Saturday, June 1, 2013

↑↑↓↓←→←→BA !!!

 CONTRA !!!!! Thats right I SAID CONTRA !!!! Oh you dont know what Contra is ?
Then you better get a shitty suit and call a mortician  ...CAUSE YOU MUST BE DEAD!!!

Contra known as Gryzor in Europe ( ???) started its life as a Arcade game developed and produced by KONAMI in Febuary of 1987, in 1988 the home ports were released most notably the Nintendo version and the world was never the same. Contra is a side scrolling "Run & Gun" game a genre that grew larger after its success. Contra is to Run and Gun what Super Mario was to platformers, it simply changed the way games were made. It allowed 2 players to play at the same time as a team, most games at the time required you to wait until the other player died. Contra is the Great Great Grand Daddy to the Co-op games like Gears of War. The Arcade Version did very well which made the initial sales of the NES version high but this very ambitious conversion has a life and legacy all its own some people never even have played the arcade game.

WE WISH !!!!! 
The games protagonists Bill "Mad Dog" Rizer and Lance "Scorpion" Bean bared a striking resemblance by no mistake to the eras biggest action stars Arnold and Sly. But the duos names are a different story as they are a mash up of several actors names from the movie Aliens, make a game of it try and guess which actors. Contra's music, control & graphics helped give it a high replay value but they weren't the only factors.  And if the game proved to be to hard for some well don't worry because enter the other piece of Contra's Legacy the "Konami Code" !! The code when entered at the Start screen gave the player 30 lives even on continues, this should be more than enough to beat it even for your Mom.. Yah I said yo Momma what of it?

The code Up,Up,Down,Down,Left,Right,Left,Right,B,A has made its way into TV shows, Books, Movies , Music,  Other Games and was even mentioned by my wife on our first Date ( Yah! Thats why SHES MY WIFE ! ) The KONAMI Code started off in another historic game the SHMUP "Gradius". The code was created by Kazuhisa Hashimoto in 1985 while developing the Gradius conversion for the NES he found the game too hard to play through during testing. Later he accidentally left the code in the final version, only to be found soon after release by kids at home. The code later was added to Contra on purpose and became known to many as the "Contra Code" despite its origins.

This article came to life due to a incident that happened recently involving me trying to obtain a copy of Contra. Heres a video I quickly edited together of my "latest attempt" to own a copy of Contra for the Famicom.

Now that I had managed to get this copy to work I proceeded to play it ..... 
and beat 17 Minutes !!!

This may not be the world record but for me it is a personal best and I'm the guy with the keyboard. I chose to play the 8th version on the cart the one that gives me 30 lives and makes my default weapon the shot gun or spread gun as its also known. Its been years since I played this game so lets just dive into the action...

Starting the game off brings back sooo many memories ...the chime in the beginning when you press start, the way the music starts as you tumble on screen an instinctively start in to a run, or how even the first time you played you just KNEW those were Power-Ups floating past over head. Contra offered up many enemy types early on, 2 turret types, running soldiers, snipers and rifle men. The games mechanics are so amazing the way it just has this fluidness that can't be fully explained or copied, even when you shoot those first power ups and keep pressing forward to run and the item drops right on to you or how when you come to the bridge and it starts exploding you know to start pressing jump and not slow your pace. Just Amazing, at the end of this level we find the entrance to the first fortress...

Stop thieves!   Um..Look dead bird !   Where?!  Run Stoopid!

Hmm Now where do I aim ? Hmmmm...
Contra blew our minds with these 3D levels that had us running away from the player and headlong in to the action. Its was a new concept for Run & Gun games and broke up any chance for repetition. These levels were exciting not just for the visuals but the amount of things happing on screen could not be over looked, the players had to guide Lance or Bill left and right dodging grenades, quickly go from belly crawl to jumping over rolling hazards and not to mention the wall mounted machine guns and suppressing fire from scurrying enemies all the while not pressing forward as to not be electrified by the high voltage fence.

Sup ! Nice place....
I didn't do it !!!

Get down here !! Thats the guy that blew up the wall in my apartment!
The First Boss Nice !! I cant express enough the memories that come rushing back ohhh... any who. This boss is a confidence builder just aim for the Red Power Cores and dodge the bullets fired from the 2 flip down cannons once you take those all out the blnk space at the top is filled by the Ocular like enemy who fires flame rings easy dodged by jumping side to side and easier with the spread-gun Hahhaha ...Yah? So what Im using the default item cheat screw you pal its a Pirate copy....

The 3rd Stage keeps it fresh by having us moving vertically up a waterfall, jumping side to side and keeping the gun fire constant makes quick work of this level but " Don't get cocky kid ! " scuba troops pop up and take well placed shots and require some fast sniping while dodging to eliminate them. Also don't fall for the fire trap on the bridge the promise of power ups may have you looking away from the danger. Cannons pop out of the walls just in time to try and disrupt your rhythmic jumping to safety.

Seeing this Boss starts to bring to light the story of the game and the Aliens movie "Influence". Here we have the Giant Mechanical Alien watch his arms as they swing side to side but puase long enough for you to get some good shots in to blow them up after which the big guy will start spitting 3 rings of fire for you to dodge as his mouth opens. Don't worry as the action got more serious I broke out my newly acquired weapon THE NES ADVANTAGE !! I loved using this thing as a kid, Contra was the first game I ever used it on and I never unplugged it after....What Cheating?  Yah yah yah Listen buddy just sit down and don't be so jealous...
A Serious Threat met with Serious Firepower

Stage 4 is a upgraded take on stage 2 with a beautiful face-lift and harder difficulty. The red cores you shoot to advance to the next room now have a protective shielding over them that requires you to fire upon it till it crumbles away revealing your target. All the while being attacked by the same types of enemies from before.

Now we fight Terminal 2 a much more powerful Computer than the last. T2 has back up as you try and take out the flip down cannon and 3 power cores, two different support types run on screen the white/blue bots that fly down at you and the red Tron like gunners that run stop above you and fire 3 shots then move on. These support types will continue to come out in packs until you take out the cannon and cores. I suggest you do so in that order or else the main weapon appears and the waves of troops continue as well. The main weapon is 4 Phantom images that can only be hit when 2 of them intersect but when this happens they pause and fire a fiery bubble that follows your position till it connects. The attack can be shot down making it easier to not have to worry about dodging.
" I fight for the Users !! "

Double your pleasure... double your fun ...
The 5th Stage is a Frozen Tundra with beautiful graphic scenery, but keep your eyes peeled as several NEW enemies make appearances here. At the start of the stage we will encounter a new shielded gunner as soon as you hit the dirt and begin firing into his defenses you notice grenades being lobed over the tress in pairs. You must quickly break in to a sprint an start timing your jumps just as the explosive hit the ground but keep your pace as you don't wanna run into the second round of grenades. More grenades are littered through out the level as well as the power up traps we've become used to, but with more environment difficulty. Running atop a length of pipes the screen suddenly stops scrolling and Mad Dog comes face to face with another new enemy .. A Fu*king tank... with SPIKES?!? I guess no amount of insane jumping is going to do any good with those spikes so just back all the way to the left and start firing like crazy, the cannon fire will just miss your new kicks and with any luck the tank will be just close enough to have relations with as it blows up.

" ITS A TRAP !! "

Tuck and Roll

Watch the Jordan's man !! They're OG
The Boss here is a Anti Gravity Shuttle that reminds me of the Quintessons from the REAL Transformers movie. This guy launches 2 bots at a time from the left and right right before disappearing and reappearing elsewhere on screen. Just time the pattern to dodge the bots and make fast work of the shuttle with some rapid fire using the turbo feature on your NES ADVANTAGE....Seriously BUB ! Just buy one already.
Damn what did you eat man !?!?!? Jeeezzz
Level 6 known as the Energy Zone is not to be taken lightly or rushed through..
Its filled with more security devices than troops. The new security feature is wall mounted flame throwers and some leaking gas pipes from the ceiling too. The traps are to be examined and timed properly, many a time in the past have I run ahead thinking I got this and ended up a crispy critter. The wall mounted can be avoid by laying flat and waiting till the flame pulls back before going straight into a jump and pulling down again to land on your stomach avoiding the next one and so on and so forth. The vertical ones can be tricky because it almost looks as though you can pass under them at times but don't try they will reach you, and some must be triggered before they fire. During one death trap the Barrier item can be attained granting invincibility BUT.... not only is it difficult to get you must be aware of getting to safety before it wears off, which can be difficult since its a rare power-up that player wont be used to timing and it has no upbeat music like Super Mario's Star that warns of its ending. 

I think its a good place for a nap

Thats the block holding the Barrier Power Up

Now that you've got it...RUN FORREST RUN !!
The Armored Giant is a classic style NES boss just dodge his projectiles pattern and stay away firing until he gets close then vault over him and repeat from the right till he changes colors and blows up !!

Yo Mama wears combat boots !!

Contra continues to surprise with Stage 7 it may be another death trap level but it resembles nothing we've seen so far ... One stage away from the end and we are continued to be tested, let me just save you some pain and say NEVER take the lower path. The level has an upper an lower path with intersections you can cross between but the upper is always safer having more room to maneuver and flee from the vertical mechanical spikes. Have patience when you land on a new platform or ledge as multiple steel walls littered with huge spike will pop up from the ground ready to kill you on contact. The walls can be easily dispatched with rifle fire as long as you haven't ran in to them. Power-ups will float by but Do Not chase them down simply open fire and wait till the item can be safely obtained. The only time you should dare to jump to the lower level is after passing the vertical crushers when you see the mine carts hop on for a Temple of Doom style ride.

No time for Love Doctor Jones..

Ill just take a break and catch my breath here...

The level 7 boss is similar to the First boss the Fortress Defence but it looks like just a small entrance way. Don't be fooled the Doorway defense barrages you with turret fire from above and below. Once the guns are down a alarm rings out with a cannon till you destroy the sensor above the door.

Open up Ma I gotta Pee !

FINALLY THE LAST STAGE !! What did you say? Damn I know its a long article but how lazy are you people I beat it for you all you did was read, I mean sure this article takes longer to read than my 17 Min game did but hey thats the price you pay... 

This board is extremely short but very difficult with out the right tools, so as soon as you start move to the right then stop and take aim at the bottom power up floating by then the upper these will net you the Barrier item & Machine gun. A few short steps ahead will put you face to teeth with the guardian of this Hive, a Giant Giger esque Alien head that drops from the ceiling launching alien floaters ( no not turds) while your trapped behind a wall. To make quick work of him move to the wall and rapidly fire at the mouth hopefully knocking out the floaters while taking down the head. Once the head and wall are out of the picture continue on through the level watching the ceiling and floor for the super creepy alien mouths spitting spores that hone in on the poor tired Lance and Bill. The mouths are soon joined by crawlers that STRONGLY resemble face huggers further pushing the Aliens movie connection even more in to a lawsuit. The crawlers and mouths are sent packing with the spread gun you should be able to pick up in area.

" Get away from her you B*tch !! "

Fight plaque with CREST !!

Our target the Alien Heart Red Flacon has NO offensive capabilities BUT... there is a spore spewing mouth on the floor and 2 pods both top and bottom periodically releasing the dreaded crawlers. Take out the spore mouth then lay prone while firing on the bottom 2 pods, Once those are outta the way Mad Dog can safely stand right against the Alien Heart and fire diagonally at its core and occasionally fire vertically to stop a crawler from pouncing on him. 

After the Heart Explodes we are treated to the ending.....   

HEY HEY HEY HOLD IT !!!!!!!!!!!!
I Thought the Japanese version had a slightly different ending ? And the text was in english? 
And wait what happened to all those ghost and goblin style map sequences I heard every stage starts off with.... and where was the animated cut scenes, and the better sound and extra moving backgrounds that the Famicom version was capable of because of a VRC2 Chip in the game cartridge ?
WAIT ... The Title screen said Contra in english ....not Japanese ..NOOOOOOO All that and Ive still never played the Japanese version NOOOOOOOOO. This is just a Pirate of the American game for Asia.....

Looks like the hunt for CONTRA is back on.....Till next time FAMIRU !!!

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