Contra Encyclopedia home page

Operation C main page

Select a trivium:

Actually Good Misnomers
Breaking Convention
Awesome Originator
Matter Of Opinion
The True First Portable Contra
Naming Is Still Difficult
Operation (Super) C
Operation Castlevania
All The Same
From The Arcades
Battle Variety
Platforming Nightmare
Hidden Treasure
It’s Arnold
Recycled Relics
Origin of Recurrence


Common titles: Contra; Operation Contra. These misnomers are either more fitting or at least somewhat accurate, when compared to misnomers of other games in the series.

Top of page


The Japanese version, Contra, uses Kana instead of Ateji. This is also seen in the title screen:

Neo Contra is the only other Contra title to feature this exception. However, Kana is only used on the manual and packaging; in-game text is in English.

Top of page


This is the first game in the series to feature a homing weapon. It functions like a homing spread gun and is thus the most powerful gun to use in the game.

Top of page


Although this is the first standalone Contra title to use default rapid fire, it isn’t the first Contra game to do so. The DOS version of Contra holds this distinction. Similarly, it applies to the use of automatic firing. Home computer versions of Contra, as well as both the arcade original and home computer conversions of Super Contra, feature automatic firing.

Top of page


Similarly, Operation C isn’t the first handheld Contra, despite being the first mainstream, standalone handheld Contra title. The first handheld game in the Contra series is the obscure LCD Electronics version of Contra, released in 1989.

Top of page


The naming for this Contra is rather unusual. Its North American release, Operation C, is not an abbreviation of the Japanese original, Contra. In addition, this is the only instance that Konami of Japan used the same title (ie, Contra) for 2 different games in the series.

Top of page


The level progression is parallel to NES Super C: base entrance, overhead base, jungle (though it combines elements from NES Contra’s Waterfall stage). The following 2 stages, overhead alien and vertically scrolling elevator stages, have switched spots.

Top of page


Prior to each stage is an intermission sequence where the player character runs across the screen. This feature is present in a few prior Konami titles, most notably the first Castlevania game.

Top of page


Super Contra’s 2nd stage involves battling tanks and turrets, including a large tank boss. Operation C completely reuses this concept, even having similar stage progression and mini-boss sequences.

Top of page


Konami released extremely rare Game Boy game compilations in Germany, named Konami Fun Taschig, presumably during the mid-1990’s. 3 of their titles were packed in groups of 2, in all of the 3 possible combinations. As expected, the games are the PAL versions. They are Probotector, Nemesis and Castlevania: The Adventure.


NES editions of these compilations were planned at one point, and they would have included Probotector.

Top of page


The music of this game is mostly reused from the original Contra. Listen carefully, though: the tracks are based off the arcade original, not the NES version.

Top of page


The submarine boss of the first stage makes Operation C the first standalone Contra game to have a boss below, where the player must aim downwards to attack.

For Contra games in general, the MSX version of Contra holds this distinction. In one of the exclusive stages, the boss consists of a set of gun turrets surrounding a central target. The player must destroy the target (gun turrets are optional) from a platform above.


Top of page


One of the most difficult sections of the game does not even involve enemies or bosses. Right before the third stage boss, there is a very tough gap. You will lose at least one life 99% of the time you get this far. However, wait about 20 seconds and a bridge will form, providing a safe way. In fact, this gap is not well programmed. Unless you jump from as close to the left edge as possible, you’re not guaranteed to make the jump; you will sometimes fall through the ground where you’re supposed to land.

Top of page


The homing powerup is confined in very subtle parts of the fourth and fifth stages. In stage 4, it is in one of the dormant egg sacs after the first or second inactive protruding appendage. In stage 5, it is in one of the glass tubes from which the face hugger does not break out.

Top of page


The cover for the Japanese version of Operation C, Contra, is based on a poster of Arnold Schwarzenegger:

Top of page


Numerous elements from its predecessors have been reused in Operation C. 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. For Operation C, unless stated, these entries pertain to the NES versions of the games.


-Stage themes (details below):
Enemy base

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Homing Gun (based on the Spread Gun)

-Powerups appear in flying blimps (contra)

-Helicopter in the ending (Contra)

Sound Effects

-Pause (Contra)

-Player landing at the start of each side scrolling stage (Contra)

-Player running after completing each stage (Super Contra)

-Player running in the pre-stage sequence (NES Super Contra)

-Player death (Contra)

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Machine Gun (Contra)
Spread Gun (Contra)
Fireball Gun (Super Contra)

-Powerup acquisition (Contra)

-Opposition (see here for more information):
Enemy taking damage (Contra)
Death for most non-boss enemies (Contra)
Death for most bosses (Super Contra)

-Damage of mechanical bosses and strong enemies (NES Contra)

Music (all from arcade Contra)

Cascade Jungle
Alien Nest

-Primary boss theme

-Victory theme, played after completing most stages

-Final victory theme

-Game Over theme


-Fiery “C” in the title (Contra)

-Player sprites and animation (Super Contra)

-Roll-up jump (Contra)

-Player lives represented by medal icons (Contra)

-Death of most non-boss enemies (Contra)

-Certain enemies jump when killed

-Gun powerups are represented by falcon sprites (Contra)

-Fully automatic guns (home computer versions of Contra)

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Spread Gun (Contra)
Machine Gun (Contra)
Fireball Gun (Super Contra)

-Opposition (see here for more information):
Face Hugger (Contra)

-Bosses (see below)

-Boss destruction animation (Super Contra)

-Electrical beams in stage 5 (Contra)

-Electrical barriers in the final section (C64 version of Contra/Gryzor)


-Side scrolling (horizontal and vertical; Contra)

-Overhead view (Super Contra)

-1-hit death (Contra)

-Death pits (Contra)

-Temporary invincibility upon respawning (Contra)

-Continue system (Contra)

-Point-based life gaining system (Contra)

-Extra lives cheat (NES Contra)

-Sound test cheat (NES Contra)

-Stage select, partly through cheat (Famicom Contra)

-8 aiming directions (Contra)

-Shooting mechanics (Contra)

-Powerup arsenal (Contra)

-Powerups lost upon death (Contra)

-Arsenal (see here for more information):
Machine Gun (Contra)
Spread Gun, power level 1 (Contra, arcade Super Contra)
Spread Gun, power level 2 (Contra)
Fireball Gun (Super Contra)

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

-Spread Gun can be upgraded (arcade Super Contra)

-Opposition (see here for more information):
Unarmed Foot Soldier (side view; Contra)
Unarmed Foot Soldier (overhead view; Super Contra)
Rifle Foot Soldier (overhead view; Super Contra)
Standing Sniper (side view; Contra)
Standing Sniper (overhead view; Super Contra)
Waterfall Sniper (Contra, based on Scuba Soldiers)
Clothesline Turret (Super Contra)
Wall Turret (Super Contra)
Ground Turret (Super Contra)
Smart Turret (side view; Contra)
Smart Turret (overhead view; Super Contra)
Falling Boulder (Contra)
Giant Cockroach (Super Contra)
Roach Cotton (Contra)
Alien Bug (Super Contra)
Alienated Soldier (Super Contra)
Embryo Bubble (Super Contra)
Face Hugger (Contra)

-Bosses (see below)

Harbor (Super Contra)
Base (Super Contra)
Cascade Jungle (Contra & Super Contra)
Alien Nest (Super Contra)
Laboratory (Contra & Super Contra)

-Standing Snipers on thin towers in stages 1,3 (Super Contra)

-Elevator sequences in stages 1,5 (Super Contra)

-Tank mini-boss battles in stage 2 (Super Contra)

-Destructible wall in stage 2 (Super Contra)

-Standing Snipers around trees in stage 3 (Super Contra)

-Player is immune while ducking underwater in stage 3 (NES Contra)

-Moving boulder platforms in stage 3 (Contra)

-Protruding organic limbs in stage 4 (Contra)

-Electrical beams in stage 5 (Contra)

-Embryo Bubble dispensers in stage 5 (Super Contra)

-Electrical barriers in the final section (C64 version of Contra/Gryzor)

Top of page


Operation C can be considered the first game in the series to reuse bosses from previous Contra games.

The first tank mini-boss battle in stage 2 is very similar to the tank mini-bosses in stage 2 of Super Contra, including its attack:


Stage 3’s mini-boss shares some similarities to NES Contra’s stage 5 boss:


The final “boss” is a pulsing alien organism defended only by the glass tube in which it’s enclosed:


Despite bearing more resemblance to several final battles in the Gradius series, the setting is also comparable to the final boss of the original Contra.

Top of page

Operation C main page

Contra Encyclopedia home page


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google+ photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: