Contra (Gryzor)

The cover of the game: The two main characters "coincidentally" resemble two popular 80s action movie actors
Full NameContra (US), Gryzor (EU), Probotector (NES, EU)
Year of release1987 (Arcade)
1988 (NES, home computers systems)
PlatformsArcade, Famicom/NES, PlayChoice-10, MSX2, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Microsoft Windows[1], MS-DOS
Genrerun and gun action game
Number of stages8
SuccessorSuper Contra (1988)
IGN Rating8,8

Contra, also known as Gryzor or Probotector, is a run and gun action game developed and published by Konami. The game was originally released as an arcade machine game but was later ported to home consoles as well. The original Contra became the first title of a whole series consisting of around a dozen titles until today.

The arcade version of Contra was initially released in February of 1987. One year later, in 1988, the NES version of Contra followed. In the PAL region the game was sold under the name of Probotector. Other ports of Contra for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, and Amstrad CPC were released in 1988 as well.

Contra:  “Toughest Game to Beat”

The plot of the game, set in the year of 2633, revolves around the evil Red Falcon Organization which has established a base on the Galuga archipelago near New Zealand to conquer the world. The commandos Pfc. Bill Rizer and Pfc. Lance Bean of the Contra unit are put on a mission to destroy the enemy forces which are not solely of human nature.

The playing perspectives of the game include a standard side view, a 3D view, and a fixed screen format. In the regular side-scrolling mode the player is able to shoot in 8 different directions. The characters additionally have the capabilities to jump, prone and drop to lower levels. The game allows two players to play simultaneously. Contra has 8 stages with a boss on every stage. The players start off with a default rifle which can be upgraded to a total of four other guns such as a machine gun or even a laser gun.

Contra is considered to be one of the best NES games of all time. ScrewAttack named it the fifth best NES of all time in the 1980s. Not only did the game receive great receptions but it was also considered to be an extremely hard game. IGN voted the game as being the “Toughest Game to Beat”.

A scene from the game

Censorship of the game

Contra, as many Konami Games, featured the famous Konami Cheat code. The Konami Code was a specific sequence of buttons which would trigger a certain cheat code in many Konami games. Entering the Konami Code in Contra gave players 30 additional lives.

The Name Contra allegedly was inspired by the Nicaraguan revolution which took place throughout the 1980s. Rebel fighters called themselves the Contrarrevolución (or Contras) and were fighting against the communist Sandinista Junta.

In the NES version of the game the year of the setting was changed from 2633 to 1987. Also the location was changed from the Galuga Islands to the Amazons.

In the German version of the game Konami redesigned the human protagonists to look more like robots. This was done in order to circumvent the strict censorship laws in Germany.


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