Let’s talk about Contra, shall we? Why you might ask? Well because it’s one of those games that has somehow eluded us. Indeed. My colleague (the one and only Italian Guy) already wrote about plenty of great Konami games and Konami sales. I mean he even introduced Metal Gear Solid and the Konami Stealth week a couple of years back. Check it out here.
But I’m here about one very different Konami game. That’s right I’m talking about Contra. And in this article, I’m gonna focus on the history, influences and some cool facts regarding it. Let’s begin, shall we?
But first, I think a little reminder is needed.
Contra Is Waiting For You At IndieGala
The Contra Anniversary Collection is available for purchase here at IndieGala. Not just because the game is developed by Konami Digital Entertainment and published by Konami. Oh no. We have plenty of more great Konami games for you to pick and choose from. Just click here and take your pick. But the Contra Anniversary Collection brings this classic Run and Gun franchise back to modern platforms. And a new generation of players.
So, grab power-ups and blast your way through waves of menacing enemies and bosses that will put your reaction skills to the test. Also included is a digital Bonus Book with tons of concept documents and sketches, the official chronology of the franchise. An exclusive interview with the veteran producer of the series, and more!
And what are some of the Steam comments saying about the game?
“If I had this collection 15 years ago, I would have been the happiest child on the planet.” Says ScarredReptile.
While Lady Dancealot adds “Nostalgic. Reliving my childhood!” 🙂
Contra: What’s The Story? And The History?
Well, Konami originally developed Contra as a coin-operated arcade game in 1986 and released on February 20, 1987. And both the arcade game and the subsequent NES version were a huge success for Konami. It even won the Best Action Game of 1988 by Electronic Gaming Monthly.
But Contra is set in the distant future of the year 2633 A.D. A time when the evil Red Falcon Organization has set a base on the fictional Galuga archipelago near New Zealand in a plot to wipe out humanity. So, two commandos, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean of the Earth Marine Corp’s Contra unit (an elite group of soldiers specializing in guerrilla warfare) are sent to the island. Why? To destroy the enemy forces and uncover the true nature of the alien entity controlling them.
And here’s the thing. Contra was known by a couple of different names (as Gryzor and Probotector in several different areas). And even had variations within the game’s plot depending on where it was distributed. Not to mention plenty of talk of being adapted into various other media. But did it happen? Well, not in Hollywood. The rest of the world is a totally different story. But the thing is…
Contra’s Influence Is Everywhere
Not just in the movie industry. But in the gaming industry as well. And on TV, print and so on. Not to mention fan fiction inspired by the game series. And yes. There were even attempts in turning Contra into a live-action movie and TV series. You have China to thank for this attempt by the way. The project was one of three scripts by Beijing Starlit Movie and TV Culture approved by China’s film bureau. But that was back in 2017, and apart from a wonky teaser that’s been removed, there’s no word on anything regarding the movie.
And here’s the scoop. Starlight Film is a video production company from China of course. Its main business is planning and producing films, investing in films, artist management, as well as distribution and promotion.
But that’s not all. There was to be a TV adaptation of Contra too but much like with the movie version, there’s still no word on the status of the project. However, that just goes to show that the influence of Contra is everywhere. From the USA all the way to China. And it’s only obvious to see remnants and nods of Contra in other media. Such as…
Contra In Anime And Other Video Games
You’ve probably noticed it too. The influence of Contra in other video games, TV series, anime and so on. The list really goes on and on. Bear in mind that the influences are enormous since the first game appeared in 1987. But I’ll just name a few great examples here. In the English-language Mega-CD/Sega CD version of Snatcher, two characters are masquerading as Bill and Lance.
And they appear at a Konami-themed costume party held in the Outer Heaven show pub. They are replaced by Light and Pastel from the TwinBee series in the PlayStation and Sega Saturn versions. Furthermore, one of the video game characters in episode 2 from Spaceballs: The Animated Series, resembles Bill and Lance from Contra. While talking about Raccoon City, he is killed with a gunshot to the head by a character resembling Agent 47. Cool right? We thought so too. But what about some other cool facts about Contra?
What Are Some Other Cool Facts About The Game Series?
Here’s one. Germany has some of the strictest rules when it comes to censorship in the media. So, in preparation for Germany’s strict censorship policies, the Contra games received a major overhaul in Europe and Australia. Therefore, many of the Contra games had their names changed to Probotector in these regions. The human characters (both player and enemies) were all replaced with robots too.
Movies And More Movies
Next, The original Contra was a direct attempt at emulating several popular action movies from the ’80s. Rambo: First Blood Part II or Commando for instance. And when you add aliens to the mix, then the game starts to resemble Predator. But once you infiltrate the Red Falcon’s stronghold, Contra begins to look a lot like Aliens.
And yes. In Contra ReBirth, the character of Cheif Salamander was shown to look vaguely like Hitler in the original Japanese version of the game. This was changed to make him look more lizard like in the international versions of the game. Which is a very cool fact indeed. And did you know that one of the biggest attempts to revive the genre has been with The Expendables franchise Yup. So, when the first Expendables movie was being promoted, a free flash game was released online for fans to play. The Expendables game was basically Contra. And it made no attempts to hide that fact. The game allows you to play as the characters played by Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li and Jason Statham in the movie. Not bad right? Yup. Not bad at all. But that leaves us to the ultimate question.
What’s Your Favorite Contra Game?
Let us know in the comment section. We’d love to know all about it. Don’t be shy. Hit that comment section and tell us everything about it.