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Contra offers exhilarating, fast-paced action with cooperative gameplay, diverse weapons, challenging levels, and has stood the test of time as a quintessential run-and-gun classic

Dive into the action-packed world of Contra, a classic run-and-gun platformer for the NES that stands as a hallmark of the genre. With its compelling gameplay, striking graphics, and the iconic use of the “Konami code,” Contra offers an unforgettable challenge that has captivated gamers for generations.

The Genesis of a Classic

Arcade Origins and Transition to NES

Contra, known as Probotector in Europe, began its journey in arcades before making a triumphant transition to the NES in 1988 in America and 1990 in Europe. Developed by Konami, this title set a high standard for run-and-gun platformers, impressively adapting its arcade roots to provide an engaging home console experience.

Gameplay and Design

Non-Stop Action Across Varied Environments

Contra’s gameplay is defined by its exhilarating run-and-gun action, seamlessly blending side-scrolling and pseudo-3D levels. Players navigate through diverse stages, from jungles to military bases, facing off against hordes of enemies and challenging bosses. The game’s simple premise—blast everything in sight—belies the depth of strategy and skill required to advance.

Graphics and Audio: Setting the Standard

For an 8-bit title, Contra boasts remarkable graphics, with detailed stage designs and smooth character animations that push the NES to its limits. The game’s soundtrack, featuring some of the most iconic themes in video game history, complements the action perfectly, enhancing the overall experience.

Contra (NES gallery 05)

“Now, let’s go stop those terrorists.” – A battle cry for generations of gamers.

Controls and Weapons: Mastering Your Arsenal

The game’s control scheme is intuitive, allowing players to aim and shoot in eight directions with ease. Contra’s diverse weaponry, from spread guns to flamethrowers, keeps the gameplay fresh and encourages strategic weapon selection to overcome the onslaught of enemies.

Challenge and Replayability

Contra is renowned for its difficulty, with enemies capable of taking out the player’s character in a single hit. This challenge, however, is balanced by the legendary “Konami code,” which grants players extra lives and has become a cultural touchstone in its own right. Despite its relatively short length, Contra’s compelling gameplay and co-op mode ensure it remains a favorite for replay.

Legacy and Impact

Contra’s influence on the run-and-gun genre and video gaming as a whole cannot be overstated. Its successful blend of tight gameplay, memorable music, and challenging levels have not only led to several sequels but have also cemented its place as a must-own title for NES enthusiasts.


Contra is more than just a game; it’s a piece of video gaming history. Its mix of engaging gameplay, challenging stages, and iconic status makes it a timeless classic. Whether you’re revisiting it or discovering its charms for the first time, Contra is an essential experience for any gamer.

Contra (NES gallery 01)

Play Contra Online Anytime, Anywhere

Exciting news for fans and newcomers alike – Contra is available to play not only on the NES but also on various websites and on mobile and tablet devices. Now, you can take the action with you wherever you go, ensuring that the battle against the forces of evil never has to end.

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What is Contra, and why is it significant?

Contra, also known as Probotector in Europe, is a classic run-and-gun platformer game that was developed by Konami and released for the NES in 1988 in America and 1990 in Europe.

It’s significant because it set a high standard for the genre, offering non-stop entertainment with a mix of side-scrolling and pseudo-3D levels, and it successfully transitioned from arcades to the home console, maintaining excellent gameplay and graphics.

How challenging is Contra, and is there a way to make it easier?

Contra is known for its significant challenge, mainly due to the ‘one-hit-and-you-die’ gameplay mechanic and the difficulty of spotting enemy bullets against the background. The game becomes much more manageable with the use of the Konami code, which grants thirty lives at the start. Despite this, the game remains a tough challenge even with the extra lives.

Can Contra be played with two players?

Yes, Contra offers a 2-Player mode that allows two people to play cooperatively. This mode adds an extra layer of fun and strategy to the game, as players can work together to take down enemies and progress through the levels.

What are some of the weapons available in Contra?

In this game, players start with a standard gun that fires straight bullets. Throughout the game, players can acquire upgrades by destroying specific targets, which grant access to a variety of weapons, including a spread gun that fires bullets in a wave pattern, a rapid-fire machine gun, flamethrowers with fast, circular patterns, and laser guns capable of firing across the screen.

How does this game stand the test of time, and can I still play it today?

This game remains a must-play game for its fun, challenging gameplay, solid controls, and variety of stages and weapons. It has aged remarkably well, maintaining its status as one of the best games for the NES.

For those looking to play Contra today, it can be played on various platforms, including the original NES console, and is also accessible on modern systems through emulation or re-releases, allowing both new and old gamers to experience this classic title.