CONTRA III: THE ALIEN WARS > CONVERSIONS > GBA

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NINTENDO GAME BOY ADVANCE (1)



 
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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 Advance: The Alien Wars EX

Media/Formats: Cartridge

Developer: Konami

Publisher: NTSC-J: Konami

NTSC-U: Konami

PAL: Konami

Release: NTSC-J: November 3, 2002

NTSC-U: November 14, 2002

PAL: February 21, 2003

 
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OVERVIEW

Contra Advance: The Alien War Ex is simplified translation of its source material, suffering from inconsistencies and lack of playtesting. It attempts to retain as many of the sprites, tiles and level aspects of the original without enough focus on proper gameplay. The game engine used is evidently not suited to reproduce Contra III’s gameplay.

Drawbacks include omissions and replacements of many gameplay elements. The smart bombs are removed, the player can only hold 1 gun and both overhead stages have been replaced by levels from Contra: Hard Corps (the train stage and the one that follows in that path, in that order), despite the packaging’s claim of new levels.

Because a different game engine is used, the behavior of some enemies, bosses and powerup weapons are modified, either making the game easier or more difficult. In addition, poor collision detection makes many sections of the game difficult. The controls are also not as smooth and solid as Contra III.

caval2p

The screen resolution is changed, stretched horizontally, resulting in larger sprites and presenting noticeable graphical drawbacks from the original. This also makes the game appear zoomed in, cramping in the play field.

Other gameplay modifications include the option of 2 difficulty settings, Novice and Normal. The former ends the game on the fourth stage and the ending cannot be seen. The starting number of lives depends on the difficulty chosen. A password feature is included for players to continue their progress from the start of the current level.

The player has the ability to lock their aim, like in Contra: Shattered Soldier. The powerup system is also modified; acquiring a powerup gun while already holding one allows the player to swap between both until one or both disappear. 2 player mode is accessed through GBA link up.

Another area of criticism is in the sound. Sound effects and music samples are taken and simplified from Contra III. The replacement of the overhead stages is divided among players. Some feel it lengthens the game while others feel that the Contra: Hard Corps levels unbalance the difficulty. The intro sequence is removed and the ending is modified. In short, Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX is a messy conversion of the SNES original.

Covers:

NTSC-J

conadvjp

NTSC-U

conadvna

PAL

conadvpal

 
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STAGES

Note: These stage names are unofficial.

Stage 1: City
Stage 2: Train
Stage 3: Rooftops
Stage 4: Highway
Stage 5: Forest Headquarters
Stage 6: Alien Cave

 
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ARSENAL

A few setbacks were placed in the Game Boy Advance version of Contra III. The player can only hold 1 weapon at a time and the bombs are absent. A new feature has been added for the gun powerups. If the player takes a powerup gun while already holding another, they are able to switch between the 2 until the icon disappears from the screen. All guns feature automatic firing.

Powerups are acquired through certain objects and mini-bosses scattered throughout the game.

-Blimps:

gbaitem1

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

gbaenemy

Default Machine Gun:

gbaitem0

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):

gbaitem7

Shoots short-range bursts of constant flames, dealing a constant amount of damage. This version of the Flamethrower is significantly weaker than its source counterpart, making it the least useful gun in the game.

Laser Gun (L):

gbaitem5

Shoots piercing beams at a decent rate that deal high amounts of damage. Unlike its source counterpart, it is more useful since it causes more damage. Also different from its source, the beams penetrate through enemy targets, which is very damaging to certain enemies/bosses.

Spread Gun (S):

gbaitem3

Shoots 2 sets at a time of 5 large bullets that fan out. It is effective against large groups of enemies and does high damage at close range. This version of the Spread Gun is more damaging than its source.

Homing Missiles (H):

gbaitem4

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):

gbaitem6

Rapidly fires smalls blue missiles in short intervals. The missiles create multiple small explosions upon impact. The missiles have short range and there’s an interval between each batch of shots. This version of the gun is slightly weaker than its source, which makes the Laser Gun more useful.

Barrier (B):

gbaitem2

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.

Tank:

gbatank

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.

 
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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.

Notes: Enemies and objects that take multiple hits to defeat have increased strength with increasing difficulty. They also have increased health in 2 player mode. Additionally, most enemies spawn more often and have faster attacks on the higher difficulty settings.

Fodder Enemies, Objects

Parked Car:

coniiigbacar

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

Grenadier:

coniiigbagrenadi

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

Unarmed Foot Soldier:

coniiigbaoufs

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

Ground Turret:

coniiigbagrtu

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

Kneeling Sniper:

coniiigbaknsns

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

Rifle Foot Soldier:

coniiigbaorfs

They stop running shortly after appearing to fire a bullet and then run back off-screen. They appear by breaking out of building windows.
Found in stages: 1

Man-Faced Mutt:

coniiigbadog

These alien dogs are initially part of the background scenery, eating trash; shortly after the player runs past them, they run in the player’s direction.
Found in stages: 1

Asphalt Fireball:

coniiigbaflmbll

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

Fiery Meatball:

coniiigbafirmtbal

Large fireballs that bounce vertically in and out of the lava. On the Hard difficulty setting, these fireballs are indestructible.
Found in stages: 1

Alien Wasp:

coniiigbaalwasp

They deploy from the Wasp Nest of Slave Beast Taka, each flying either upwards or downwards.
Found in stages: 1

Alien Slug:

coniiigbaalslug

Spat out by Slave Beast Taka, these crawlers simply move leftwards off-screen.
Found in stages: 1

Katana Foot Soldier:

coniiigbakatfs

They chase the player, even jumping over small obstacles to do so. When close, they dash while swinging their blades forward.
Found in stages: 2

Train Car Sniper:

coniiigbatrainsnguard

This enemy appears once in the entire game. Guarding the Train Car Door, he actively aims and fires bullets at the player.
Found in stages: 2

Train Car Door:

coniiigbatraindor

A simple obstacle that blocks the player’s path and must be shot down.
Found in stages: 2

Motorbike Gunner:

coniiigbabiker

Soldiers on motorbikes; they follow the player for a certain distance, driving back and forth across the screen and firing a bullet each time they slow down.
Found in stages: 2

Arcing Mini-Rocket:

coniiigbaarcrock

Fired by Super Power Robot Yokozuna. These rockets move in a wide arcing trajectory, although they shift somewhat to move towards the player.
Found in stages: 2

Rotating Ducker:

coniiigbarotduck

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:

coniiigbagigafl

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

Winged Soldier:

coniiigbawingsold

Deployed by the Floating Bird Nest Garth Base; they also jump out of building walls. These enemies run a short distance before they open their wings and jump down off the ground/platform.
Found in stages: 3

Steel Barricade Double-Door:

coniiigbastelbardor

Large wall-like doors that blocks the player’s entrance into the building.
Found in stages: 3

Smart Turret:

coniiigbasmtu

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

Mini-Gun Air Biker:

coniiigbamingunairbk

They fire a short burst of rapid-fire rounds diagonally downwards, ahead of them.
Found in stages: 4

Grenadier Air Biker:

coniiigbagrenairbk

When the player’s bike approaches their vehicle, they drop a grenade.
Found in stages: 4

Mini-Rocket:

coniiigbafuserock

These missiles home in on the player. They are seen in stage 4, fired by the High-Speed Tank.
Found in stages: 4

Jet Pack Soldier:

coniiigbajpsold

Follow the player during the battle with the High-Speed Tank, hovering above him. These enemies do not use any attacks. They are either absent or extremely rare on the Hard difficulty setting.
Found in stages: 4

Jet Pack Sniper:

coniiigbajpsni

Follow the player during the battle with the High-Speed Tank, hovering above him and firing bullets diagonally down-left.
Found in stages: 4

Laser Turret:

coniiigbalastu

They are installed on the Alien Mother Ship such that they periodically fire a laser straight downwards.
Found in stages: 4

Mother Ship Arc Turret:

coniiigbashiparctu

They actively aim and fire bullets at the player in a lower semi-circle arc range.
Found in stages: 4

Kamikaze Soldier:

coniiigbakamikaze

Red soldiers that shimmy until they are horizontally close with the player and then drop on him.
Found in stages: 4

Powerbomb Cannon:

coniiigbapowebcan

A large cannon that aims diagonally down-right. When it catches up to the player, it launches a devastating carpet-bombing projectile. When this missile hits the ground, its explosions rapidly propagate backwards.

Unlike in the SNES original, this version of the cannon must be destroyed before it drops the bomb; otherwise, the player will inevitably lose a life. This is due to the way the enemy was programmed in the GBA conversion.
Found in stages: 4

Fuse-Free Mini-Rocket:

coniiigbafusefree

Fired by the Bipedal Turret. These rockets are similar to the Mini-Rockets; they home in on the player. However, they lack fire puffs.
Found in stages: 4

Ship Shell:

coniiigbashipshll

Small missiles launched frequently by the Alien Mother Ship during the first phase.
Found in stages: 4

Energy Pellet:

coniiigbaplasmpell

Launched diagonally upwards/downwards by the Ship Cannons of the Alien Mother Ship during the first phase. The upper Ship Cannon fires diagonally downwards, while the lower one fires diagonally upwards.
Found in stages: 4

Unleashed Experiment:

coniiigbaescexp

Mutant creatures that are initially in glass tubes in the background scenery. When approached, they break out of them and constantly follow the player by hopping towards him. This enemy is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 5

Alien Grunt:

coniiigbaalgrnt

They quickly run across various parts of the stage, even jumping across gaps if needed. They are also deployed through the holes formed by destroying the Lateral Heads. This enemy is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Alien Fetus:

coniiigbaalfet

Spat from the mouths of Emperor-Demon Dragon God Java and the central head of Emperor-Demon Gyaba. These alien creatures home in on the player in circular patterns. This enemy is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Wall Mouth:

coniiigbawalmth

Alien mouths embedded in the walls. They spit out 3 Cotton Balls. This enemy is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Cotton Ball:

coniiigbacotbal

Spat out from Wall Mouths. They hover a short distance before flying into the player’s immediate position, where they die off if dodged. This enemy is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Face Hugger Egg:

coniiigbafhe

These alien eggs surround and protect Emperor-Demon Evil Heart Gomera Mosking. They hatch an unlimited number of Face Huggers. This enemy is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Face Hugger:

coniiigbafh

Spawned from Face Hugger Eggs, these alien arachnids rapidly crawl along the ceiling or ground and often swap surfaces through the air, making them difficult to dodge. This enemy is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Lateral Head:

coniiigbalathed

Optional components of Emperor-Demon Gyaba. They extend a short distance, following the player, before retracting. This occurs 1-3 times before the entire alien creature rises up a few feet. As it does, the Emperor-Demon Gyaba repeatedly fire 3 bullets downwards in a spread formation. When the creature returns to its initial height, the heads repeat the pattern.

These creatures can be damaged only at their heads, not at their necks. This enemy is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Bouncing Eyeballs:

coniiigbaeyeb

Thrown from Living Brain Organism Searle, these bounce on the ground and remain on-screen until destroyed or the phase ends. This fodder object is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Cracked White Bead:

coniiigbaconstrcring

Multiple ring beads collectively form a ring around the player. They gradually close in as if constricting. This fodder object is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Mini-Bosses

Wall:

cadvwall1

cadvwall2

The player encounters 2 of these Wall mini-bosses. This defense bunker consists of a Kneeling Sniper on the rooftop, dual Mortar Cannons at mid-level and the Wall Core at ground level. The Mortar Cannons frequently fire bombs. As the cannons and rooftop sniper are optional, simply destroying the Wall Core will defeat the mini-boss, which then collapses to the ground.
Found in stages: 1

Patrol Tank:

Hidden behind a building that it collapses to confront the player. This intially tank drives forward, reaching close to the left edge of the screen. It then reverses to the far right end and stops for a moment before repeating the pattern, but only driving forward midway from then on. Throughout the battle, the tank constantly and rapidly launches missiles in an arcing trajectory, with varying ranges.
Found in stages: 1

Suspended Cannon Bot:

coniiigbacanntwi

The player fights 2 of these robots simultaneously. They are robots with cannons for torsos and they hang by hooks chained to a pulley system. Each robot is on opposite sides of the screen.

In the first phase, the robots are able to adjust their hanging altitude, periodically firing cannonballs at different heights. Once one of them is destroyed, the other one breaks off the chain onto the train car roof and the second phase begins. The second phase depends on which one of them remains.

coniiigbaleftcantwin

If the Left Suspended Cannon Bot remains, it simply dashes back and forth across the train car roof.

coniiigbaritecantwin

If the right robot remains, it hops back and forth across the train car roof.
Found in stages: 2

Pulverizing Cannon:

This mini-boss isn’t damaged by the player’s weaponry. Instead, one of its attacks is manipulated to destroy itself. It is a flexible cannon that performs a 2-attack routine. First, its tip slams down on the train car roof at random spots 5 times. Then, it charges up for a moment as it moves slowly to adjust its aim onto the player before firing a blast; it fires a total of 3 charged blasts.

The cannon is damaged and destroyed by its own charged blasts. The player must move back and forth to adjust their position such that the cannon fires at its own base. 3 self-inflicted shots will defeat the mini-boss.
Found in stages: 2

Tri-Transforming Mecha Copter:

coniiigbatricopt

A flying, spherical, robot that is lined with spikes. The weak core is located on its inferior surface. On the direct opposite side, a drill occasionally rises upwards and remains for a few seconds before retracting. 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:

coniiigbatriwalker

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

In its first phase, it uses 2 mechanical legs to crawl up the wall with the player.

coniiigbawalwalk2

In its second phase, the 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 actively follows the player until it crashes into a point on the wall with its protruding drills.

Occasionally, it approaches the wall with the drills, but doesn’t hit it. The boss’ weakness is in phase 2; each time it protrudes its drills, its core is exposed and vulnerable to damage.
Found in stages: 3

Floating Bird Nest Garth Base:

coniiigbagarthnest

Alternates between 2 attacks. In the first attack, it drops a series of grenades to the ground. In the second phase, it deploys Winged Soldiers while its core (the main goal) is exposed.
Found in stages: 3

Robot Brother Kenny No. 1:

coniiigbarobken1

Red-colored, terminator-like robot. It jumps around in the battle arena room until it is close to the player. Then, it jumps and clings onto the ceiling, fires 3 bullets in a spread formation at the player before dropping down; the pattern repeats afterwards. The robot is also able to cling on the side walls.

coniiigbaredtermi2

When the robot is damaged enough, its upper half remains and it quickly moves around the room, hopping frequently.
Found in stages: 3

Robot Brother Kenny No. 2:

coniiigbarobken2

Blue-colored, terminator-like robot. This one rarely jumps, and the jumps are small. Instead, it mostly fires a mini-gun at the ground a few feet in front of it.

coniiigbablutermi2

When the robot is damaged enough, its upper half remains and it quickly moves around the room, hopping frequently.
Found in stages: 3

High-Speed Tank:

coniiigbahispdtank

Leads ahead of the player, firing Mini-Rockets at him. Throughout the battle, Jet Pack Soldiers and Jet Pack Snipers stalk the player from above.
Found in stages: 4

Acrobat Soldier:

coniiigbaacrobat

Hangs from a beam below the ship, shimmying left and right. Although he is harmless, he directs the deployment of several Kamikaze Soldiers to drop on the player.
Found in stages: 4

Bipedal Turret:

coniiigbabipedtu

A high-speed turret on 2 mechanical legs. It runs forward and jumps in the air, at which point its legs rotate about its fixed turret head. The player can get killed by its legs if it corners him to the left/right of the screen. Throughout the battle, this mini-boss also fires Fuse-Free Mini-Rockets.
Found in stages: 4

Rocket Ninja Sasaki:

coniiigbasasaki

A robotic ninja that moves at matrix-like speeds. It first appears by charging at and clinging near the helicopter missile’s front tip from the lower-left of the screen. It swings left and right from its point of attachment a few times before releasing and clinging to another point on the missile.

At random, when it clings to a new point, the the grapple wire retracts until the ninja is aligned with the player and it throws a boomerang shuriken at the player.
Found in stages: 4

Spearing Basketball:

A cyborg flying orange sphere with 2 phases. In its first phase, the mini-boss floats in the center of the screen and 4 Retracting Spears are extended to the walls/floor in an X formation.

Sequentially, each spear retracts and rotates 45 degrees clockwise before re-extending. Their weak points are their tips. As each one is destroyed, the remaining spears move even faster.

Phase 2 begins once all 4 Retracting Spears are destroyed. Here, the remaining Orange Cyborg Ball bounces extremely fast and vigorously at the center. It then splits into 2 virtual images in the air that separate for a certain distance; the images merge above the player’s position and the pattern repeats.

The ball is vulnerable only during the bouncing sequences after the initial one, and it speeds up the more it is weakened. This mini-boss is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 5

Arachnibian:

coniiigbadrspid

An alien creature with features of both a frog and a spider. It crawls to a random spot on the floor/ceiling/walls and casts a fibrous projection that moves in a straight line. Upon hitting a surface, the projection reflects in a different, random direction and this continues until a small web is created.

The creature then crawls along the entire length of the web in the trajectory from which it was created. After it reaches the endpoint, it crawls to a new spot and the pattern repeats. The mini-boss is vulnerable from the moment it casts the first web. This mini-boss is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 5

Alien-Human Hybrid:

coniiigbabahm

This being is the result of infusing an alien cell into a human. When first confronted, a 3-second timer appears over its head; when counted down, it charges across the screen. Afterwards, it randomly performs 1 of 3 possible attacks, including the one described.

The second possible attack is a large, helix-like energy blast that is thrown by the creature. For its third attack, it floats high in the air and rapidly throws energy spheres diagonally down, to the opposite side of the screen.

The boss can be attacked, and even defeated, before the initial countdown. Once defeated, it jumps to the center of the ground and mutates into the next creature to battle. This mini-boss is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 5

Dicephalic Mutant Hen:

cadvtur2

A 2-headed alien creature with thin feet. The necks are extendable and constitute a tool to its attacks. Either head is its weak point and they are vulnerable only when the boss is performing its side-specific attack.

When the boss jumps to the right side of the screen, its left head extends a short distance and retracts a few times before remaining extended while slamming down on the ground multiple times. This causes indestructible bubble dimers to rain down from random points. It then retracts the head to jump to the other side.

When the boss jumps to the left side of the screen, its right head extends a short distance and retracts a few times before extending much longer. As it does, the head and neck actively curl to follow the player. Shortly after reaching its maximum distance, it then retracts to jump to the other side.

Once this creature is defeated, it jumps to the center of the screen for the last time to mutate into the stage boss. This mini-boss is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 5

Emperor-Demon Dragon God Java:

cadvhead

Large xenomorph head that spits out Alien Fetuses, fought at the start of Stage 6. This mini-boss is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Emperor-Demon Evil Heart Gomera Mosking:

cadvheart

An alien heart, which does not attack the player, itself. The challenge comes from its defenses: several Face Hugger Eggs (that spawn Face Huggers) surround it. All defenses are optional, but destroying at least some of them will make the battle easier. This mini-boss is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Shadow Beast Kimkou:

cadvkimkou

Fought immediately after the heart mini-boss. This iteration of the alien crustacean is smaller than in the NES version of Super, but uses additional attacks and comprises 2 phases. Like its predecessor, its legs can be stood on.

In the first phase, the mini-boss alternates between 2 attacks. First, it charges to the left end of the screen and then retracts to the opposite side. Next, the weak point (a woman-like face) is exposed for a few seconds, during which its arm 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 and the upper eye fires a high-energy beam at the player’s general direction.

The second phase begins when it is damaged to a certain extent, consisting of an additional maneuver. The creature burrows underground at the right side and springs out close to the left and jumps backwards before carrying out the phase 1 attack routine. This mini-boss is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Metal Alien:

cadvxeno

This iteration of the Metal Alien is much more motile, although it does not use any projectiles. It attacks in 2 phases. In the first phase, it bounces on various spots of the wall randomly; meanwhile, its sharp tail spins, jabs and swings about.

When it’s damaged to a certain extent, it enters the second phase. Here, it swings backwards and teleports out; after a few seconds, it then reappears in front of the player’s position and thrusts its tail forward. The Metal Alien’s weakness is its head. This mini-boss is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Emperor-Demon Gyaba:

cadvgyaba

This immense alien creature consists of multiple components, including the central head and a Lateral Head on either side of it, and 2 phases. On the central head is the Exposed Brain, the main goal of the battle (all other components are optional). It is temporarily protected by the pair of destructible Gyaba Eyes. Lateral Heads extend a short distance, following the player.

In the first phase, the Lateral Heads extend and retract 1-3 times before the entire alien creature rises up a few feet. As it does, the Lateral Heads repeatedly fire 3 bullets downwards in a spread formation and the central head spits out an Alien Fetus. The creature then lowers back to its initial height.

If one of the Lateral Heads are destroyed, forming a hole as a result, an Alien Grunt will drop out of it when the entire creature rises.

Phase 2 optionally occurs and it begins when both Lateral Heads are destroyed. Now, Alien Grunts drop from the holes formed by the destroyed Lateral Heads and the central head periodically spits Alien Fetuses. This mini-boss is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Living Brain Organism Searle:

coniiigbabrain

This floating Brain alternates between 2 phases. In the first phase, it rests in the center of the screen and a variety of spheres orbit around it, constantly changing its speed and alternating between clockwise and counter-clockwise directions. The setup resembles roulette. Unlike in the SNES original, both the Brain and orbiting spheres are harmful when contacted.

The second phase is variable, and it depends on which sphere is shot by the player. In all of them, the Brain opens its eye and is vulnerable to damage. It performs the second phase for a few seconds before it disappears and returns to the center of the screen, reverting to the first phase. The following are the options that the player can choose/shoot at for the second phase:

-Brain Protection:

coniiigbabrainprotect

Red sphere selection. Layers of small Meningeal Tissue surround the Brain, shrinking and expanding, as the Brain moves left and right sinusoidally.

-Beady Legs:

calwargba1

Textured blue sphere selection. The Brain grows a pair of legs and sidesteps to the left and right randomly. The player is safe only between the legs.

-Eyeballs:

coniiigbabraineyeb

Eye selection. A concentric eye grows around the Brain’s central eye and the alien throws out Bouncing Eyeballs to the left and right of it, as it moves left and right sinusoidally.

-Powerup Gravel:

gbaenemy

Spiky gray sphere selection. The brain rapidly drops spiky gravel stones to the left and right of it, as it moves left and right. The direction and range of the gravel stones are random. In addition, it occasionally drops a wide variety of powerups for the player.

-Constricting Ring:

coniiigbabrainconstrring

Cracked white sphere selection. A ring of Cracked White Beads surrounds the player. It rotates for a few seconds before gradually closing in on the player. If all of the beads aren’t destroyed in time, they will contact the player, costing him a life. Throughout, the Brain moves left and right sinusoidally.

-Walkers:

coniiigbabrainwalker

Cracked gray sphere selection. The Brain moves to the ground at the far right. It then constantly produces lines of 2 gray spheres that rotate and “walk” to the left.

-Snake:

coniiigbabrainsnk

Green sphere with red spots selection. The Brain drops to the ground directly below it and a large, indestructible Spotted Snake springs out of it; the Brain then rises back up. The snake moves left and right across the screen in a waving pattern for a few seconds before the Brain drops to the ground again and the snakes re-enters the Brain.

-Bouncing Marbles:

coniiigbabrainmarb

Plain blue sphere selection. The brain diagonally unloads 3 indestructible bouncing marbles that bounce around the screen until the phase ends. Throughout, the brain floats up and down in middle of the screen.

Unlike in the SNES original, the Brain itself is harmful when contacted in all of the phase 2 options.

This mini-boss is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Bosses

Slave Beast Taka:

coniiigbaturt

A giant alien turtle whose weakness is the pulsing, Ventral Brain that is exposed near its front feet. The brain occasionally fires a bullet at the player. Above its head, on its back, is a Wasp Nest, deploying an infinite number of Alien Wasps.

The boss uses its head for a few attacks. Occasionally, it spits out a group of Alien Slugs; it also fires a high-powered beam from its mouth. The head itself very rapidly extends with the neck to the player, cornering him, before retracting. Although not directly an attack, the turtle also sometimes slams its body into the ground repeatedly.
Found in stage: 1

Super Power Robot Yokozuna:

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A giant mech robot that stops the train by standing in front of it to attack the player. It first fires a series of Arcing Mini-Rockets in a wide arc. Next, it fires dual energy beams that move in a somewhat helical pattern. Next, it fires a series of bubble dimers that roll across the train roof.

The robot then jumps on top of the train. From here, it fires another series of Arcing Mini-Rockets before it enters its regular attack pattern.

The first attack of its regular pattern consists of the robot actively jumping towards the player, trying to land on him, 4 times; it jumps back to the right for its fourth jump. The robot then walks up to the player and performs a kick. Finally, it returns to the right and creates a fiery projectile that slides across the train car roof.

This boss’ weak point is its head. Although the head appears to take damage throughout the battle, damage is only registered once it begins its regular attack pattern.
Found in stages: 2

Daikaku Robo Big Fuzz:

coniiigbarobofuzz

A large robot whose head and upper body are visible through the wall that it opens up. It cycles through the following attack routine:

-Emits a pair of ocular beams that repeatedly move a short distance towards the player’s immediate position, in a homing pattern, before flying off-screen.

-Breathes a column of fire that it rotates clockwise twice, starting from the 6:00 mark.

-Drops several 3-second time bombs in a spread formation around the player’s position (floor/ceiling/walls), closes up the walls and reopens them once the bombs detonate.
Found in stages: 3

Alien Mother Ship:

ciiigbamothship

On the Novice difficulty setting, this is the final boss of the game. The player must battle the back end of the ship. This boss has several components and several attacks.

In phase 1, a Ship Cannon is placed at the top and bottom edges in the back of the ship. They periodically and alternatively launch 3 Energy Pellets diagonally upwards/downwards. Together, they form an energy shield that protects the Ship Core (goal of the battle) from all damage.

Throughout the first phase, several Ship Shells are constantly fired backwards towards the player. Once the Ship Cannons are destroyed, the shield is neutralized, exposing the Ship Core and beginning phase 2. Here, the ship constantly launches anti-missile missiles as its only defense.

The entire battle occurs while the player hangs from ally missiles, which he must jump across constantly as they crash/detonate. Some of the missiles help damage the Ship Core in the second phase, if they aren’t countered.
Found in stages: 4

Somatic Brain Organism:

cadvbr

A very small, flying brain creature that surrounds itself in a hollow sphere of miniature alien-human hybrid heads. As the brain flies back and forth in a sinusoidal pattern, the sphere of heads expands and shrinks while rotating. The brain is vulnerable from the moment it starts flying. This boss is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 5

Brain-Armor Cavalry:

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The true final boss of the game. It frequently rises up to the player, attempting to impale him with its spikes. In addition, its 2 upper arms swing upwards in varying patterns. This boss is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

Other Dangers

Stilt Tower:

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A Kneeling Sniper is stationed on it and Unarmed Foot Soldiers jump out of it. Although it can’t be damaged directly, defeating the Kneeling Sniper will cause the tower to be destroyed.
Found in stages: 1

Exposed Flame Pipe:

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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:

coniiigbadethpt

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: 1-4,6

Explosive Eruption:

coniiigbaerup

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:

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Columns of lava 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

Desolate Sky:

coniiigbadessky

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

Closing Door:

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The player must stand clear of the doorway to the arena room at the end of Stage 3; otherwise, they get killed when the door closes.
Found in stages: 3

Flailing Bead Limb:

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This flexible arm-like attachment cannot be damaged/destroyed by the player. The arm is made of several large, metallic beads and it slinks, curls, swings and retracts in various directions. When the screen scrolls past it, it is destroyed.
Found in stages: 4

Spotted Snake:

coniiigbaspotsnk

It springs out of the Brain and moves left and right across the screen in a waving pattern for a few seconds before re-entering the Brain. This danger is not present on the Novice difficulty setting during regular play.
Found in stages: 6

 
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CHEATS, ASSISTANCE

There are currently no known cheats, helpful glitches, etc.

 
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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

•Ground Zero
•Point Of Entry
•Tearing Up The Turnpike
•Neo Kobe Steel Factory
•Road Warriors
•Nesting In The Sands
•No Man’s Land
•The Final Gauntlet (Part 1)
•The Final Gauntlet (Part 2)
•The Final Gauntlet (Part 3)
•Invasion
•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: ハードスピリッツ (Contra: Hard Spirits)

In the Japanese version, the stages are directly termed stages, whereas the overseas counterparts refer to them as levels. This includes in the ending for the Normal difficulty setting.

NTSC-U: Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX

PAL: Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX

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The title screen displays the year 2003 in the PAL release, while the other 2 releases display 2002.

 
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DEVELOPMENTAL MATERIAL

-E3 trailer:

Notice that the sound effects are different. This somewhat supports the theory that Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX was planned to be much more than a conversion (see here).

 
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TECHNICAL INFORMATION

-During regular play, the game will end after the fourth stage on Novice mode, with a simple montage of images and a prompt to play on the Normal setting. However, patch codes can be used to access the fifth and sixth stages on Novice mode.

The levels play identically to Normal mode with the exception of Novice mode’s starting lives and continues. The true ending can also be viewed, although strangely, the same prompt to play Normal mode is displayed. The fourth and sixth stages may be coded to check the difficulty setting upon level completion, which is responsible for both the endings and Novice mode message.

-The password system is faulty, as a number of passwords provided for the player are invalid when inputted.

-The Barrier powerup can be forced to appear in stages where it is otherwise absent, including stage 4:

conadvbarri

-One of the more notable differences from the original SNES version is a sound effect oddity: the player’s death scream, when hit, is swapped with that of the fodder acrobat soldiers in stage 4. The sound effect for falling to death is absent, or is at least unused.

 
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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.

Red Salamander:
The brain boss (Living Brain Organism Searle) bears a striking resemblance to the Golem boss from Salamander, another video game by Konami.

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Contra Advance: Shattered Soldier X:
This conversion was released almost to coincide with the release of Contra: Shattered Soldier. A TV ad, as well as online video game review sites mistakenly assumed Contra Advance was, therefore, a conversion of Contra: Shattered Soldier. Adding to this confusion is the artwork of Contra Advance’s packaging, which resembles the artwork style of Contra: Shattered Soldier’s packaging.

Chimeric Name:
The Japanese localization is titled Contra Hard Spirits. This is a combination of the titles of the SNES and Sega Genesis Contra games, Contra Spirits and Contra: The Hard Corps. The combination stems from the fact that this conversion incorporates 2 stages from Contra: Hard Corps.

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 robots at the end of the stage whose designs are similar to the androids from Snatcher.

Rip Off A Rip-Off:
The cover and manual art are a recreation of the classic NES Contra’s box art (which is based off Bob Wakelin’s design template originally used for the Gryzor conversions):

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

-Player characters:
Bill Rizer (arcade Contra)
Lance Bean (arcade Contra)

-Red Falcon (arcade Contra)

-Powerups appear in flying blimps (arcade Contra)

-Fire-based powerup gun (arcade Contra)

-Assistant helicopter (arcade Super Contra)

-Helicopter in the ending (NES Contra)

-Stats screen at the end of each stage, with rank (Contra: Shattered Soldier)

Sound Effects

-Powerup acquisition (NES Contra)

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Spread Gun, (arcade Contra)
Laser Gun, (arcade Contra)

-Enemy grenade thrown (arcade Contra)

Music

-Victory theme (arcade Contra)

Visuals

-Fiery “C” in the title (arcade Contra)

-Bill and Lance are essentially sprite variants (arcade Contra)

-Bill and Lance’s attires (NES Contra)

-Player animation (arcade Super Contra)

-Player’s standing sprite at the edge of platforms (arcade Super Contra)

-Roll-up jump (arcade Contra)

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

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Spread Gun (NES Contra, arcade Super Contra)
Laser Gun (arcade Super Contra, loosely)

-Opposition (see here for more information):
Grenadier (arcade Super Contra)
Unarmed Foot Soldier (side view; NES Super Contra)
Rifle Foot Soldier (side view; NES Super Contra)
Unarmed Foot Soldier (overhead view; NES Super Contra)
Rifle Foot Soldier (overhead view; NES Super Contra)
Smart Turret (arcade Contra)
Wing Soldier (NES Super Contra)
Alien Ant (arcade Super Contra)
Alien Fire Ant (arcade Super Contra)
Alien Grunt (arcade Super Contra)
Alien Fetus (arcade Contra)
Wall Mouth (arcade Contra)
Cotton Ball (arcade Contra)
Face Hugger (arcade Contra)
Face Hugger Egg (arcade Contra)

-Enemy grenades (NES Super Contra)

-Certain enemies jump when killed (arcade Contra)

-Bosses and strong enemies blink when damaged (arcade Super Contra)

-Bubble Dimer debris that falls from one of the attacks of stage 5’s last mini-boss (arcade Contra)

Gameplay

-Side scrolling (horizontal and vertical; arcade Contra)

-Simultaneous 2 player mode (arcade Contra)

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

-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)

-Password system for saving progress (Contra: The Alien Wars)

-8 aiming directions (NES Contra)

-Aim lock (Contra: Shattered Soldier)

-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 (NES Contra, arcade Super Contra)
Crush Missiles (NES Super Contra, loosely)
Laser Gun (arcade Super Contra)
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)
Ground Turret (arcade Super Contra)
Sniper (arcade Contra)
Standing Sniper (arcade Contra)
Jet Bike Sniper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Smart Turret (arcade Contra)
Wing Soldier (NES Super Contra)
Alien Grunt (arcade Super Contra)
Alien Fetus (arcade Contra)
Wall Mouth (arcade Contra)
Cotton Ball (arcade Contra)
Face Hugger (arcade Contra)
Face Hugger Egg (arcade Contra)

-Bosses (see below)

-Stages:
Forest Headquarters (arcade Contra)
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 wall in stage 2 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Destructible wall in stage 3 (arcade Super Contra)

-Music doesn’t change during stage bosses in stages 4,5 (arcade Contra)

-Alien creatures breaking out of glass tubes in stage 5 (Operation C)

-Debris that falls from one of the attacks of stage 5’s last mini-boss (NES Super Contra)

Familiar Foes:
Classic Wall from the original Contra:

cadvwall1

Shortly after the first wall encounter, another one is confronted. Optionally, this second Wall can be destroyed by the tank:

cadvwall2

Alien head (Emperor-Demon Dragon God Java):

cadvhead

Alien heart (Emperor-Demon Evil Heart Gomera Mosking):

cadvheart

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

cadvkimkou

The Xenomorph ripoff boss from arcade Super Contra’s 4th stage (Metal Alien):

cadvxeno

It is much more dynamic, but does not fire a projectile.

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

cadvgyaba

The following bosses are from the stages taken from Contra: Hard Corps. As that game is a sequel to Contra III, these bosses can be considered recreations.

Bahamut’s mutated form (similarities to Contra III’s turtle boss, Slave Beast Taka:

cadvtur2

Brain boss (similarities to Contra III’s brain boss, Living Brain Organism Searle):

cadvbr

 
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PROMOTIONAL MEDIA

Posters And Ads

-Poster for Contra hard Spirits (and Shin Contra):

jappos

-Ads for Contra Hard Spirits (and Shin Contra):

jpcadvad

jpcadvad2

ssusad

chsgbapromad

Books

-Double-feature strategy guide for Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX and Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance:

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-Strategy guide for Contra: Hard Spirits (and Shin Contra):

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Miscellaneous

-Promotional box for Contra Advance (and boxes for Contra: Shattered Soldier):

csspromoboxes

 
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Contra III: The Alien Wars main page

Contra Encyclopedia home page

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