[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/contra.png]]
[[caption-width-right:250:Any resemblance to [[Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger Arnie]] and [[SylvesterStallone Sly]] is probably [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed intentional]].]]

->"''Fire! Fire! Fire! And don't stop firing are the only instructions you need. Because in this Doomsday extravaganza, there's little time for thinking. A killer instinct is all that matters. And if your trigger finger lacks stamina, Earth will lack a future.''"
-->-- From the ''Super C'' manual

''Contra'' is a run-and-gun action game series produced by {{Konami}} in 1987, starring SuperSoldier Bill Rizer (accompanied by his partner Lance Bean in the early games) who must defend the Earth using a variety of weapons, including Machine Guns, Fire Balls, Lasers, Bombs, and the ever-popular [[SpreadShot Spread Gun]].

The games are [[NintendoHard notoriously difficult]], but fast-paced enough that most players don't mind the challenge. The NES version of the original ''Contra'' popularized what is now known as the "KonamiCode": Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A.

'''List of ''Contra'' games:'''
* ''Contra'' (Arcade/NES/[=MSX2=])
* ''Super Contra'' (Arcade, released as ''Super C'' on the NES)
* ''Operation C'' (Game Boy)
* ''Contra III: The Alien Wars'' (SNES/GB, released as ''Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX'' on the GBA)
* ''Contra Force'' (NES, a DolledUpInstallment originally planned as an unrelated game titled ''Arc Hound'')
* ''Contra: Hard Corps'' (Genesis)
* ''Contra: Legacy of War'' (PS/Saturn, first of the two Appaloosa-developed installments)
* ''C: The Contra Adventure'' (PS, the other Appaloosa-developed installment)
* ''Contra: Shattered Soldier'' ([=PS2=], returned to 2D)
* ''Neo Contra'' ([=PS2=], another attempt at a 3D ''Contra'')
* ''Contra 4'' (Nintendo DS, developed by WayForwardTechnologies)
* ''Contra Rebirth'' (WiiWare)
* ''[[HardCorpsUprising Hard Corps: Uprising]]'' (PSN and Xbox Live Arcade)
* ''Contra Evolution'', a recent iPad version

Known as ''Gryzor'' or ''Probotector'' in Europe.
----
!!'''This series provides examples of:'''
* AdvertisedExtra: That robot spider from Super C. It's on the cover, it's mentioned in the manual, it is heralded by a music switch, and it's just a MiniBoss who is vulnerable to a CraniumRide. If you have the Laser it won't even get close.
* AfterTheEnd: "Calamity on a global scale. The Earth after environmental collapse". - ''Shattered Soldier''.
* AllThereInTheManual: The plot for most of the games prior to ''Contra: Hard Corps'', which is how the American version of the series managed to get away with a different continuity for several years until ''Contra: Shattered Soldier'' (aside for the fact that the Famicom version of ''Contra'' had cut-scenes which were removed from its NES counterpart).
** Also, you wouldn't know that ''Contra: Hard Corps'' took place during the holiday season if you haven't looked at the manual.
* AlwaysSaveTheGirl: At the beginning of ''Rebirth'' stage 2, the heroes choose to jump into the mecha's head (knocking it off) in order to save a little girl, rather than just shooting it.
* AmbidextrousSprite: Brad Fang's ArmCannon changes sides if he faces left.
* AndYourRewardIsClothes: Beating the game with an S-rank in ''Shattered Soldier'' unlocks a swimsuit costume for that character.
* AntagonistTitle: ''Neo Contra''. The game's title is actually the name of the organization Bill and Jaguar battle throughout the whole game.
* ArtifactOfDoom: The Relic of Moirai in ''Contra: Shattered Soldier''.
* AWinnerIsYou: The first Contra had an exploding island and then said simply "CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE DESTROYED THE VILE RED FALCON AND SAVED THE UNIVERSE. CONSIDER YOURSELF A HERO."
* BaitAndSwitchBoss: The Stage 2 boss in ''Contra 4'', and Slave Beast Taka (the Stage 1 boss) in ''Shattered Soldier''.
* BigBad: Red Falcon in most of the games. In ''Shattered Soldier'', however, [[spoiler: the BigBad is at first assumed to be Lance Bean, Bill Rizer's former partner, but the true antagonists of the game are the [[GovernmentConspiracy Triumvirate]].]] Colonel Bahamut is the BigBad of ''Contra: Hard Corps'', Master Contra serves as the BigBad of ''Neo Contra'', Black Viper, who is Red Falcon's sister ([[AllThereInTheManual at least according to the manual for Contra 4]]) serves as the BigBad of ''Operation C'' and ''Contra 4'', Chief Salamander is the BigBad in ''Contra Rebirth'', and Tiberius is the BigBad of the prequel, ''VideoGame/HardCorpsUprising''. [[spoiler: Red Falcon does appear in the other Contra games, but mostly as a GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere]].
** BiggerBad: [[spoiler: As of ''Shattered Soldier'', it turns out that the Triumvirate are the true main antagonists of the ''Contra'' series, since prior to the events of the first game they had stolen a mysterious object known as the [[ArtifactOfDoom Relic of Moirai]], and that they had provoked the aliens to attack Earth to get it back, starting the Alien Wars. You don't find out about this until you defeat Lance Bean, however.]]
* BodyHorror: Colonel Bahamut gets one and so does the very first boss of the 3rd game.
* BossGame: ''Hard Corps'' and ''Shattered Soldier''.
* BossRush: The final stage of ''Contra III'' has six bosses in a row (''[[TrueFinalBoss seven]]'' if you're playing Hard mode), though the last two bosses were new to the series. The ones who weren't? [[OhCrap The final bosses from the previous games]] and the Stage 4 boss from the Arcade version of ''Super Contra''.
* {{Bowdlerize}}: When the console versions of the ''Contra'' games were released in PAL territories, the main characters and some of the enemies were replaced by robotic counterparts and the series was renamed ''Probotector''. This was due to a censorship law in Germany that prohibited selling games to children that depicted human characters killing each other with guns. The first console game in the series that was released in Europe intact was ironically ''Contra: Legacy of War'' and later ''Shattered Soldier''. The Probotector robot later appeared as an easter egg in ''Contra 4''. The German "indexing" of the original Contra still holds until today and will only be reconsidered in 2014.
** As few Contra games had dialogue or a focus on plot, the change to robots typically didn't affect much with the exception of ''Contra Hard Corps'' (which actually had a storyline). Most of the dialogue and some scenes were cut, which made several events such as Bahamut turning into an alien monster [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere completely unexplained]].
** ''Contra [=ReBirth=]'' was changed when brought overseas -- when a photograph of Chief Salamander is shown at the beginning of Stage 3, he looks strikingly like Adolf Hitler in the Japanese version. He was redrawn to look just like an actual salamander in the overseas versions.
* BrainInAJar: The penultimate boss in ''Contra III'', whose official Japanese name is "Brain Organism Searle" [[note]]''Zunou Seimeitai Saaru''[[/note]], is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a sentient brain]] with one eye.
** As it's connected to Emperor Devil Gava [[note]]''Tennou Ki Gyaba''[[/note]], it reappears among Gava's dissected remains in ''Neo Contra'', and Gava [[{{expy}} look-alike]] Black Viper has a similar counterpart in ''Contra 4''.
*** Contra Hard Corps has "Big Magnum", a brainish alien being used to power a giant [[EarthShatteringKaboom planet destroying]] laser.
* BreakThemByTalking: In ''Neo Contra'', the BigBad Master Contra delivers one to Bill Rizer at the end of Stage 5, telling him if he knows his personal memories, and that his memories were pieced together by a military database. Let's not forget the fact that [[spoiler: he also claims that he is the real Bill Rizer and that Bill Rizer is nothing but a clone.]] This drives Bill Rizer into a brief HeroicBSOD until Mystery G puts him out of it after [[spoiler: [[HeroicSacrifice he saves Bill and Jaguar from Master Contra and gets killed in the process.]]]]
* BrickJoke: Area 2 of ''Contra [=ReBirth=]'' begins with the Contra(s) blowing the head off a HumongousMecha, sending it flying and the mecha retreating. After the RecurringBoss is defeated at the end of the stage, its head falls from the sky and bonks it, resulting in its disintegration.
* BulletHell: The ninja miniboss in Area 3 of ''Contra [=ReBirth=]'' has a bullet hell style attack as part of its attack pattern of throwing laser shuriken. On Easy, the bullet hell pattern is pretty straightforward, but as the difficulty level goes up, it becomes more complex and you get less space to dodge the shuriken.
* TheCameo: An ''incredibly'' obscure one in ''Rebirth''; among the fleeing citizens in the second stage is a girl on a skateboard that popped up briefly in ''VideoGame/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesTheArcadeGame'', and her sprite is more or less an updated version of the ''Turtles'' one.
* CameraScrew: There is an invisible area "between" the DS's screens in Contra 4. Bullets can pass through it, which '''will''' result in numerous, and [[FakeDifficulty cheap]], deaths from a bullet you couldn't even see a moment before.
* {{Camp}}: ''Contra: Rebirth'' seems to be a deliberate example of this, although the trend seems to have started with ''Neo Contra'', which is likewise whacky as hell.
* CanonDiscontinuity: ''Contra Force'', ''Contra: Legacy of War'' and ''C: The Contra Adventure'' are not listed in the database of ''Contra: Shattered Soldier'', though this has mainly to do with the fact that none of those games were released in Japan and database follows the Japanese continuity instead of the American one that was followed by every game in the series prior to ''Shattered Soldier''. In the case of ''Contra Force'', its arguably justified since that was never meant to be a ''Contra'' game to begin with.
* CarFu: Used by the third MiniBoss in ''Hard Corps''. It's pathetically easy to avoid as compared to his EyeBeams, though.
* ChainReactionDestruction: It happens commonly throughout the series.
* ClassicCheatCode: ''Contra'' wasn't the first game to use the classic KonamiCode (that honor goes to ''{{Gradius}}''), but this game was the one that made it popular in North America.
* CloningBlues / TomatoInTheMirror: [[spoiler:Bill Rizer]] in ''Neo Contra''.
* ColorCodedMultiplayer - In the NES versions of ''Contra'' and ''Super C'', Bill and Lance are distinguished by the color of their pants. This was mainly done due to hardware limitations, since Bill and Lance in the arcade version actually have different sprites (though, they did wear color-coded bandannas), but ''Contra III'' for the SNES and ''Contra 4'' for the DS both kept the tradition. In the arcade version of ''Super Contra'', Bill and Lance actually wore green and purple respectively, which became the colors for "Mad Dog" and "Scorpion", the extra characters in ''Contra 4''.
* CombiningMecha: One of the stages in ''Hard Corps'' has an aeroplane robot, a sea-urchin robot and a dolphin robot as the minibosses. After the three get their asses handed to them (and escape), they merge together to form a large running robot, a robot bird, and a robot-tank hybrid respectively ([[ShoutOut a]] GetterRobo??) before attempting to merge one last time and exploding spectacularly instead.
* {{Constellations}}: In ''Contra: Hard Corps'', Noiman Cascade's Virtual Zone forms include the constellations Taurus, Sagittarius and Gemini.
* ContinuingIsPainful: In the early ''Contra'' games, losing a life will revert the player's weapon back to the default Normal Gun, which can be especially painful in the middle of a boss battle. To fix this problem, the automatic Machine Gun was made into the default gun from ''Operation C'' and onward (with only ''Contra 4'' reverting back to the "peashooter"-style Normal Gun from the arcade and NES games), while ''Contra III'' and ''Hard Corps'' allowed players to carry more than one weapon at the same time (giving players the option to have a backup weapon in case they lose a life). Averted in ''Shattered Soldier'' and ''Neo Contra'', which gave the player fixed weapon configurations.
* CoolShades: Brad Fang in ''Hard Corps''.
* CopycatCover: The cover artwork for the first NES game, [[http://www.exotica.org.uk/wiki/Bob_Wakelin#Gryzor originally drawn by Bob Wakelin]] for the home computer ports released under the ''Gryzor'' name, [[http://www.geocities.jp/yadayo8/eiga/hu.html#pldt-contra was traced over from two different publicity stills]] of Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger from the movie ''Film/{{Predator}}''.
** The same cover artwork was remade for ''Contra Advance'' by none other than Ashley Wood.
* CoresAndTurretsBoss: This series has tons of them.
* CraniumRide: You can do that a in some sections in ''Contra Rebirth''.
* CrosshairAware: Inverted in ''Hard Corps''. One of the bosses places a crosshair on the ground before firing a lot of explosives into the air... seconds later, the explosives land, and blow up the entire place ''except'' the crosshair.
* CutsceneIncompetence: Actually ''optional'' in ''Hard Corps''. At one point [[spoiler:[[MadDoctor the Doctor]]]] tells you that the situation is hopeless and you must surrender, what with the thirteen [[{{Mook}} regular soldiers]] with their guns trained on you. You may choose to surrender or fight it out (granted, if you do fight it out, you end up fighting completely different enemies).
* CyberCyclops: A popular trait for robotic enemies, as well as two heroes.
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''Shattered Soldier''.
* DifficultButAwesome: The Laser Gun. Often regarded as a PowerupLetdown due to its slow firing and narrow range, mastering it nonetheless nets you a powerful weapon that can take down bosses in seconds.
** The game itself, though insanely difficult, is very fast-paced in nature and still became a successful franchise of Konami's.
* DifficultyByRegion: The Japanese version of ''Contra Hard Corps'' had a life meter with allowed three hits before dying. This was removed in other regions without otherwise modifying the difficulty, leading many to regard this as the hardest game in the series.
** Also, the Famicom versions of the first two games, as well as ''Contra Spirits'', had stage select codes which were removed for their overseas releases.
** Inverted with the arcade version of ''Super Contra'', which has a second loop not featured in the overseas release that is basically the hardest setting of the game with no continues. The western version ends the game after one playthrough.
* DifficultySpike: Happens in the later half of many of the games.
* DirectionallySolidPlatforms: Numerous platforms exhibit that kind of behavior in the series.
* DolledUpInstallment: ''Contra Force'' was derived from an unreleased Famicom game titled ''Arc Hound''.
* DragonTheirFeet: One of the possible path in ''Hard Corps'' has the player fighting against Colonel Bahamut in the second to last level. The last level features Deadeye Joe, who doesn't seem to care that his boss is dead. Unfortunately for him, he's really easy for a Contra mini-boss.
* DubNameChange: Bill Rizer and Lance Bean were given the {{punny name}}s of "[[ThePhilSilversShow Sgt. Bill 'Mad Dog' Ko]]" and "Corporal Lance 'Scorpion'" in the manuals for the NES versions. When the American version of ''Contra III'' kept the futuristic setting, their names were changed again to Jimbo and Sully and this time the manual claimed that they were the descendants of the original heroes. All four names were later used in ''Contra 4'' ("Mad Dog" and "Scorpion" for the extra palette swaps of Bill and Lance, and "Jimbo" and "Sully" for their ''Contra III'' renditions).
** When ''Contra 4'' was translated to Japanese, "Jimbo" and "Sully" became "Spirits Bill" and "Spirits Lance", likely since many Japanese players wouldn't had been that familiar with all the name changes.
** The names of the enemy characters also differ depending on the manual.
** "Tsugu-Min" became "Brownie" in ''Contra Rebirth''. Despite the similar name, she is a different character from the robot character in ''Contra Hard Corps'', whose name is "Brown'''y'''".
* EasyModeMockery: ''Contra III'' does not allow the player to fight the true final boss or see more than a black screen with text for an ending until completing the game on the hardest setting. The Japanese version does allows the player to fight the final boss on Normal, but only shows a partial version of the ending.
** ''Contra 4'' also ends the game on Stage 7 on Easy mode, literally telling the player that they can't see the ending unless they beat it on Normal or Hard.
** In ''Contra Rebirth'', the real final boss cannot be fought if the difficulty setting is on Easy. Players get the same initial ending regardless of the difficulty setting, but going the extra mile awards the player with a bonus ending.
* EldritchAbomination: Red Falcon.
* ElevatorActionSequence
* EmbeddedPrecursor: ''Contra 4'' features the NES versions of ''Contra'' and ''Super C'' as unlockable extras after completing a series of optional challenges.
* EpicFail: In ''Hard Corps'', the second stage features an airship in the distance launching a bunch of airborne mooks at you for a little bit. How is it defeated? Simple--it abruptly crashes into a sky rise building!
* EverythingsBetterWithLlamas: Stage 3 of ''Contra: Rebirth'' has lots of robotic llamas.
* EverythingsBetterWithSpinning: The main characters love to do somersaults.
* EvilIsVisceral: One of the recurring bosses is a gigantic beating heart. More generally, pretty much anything to do with aliens is this.
* EvilLaugh: Colonel Bahamut in ''Hard Corps'' and Master Contra in ''Neo Contra''. [[spoiler: In the [[MultipleEndings bad ending]] of ''Shattered Soldier'', the Triumvirate does this when they destroy the Galuga Archipelago, [[TheBadGuyWins saying that they now hold the world in the palm of their hand]].]]
* ExcusePlot: In later games, deliberately used.
* {{Expy}}: The final boss in the arcade version of ''Super Contra'' is based on Mad Emperor Asmodeus, the final boss of another Konami arcade game, ''[[http://www.vgmuseum.com/end/arcade/c/bats.htm Battlantis]]''. ''Battlantis'' was directed by Hideyuki Tsujimoto, who was co-programmer in the original arcade version of ''Contra'' and later directed ''Super Contra'', as well as ''SunsetRiders'' and ''MysticWarriors''.
** The brain boss of ''Contra III'' also resembles the Golem from ''[[{{Gradius}} Salamander]]''.
** In ''Rebirth,'' the Contra commander looks like Che Guevara, and Brownie the RobotGirl looks suspiciously like Drossel Von Flugel from ''Fireball''.
* FaceHeelTurn: Colonel Bahamut from ''Contra: Hard Corps'' used to be a war hero until he turned against the Government. ''Uprising'' is actually a ''prequel'' before his FaceHeelTurn.
* FallenHero: [[spoiler: Lance Bean, Player 2 in the original ''Contra'', turns out to be the Blood Falcon Commander, the apparent BigBad of ''Contra: Shattered Soldier'' (although he did go a little nuts toward the end, his dying confession reveals he was really a WellIntentionedExtremist trying to fight the GovernmentConspiracy that was ''really'' behind the whole alien war from the beginning.)]]
** [[spoiler: Likewise, Lucia, player 2 in ''Shattered Soldier'', ends up as a member of the QuirkyMiniBossSquad in ''Neo Contra'', where she participates in a conspiracy to destroy the human race, and is fought and killed by the players.]]
** Colonel Bahamut, the BigBad from ''Hard Corps''. In the prequel, ''HardCorpsUprising'', he's the '''[[TheHero hero]]'''.
* FiveBadBand: In ''Neo Contra''
** TheBigBad: Master Contra [[spoiler: Bill Rizer (Project C)]]
** TheDragon: Animal Contra
** TheBrute: Guerrilla Contra
** TheEvilGenius: Plant Contra
** TheDarkChick: Pheromone Contra [[spoiler: (Lucia from Contra: Shattered Soldier)]]
** TheSixthRanger: [[spoiler: [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere Red Falcon]]]]
* FlashOfPain: From ''Contra 3'' onward.
* FourIsDeath: ''Neo Contra'' takes place in A.D.4444 featuring a four elite. Not to mention ''Contra 4'', which features the four shirtless heroes Bill, Lance, Mad Dog, and Scorpion.
** ''Contra 4'''s Challenge Mode also consists of forty challenges, with bonuses unlocked after completing multiples of four.
* {{Gainaxing}}: Sheena from ''Hard Corps'' and Lucia from ''Shattered Soldier''. Because of this, they were the only characters from the post-''Contra III'' games included in ''Contra 4''.
* GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere: The Relic of Moirai in ''Shattered Soldier''. Also, Shadow Beast Kimkoh in its first appearance in the NES version of ''Super C''.
** [[spoiler:Red Falcon]] as well as most of the alien enemies in ''Neo Contra''.
** There's also the TrueFinalBoss of ''[=ReBirth=]''. What is that thing supposed to be?
* GigglingVillain: The TrueFinalBoss of ''[=ReBirth=]''.
* AGodAmI: [[spoiler: [[BiggerBad The Triumvirate]], when you confront them in their dimension in ''Shattered Soldier'' and when they start to activate the Relic of Moirai.]]
--> [[spoiler: Gaius: We now possess the relic and its power, making us virtual gods.]]
* HappyEndingOverride: All those Alien Wars you've been fighting throughout the entire series? As of ''Contra: Shattered Soldier'', [[spoiler: it turns out that the war was all part of a GovernmentConspiracy known as the Triumvirate, and that Lance had uncovered the truth by accident. After Bill was thought to have murdered his partner Lance and destroyed 80% of the world's population, Lance returns as a notorious terrorist leader trying to overthrow the Triumvirate and is the DiscOneFinalBoss of the game.]]
* HardModeFiller: Completing either NES game will restart the game on a harder difficulty and they can be played in countless loops until the player uses all of their continues. Surprisingly averted with the first arcade game, which ends on a single loop. The Japanese arcade version of ''Super Contra'' has a second loop not in the overseas release that is even harder than the "very hard" setting (if only for the sole fact that there are no continues).
* HelicopterBlender: One of the bosses in ''Contra: Hard Corps'', a transforming mecha with a helicopter form.
** Also, one of the bosses in ''Shattered Soldier''.
** Averted in ''Neo Contra'', where the heroes run nonchalantly and can even dodge-roll atop active helicopter blades.
* HighSpeedBattle: Stage 4 of ''Contra III'', Stage 5 of ''Contra 4''.
* HumongousMecha: Many of the games had one:
** ''Contra III: The Alien Wars'' has [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot Big Fuzz]], a giant robotic skeleton complete with [[KillItWithFire fire]] [[BreathWeapon breath]], homing EyeBeams, and timed bombs. It was re-introduced in ''Contra 4'' with the fire breath as its sole attack.
** ''Contra: Hard Corps'' has Powered Ninja Yokozuna, a giant blue robot boss with that ran faster than a train and [[RuleOfCool stopped the train with its bare hands]]. The second boss of ''Shattered Soldier'' is an updated model named Yokozuna Jr., who does pretty much the same thing.
* KnightOfCerebus: [[spoiler: [[BiggerBad The Triumvirate]].]]
* IHaveManyNames: Thanks to the inconsistent localizations of the early titles, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, the original main characters, have many names from "Sgt. Bill 'Mad Dog' Ko" and "Corporal Lance 'Scorpion'", to "Jimbo" and "Sully". Additionally, the European computer ports of ''Gryzor'' (the original ''Contra'') claimed that "Gryzor" was actually the surname of the main characters, making them "Bill and Lance Gryzor".
* ImprobablePilotingSkills: Those Helicopter pilots are unsung heroes. They can fly through hostile bases and jungles, and can cruise into alien lairs without trouble to pick up the heroes after a job well done. One helicopter manages to fly through space. ''Shattered Soldier'''s airplane pilot also deserves a mention, as he also flies through space!
* InfinityPlusOneSword: The [[SpreadShot Spread Gun]] in the original ''Contra'', the Fire Gun and Laser Gun in ''Contra III: The Alien Wars'', Brad Fang's Beast Shot, Psycho Blaster, and Explosive Punch as well as Browny's Super-Electromagnet Yo-Yo from ''Contra: Hard Corps'', and Weapon Set D and F and Jaguar's katana in ''Neo Contra''.
* InNameOnly: ''Contra Force'' for the NES is a localization of an unreleased-in-Japan Famicom game titled ''Arc Hound''. The game has nothing to do with the rest of the ''Contra'' series, being set in present times with the BigBad being a group of human terrorists instead of aliens.
** The opposite is the case with ''Hard Corps: Uprising'' where it's clearly an official prequel to ''Contra: Hard Corps'' for the Genesis despite not having ''Contra'' in the name.
* IntentionalEngrishForFunny: Borderline and done deliberately in ''Contra Rebirth''.
* InvincibilityPowerUp: The "Barrier" power-up in most games.
* ItsAWonderfulFailure: In ''Shattered Soldier'', if the player doesn't have a high enough ranking when Mission 5 is completed, the player will get a DownerEnding where the island is destroyed by a KillSat, killing everyone including the heroes.
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler: In ''Shattered Soldier'', as the [[BiggerBad Triumvirate]] ready to use the Relic against Bill and Lucia, it ends up overwhelming and fusing with them, becoming the FinalBoss.]]
* KarmaHoudini: In one of the endings of ''Hard Corps'', the BigBad Bahamut ends up escaping after the destruction of the Alien Cell.
* KillItWithFire: The Fire Gun in ''Super C'' has an extra-powerful charged shot that destroys most of the stronger enemies with one or two hits.
* KonamiCode: Didn't begin here, but most certainly popularized by these games (at least among American players, who are not as big ''Gradius'' fans as the Japanese were).
* LargeHam: Master Contra.
* LeaderFormsTheHead: Subverted by the three CombiningMecha in ''Hard Corps''. Each of them get to form the head for each of the boss' three forms.
* {{Leitmotif}}: In ''Shattered Soldier'', Lance has [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thldXYYuQY8 Lance Lullaby]] while the Triumvirate has [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fERHkdy_EfQ Senator]].
* LifeMeter: The Japanese version of ''Contra: ''(''The'')'' Hard Corps'' gets a 3-hit life meter. [[DifficultyByRegion Players of other regions get stuck with being]] {{One Hit Point Wonder}}s.
* LoneWolfBoss: Mystery G in ''Neo Contra''. He has no connection to the enemy group of the same name, he's only there to test Bill Rizer to see if he's the ultimate soldier. [[spoiler: He also pulls a HeroicSacrifice depending on your performance throughout the game.]]
* LongSongShortScene:
** ''Contra: Hard Corps'' includes in its sound test a BGM titled "Jurassic Dope." This tune is played in only two areas of the game. One is nothing but a very brief dialogue sequence. The other instance is a second dialogue sequence, this one with a whopping one dialogue box. The tune itself is a minute and a half in length. Unless you're an extremely slow reader, you won't be hearing the whole thing in-game.
** Arguably all of the ''Shattered Soldier'' soundtrack due to the inability to hear it over the gunfire and no separate volume controls for SFX and BGM.
*** The worst offender is "Critical Moment of Contra", a 2-minute tune played during a 30-second boss battle.
** For some reason, in the arcade version of ''Super Contra'', "Hotter than Hell" plays during the very short PenultimateBoss battle instead of during the FinalBoss battle, which uses the same music as the main stage. And the "Game Clear Jingle" is misplaced, playing before the final boss instead of after.
* LuckBasedMission: The Low Ammo 2 and [[PacifistRun Pacifism 4]] challenges in Contra 4 basically come down to "Did a running enemy spawn on the same platform as me?"
* MacrossMissileMassacre: Occurs in ''Contra III'', and your character is right in the thick of it. Lots of missile also appear in Stage 3 in ''Contra: Rebirth'', including a miniboss who is upside-down on a missile and a boss which is a giant missile shooting smaller missiles.
* MarathonLevel: The final four stages in the original arcade game is set in one extra-long level, with the changes in backgrounds and music being the only cues that you've reached the next stage. In the NES and [=MSX2=] versions, the game lets you know when you've reached a new stage,
* MarketBasedTitle: The arcade version of ''Contra'' was retitled ''Gryzor'' in Europe, while oddly enough the arcade version of ''Super Contra'' kept its original title for its European release. The European versions of the early console games were retitled ''Probotector'' and had the human characters replaced with robots. This was done so that the games could be sold to children in Germany without any problem due to the country's strict censorship laws. This lasted until ''Contra: Legacy of War'', in which all further European releases were identical to their American counterparts.
** In Japan, ''Operation C'' is known as ''[[RecycledTitle Contra]]'' (although spelled in katakana instead of the kanji used in the arcade and Famicom versions), ''Contra III: The Alien Wars'' is known as ''Contra Spirits'', ''Contra: Hard Corps'' is known as ''Contra: '''The''' Hard Corps'', ''Contra: Shattered Soldier'' is known as ''Shin Contra'', ''Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX'' is known as ''Contra: Hard Spirits'', and ''Contra 4'' is known as ''Contra: Dual Spirits''. ''Super Contra'' was shortened to ''Super C'' on the American NES, even though the arcade version kept its full title for its western release. ''Contra Force'' would've been known in Japan as ''Arc Hound'' had the Famicom version actually been released.
* MeaningfulName: Brad Fang, the wolfman in ''Contra: Hard Corps''.
* MilestoneCelebration: ''Contra 4'' was released during the twentieth anniversary game for the series, emphasized with its heaps of MythologyGag and LampshadeHanging.
* MissionPackSequel: The NES version of ''Super C'' is this to the original ''Contra'', while ''Neo Contra'' runs on a modified ''Shattered Soldier'' engine.
* {{Mooks}}: The recurring running grunts from the original game.
* MixAndMatchCritters: One fight in ''Hard Corps'' is against a series of enemies from the previous stage combined in a machine. [[HelpfulMook One of them turns out to be a harmless walking flower that drops some powerups, then leaves.]]
* MultipleEndings: ''Contra: Hard Corps'' has five possible endings depending on the character's choices in the game (including a joke ending).
** In ''Shattered Soldier'' and ''Neo Contra'', the type of ending you receive depends on how well you play (e.g. continues used, number of lives lost, and non-respawning targets destroyed in each stage).
* MusclesAreMeaningless: Extremely buff Protagonists will die if hit by one bullet.
* MutuallyExclusivePowerups: In the arcade ''Super Contra'' and ''Contra 4'', your weapon can be upgraded to a second level, but the extra power-up is lost if the player changes weapons. This also applies to the "Rapid Bullets" power-up in the two NES games, in which the increased bullet speed is lost when the player changes weapon. Averted in the arcade version of the original game, in which the Rapid Bullets power-up is still in effect after changing weapons (presumably due to the fact there are only two Rapid Bullets power-ups in the entire game in that version and they can only be acquired when the player is wielding the default gun).
* NakedOnArrival: Bill in ''Contra Rebirth''.
* '''NintendoHard''': Every single entry in the series. Just ''try'' beating the first game without using the Konami code.
** ''Super Contra,'' ''Contra: Hard Corps,'' and ''Contra 4'' are considered the hardest of them all. When ''Hard Corps'' was released in Japan, they added a health bar and gave unlimited continues.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Bill and Lance, especially in the original game, are obvious pastiches of '80s movie stars Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger and SylvesterStallone. [[http://i.imgur.com/cTIzYrI.gif Dare to compare!]]
** A [[http://www.destructoid.com/elephant//ul/9855-550x-contra-poster-2-dsf.jpg poster]] for ''Contra 4'' included in ''Nintendo Power'' followed suit by depicting "newcomers" Mad Dog and Scorpion as pastiches of WesleySnipes and VinDiesel.
* OneHitPointWonder: Every game except the [=MSX2=] port of the first ''Contra'' and the Japanese version of ''Contra: Hard Corps''. Oddly, Konami took this feature ''out'' of the [[DifficultyByRegion overseas versions of the game]], feeling it would water the challenge down too much.
* OneHitKill
* OneManArmy
* OneWingedAngel
* OutOfTheInferno: The intro of ''Neo Contra''.
* OutrunTheFireball: The end of ''Contra III'' and ''Shattered Soldier''. Also the intro of ''Neo Contra''.
* PacifistRun: Some of the challenges in ''Contra 4'', which strip you of all weapons.
* PainfullySlowProjectile
* PoisonMushroom: Area 2 of ''Contra [=ReBirth=]'' has a Normal Gun power-up on Hard mode that changes your weapon to your default pea shooter.
* PowerupLetdown: In most games, when you have too many shots on screen to fire a full spread, the Spread Gun will instead fire partial spreads or single bullets to keep your firing rate consistent. It does ''not'' do this in ''Super Contra'' (arcade version only), turning the Spread Gun from a GameBreaker into an annoyance as you have to wait for your previous shots to clear the screen before you can fire again. The "upgrade" makes it ''worse'': it fires five shots per spread instead of three, and your shots-on-screen are increased from nine to ten, which would be good in any other game, but here it means you can only have two spreads on screen instead of three. In the fast-paced OneHitPointWonder world of Contra, this can be the difference between life and death.
** Laser in the NES games. OneHitPolykill doesn't matter so much when enemies spawn from multiple angles, and OneBulletAtATime most ''certainly'' doesn't help either.
* ProjectilePlatforms: The missile-jumping level in ''Contra III''.
* {{Pun}}: ''Contra 4'' has the "over the shoulder soldier folder," a most "terrible tumbler" [[spoiler: which is just a boulder.]]
* PunBasedTitle: ''Contra: Hard Corps'', which is a play on the word "hardcore". Unfortunately, this pun isn't so obvious on people who [[NoPronunciationGuide mispronounce]] the word "corps" as "corpse".
* PunnyName: The localizations of the early installments were filled with these. For example, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean were renamed "Sgt. Bill Ko" (as in "[[ThePhilSilversShow Sgt. Bilko]]") and "Corporal Lance" (an inversion of "Lance Corporal") respectively in the manual for ''Super C''.
* RacingTheTrain: One of the robotic bosses of ''Contra: Hard Corps'' and ''Contra: Shattered Soldier'' makes his entrance by outrunning the train you're on, pushes it to a stop, lifts the end of it, then climbs on top. This turns out to be a bad idea in the end- upon defeat, he falls backwards off the front of the train, and gets hit by it!
** And in ''Contra: Shattered Soldier'', an {{Expy}} of said boss does the exact same thing, except that you're on a small train carriage which the boss lifts off the ground with ease.
* RatedMForManly
* RecurringBoss
** The boss of the first stage in the original ''Contra'', a wall protected by a sniper and two cannons, reappears as a sub-boss in later ''Contra'' games.
** The FinalBoss of the original ''Contra'' is named "Emperor Demon-Producing Heart Gomeramothking"[[note]]天王創魔心ゴメラモスキング, Tennou Sou Ma Shin Gomeramosukingu[[/note]] (according to the Japanese versions, don't ask). It's [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a giant alien heart]] with [[ShoutOut four alien egg chambers]] that [[MookMaker spawns]] [[ClownCarGrave infinite]] [[FaceHugger buggers]].
** "Emperor Devil Gava"[[note]]天王鬼ギャバ, Tennou Ki Gyaba[[/note]] , the FinalBoss in the arcade version of ''Super Contra'', looks like a skeletal dragon with [[CognizantLimbs two skeletal "snakes" for arms]].
** "Shadow Beast Kimkoh"[[note]]陰獣キムコウ, In Juu Kimukou[[/note]], the final boss of ''Super C'' for the NES, an alien with a woman's face inside its mouth. It comes back as a boss in ''Contra III''. There are lots of little ones in ''Rebirth''.
** "Slave Beast Taka"[[note]]奴隷獣タカ, Dorei Juu Taka[[/note]] is a giant mutated tortoise who serves as the first boss in ''Contra III'' (he was renamed Kimkoh in the American version for reason). In ''Contra: Shattered Soldier'', he appears again, but this time with a deformed human face on his behind.
** "Great Awakening Robo Big Fuzz"[[note]]大覚ロボビッグファズ, Daikaku Robo Biggufazu[[/note]] (or "Robo-Corpse"), the third boss of ''Contra III'', is a [[SkeleBot9000 skeleton-like]] [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot zombie robot]] who reappears in ''Contra 4''.
** The Metal Alien/"Slave Hawk" (which resembles the winged Queen Alien from ''Film/{{Aliens}}'') from the arcade version of ''Super Contra'' returns in the final stage of ''Contra III''. It was [[http://www.klustr.net/contra/articles/recurring_bosses_6.php planned]] to be included in ''IV'', but was ultimately scrapped.
** Super Power Robot Yokozuna, who first appears in ''Hard Corps'', and a later version Yokozuna Jr. appears in ''Shattered Soldier''. Both battles against it are {{Traintop Battle}}s, and both of them demonstrate the ability to stop a train.
** The Magnus series of tanks (Magnus in ''Super C'', Magnus Mk. II in ''Contra III'', Magnus Mk. IV in ''Shattered Soldier'', Magnus Mk. V in ''Neo Contra'').
** A list of them can be found [[http://www.klustr.net/contra/articles/ here]].
* RecurringRiff: The "Stage Clear" riff from the first game and the "Game Over" riff from ''Contra III''.
* RecycledTitle: In Japan, ''Operation C'' was simply titled ''Contra'' (but spelled in kana instead of kanji).
** The modified versions of ''Contra'' for the NES, ''Operation C'', and ''Contra: Hard Corps'' that were released in Europe were all simply titled ''Probotector''.
* RefugeInAudacity: The over-the-top missile-jumping sequence in the end of Stage 4 in ''Contra III: The Alien Wars''.
** Meanwhile, ''Neo Contra'' shamelessly does its best to top that bit. The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv73UVkWEyM opening scene]] alone includes riding ballistic missiles, [[OutrunTheFireBall outrunning explosions]], a giant robot, and dinosaur riders, arguably reaching the pinnacle of audacity when the new Player 2 character (Jaguar the black samurai) slices a missile in half by ''riding a plane into it with his sword raised''. The actual game itself isn't very different. As above, players seem divided about whether it's ridiculously fun, or just ridiculous.
** Even ''Contra Force'' gets in on this. One level features the player fighting his way through an enormous transport airplane ''in the air'', then jumping on to the wing of a nearby A-10 ground attack aircraft ''while dodging missiles'', then jumping to another transport.
** Stage 4 of ''Contra 4'' has the player scaling the launch platform of a giant missile, fighting a giant robot clinging to its side as it takes to the air, grappling the warhead as it detaches from the first stage, leaping between handholds and shooting down projectiles as it barrels through the air, dodging the flames of its misfiring engines as it up-ends, and finally riding it harmlessly as it smashes through a high-rise building and buries itself in the earth.
** The first stage of ''Contra [=ReBirth=]'' is a space station that is brought down by a GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere. This becomes the stage boss, which the player fights while air-surfing on the space station's wreckage during ''atmospheric reentry''.
** Hard Corps: Uprising has a hilarious or awesome ([[TakeAThirdOption or both]]) part in one mission which involves climbing an elevator shaft on missiles.
* RetCanon: ''Contra 4'' features two new characters named "Mad Dog" and "Scorpion", which were the names given to Bill and Lance in the American NES version of ''Contra''. The new, distinct Mad Dog and Scorpion are described as the heroes of ''Operation C'', essentially putting the apocryphal aliases of two existing characters to use as the names of two new characters, as well as retconning the plot of ''Operation C''.
* RevengeOfTheSequel: The arcade version of ''Super Contra'' bore the tagline ''Alien no Gyakushu'' in Japan, which literally means "The Alien's Counterattack" or "The Aliens Strikes Back". Similarly, the European version of ''Super C'' for the NES is titled ''Probotector II: Return of the Evil Forces''.
* RidingTheBomb
* RoboticReveal: [[spoiler: Master Contra in ''Neo Contra''.]]
* RobotGirl: Lucia. BR-W9.
* RocksFallEveryoneDies: In the Amstrad CPC version, [[spoiler:you've saved the Earth and stopped the alien invasion... but killing the [[FinalBoss alien heart]] triggers a self-destruct mechanism and [[EarthShatteringKaboom causes the Earth to explode anyway]]. How sad]].
* RuleOfCool: There's no way in hell that you can jump from missile to missile like in stage 4 in Alien Wars. But damn, is it cool?!
* SavageSetpiece: the apatosaurus in ''Hard Corps''.
* SayMyName: In ''Neo Contra'', [[spoiler: after Bill and Jaguar defeat Lucia, or Pheromone Contra]]: "LUCIIAAAAAA!!!!!!"
* SchizophrenicDifficulty: The arcade version of the second game starts off rather hard, gets harder in the second level, eases up in level 3, then has another DifficultySpike on levels 4 and 5.
* SchrodingersGun: In ''Hard Corps'', [[BigBad Colonel Bahamut's]] plan for the [[ImportedAlienPhlebotinum Alien Cell]] depends on which path you take through the game. [[spoiler:Either he wants to use it to power a KillSat, turn it into a bio-weapon, [[FusionDance merge with it]], or load it on a missile and launch it into civilization.]]
** From the same game, Bahamut's base is either right next to your current location, a train ride away in the jungle, or a boat ride away on an island.
* ScoreScreen
* SentryGun: The series is filled with them.
* SequelDifficultyDrop: ''Neo Contra'' is significantly easier than ''Shattered Soldier'', which is one of the hardest games in the series, especially once the [[{{Gradius}} GV Laser]] and Weapon Type D is unlocked.
* SequelDifficultySpike: ''Super Contra'' (specifically the arcade version), ''The Alien Wars'', and ''Hard Corps''. Let's not forget ''Shattered Soldier''.
* SequentialBoss: The battle with Lance, and most of Mission 6, in ''Shattered Soldier''. Also, the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmFCAdLWZnc Takedder]] robot from the Sea Struggle stage in ''Hard Corps''.
* ShiftingSandLand: Stage 5 of ''Contra III''.
* ShoutOut: In ''Contra Rebirth'', Colonel Salamander is named after the Konami game ''Salamander'', a spin-off of ''{{Gradius}}''. Also, the name of the lizard man, Plissken, is obviously a homage to [[Franchise/MetalGear Solid Snake (Iroquis Pliskin)]], and both are a reference to Snake Plissken from ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork'' and ''Film/EscapeFromLA''.
** And a lot of the aliens in the series are a homage to the ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' movies.
** A boss in ''Hard Corps'' is a three part CombiningMecha. The name of its battle theme is GTR Attack. Hm... [[GetterRobo GTR...]]
* ShoutOutThemeNaming: The original ''Contra'' duo, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, are named after four actors who appeared in ''Film/{{Aliens}}'': specifically Bill Paxton and Paul Reiser for the former; and Lance Henriksen and Michael Biehn for the latter. The different spellings used for the surnames, obviously the result of a [[SpellMyNameWithAnS clueless translator]], does obscure the reference a bit.
** Referring to the same film, the reptilian Plissken in ''Contra [=ReBirth=]'' sometimes prefers to be called "[[PunnyName Newt]]."
* SleevesAreForWimps: Applies to the few characters who [[WalkingShirtlessScene wear shirts at all]]. Probably the only character to wear a shirt with sleeves is Ray from ''Hard Corps''.
* SlidingScaleOfSillinessVersusSeriousness: Individual games run the gamut from grim, [[AfterTheEnd post-apocalyptic]] atmospheres (''Contra III'', ''Shattered Soldier'') to over-the-top SummerBlockbuster-esque antics (''Hard Corps'', ''Neo Contra'').
** Also note that in ''Contra Rebirth'' we have [[CrowningMomentOfFunny a helicopter which can fly in space - WTF!?!?]] (totally silly)
* SmartBomb: The Hyper Shells in ''Super Contra'' (which are present only in the arcade version and could only be used in overhead stages) and the bombs in ''Contra III'' and ''Contra: Hard Corps''.
* SmashingHallwayTrapsOfDoom: Present in the series. For an example, stage 7 of the NES version.
* SpikeBallsOfDoom: A few bosses in 'Hard Corps'' use these.
* SpreadShot: One of the most famous examples of it, especially in the original game where it was a GameBreaker.
** ''Hard Corps's'' Brad Fang's Vulcan Cannon is of the Spray Burst variant.
* StationaryBoss: In the first game, these are entrances to bases. In the later games, though, they are various AliensAndMonsters.
* StealthPun: The name of ''Contra: Hard Corps'''s final boss theme is Last Springsteen. [[spoiler: Bruce Springsteen's nickname is "The Boss." Thus, the song can be called Last Boss.]]
* TheStinger: If you beat ''Contra [=ReBirth=]'' on the Normal difficulty or higher, you'll get a scene after the credits revealing that [[spoiler:Plissken was Chief Salamander, the game's BigBad, all along, and it's implied that BR-W9 makes a FaceHeelTurn as well (that, or Plissken makes a HeelFaceTurn)]].
** The Famicom version of ''Contra'' also had a secret stinger by holding Select and Start during the end credits, foreshadowing Red Falcon's eventual return.
* StoryBranching: In ''Contra: The Hard Corps'', at the end of the first stage you have the choice of either going after Deadeye Joe or saving the alien cell. At this point, the only impact it has on the game is the second stage (which depends on the choice you make) and whether or not Deadeye Joe appears at the end of the fourth stage. Afterwards, you have the choice of surrendering or fighting to the end. This choice, along with the choice at the beginning of the game, determines how the plot unfolds for the rest of the game. Also, there's a secret story path that doesn't regard the first decision, and it is hidden in the third stage.
* {{Stripperiffic}}: Sheena Etranzi's outfit in Contra 4 is akin to a bikini. See it [[http://www.blogcdn.com/nintendo.joystiq.com/media/2008/03/cdsjppr002ak.jpg here]].
* SunglassesAtNight: Brad Fang in ''Hard Corps''.
* SuperNotDrowningSkills: Although your character is [[OneHitPointWonder killed by anything that isn't a floor, wall, ceiling, friendly, or a power-up]], this does not apply to water. In the first game, you could even stay in the water INDEFINITELY with your head submerged!
** Averted in the DolledUpInstallment, Contra Force, where the characters all have SuperDrowningSkills and will drown instantly in Stage 2.
* SuperTitle64Advance: Averted by ''Super Contra'', which was originally an arcade game, and then adapted into the NES under the shortened title of ''Super C''. When the series made it to the SNES, they had no choice but to come up with a different name for its installment (''Contra III'' in America and ''Contra Spirits'' in Japan). However, the GBA port of ''Contra III'' plays it straight by being called ''Contra Advance''.
** Played straight with the European versions. ''Super C'' became ''Probotector II'' and ''Contra III'' became ''Super Probotector''. However, the Game Boy and Mega Drive installments are both simply titled ''[[RecycledTitle Probotector]]''.
** In Japan, ''Contra 4'' is known as ''Contra: '''D'''ual '''S'''pirits''.
* TheCameo: Sparkster of the ''RocketKnightAdventures'' appears, as a shadowy figure, in the Secret Ending of ''Contra : Shattered Soldier''.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: ''[[spoiler:Winning]]'' in the Amstrad CPC version.
* ThemeNaming: [[spoiler: The members of [[GovernmentConspiracy the Triumvirate]] in ''Shattered Soldier''--Gaius, Commodus, and Nero--are named for three of the most infamous Roman emperors (you may know Gaius better as [[TheCaligula Caligula]]).]]
* TimedMission: In the arcade version of the original ''Contra'', the first "[=3D maze=]" stage needs to be completed in seventy seconds and the second one in 110 seconds. Since the maze stages don't feature infinitely respawning enemies, the timer is a contrivance to keep the game from sitting in the same place (much like how the bosses in ''Gradius'' will eventually self-destruct just in case a player could find a safe spot and walk away from the arcade machine). As such, NES version discards the timer, yet the Commodore 64 version is punitive, giving only forty and fifty-five seconds respectively.
* TraintopBattle: ''Contra: Hard Corps'' has a stage taking place on a military train, featuring two mid-boss battles and culminating in a fight with Powered Ninja Yokozuna, all on its roof.
** ''Contra: Shattered Soldier'' has a level that involves chasing a train down on motorcycles, attacking the weaponized caboose, and heading to the engine. At which point the Yokozuna Jr. mecha attacks the train, leaving the player to wonder why our OneHitPointWonder heroes had to bother.
* TransformingMecha: Mr. Heli-Robo in ''Contra: Shattered Soldier''.
* TrueFinalBoss: In ''Shattered Soldier'', if you get an A Rank or higher on the first five missions (if not, you get a DownerEnding), you get to go on to Mission 6, where after defeating the Mr. Heli-Robo [[TransformingMecha transformer]] [[MiniBoss miniboss]], you face the SealedEvilInACan Relic Of Morai in a SequentialBoss fight (as if the sequential boss fight with Lance wasn't enough). And THEN, if you beat all that with an S Rank, you fight his true final form, which disappointingly is a ClippedWingAngel boss (if the pattern has been memorized), combined with a GainaxEnding.
** Master Contra, the BigBad of ''Neo'', won't be fought unless you score an A or S rank in the first five stages. If you beat him in the sixth stage with an A or S rank as well, you'll have to fight him one final time in his true final form, which is a giant head, while falling through Earth's atmosphere. You don't need to attack him, you can simply dodge all his attacks until he burns up in the atmosphere.
** Also, the GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere final boss of ''[=ReBirth=]'', the garbage ball you fight on the moon for some reason, won't be fought unless you play the game on Normal or above.
** In ''The Alien Wars'', you won't fight [[FinalBoss Red Falcon's]] [[OneWingedAngel true final form]] unless you play on Hard mode.
** You also won't fight Black Viper in ''4'' unless you play on Normal or Hard mode.
* UnderwaterBossBattle: The Man-Faced Fish in ''Shattered Soldier''.
* TheUnfought: One of four main story paths in ''Contra: Hard Corps'' ends with an outbreak of alien organic matter, providing a distraction for the main antagonist, Colonel Bahamut, to escape to fight another day.
** Chief Salamander in ''Contra [=Rebirth=]''. {{Justified|Trope}} for plot twisting reasons.
** [[spoiler: The Triumvirate]] in ''Shattered Soldier'', [[spoiler: unless you count the Relic of Moirai merging with the Triumvirate and overwhelming them.]]
* UnstableEquilibrium: Especially prominent in the arcade games. As mentioned above, dying in most of the games reduces your gun to a pea shooter, and certain bosses, eg the Stage 4 boss of the original, who is IMO ThatOneBoss, increase in difficulty/cheapness the longer the fight drags on. In some of the later ''Contra'' games starting from ''Contra 3'', it's less severe.
* VeryHighVelocityRounds: Your bullets move much, much faster than most anything shot at you does... at least anything shot at you by a {{Mook}}. Bosses are a [[NintendoHard different story]].
* VideoGameLives
* ViolationOfCommonSense: In ''Contra III'', what's the best way to destroy a giant flying battleship? Chase it with motorcycles, and then cling to a cruise missile that's heading for the ship! And then leap from missile to missile in the salvo as they impact uselessly on the alien's shield. Considering that you've mostly been running along the ground, climbing walls, and riding tanks so far, it's an unusually...[[RuleOfCool brazen choice of attack]].
** In deference to common sense, once the ship's shield is down, the missiles ''will'' harm it, and it will eventually be destroyed without any added assistance from the player.
** In ''Contra Rebirth'' there is a helicopter which can fly in space.
* WalkingShirtlessScene
* WeCanRuleTogether: In one of the paths, Colonel Bahamut asks you to join him in ''Contra Hard Corps''. Doing so will net you a NonStandardGameOver where your character becomes his top enforcer.
* WeHardlyKnewYe: [[spoiler: Mystery G in ''Neo Contra''.]]
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler: Lance Bean in ''Shattered Soldier''.]]
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: The early Contra games had the main player character and several enemy characters changed into robots when localized for Europe for this reason.
* WholesomeCrossdresser: Lance in ''Contra Rebirth''.
* WithThisHerring: Let's just say this: You start off with a wimpy gun and you are such a wuss that you are DEAD if you touch ''anything'' that isn't the floor, wall, friendly, or a power-up.
* WolfMan: Brad Fang in ''Hard Corps''.
* WombLevel: Typically the last level in a game.
* WorthyOpponent: [[TheRival Deadeye Joe]] considers the player this in ''Hard Corps'', to the point that in one route, [[spoiler:he breaks the player out of his (or her) cell and gives his (or her) back your weapons so that he can be the one to defeat you.]]
* VillainExitStageLeft: Bahamut does this in one of the endings of ''Hard Corps''. [[spoiler: Lance Bean]] does this when you first meet him in ''Shattered Soldier'' and Master Contra does this as well in ''Neo''.
* {{Zeerust}}: For a series set during the [=27th=] century, the technology used the by characters look way too modern by late 1980s/early '90s standard. This is probably the reason why the American version of the storyline took place in the present until ''Contra III''.
* YeahShot: The true ending of ''Contra: Shattered Soldier'' has this, though the characters are shown jumping toward the crowd instead of the camera and they don't really shout "YEAH!"
* ZergRush: The second half of ''Contra: Re Birth'''s stage 5.
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