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YMMV / Contra

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  • Adaptation Displacement: Both Contra and Super C were originally released in the arcades, but the NES ports of these games are more popular than the arcade version.
  • Awesome Music: Offered as a reward for trying Contra 4 on Hard Mode.
  • Breather Boss:
  • Broken Base: There's a bit of a divide on whether the Contra or Probotector versions are better. While many prefer the Contra versions because they're the uncensored originals and run at a superior 60Hz refresh rate rather than PAL 50Hz, Probotector is preferred by another crowd because the robots are perceived as cooler and less generic. Interestingly, the Contra Collection includes a "Turbo Mode" option with the Probotector versions of the games included allowing them to be played at 60 hz.
    • It also isn't uncommon to see fans of Contra III: The Alien Wars and Contra: Hard Corps argue about which game is the best in the series — especially considering that both games split the franchise in two entirely different directions (with Contra III being a basis for ReBirth and Contra 4, while Hard Corps style of gameplay was revisited in Shattered Soldier, Hard Corps: Uprising, and to some extent Neo Contra).
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    • On the topic of Hard Corps, another divide is over which ending is considered the true ending.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Shattered Soldier: Earth's ruling Triumvirate is indirectly responsible for the alien invasions of the first games in the series. They sent an army to recover the Relic of Moirai from Jupiter; the invading aliens were actually a defensive army. The Triumvirate, uncaring, claims the aliens are invaders, thus prolonging the war and resulting in countless deaths. When Lance Bean found out the truth, they supposedly killed him, and also used a satellite to wipe out 80% of Earth's population, blaming all this on Bill Rizer, who is later released to take on a terrorist group. The Triumvirate ultimately plans to examine the Relic and become like gods.
    • Neo Contra: Master Contra is the leader of the terrorist group Neo Contra, which poses such a threat to the now-prison planet Earth in 4444 that Bill Rizer is revived from cryogenic storage. Master Contra—as well as the Player Character himself—are both clones of the original Bill Rizer, seen in the game as "Mystery G", and later killed by Master Contra. Master Contra plans to end all wars—by blowing up Earth, which he succeeds in doing in a Bad Ending. Despite all his talk and claims how he is "the ultimate form of Bill Rizer", in the end, he is, as the player character says, "just a heap of metal with an inflated ego".
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  • Contested Sequel: Contra 4, surprisingly. While many hail its return to the series' roots, some feel that the combination of the DS's two screens makes for an awkwardly-tall screen with a gap between the screens, especially when stages emphasizing horizontal movement are involved. The lack of a stage select or stage practice — despite being released in 2007, when stage select and practice had long since become staples of arcade ports and arcade-style consumer games — hardly helps much for those trying to practice later stages and don't want to have to go through previous stages every time. While the overwhelming consensus is that it's far better than the PS1 Contra games that really hurt the series' image, some feel that it's still an inferior product to other games such as The Alien Wars and Hard Corps.
  • Dork Age: The Appaloosa-developed games released during the late 1990's.
  • Game-Breaker: The Spread Gun in the NES games, especially if combined with the Rapid Bullets power-up.
    • The upgraded version of the machine gun in the arcade game Super Contra has a ridiculously fast firing rate that allows you to wipe out bosses in a matter of seconds.
    • Brad Fang in Hard Corps with his Psychic Blaster (fully charged). Takes down bosses in two or three blasts. And considering that there are lots of bosses in Hard Corps... Brad is like designed to break Hard Corps, his other arsenals include a short range explosive punch which hits a lot for short range, and his upgraded first weapon is a much more rapid Spray Burst which decimates enemies real quick, and his other weapon is a mid-range flame thrower that moves to wherever Brad changes his aiming... Most of them will make up for how his charged Psychic Blaster can't be used against anything that doesn't come in a horizontal line against him. Just get used to his big hit box and lack of homing weapons, it's worth it.
      • In the same game, Browny is half the size of the other characters, lowering the chance of getting hit tremendously, has a double jump and is in possession of the Electro-Yo-Yo: a homing, long-range electric spike-ball-tipped beam that pierces through every single obstacle and defenses in the game and deals insane, continuous damage. You hardly need to aim with the thing, allowing you to concentrate on just dodging.
      • In Contra III: The Alien Wars, the most powerful weapons in the game include the Laser Gun, which, while it fires at a slow rate, pierces through enemies and kills bosses faster, as well as the Fire Gun, which does high damage to enemies and kills bosses in seconds if you aim at their weak spots, which is easier since it can get past parts of the enemy that normally block projectiles. Then there's the Crush Missiles, which are supposed to balance their incredible damage with a slow firing rate and not quite fullscreen range, but since the game allows you to instantly switch between two weapons, rapidly spamming two alternating Crush Missiles makes every boss a joke.
      • By lesser extent, the heatseeker gun, even if it is weak compared to the other two, because you don't have to worry about aiming if you hold (Y).
      • Neo Contra has Weapon Sets D and F as well as Jaguar's katana. Set D has a Lightning Gun that can One-Hit Kill many enemies, the secondary is a hard hitting bazooka that does massive damage against bosses and stationary objects, and the lock-on weapon is the Heaven's Laser, which is absurdly strong, never misses, and reloads stupidly fast, making things that need a lock-on utter push-overs. Set F has the GV Laser (named after Gradius V) which fires a constant laser beam with a ridiculously long range. Jaguar's katana is another powerful weapon, because it can take out bosses in a few swings if you get up close to them.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The game is very fondly recalled by retro gamers in Poland. Any time Pegasus ("Polish NES") is mentioned, Contra is brought up and people usually speak about it along the lines of: "Those were the times..."
    • Contra Force is beloved in Russia, mainly because of the fact, that in the 90's this game was widely distributed on bootleg carts in both original and hacked forms (hacked versions of the game featured mostly fixed slowdowns) and also because the setting of the game resonated with the situation in the country at that time.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Try playing the other Contra games after finding out in Shattered Soldier that the aliens invaded Earth because the Triumvirate had secretly stolen a sacred relic from them, and that Lance Bean became a Well-Intentioned Extremist himself by trying to overthrow the Triumvirate. And try playing Shattered Soldier after seeing Lucia become one of the members of the Quirky Miniboss Squad that must be killed in Neo Contra.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The European releases of first four titles were Bowdlerised to feature Contra characters as robots. Fast forward to Neo Contra where there's a robot character whose his name contains "Contra". Yes, Master Contra.
  • Ho Yay: Bill and Lance, especially how their broken bond practically moves the story in Shattered Soldier. Also, in the European Gryzor continuity, the title is from their shared surname, as if they were a married couple (well, they could be also brothers, but that wasn't ever clarified, and the subtext remains).
    • Genbei "Jaguar" Yagyu and Bill Rizer in Neo Contra especially in Joke Ending. To clarify, they swim in space, only in loincloths, while Bill holds that of Genbei, and to add a cherry on top of this all there are sounds of gay sex in the background.
    • In the original Contra: Hard Corps, there is a Joke Ending, where the player character is transported to prehistoric Earth, and becomes a monarch of proto-humans, with one of the females being the player character's queen. This happens even if you play as Sheena. Of course, it also happens if you play as Browny.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: The opinion of many on Neo Contra, if not for the Hit-Rate system.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: Many peoples' opinions on the original arcade games, Neo, and ReBirth.
    • The arcade versions of the first two games were intentionally made to be short, as most arcade games are meant to play in short sessions. A perfect playthrough of either game can be done in less than ten minutes, which is an ideal time period if you're a kid in the 80s waiting for his mother to finish her grocery shopping.
  • Mood Whiplash: Contra: Hard Corps looked like to be set on a less bleak universe and more fighting human terrorists that used a lot of robots. In one of the path, however, suddenly the Alien Cell broke loose and takes you straight to a Womb Level that looks more like belonging from Contra games that has Bill Rizer in it. You also get to see Bahamut's soldiers infested on screen and becoming alien creeps, and the music itself takes a darker turn unlike the rest of the action-packed stuffs. Brrr...
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • If the Triumvirate sabotaging the hyper-magnetic weapons and destroying half of the world's population didn't do it for them, then supposedly killing Lance Bean then framing Bill Rizer for the murder definitely did.
    • Master Contra in Neo Contra crosses it when he fatally wounds Mystery G after giving Bill Rizer a Heroic BSoD when he told him that he was the real Bill Rizer.
  • Narm Charm: Contra III's "Let's attack aggressively!" Has so much Dull Surprise it loops back into Rated M for Manly. Or maybe it's just another Tuesday for our heroes.
  • Nausea Fuel: Pretty much the entirety of the final level on Contra 4. You defeat Black Viper, all is fine and dandy, but then she absorbs the corpses of the humans into her biomass, growing to monstrous size in the process. You must then blast a hole in her rear end and go inside her body, making your way from her intestines up to her brain. Expect to destroy a lot of organs, climb ruptured tendons and deal with a bunch of parasites on the road to the final battle.
  • Older Than They Think: The original Contra is mistakenly considered to be inspired by Predator thanks in part to Bob Wakelin's now iconic cover art for the home versions (which was traced over from publicity stills of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dutch Schaefer). In reality the arcade version began worldwide distribution on February 1987, predating the June 12 theatrical premiere of Predator by roughly four months.
    • This applies to the Konami Code as well. While the original Contra popularized the Konami Code with its 30 lives and people now associate the Konami Code with Contra, the code actually originated from Gradius, where using the code will power up your ship, the Vic Viper.
  • Polished Port: The original arcade game had a lot of flaws. The NES version fixed most of them, plus expanded the levels. It did take a graphical downgrade to get it onto NES hardware, but since it displaced the original, not many people realize that. The Japanese version even uses a special chip to add extra graphical effects and brief cutscenes.
  • Porting Disaster: Contra: The Alien Wars for the Game Boy and Contra Advance for the GBA.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Contra 4:
      • The use of both dual screens. In a game series where the player character can't take much punishment, the lack of visible space between them (to see incoming enemy bullets) can hinder things a fair bit.
      • The complete lack of a stage select, something that probably would've been excused in the 80's, not so much in 2007 when individually-selectable stages had since become the standard.
    • The Hit-Rate system in PlayStation 2 games. While it's pretty useful for reminding you not to make mistakes again, it does frustrate most gamers that it could prevent them from completing the game without any mistakes. Even worse is, you could get a Downer Ending if you do a slight mistake.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Contra 4 for the Nintendo DS, along with Contra ReBirth for the WiiWare and Hard Corps: Uprising for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, those three games that came out after four consecutive installments that sat poorly with fans of the series (two lame PlayStation releases, one of which is also a Sega Saturn game, and two decent PlayStation 2 games) which not only won back the crowd, but whipped the series back into what it should be.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The Game Over music of Contra III: The Alien Wars sounds quite similar to a snippet of the Mission: Impossible theme. Leaning on the Fourth Wall about its Nintendo Hardness maybe?
  • Tear Jerker:
  • That One Boss: While a lot of Contra bosses are very hard, some will grate your nerves. For instance, the Spider Mutant at Hard Corps. It moves erratically fast especially when shot, makes web to travel around the air at random pattern, all while firing either orbs that homes in two or three directions or multi-directional orbs at once. Do remember you're a One-Hit-Point Wonder while doing all these. Its small size and speed also makes even Brad's charged Psychic Blaster less than effective.
  • That One Level: Stage 4 of Neo Contra.
  • Uncanny Valley: One of the final bosses of Contra: Hard Corps is an alien whose first form has a face resembling a human woman that distorts hideously when hit.
    • There's also the Jinmen-gyo ("Human-faced fish") from Contra: Shattered Soldier that ends up looking like a giant zombie version of a Gillman from Seaman. Yikes.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Hard Corps pushed the Genesis to its absolute limits. From its impressively rich synth music to the very large bosses, to the convincing explosion effects, it rivals Sonic 3 & Knuckles in sheer pushing of the boundaries of the Genesis' hardware. Alien Wars, alongside Super Castlevania IV, was also an early yet impressive demonstration of the SNES's capabilities.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: At the time the earliest games were released, there was controversy over the US, under Ronald Reagan, supporting rebel groups in Nicaragua called the Contras, short for Contrarevolucionarios, or "Counter-Revolutionaries." This caused some minor controversy and may have contributed to European release of the arcade game being titled Gryzor (since support for the Contra(s) was considered right-wing and heavily opposed in Europe) and why the NES version of Super Contra and the Game Boy Contra game were retitled Super C and Operation C respectively.
  • Woolseyism: The localizations of the first two NES games and Operation C changed the setting from the 27th century to the then-present (as well as the names of many of the characters). This became problematic when Contra III featured an obviously futuristic setting, so they had to change the main characters' name and claim that they were the descendants of the previous heroes. Contra 4 would actually make attempts to reconcile these differences in canon.
    • The European Gryzor and Probotector continuity changed most of the heroes into robots to tone done the human-related violence. As seen on the Broken Base entry above, this is sometimes thought to be for the better.


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