Contra Encyclopedia home page
This page is intended to be a quick reference for all of the known prototypes of games in the Contra series. They are categorized into the Contra games to which they correspond. Each entry links to its respective page which covers the prototype in further detail. Additionally, they are also available on the main page of their respective game.
Unique to this page is a section that catalogs prototypes for which information is significantly scarce or for which the validity is inadequate.
Select a game:
•Contra III: The Alien Wars
•Contra: Hard Corps
•Contra: Legacy Of War
•C: The Contra Adventure
•Contra: Shattered Soldier
•Contra Rebirth – None Yet
•Contra Force – None Yet
•Hard Corps: Uprising
CONTRA III: THE ALIEN WARS
•Contra IV: The Alien Wars (Nintendo Super Famicom)
•Contra III Partial Build (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
•Contra III Lab Loaner (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
•Contra Spirits Demonstration (Nintendo Super Famicom)
•Contra III Near-Final Beta (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
•Super Probotector NTSC-U Sample (Super Nintendo Entertainment
•Probotector 2 Sample (Nintendo Game Boy)
•Contra Advance Review Build (Nintendo Game Boy Advance)
•Final Build Prototypes
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CONTRA: HARD CORPS
CONTRA: LEGACY OF WAR
C: THE CONTRA ADVENTURE
CONTRA: SHATTERED SOLDIER
•Neo Contra E3 Preview Build (Sony Playstation 2)
•Neo Contra Review Build (Sony Playstation 2) (1)
•Neo Contra Review Build (Sony Playstation 2) (2)
•Neo Contra Q4 Review Build (Sony Playstation 2)
•Neo Contra PAL Preview Build (Sony Playstation 2)
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HARD CORPS: UPRISING
•A prototype of the NES version of Contra was allegedly listed on eBay for $10 000, some time between 2009-2013.
•NTSC-U sample of Probotector for NES. There are no confirmed sightings, nor any solid testimonies. However, NTSC-U samples of PAL video games are confirmed to have been created and sold between collectors, including those of Probotector II and Super Probotector. Additionally, experienced collector DreamTR stated that a North American prototype of the game had been created, although he may have been referring to Probotector II.
•NintendoAge user Kessen claimed to own a prototype of a Contra game, without specifying the system. They had listed that they owned prototypes for various systems, including Game Boy and Game Boy Advance. As there are multiple Contra games between these 2 handhelds, the exact title cannot be determined.
•The following pair of prototype long boards were sold by eBay user nowhere.japan to JaxsBox, from the Nintendoage forum, who eagerly purchased them without due dilligence:
On the left is Contra Spirits; on the right, Contra III. Both are identical to their respective final, retail releases.
There are simply too many questionable aspects about these 2 alleged prototypes, as well as the rest that the user has put on sale or already sold. There is yet to be a single one of their prototypes that isn’t on a long board (which is considered to be very rare as it is) and that contains a build other than what is publicly available (either retail, which is mostly the case, or dumped prototypes).
These boards have a 1993 date, which is 1 year after the release of Contra Spirits and Contra III. At the very least, this implies that the EPROMs were not originally placed on these boards.
Of particular note between this pair is the Contra Spirits prototype (left). The label covering both EPROMs has 1991 written on it. Considering it holds the final release (from 1992), and especially considering the other known earlier builds are also from 1992, these are likely illegitimate.
•Retro gaming collector, and user of the NintendoAge and Assemblergames forums, retrogamesuk claims to have sold prototypes of Contra III (SNES) and Contra 4 (DS). The former was said to be a final review copy. In typical prototype collector fashion, after providing a few details to begin with, there was no further correspondence from this user, despite a claim to elaborate on the prototypes.
•NintendoAge user M3chk1lla claims to own 3-4 prototypes of Contra games. However, locating them among storage seems to be an ongoing battle for the past year, with no sign of victory.
•Contra III “prototype”. The following cartridge was posted for sale on leboncoin.fr:
The seller, who is simply named Seb Zeitountsian (possibly Sebastien) through his email and located in Marseille, France, claims that it was bought from a Konami employee who acquired it in 1991. Including the cartridge itself, there are many questionable aspects about this item:
-Contra III was released in Japan first, in 1992, under the title of Contra Spirits. The North American release occurred ~1 month afterward, the changes just being almost entirely superficial. It, however, was not initially titled Contra III, but Contra IV. It is therefore unclear why a build of the game from 1991 would be referred to as Contra III when this title was conceived the following year.
-The cartridge appears to have had its label removed, with visible glue stains in the area of its placement. Although the seller or the alleged Konami employee could have used a spare shell as a donor cart, this was not at all addressed in the listing. When considering fraudulent items deemed prototypes, this is at least somewhat noteworthy. A photo of the game’s PCB would definitely confirm or eliminate any doubts.
On a related note, the seller claimed that an additional screenshot, of the back of the cartridge, was available on his/her Facebook page. In addition to placing a restriction on people who don’t have a Facebook account, it is unclear why the seller did not place this useful element in the ad. See below
-Due to the use of the website, the seller would be paid specifically in cash; however, he accepted no other options for selling the item (ie, online, with shipping). Selling through this web service and strictly remaining with cash payment narrows down the market, especially since the item is a North American game in a European country, for a regionally restricted game system. It also ensures that the buyer would not be able to track the seller down in the event that the “prototype” was indeed fraudulent.
That they were unwilling to sell this Contra III “prototype” through an online transaction based service, for example eBay or a video game forum, is suspect. Such a transaction method would have had to be used to acquire the game from the alleged Konami employee, taking their distance apart into account. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, using eBay or video game collector forums would have broadened the market and increased the chance of a higher sale price.
When contacted for clarification and reasoning, the seller was less than cooperative and highly defensive, dismissing the discussions with snap judgements. If this is in fact a legitimate prototype, it is most certainly identical to the release version and not anywhere near a build from 1991. Furthermore, the seller probably did not sell it for anywhere near the asking price; a dishonest seller who refused to be reasonable.
UPDATE: Further clarification and translation has led to a much stronger conclusion that the alleged listing is a fraud. The seller actually claimed that a fingerprint of a Konami employee is present on the back of the cartridge and that it can be traced to the employee on Facebook. Due to this development, this item can most likely be dismissed.
•In addition to the Contra: Legacy of War beta disc presented on this website, experienced and large-scale collector ianoid claims to own another copy of this build. Photographing this other copy seems to be an impossibility by the owner, the explantion involving alternating excuses.
•Nintendo Age user sportbettor claims to own or have owned a development disc of C: The Contra Adventure. However, this is questionable as the user provided inconsistent information regarding their involvement with the item. Initially explaining that their name was in the game’s credits, they later changed the story to being just a reviewer.
•Assemblergames user Kiff claimed to have sold some disc-based Contra prototypes to an American collector. As is typical of prototype collectors, when asked for further information, the user simply stopped responding.
•A putative Contra: Shattered Soldier review disc was sighted at 192 Flea Market in Kissimmee, Florida, in July of 2015. It features nearly identical artwork to the final release, with the exception of an RP ESRB rating, instead of T. Although this suggests a bootleg copy, the concurrent heterogeneity and similarity in the design of labels and artwork for pre-release and bootleg discs render this finding inconclusive. Further investigation is required.
•NintendoAge user JaxsBox claims he may have a Nintendo Wii dev disc that contains a pre-release build of Contra Rebirth. However, he was highly inconsistent in details when asked to elaborate, which can be confidently summed up to excuses.
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