosses

Slave Beast Taka:

con3gbene13

A giant alien turtle whose weakness is the pulsing ventral brain that is exposed near its front feet. The boss uses 3 attacks routinely. First, its head rapidly extends with the neck to the player, cornering him, before retracting. Next, its brain fires 2 bullets at the player. It then the boss extends its head and spits flames near the player.
Found in stage: 1

Multi-Cannon Sweeping Machine Bosco Spider:

con3gbene14

An arachnoid machine with 6 Discs and a Tail Turret. The latter is the goal of this battle.

The spider is initially stationary for a few seconds. The 6 discs then start spinning and after a brief moment, the machine moves towards the player. This pattern repeats. The Discs are vulnerable only when they are not spinning and the boss is stationary.

When one of the Discs are destroyed, the Tail Turret fires bullets sinusoidally during the stationary state. Once all 6 Discs are destroyed, the Tail Turret is finally vulnerable to damage, again, only during the stationary phase.
Found in stages: 2

Daikaku Robo Big Fuzz:

con3gbene16

On the Easy difficulty setting, this is the final boss of the game. A large robot whose head and upper body are visible through the wall that it destroys. First, it spits a large column of flames that rotates either clockwise or counter-clockwise twice, depending on the player’s position. It then drops several 3-second time bombs around the player’s position. This pattern repeats.
Found in stages: 3

Top Secret Experimental Creature Anthell:

con3gbene17

A squarish mound of alien flesh with 4 organic targets, one on each face; these are the goal of the boss battle. On each corner of the mound is a tracking disc. Shooting these causes them to rapidly slide off-screen in the direction of the player’s immediate position from where they were shot. New tracking discs are then regenerated.

Surrounding the boss are Quicksand Conveyors that are arranged such that the player is constantly being moved clockwise. This boss is not present on the Easy difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 4

Emperor-Demon Gyaba:

gyaba

This immense alien creature consists of multiple components, including the central head and a Lateral Head on either side of it, and 2 phases. The Central Head Mouth is the main goal of the battle.

In the first phase, the Lateral Heads take turns extending, to the side of the screen that is opposite to their own, and retracting. In between, a few Alien Grunts spawn from either side of the screen (randomly).

Phase 2 begins after both Lateral Heads are destroyed; now, the Central Head Mouth is vulnerable to damage. The boss alternates between having Alien Grunts spawn from either side of the screen randomly and the Central Head Mouth spitting out flames in a sinusoidal trajectory for a few seconds. This boss is not present on the Easy difficulty setting.
Found in stages: 5

Other Dangers

Exposed Flame Pipe:

coniiigbexflampi

Underground pipes that have cracks in them at several spots. Tall columns of flames periodically burst out of these.
Found in stages: 1

Death Pit:

coniiigbdeathpit

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: 1-5

Explosive Eruptions:

coniiigbexploerupt

A large group of Asphalt Fireballs periodically erupt from a certain spot on the carpet-bombed ground. Once the player moves past the eruption point, it ceases.
Found in stages: 1

Flame Gusher:

coniiigblavacolumn

Columns of flames periodically shoot up in the air from unstable fire patches on the ground. One of them move in an arcing trajectory.
Found in stages: 1

Collapsing Pavement:

coniiigbcollappav

These patches of road crumble into the abyss below, forming Death Pits. A thin streak of road remains that can be crossed carefully.
Found in stages: 2

Land Mine:

c3gbmine

Time motion-sensing mines that detonate about 1 second after being stepped on. These can be used by the player strategically to kill pursuing enemies.
Found in stages: 2

Desolate Sky:

coniiigbdessky

Unspecified region high in the air, off-screen that is deadly to the player.
Found in stages: 3

Quicksand Conveyor:

coniiigbconvey

These rectangular portions of sand act as conveyors, rapidly sending the player in the direction they move. This can sometimes lead players into Death Pits or enemies. This danger is not present on the Easy difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 4

Quicksand Vortex:

coniiigbvortex

Standing in these hypnosis patches pushes the player around in a circular path, disorienting them and possibly sending them into enemies or Death Pits. This danger is not present on the Easy difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 4

Exploding Bridge:

coniiigbexplbrid

These bridges explode, starting from the player’s entrance side, when walked on. This danger is not present on the Easy difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 4

Credit to Game Kommander for most of the images presented.

 
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CHEATS, ASSISTANCE

Cheats

Enter the following passwords.

Infinite Lives: B32R
Level Skip: H2F2. During gameplay press START to skip the level.
View real ending sequence: P3LS. Start a new game to view the ending.
Access stages 4 and 5, and view the real ending, on Easy mode: M1LZ
Reverse D-pad functionality: K4RN
Access Level 4 On Easy Mode: 21LN. Completing stage 4 ends the game, with the prompt to try the Normal difficulty setting.

Glitches

Double Jump: This glitch is difficult to achieve. While standing at the very edge of a platform, the player must jump the very moment they begin to fall off the edge. If done correctly, the player will jump once; pressing the jump button a second time will cause the player to jump from their current position in the air.

 
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FULL PLOT

NTSC-J:
No information yet.

NTSC-U:
No information yet.

PAL:
No information yet.

 
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SOUNDTRACK

•Red Falcon’s Revenge
•Ground Zero
•Tearing Up The Turnpike
•Neo Kobe Steel Factory
•No Man’s Land
•Battle
•Mission Accomplished
•Cease Fire
•Casualty Of War

 
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VARIANTS

There are currently no known variants of this conversion of Contra III: The Alien Wars.

 
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REGIONAL DIFFERENCES

NTSC-J: 魂斗羅スピリッツ (Contra Spirits)

NTSC-U: Contra: The Alien Wars

-The North American version is essentially identical to the Japanese version.

PAL: Probotector 2

Notice that it uses 2, instead if II, and lacks the subtitle The Alien Rebels. In fact, Probotector 2 is supposed to be the sequel to Probotector, the European localization of Operation C.

-Interestingly, only the player character (including in cut scenes and portraits) is changed to a robot. In addition, however, the title screen is animated. This is unusual, as the other 2 versions feature a static title screen. In this version, the 2 comes together from halves and subsequently alternates between fading to black and reverting.

 
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DEVELOPMENTAL MATERIAL

There is currently no known developmental material to present.

 
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TECHNICAL INFORMATION

-The game data contains a trace reference to an additional password that does not actually exist, which would enable player invincibility. However, the effect is still functional and can be activated by modifying RAM.

 
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TRIVIA

Run N Roll:
The rolling turrets at the start of the third stage are similar to the Ducker enemies from the Gradius series. Both enemies move along the stage for a certain distance before stopping and taking an aimed shot at the player.

Mysterious Character:
This version retains the intro sequence from the original; this includes Lance and his vengeful statement:

intro2p

However, this version is strictly single player and Lance is never seen anywhere else in the game.

Junker HQ Support:
The name of the third stage is Neo Kobe Steel Factory. Neo Kobe is the name of the city for the setting in the Konami game, Snatcher. In addition, the player fights a robot at the end of the stage whose design is similar to the androids from Snatcher.

Somewhat Better:
This conversion features Super Game Boy support, providing a limited, but highly customizable, color palette and enhanced audio for the game itself. Other features are non-game-specific, such as a selection of border designs.

Recycled Relics:
Numerous elements from its predecessors have been reused in Contra: The Alien Wars. 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):
Alien

-Player characters:
Bill Rizer (arcade Contra)
Lance Bean, in the intro (arcade Contra)

-Red Falcon (arcade Contra)

-Powerups appear in flying blimps (arcade Contra)

-Fire-based powerup gun (arcade Contra)

Sound Effects

-Player death (arcade Contra)

-Powerup acquisition (NES Contra)

-Stats screen (NES Contra)

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Smart Bomb (NES Contra)

Music

-Victory theme (arcade Contra)

Visuals

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

-Player animation (arcade Super Contra)

-Roll-up jump (arcade Contra)

-Gun powerups are represented by falcon sprites (arcade Contra)

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Machine Gun (Operation C)
Spread Gun (Operation C)
Smart Bomb (NES Contra, loosely)

-Opposition (see here for more information):
Grenadier (arcade Super Contra)
Alien Ant (arcade Super Contra)
Alien Grunt (arcade Super Contra)
Alien Fetus (arcade Contra)

-Enemy grenades (NES Super Contra)

-Certain enemies jump when killed (arcade Contra)

-Bosses blink when damaged (arcade Super Contra)

Gameplay

-Side scrolling (horizontal and vertical; arcade Contra)

-Overhead view (arcade Super Contra)

-Single player mode (Operation C)

-Difficulty settings, which affect starting number of lives (arcade Contra)

-1-hit death (arcade Contra)

-Death pits (arcade Contra)

-Temporary invincibility upon respawning (arcade Contra)

-Continue system (NES Contra)

-Point-based life gaining system (arcade Contra)

-8 aiming directions (NES Contra)

-Shooting mechanics (Operation C)

-Powerup arsenal (arcade Contra)

-Powerups lost upon death (arcade Contra)

-Fully automatic guns (Operation C)

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Machine Gun (arcade Contra)
Spread Gun (arcade Super Contra)
Crush Missiles (NES Super Contra, loosely)
Homing Missiles (Operation C)
Barrier (arcade Contra)

-Gun powerups blink and disappear after a brief moment if not picked up (arcade Super Contra)

-Opposition (see here for more information):
Grenadier (arcade Super Contra)
Unarmed Foot Soldier (side view; arcade Contra)
Rifle Foot Soldier (side view; arcade Contra)
Unarmed Foot Soldier (overhead view; arcade Super Contra)
Rifle Foot Soldier (overhead view; arcade Super Contra)
Ground Turret (arcade Super Contra)
Sniper (arcade Contra)
Smart Turret (arcade Contra)
Alien Ant (arcade Super Contra)
Alien Grunt (arcade Super Contra)
Alien Fetus (arcade Contra)

-Bosses (see below)

-Stages:
Alien Cave (arcade Contra)

-Snipers on stilt towers in stage 1 (arcade Super Contra)

-Fiery pits and environment in stage 1 (MSX Contra)

-Exposed flame pipes in stage 1 (arcade Contra)

-Lava gushers in stage 1 (MSX Contra)

-Destructible ground, forming death pits, in stage 2 (NES Super Contra)

-Exploding bridges in stage 4 (arcade Contra)

Familiar Foes:
Contra: The Alien Wars features some of the bosses from the original SNES version. However, due to limitations, many other bosses could not be included. This includes some of the returning bosses/mini-bosses.

First Wall encounter:

wall

Second Wall encounter; optionally, it can be destroyed with the tank:

wall2

Alien Head (Emperor-Demon Dragon God Java); in this Game Boy conversion, this mini-boss appears 3 times throughout the simplified final stage. First encounter:

head1

Second Alien Head encounter:

head2

Third Alien head encounter:

head3

NES Super Contra’s final boss (Shadow Beast Kimkou):

kimkou

Triple-Headed Alien (Emperor-Demon Gyaba):

gyaba

 
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PROMOTIONAL MEDIA

There is currently no known promotional media to present.

 
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Contra III: The Alien Wars main page

Contra Encyclopedia home page

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