Contra game information and level guide V. 1.1 (July 6th 2000)
Copyright 2000 Luke Somers (lsomers@haverford.edu)
Anyone may reproduce this at their will so long as they do not claim credit for 
its authorship. 

Organization:
1: General notes
2: Weapon/bonus list
3: The Konami code
4: Level and boss advice, ranking.

1 General notes:
Contra is a twitch game. You get hit, you die. Most things you hit die on 
contact too.
Your controls are simple, but there are a few quirks:
- If you are prone (i.e. on your belly) and you hit the jump button, you will 
instead drop down to the next floor. There are some floors that don't let you do 
this. This is a good thing, since there is nothing below them. Not all floors 
have this safety feature built in. Do not drop yourself off the screen. You will 
die. Also, do not drop if there is anything deadly directly above you. Dropping 
makes you briefly stand up, and you will die.
- From a standing position, you can shoot in any of the eight directions except 
directly down. To shoot directly down, you must jump and then press down and 
shoot. As just pointed out, if you press down and _then_ jump, you will fall... 
not what you intended in this case.
- You can swim in ordinary water in the Jungle (first level), but not in any of 
the later levels.You cannot jump out of the water, but you can drag yourself out 
at the waters' edge.
- The way to play and win is to play defensively: there is no time limit, and 
there is no ammo limit. Dodge incoming fire more than you aim at enemies. Spread 
and Fireball help since they make aiming nearly pointless anyway. Keep an eye on 
incoming fire! Sometimes bullets can pass through what appear to be walls. They 
are really just passing under ledges, and can get around and kill you.  Bullets 
do not move very fast, so you _can_ dodge them - and you must, or perish!

2 The Weapons:
You get these weapons (aside from the Rifle) by shooting anything that has a red 
falcon insignia on it. There are flying football-shaped things and metal turret-
like boxes, only with a red falcon mark instead of a gun. once you have shot it 
with its insignia showing, A letter surrounded by a pair of wings will pop 
out.This indicates what weapon you will get (the letter for each weapon is shown 
in parentheses below).

Rifle (basic): Not a _bad_ weapon, but try to get something better as soon as 
possible. You can only have a few shots on the screen at once. You may want to 
stay below the screen limit of bullets in case someone pops up behind you and 
you need to take him out right away.

Machine Gun (M): There is rarely a reason to stop firing this. This can pump out 
a lot of damage, but not all at once.

Fireballs (F): This is a powerful weapon, and wide, but slow. If troops might 
run on screen, do not fire all of your shots at once, or you won't have any 
firepower left for defense for about a second! Its width is good for hitting 
things while you are prone, or things you don't have time to aim at carefully. 
The Spread gun is better.

Laser (L): Produces a column of what appears to be flame. It is not long. To get 
any range at all, you have to release the button. This is a very powerful 
weapon. If you press the button, you will fire right away, so you will never be 
caught without a defensive shot. On the other hand, the fire stream is narrow so 
you might not be able to get one in exactly the right spot. This is worst in the 
enemy bases, where the soldiers are very narrow.

Spread (S): Fires a spread of five bullets. This weapon is also subject to the 
number of bullets limit, though the limit is higher. If you have too many 
bullets on screen, the spread gun will fire fewer, so firing very fast gets rid 
of much of the spread action. If you want to cover a lot of angle, fire at a 
more restrained pace. This is also a good idea because you want to hold a shot 
back in case someone jumps up behind you. This is usually the best weapon, since 
you do not need to aim and it puts out a good deal of damage. The damage this 
puts out gets extremely large when you get close.

Rapid (R): This speeds up any of the weapons a little. I do not know whether you 
keep your old speed upgrades if you get a different weapon. In any case, Rapid 
upgrades accumulate! If you are good, you will live long enough to accumulate 
quite a few Rapid upgrades, and have much more  firepower - your bullets will 
cross the screen faster so you can fire again sooner, your laser's stream will 
be longer, and your reactions to enemies showing up will be more likely to hit 
before they can get a shot off. Rapid is good. It seems to have little effect on 
Fireball, but that is because Fireball is driven by a team of slugs.

You can also pick up
Bulletproof (B): which makes you invincible for a while; and
The Ultimately Uselessly Placed Megaweapon of Death (Flashing Eagle): Touching 
this destroys all enemies on screen. As its name indicates, it is fairly 
irrelevant. If you could save them up, on the other hand...

If you leave it lying there on the ground, a weapon upgrade will not go away. 
This can be bad, if you need to walk where it is, and you already have a better 
weapon. If that is the case, it can be worth your while looking for a way to get 
around it - but don't kill yourself in the process! You might as well take the 
lesser loss of a not-quite-as-amazing weapon.

3 The Code:
Though there are many other codes, this is the famous Konami code which works in 
every Konami game I know of (except Blades of Steel, a hockey game). Here, it 
gives you 30 lives:
As the splashscreen is rolling, press
up,up,down,down,left,right,left,right,B,A,[Select,]Start
The select will make the game 2-player, with both players having 30 lives. If 
you want to play a 1-player game, do not press select. If it doesn't work, make 
sure you are releasing the pad for a moment in between pressing the pad in the 
same direction
One major drawback to using the code is that you do not get any extra lives. 
Sure, you will have more lives at your disposal than you could get by points 
(barring stupid waiting tricks, which will take hours), but with points it is 
possible to get as many as eight lives. Beginners and intermediate players will 
probably have to use the code in order to even see later levels.

4 The Levels:

Stage 1: Jungle
Rating: medium-easy, easy boss
- As the game starts, you have the option to jump off the cliff into the water. 
The water doesn't kill you, but if you can stay on the cliff you can get 
powerups sooner.
-When crossing the bridges, jump BEFORE the last moment so you land before the 
bridge segment blows up. Yes, you cannot hop in this game, only jump full 
height. If playing two player, you should either agree to split up, or be 
coordinated in this regard.
-The area immediately after the second bridge is very dangerous. A spread 
upgrade comes flying by, too... You can do much better if you do not try to 
destroy the turret, and just kill the sniper, get the spread and get heck out of 
there.
-Look out for snipers hiding behind the ferns.
-When jumping over gaps, being forward is more important than being high.
-The turrets that are all gray can turn all the way around. Also, you can't 
shoot them from a prone position with your rifle. Fireball and Spread can shoot 
them from a prone position, though if you are very close, spread will pass 
underneath.
-The turrets that have the red ball have a limited fire arc, and you can shoot 
them from a prone position.
**Boss: A couple guns and a sniper.
Kill the sniper who's standing on the roof. From the top of the hill, shoot at 
the turret if you haven't already killed it (jump above it and fire down from 
your jump, then step aside while it shoots). Finding a good place to shoot the 
blob-bomb guns can be annoying. There is a ledge directly across from them, but 
the one closer to you can occasionally hit you there. It's a good spot, but if 
you see a shot come too close, back off (DON'T jump. Since you are ducking, that 
will make you fall.. directly into the blob).

Stage 2: Enemy Base 1
Rating: easy, easy boss
-Never press forward until the wall ahead of you is destroyed. If you do, you 
will be shocked (the only thing in the game which doesn't kill you!)
-Shoot constantly unless you are using the laser.
-If you shoot a red soldier, he will toss a weapon upgrade to you. Each screen 
can only have one red guy (and sometimes will have none). The red guy may take a 
while to show up. If you miss him, too bad.
-Duck all the time. Come up only when necessary to hit a pod or dodge grenades. 
If you have spread, this will happen only rarely since grenades only get thrown 
straight forward.
-Gun turrets on the very edge of the screen cannot aim far enough in to hit you 
if you stand in the center. Also, soldiers only seem to fire directly forward... 
but they move, so be more careful with them.
-Turrets tracking is discrete - that is, if you are standing just _next_ to 
directly in front of it, it will aim directly in front of itself and miss you. 
This may work, but it is not very useful since there is rarely anything exactly 
next to a turret you want to aim at.
-The rolling barrels can be taken out by any gun if you concentrate your fire, 
but it is very difficult to jump over them. So, if a line of barrels is rolling 
at you, shoot a hole in them. 
**Boss: Miscellaneous interior base defenses
Walk in on one side. From there, your course should be obvious. Take out the 
pods you need to to get to the turrets, kill the turrets. Then kill the last 
pods. A wierd looking thing pops up. Shoot the bubbles, shoot the bubble 
shooter. If your fire arc doesn't hit the bubble, dodge. That's about it.

Stage 3: Waterfall
Rating: medium, medium boss
- Don't fall off the bottom. This is especially a hazard in the two-player 
version, where one player advancing can make the other player who is sitting 
still 'fall' off the bottom by having the bottom of the screen come up to meet 
him.
- Destroy the gun emplacements as soon as you see them. Just keep an eye out for 
soldiers walking in the side.
-The moving platforms move _exactly_ as fast as you do when you're jumping. You 
won't catch up to it if you're chasing it.
-There is no time limit, no ammo limit. Study the pattern, plan what you're 
going to do.
**Boss: Mechanical/Demonic-looking Head and arms.
Arrive in the center. Dodge the first volley of the arms' fireballs when they 
come, and run to one side. Shoot randomly to the sides to wipe out one arm at a 
time. When the arms stretch out towards you, rack on them, but be careful if 
they haven't fired recently - they can still shoot fireballs at you! Once one 
arm is gone, stand on that side and shoot at the other arm. Once both are gone, 
it should be trivial.

Stage 4: Enemy Base 2
Rating: easy, difficult boss
-Same as base 1, but harder.
**Boss: Miscellaneous interior base defenses, this time with soldiers.
This is the most complex, confusing boss in the game. So, I will take it point 
by point.
- Soldiers will come out in alternating waves of red (which shoot at you) and 
the blue (which jump at you). The red soldiers are dangerous. The blue guys can 
startle you when they suddenly sprout bat wings, but if you shoot them they die 
and cease to be a problem... you can't shoot the red guys' bullets.
- To stop the waves of soldiers, wipe out the pods. Unlike the first base's 
boss, wiping out the pods is more important than taking out the turret. You can 
dodge the turret much more easily than you can bullets shot from close range by 
the soldiers. If the turret is still active when the final bosses show up, you 
can deal with that. The soldiers are the real killers.
- After you take out the pods, four flickering things will appear in the monster 
gallery at the top of the screen. There are really only two of them, which are 
split into two halves. They are intangible (and thus invincible) except when 
conjoined. They shoot bubbles down at you at any time.
- The bubbles proceed down one part of the screen, turn towards you at the 
bottom, and then loop up. They vary in speed, and they can accelerate.
- To deal with the two phasing pairs, it depends whether you have spread or not. 
If you do, shoot the bubbles. If not, or if the bubbles get down towards you, 
give up on shooting them and dodge them by jumping over them. Take your time, 
and keep shooting.If you are clear, take potshots at the momentarily 
synchronized boss. Concentrate your fire on one of them to lower their offensive 
output.Shoot just _before_ they conjoin... remember, your bullets take time to 
arrive, and they don't stay together for long.

Stage 5: Ice field
Rating: difficult, easy boss
- The combination of hand grenades and shield gunner right in the beginning of 
this level is _extremely_ deadly. Space yourself to be safe from the grenades. 
Time yourself so you move out the moment the blast is done. THEN move forward. 
You have two options here. You can move just past the grenade's blast radius and 
duck, or you can jump as you need to dodge the shield gunner's bullet. The first 
is a generally better idea if you don't get yourself blown up, because sometimes 
soldiers run past the shield gunner and you mightland on them if you jumped.
- Three flying pods will go by midway through the level. The only one you really 
need is the BOTTOM one, which is spread.
- If you get a good weapon, such as that spread, DO NOT DIE. This may not sound 
like unusual advice, but here it applies more than usual. If you are playing 
one-player, you will find a high-powered weapon very useful for wiping out the 
two armored cars.
- If you don't have a good weapon when you get to the armored cars and you are 
playing one-player, give yourself up as lost. Stand back so you don't get shot 
and lose more lives than you need to. Two players can pull this off. Perhaps one 
player with rifle can, but I never have. If you DO have a decent weapon, stand 
back as far as you can and then tap right to get yourself facing the right way. 
Then rack as fast as you possibly can. With spread, you will wipe it out with 
time to spare; The other weapons, I am not sure. Laser should be able to do it, 
but it takes so long to get there that it might be a better idea to stand closer 
and dodge the bullets.
- When you reach a point of low resistance, remember to take your time and don't 
rush so fast you get yourself killed. Watch out for the troopers that shoot two 
shots... the best defense is a good offense.
**Boss: The Crystal Chandelier of Death
It _is_ necessary to hit the center of the boss (sorry about previous version). 
If you have spread or fireball, stand somewhat to one side so the bombs don't 
hit you, and rack (If you do not have the feel for the bombs' blast radius, 
stand aside and take a look). If you have anything else, stand DIRECTLY below 
the chandelier and fire up so fast that you shoot the bombs it is dropping and 
get a few hits in of your own. Then, when the pods get down to ground level, 
step out from under the chandelier and shoot on alternate sides to wipe them 
out. This boss does not have much life, so it is possible to wipe it out on the 
third time it appears even if you have only rifle. This may not happen. 
Remember, there is no time limit. As long as you can indefinitely prolong your 
life, and do a little damage, you will win.

Stage 6: Energy Zone
Rating: Extremely difficult, medium boss
- The music is extremely cool no?
- Do not try to outrun or out-trick the flamethrowers that react to you. Only 
the timed ones can be jumped past safely. The one exception is one that has to 
extend all the way from the ceiling to the bottom of the screen. Get to the 
_bottom_ floor and jump immediately as it recedes.
- BE CAREFUL: starting here, some soldiers know how to duck and shoot.
- If there are three floors, the middle floor is usually the safest.
- When you are facing a shield gunner, troops may come up behind you and attack. 
When that happens, deal with them as soon as you can. Only... wait for the 
shield gunner's bullet to pass over you!
- Be warned, when you drop onto a lower level, you briefly stand up. Thus, you 
cannot safely drop while a flame or bullet is directly above you.
**BOSS: Mr. Power Armor
Stand as far back from him as possible, and jump over his sliding spike disks as 
he sends them. When he strolls towards you, jump over him. He is surprisingly 
easy to jump over, once you get the hang of it, but that can take some doing. 
Once you have mastered the boss-vault, the only danger is in those sliders - 
sometimes he sends two rapidly. If he does, jump and pray.

Stage 7: Hangar
Rating: difficult, very easy boss
- The music is from the first level? After last level, this is boring.
- If you do not have spread or flame, you can easily take out the shield gunner 
towards the beginning WITHOUT crossing into his fire line... he fires quickly 
and it is nearly impossible to get right in front of him. On the other hand, you 
may just go underneath him and brave the dangers of the mechanical arms. This is 
a good reason to be careful to get the flame from the flying pod!
- Take the high ground when you can. The low ground is almost always more 
dangerous.
- Spiky walls pop up in front of you several times. Step onto new platforms with 
hesitance.
- Most importantly, when under the mechanical arms, don't freak out!!
- Leaving the building does NOT mean you are home free. There are more shield 
gunners and soldiers coming from opposite sides. This can be killer.
- You can be run over by the mining carts. This is extremely embarrassing. Note 
that the mining cart does not need to be in motion for you to get run over!
-Mining carts passing through each other in opposite directions can switch you 
off, making you jump to remount! I recommend wiping out all unneeded mining 
carts. They take only a few hits.
- There are two platforms you cannot get to except by standing on a mining cart 
and jumping off of it. The first is a bulletproof; the second (immediately 
after) gets you high enough to make a jump much more easily It may be impossible 
from below. Certainly I have never made it.
**Boss: Grenade launchers and suicide-squad soldiers.
Stand to the far left. When soldiers come out, shoot them all right away. 
Arrange to be in mid-air when the MIRVs land. When you jump to dodge the MIRVs, 
shoot the pod above the door. That's about it.
I have heard that you can also stand at the far right, and not have to worry 
about the soldiers coming out at you, but this boss is sufficiently easy that 
this should be unnecessary.

Stage 8: Alien's Lair
Rating: medium, difficult boss
-No one ever sneaks up behind you here. Your rear is secure. This makes the 
level much easier than the previous three... except for the bosses.
-The lower weapon pod that flies by at the beginning is a bulletproof. This will 
make the mini-boss much easier. the Machine gun (the upper weapon pod) will make 
the mini-boss much much easier if you don't already have a better weapon. The 
bulletproof, if you got it, will wear off in the middle of your battle with the 
mini-boss.
-The flying scallops take two shots, so don't try to take one off your back with 
one shot. As always, take your time and stay on the defense.
-If you have the machine gun, jump up and down in front of the mini-boss. This 
will take out most of its baby scallps. Those few that go back and loop around 
can be a minor threat, so spare them a few shots.
-The moment you see a purple thing, BACK UP and take it out from across the 
screen. You do not want to take them on in clumps if you can at all help it.
-The moment a purple thing drops a white blob, wipe out the blob. Without the 
blobs, the purple things are defenseless. The blobs, though, will suddenly take 
off and cream you.
-Make sure you get the second weapon in the level. It is a spread gun, which 
makes the rest of the game much easier.
-When you see a spider-scorpion-like thing, pause the game. You are about to 
face the final boss. Make sure you wipe out the last purple thing before you are 
dragged onto the final screen.
**Boss: The Red Falcon and his four little friends the scorpion shooters
Aside from the four scorpion shooters, this thing has no defenses. Stand back 
most but not all of the way. As you can, wipe out the scorpion shooters on the 
bottom. Don't bother lying down to do this if you have the spread gun - you will 
need the mobility. You will probably die during this. Once the lower scorpion 
shooters are gone, run up to the boss nearly as close as possible and rack away. 
When scorpions drop at you from the ceiling, do not try to pass under them. 
Instead, move back and jump over them as they land. If you are jumping up to 
shoot at the heart, an unfurling scorpion from the ceiling will often jump into 
the way, take the shots, and die. It's a good trade.
If you still have laser somehow, this will be quick, since you are never stuck 
without a shot, and the firepower of the laser is so great that you can shred 
their launchers quickly.

And-can you believe? After you've done all that, they have the NERVE to start 
you all over again! It's even harder this time...