CONTRA REBIRTH > TRIVIA

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Justifiable Censorship
Pal Regions Have It Good
Super Contra All Over Again
PAL Regions Have It Really Good
I Just
Contra Calender
Rocket Ninja Lin Kuei
A Contra And A Duchess
Hint Of A Previous ReBirth
Wing-Faced Mutt
He’s The Terminator!
Alienception
Victory And Victory
Welcome To Camp Camp
There Are No Turtles
This Game Is All Politics
Orthologous Homologs
Silent Hill Rebirth
Neo Contra Rebirth
Escape From Neo City
Maximize Carriage
Greatest Choppah Evah
Even Contra Force Deserves A Shout-Out
This Really Is Hard Corps
No Known Place
Recycled Relics
Familiar Foes

JUSTIFIABLE CENSORSHIP

In the North American and PAL releases, Chief Salamander’s portrait is the following:

It was indeed a form of censorship, regardless of losing symbolism to maintain visual consistency, as this is the portrait seen in the Japanese version:

As is obvious, that is Adolf Hitler. They can get away with things like this in Japan.

 
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PAL REGIONS HAVE IT GOOD

The PAL release is a special case, not just for Contra ReBirth, but for the series as a whole. This is the only time when the PAL version was not released the latest; instead, the North American release holds this distinction.

 
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SUPER CONTRA ALL OVER AGAIN

The text in the intro (“It’s now time for the legendary Contra to be reborn…”) is red and scrolls leftward, the same as the text in the intro of arcade Super Contra (“The quest for freedom continues…”). In addition to this, a “Whoop!” chant is heard, similar to the one in the jungle stage theme of the arcade version of Super Contra, as the text scrolls.

 
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PAL REGIONS HAVE IT REALLY GOOD

The PAL version is also a special case as it contains a debug menu not seen in the other 2 versions.

See here for more information.

 
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I JUST

In the second stage, you may notice this billboard in the background:

I don’t know the significance of the caption “I JUST”, but the character on that billboard is Dr. Venom from Nemesis 2, a Gradius spinoff.

 
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CONTRA CALENDER

In the cut scene before the first stage, the text states the year of 2633 with “Contra” as a prefix:

contracal

This is a reference to the MSX Gradius games that involve a Gradian calender.

 
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ROCKET NINJA LIN KUEI

The ninja sub-boss of the third stage (Rocket Ninja Sasaki) bears a resemblance to the Lin Kuei faction of the Mortal Kombat series.

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A CONTRA AND A DUCHESS

The character Brownie (Tsugu-Min) bears a striking resemblance to Drossel Von Flugel, the gynoid duchess from the Fireball anime series.

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HINT OF A PREVIOUS REBIRTH

In fact, there are many Gradius references in this game. The alien organization is called Neo-Salamander and their weapon is the Zelos Force. When playing on the Nightmare difficulty setting, most enemies emit a destructible blue ring toward the player after they’re destroyed. These rings are similar in design and move in similar motion to the rings shot by many enemies in the Gradius series.

 
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WING-FACED MUTT

In the first half of stage 2, the player occasionally encounters birds that sneak-attack the player after seemingly idling in the background. These crow-like birds are based off the man-faced mutts from Contra III and 4.

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These enemies are a bigger threat since they fly in circles and other patterns, even following the player. Adding to the difficulty, they blend in the scenery due to the background colors and due to heavy action in the foreground with intricate animation sequences,

 
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HE’S THE TERMINATOR!

In the opening cut scene, Bill Rizer awakens in a cryogenic-like setting, completely naked. This scenario is very similar to the time travel principle in the Terminator series. In the franchise, it is explained that only live material will travel through time, hence why the time travelers are naked upon arrival.

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ALIENCEPTION

The mech mini-bosses fought near the end of stage 1 are very similar to the Power Loader used by Ripley in the film Aliens.

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VICTORY AND VICTORY

The intermission sequence following level 3 shows the right side half of this image:

As you might already guess, it is no coincidence. It is a parody of Sylvester Stallone’s movie, Victory. Unsurprisingly, Stallone is the inspiration for many of Lance’s designs throughout the series.

 
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WELCOME TO CAMP CAMP

Just to give an idea of how campy this game is, here is one portrayal of Lance Bean (Contra: Shattered Soldier):

Now, this is what Contra ReBirth’s plot makes him out to be:

He is apparently cross-dressing to go undercover and infiltrate the enemy organization. It’s all in the manual.

Funnily enough, Lance is visible in the helicopter at the end of the game, the furry apparel (seen around his shoulders in the image above) hanging out of the helicopter:



 
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THERE ARE NO TURTLES

During the scattering crowd sequence in the beginning of level 2, look carefully and you’ll see a girl crying as she’s riding away on a skateboard. This is a reference to one of Konami’s classic arcade games, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In the TMNT game, a very similar female NPC on a skateboard is in one of the stage backgrounds. She will cry in a similar way if the player attacks her.



 
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THIS GAME IS ALL POLITICS

Here are Contra ReBirth’s Galactic President and real life political figure Ernesto “Che” Guevara:

Look familiar?

 
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ORTHOLOGOUS HOMOLOGS

Brownie (or BR-W9), Tsugu-Min in Japan, is an obvious reference to Contra: Hard Corps’ robot character, Browny. Both are similar in form and function. Their miniscule stature allows for an advantageous hit box. In fact, “BR-W9” itself references Browny.

Brownie (BR-W9):

Browny:

Likewise, Plissken is analogous to Contra: Hard Corps’ Brad Fang. Both are badass humanoid creatures, but they also add difficulty to their games: Brad Fang’s gun set is considered the most difficult to use, while Plissken has the biggest hitbox.

Plissken:

Brad Fang:



 
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SILENT HILL REBIRTH

The fourth stage takes place in underground ruins, termed Shizuoka. Shizuoka is a reference to Silent Hill, another video game series by Konami.

 
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NEO CONTRA REBIRTH

It is occasionally speculated that the true final boss of Contra Rebirth is based on Project C from Neo Contra. For Project C, numerous clones of Bill Rizer were sent into battle to accomplish several missions over thousands of years. Neo Contra’s final boss is a sentient computer, taking the form of a large human head, that contains the conscience of the purported original Bill Rizer. This boss is fought in outer space, on a platform that is crashing towards Earth. Contra Rebirth’s final boss battle occurs in outer space. In addition, one of its attacks is to drop numerous miniature figures, imitating the player character (ie, clones), that bounce around the floor and kill the player on contact.

On a similar note, the first stage boss battle of Contra Rebirth involves the player fighting an alien crustacean while jumping along debris that is crashing towards Earth. This is similar to the final boss battle of Neo Contra, as described above.

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ESCAPE FROM NEO CITY

Plissken is an obvious reference to Kurt Russell’s character, Snake Plissken, in the Escape film series. It is a humanoid reptile (snakes being reptiles); Plissken’s line in the epilogue further affirms the reference.

Regarding the epilogue, Plissken suggests being referred to as Newt. Newts are amphibians of the same family as salamanders. The name may also be a subtle reference to the Newt character from the Aliens film.

 
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MAXIMIZE CARRIAGE

The robotic llamas in the third stage are more interactive than you might think.

Apart from running along the platform on its back, you can also hang from its head attachment; but did you know that you can also hang from below, on its underside along the length of its mounted platform? It doesn’t necessarily provide any advantage in combat and may even be an easier way to lose lives; perhaps it is meant to save the player if he fell, so he still has a small chance at surviving.

 
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GREATEST CHOPPAH EVAH

The helicopter appearing at the beginning of level 1, and at the end of the true final boss battle, is obviously in reference to the NES Super Contra helicopter you drop off from at the start of the first level. Their designs are also similar.

Contra ReBirth:

Super Contra NES:

The resemblance would be even stronger if you mirror either image horizontally (so both helicopters have the same orientation).

 
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EVEN CONTRA FORCE DESERVES A SHOUT-OUT

The character select music is a remake of Contra Force’s character select music.

 
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THIS REALLY IS HARD CORPS

Upon respawning after a death, Bill says, “Locked ‘N’ Loaded!”; this is Ray’s line when he respawns in Contra: Hard Corps. Bill also says, “Let’s party!” (Browny, also from Contra: Hard Corps). Plissken’s respawn lines are “It’s Time for Revenge!” and “Let’s Attack Aggressively!”; both are the heroes’ lines in the intro of Contra III.

 
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NO KNOWN PLACE

In the intro, Bill seemingly awakens from cryogenic sleep and utters a familiar line in a familiar camera shot:

It is the same line he utters in the intro of arcade Super Contra.



 
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RECYCLED RELICS

Numerous elements from its predecessors have been reused in Contra Rebirth. 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):
Space
City
Highway
Alien

-Player characters:
Bill Rizer (arcade Contra)
Jaguar (Neo Contra)

-Other characters:
Lance Bean (arcade Contra)

-Brownie is a small robot with an advantageous hitbox, similar to Browny (Contra: Hard Corps)

-Plissken is an anthropomorphic lizard, while Fang is a werewolf (Contra: Hard Corps)

-Starting segment of opening cutscene, with Bill Rizer’s line (arcade Super Contra)

-Scrolling red text in the opening cutscene (arcade Super Contra)

-Falcon symbols (arcade Contra)

-Powerups appear in flying blimps (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Vehicle segment (Contra: Hard Corps)

-Helicopter insertion (arcade Super Contra)

-Helicopter escape after final boss is defeated (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Warning messages in stage 3, including for bosses (Contra: Shattered Soldier)

-Unlockables, including characters (Neo Contra)

-Stats screen (NES Contra)

Sound Effects

-Selection in the main menu (Operation C)

-Player landing at the start of some of the stages (NES Contra)

-Bill Rizer’s opening line in the intro (arcade Super Contra)

-Bill Rizer’s death scream (Contra 4)

-Bill Rizer’s lines upon respawning (Contra: Hard Corps, Contra 4)

-Plissken’s lines upon respawning (Contra III: The Alien Wars, Contra 4)

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Machine Gun (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Laser Gun (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Homing Missiles (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

Music

-Stages:
Space Station & Credits theme (arcade Contra)
City theme (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Highway theme (Operation C)
Ruins theme 1 (Contra: Hard Corps)
Ruins theme 2 (arcade Super Contra)
Alien Zone theme (arcade Contra)
Final Boss theme (Contra: Hard Corps)

-Boss theme 1 (arcade Super Contra)

-Boss theme 2 (Contra: Hard Corps)

-Intro theme & Intermission theme 1 (Contra: Hard Corps)

-Character Select theme & Intermission theme 2 (Contra Force)

-Title screen theme (arcade Contra)

-Victory theme (arcade Contra)

-Game Over theme & Final Screen theme (arcade Contra)

-Ending theme (arcade Super Contra)

Visuals

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

-Title screen (MSX Contra)

-Main menu and options (Contra: Hard Corps)

-Spinning falcon cursor in the main menu (Contra: Hard Corps)

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

-Bill and Jaguar’s attire colors (NES Contra)

-Player sprites and animation (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Roll-up jump (arcade Contra)

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

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Default Machine Gun (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Spread Gun (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Laser Gun (Contra 4)
Homing Missiles (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Opposition (see here for more information):
Smart Turret (arcade Contra)
Unarmed Foot Soldier (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Rifle Foot Soldier (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Standing Sniper (NES Contra)
Kneeling Sniper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Grenadier (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Certain enemies jump when killed (arcade Contra)

-Bosses and strong enemies blink white when damaged (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Foreground scenery in the second section of stage 4 (arcade Super Contra)

Gameplay

-Side scrolling (horizontal and vertical; arcade Contra)

-Simultaneous 2 player mode (arcade Contra)

-Character selection with somewhat differentiating properties (Contra Force, Contra: Hard Corps)

-Difficulty settings (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-1-hit death (Arcade Mode; arcade Contra)

-Death pits (arcade Contra)

-Temporary invincibility upon respawning (arcade Contra)

-Invincibility upon defeating the stage boss (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Continue system (Contra III: The Alien Wars, Japanese release)

-Ability to save unlocked features (Contra: Shattered Soldier)

-Ability to select starting number of lives (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Ability to quit to main menu during gameplay (Contra: Legacy of War)

-Sound Test (NES Contra)

-8 aiming directions (NES Contra)

-Hanging on rails and climbing walls/ceilings (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Shooting mechanics (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Powerup arsenal (arcade Contra)

-Powerups, when equipped, lost upon death (arcade Contra)

-Position lock (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Ability to hold 2 guns (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Default Machine Gun (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Spread Gun (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Laser Gun (Contra 4)
Homing Missiles (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Gun powerups blink and disappear after a brief moment if not picked up (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Opposition (see here for more information):
Alien Grunt (NES Super Contra)
Smart Turret (arcade Contra)
Alien Sniper (arcade Super Contra)
Cerebropod (arcade Contra)
Cerebropod Egg (arcade Contra)
Space Centipede (Contra: Shattered Soldier, Contra 4)
Unarmed Foot Soldier (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Rifle Foot Soldier (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Standing Sniper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Kneeling Sniper (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Man-Faced Crow (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Grenadier (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Mosquito-Sniper Cavalry (Operation C, Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Clinging Grenadier (Contra: Shattered Soldier)
Clinging Unarmed Soldier (Contra: Shattered Soldier, loosely)
Clinging Rifle Soldier (Contra: Shattered Soldier, loosely)
Unarmed Acrobat Soldier Inchworm (Contra: Hard Corps)
Rifle Acrobat Soldier Inchworm (Contra: Hard Corps)
Mini Homing Missile (Contra: Shattered Soldier)
Junkyard Debris (Contra: Legacy of War)
Infant Centipede (NES Super Contra)

-Bosses (see below)

-Bosses have increased health in 2 player mode (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Stages:
Space Station (Neo Contra)
City (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Highway (Contra III: The Alien Wars)
Alien Zone (arcade Contra)
Space Rock (Contra: Legacy of War)

-Arena-style battle area during Posterior Centipede Segment mini-boss battle (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Fighting stage boss while re-entering Earth from space on debris in stage 1 (Neo Contra)

-Rifle Foot Soldiers breaking through building glass in stage 2 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Small building rises out of the ground in stage 2 (arcade Super Contra)

-Climbing building wall while fighting a mini-boss in stage 2 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Descending elevator segment in stage 2 (Operation C)

-Aerial soldier gauntlet in stage 3 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Riding atop a vehicle in stage 3 (Contra: Hard Corps)

-Scaling missiles in stage 3 (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

-Slow descent vehicle in stage 4 (Contra: Shattered Soldier)

-Volcanic area in stage 4 (MSX Contra)

-Volcanic eruptions in stage 4 (MSX Contra)

-Elevator segment in stage 4 (NES Super Contra)

-Powerups dropped during the final boss battle (Contra III: The Alien Wars)

 
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FAMILIAR FOES

How about some familiar bosses?

The boss in Stage 1 is quite similar to the segmented fish mini-bosses in Contra 4 and the segmented snow worm mini-boss in Contra: Shattered Soldier:

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The classic wall boss:

Rocket Ninja Sasaki (that matrix-style Ninja from Contra III’s level 4):

In the higher difficulties, he brings a little Touhou into this game.

Emperor-Demon Dragon God Java (the alien head):

Here, he is an ancient volcanic-endogenous sculpture of sorts.

Emperor-Demon Evil Heart Gomera Mosking, the alien heart:

Shadow Beast Kimkou, NES Super Contra’s final boss:

Now, he appears in copious amounts, as fodder “lemmings”. I feel like this is a jab at how the NES version of Super Contra uses this creature as a pushover final boss when the arcade original had Emperor Demon Gyaba (next boss shown).

Emperor-Demon Gyaba, classic triple-headed boss:

In all its NES glory.

Some say that the true final boss is a variant of Contra III’s infamous penultimate battle with the alien brain:

It is possible; they even have similar attacks.

 
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