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Cheaters Never Prosper
Harmless Borrowing
Accidental Hit
RobotsAliens In Disguise
Redundant Interpretations
Not Gryzor
Amal(game)ation
Rambo VS Aliens

CHEATERS NEVER PROSPER

In the arcade version, if the player increases their score while making little progress in the level, tracking discs will spawn and will quickly home in to kill the player.

 
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HARMLESS BORROWING

There is no doubt that the penultimate boss, the alien head (Emperor Demon Dragon God Java), rips off the Xenomorph from the film Alien.

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

 
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ACCIDENTAL HIT

All of the game’s music, including the iconic Jungle stage theme, had been composed by Kazuki Muraoka. Interestingly, the soundtrack was made in parallel, yet as a bystander to the game’s development. Muraoka, a new employee of the company at the time, was not given any direction on which to base the soundtrack. Ultimately, however, his compositions were deemed fitting and were applied to the game.

 
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ROBOTSALIENS IN DISGUISE

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

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REDUNDANT INTERPRETATION

The actual number of levels of the arcade Contra is often debated, despite official documents stating it has 10 stages.

According to the game docs, Contra features the same stages as the NES version (8), plus the 2 base bosses count as separate stages; this amounts to the stated total of 10.

Following the cues of the Victory theme played after certain boss battles, there are 3 stages. The first stage spans from the jungle to the end of the first base; the second spans from the waterfall to the end of the second base; the final stage spans from the snowfield to the very end.

If going by the NES version, there are 8. A derivative of this, which is the most widely accepted, is the division based on when the screen says Start. In this interpretation, stages 5-8 are merged as they appear sequentially and without intermission, amounting to a total of 5 stages.

 
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NOT GRYZOR

A common misconception regarding the game’s title is that the Japanese original is named Gryzor. This misconception is still widespread today. Take 魂斗羅 (the Japanese title for most Contra games) and translate it; Gryzor is a word that will not be produced upon translation. The Japanese version of Contra is just called Contra.

 
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AMAL(GAME)ATION

Prior to any considerable development, Contra had been planned with a significantly different vision with respect to most aspects: gameplay, plot and premise. Guns were not initially a proposed element; the gameplay would consist predominantly of bare hand fighting, including punches and kicks. Part of the game’s premise would involve rescuing captured girls. These aspects are comparable to Double Dragon. The game was floor-based, as each subsequent wave would presumably occur one floor higher than the previous.

There would also be various stealth elements, having to sneak by enemy soldiers and eliminating them before their numbers became overwhelming. This form of gameplay would instead be seen in Konami’s biggest franchise, Metal Gear. In relation, stages were planned to contain sensors that would need to be destroyed; until this is accomplished, the number of enemies and overall difficulty of the situations in each stage would increase.

Also of interesting note, some later considerations that ultimately did not make it in the final product include upgrading the player’s jump height and the ability to fire while running backwards. The former would later be implemented to a lesser degree in the arcade sequel, Super Contra, where the player can control their jump height. The latter would appear in the PS2 Contra titles, C: The Contra Adventure (PS1) and Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX (GBA).

 
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RAMBO VS ALIENS

The promotional art for the Japanese arcade version of Contra features Bill in a pose based on Sylvester Stallone in Rambo: First Blood Part II.

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