Guide #102: Contra: Boss Strategies and Other Things
V1.15 (10/19/99) (Corrected a fact about the Base stages' Power-Ups
; Changed the name of one of the Power-Ups [Thanks to DragonKnight Zero on
both of these]; Finally filled in how many sections there were :P)
By "Emptyeye" (emptyeye@juno.com)
This guide appears at www.gamefaqs.com and vgstrategies.about.com

There are 7 Sections
I: Version History
II: Absolute Basics
III: Power-Ups....What They Do.
IV: Level Help
V: Other Tricks
VI: This Guide's Future
VII: Legal Stuff

Section I: Version History
V1.0 (9/16/99) (First Release)

V1.1 (9/20/99) (Modified the Strategy slightly for the third Boss; Fixed some 
typos)

V1.11 (10/8/99) (Added another tip, thanks to Spoondog; Fixed a small typo.)

V1.15 (10/19/99) (Current Version; Corrected a fact about the Base stages' 
Power-Ups; Changed the name of one of the Power-Ups [Thanks to DragonKnight 
Zero on both of these]; Finally filled in how many sections there were :P)

Section II: Absolute Basics
This Section will help you get used to the basic controls of Contra. Note
that this is for the actual NES Version of the game; emulator users will have
to go somewhere else for their info. Sorry.

Well the Control Pad moves you around, A jumps, and B fires. With certain 
weapons, you can just hold down B and get rapid fire. You can control in 
which direction you want to shoot by pressing that direction with the Control
Pad. You can drop from platforms by pressing down (Which also lets you
duck) and A. Pretty simple huh?

Section III: Power-Ups....What They Do.
This section goes into detail about each of the various Power-Ups in the
game. Since they all look the same (Red Wings), I Just put the letter of each
Power-Up in parentheses next to it.

Rapid Fire (R): A misleading name. You don't actually get rapid fire, it just
makes all your shots travel a little faster. Most noticeable in the Base 
Stages.

Machine Gun (M): Gives you Rapid Fire and turns your shots red. Pretty useful 
really.

Flare Gun (F): Sends fire in a spinning pattern towards your enemy. Powerful,
but too slow to be of much use.

Spreader (S): Sends out 5 red bullets in a spreading pattern. The faster you 
fire it, the less bullets you get per shot until they all leave the screen.
VERY useful. 

Laser (L): My favorite weapon in the game. Shoots out a slow but VERY 
powerful laser across the screen. Also gives Rapid Fire. Kind of.

Barrier (B..Don't ask me why): Makes you invincible briefly. Good stuff.

Smart Bomb (No Letter): Destroys all enemies on screen. Not as useful as it 
seems because it pops in the wrong places.

Section IV: Level Help
This section, to start anyway, will have the Order of Power-Ups listed for
each level, as well as how to beat each boss. The best Weapon to beat each 
boss is listed next to it in parentheses. (NOTE: Occasionally 2 Power-Ups will 
enter the screen at the same time. These will both have the same # and will 
be followed by a letter (T: Top. B: Bottom. L: Left R: Right. M: Middle). 
(ANOTHER NOTE: If you have problems with a particular area of the game, E-Mail
me at the address provided at the top of this document, and I'll help you 
through it and add it to the guide. PLEASE SPECIFY what game you need help
with, as I've written more than one guide, you know :) ) (ONE LAST NOTE: I
made up these Boss names. If anyone knows the real names of the Bosses [Red
Falcon excluded], please E-Mail me and you'll get credit for the submission.)

(YET ANOTHER NOTE: DragonKnight Zero informed me that the Power-Ups you get
in Stages 2 and 4 [The Base Stages] are in fact NOT completely random, but 
depend on the room you happen to be in. Here is what DragonKnight Zero told
me, in quotations:
"Base information: This applies to the bases in stages 2 and 4.  The powerups
in the bases are not randomly generated but are based on which room you're
in.  I can't remember the complete list off the top of my head but I know in
Base2, there's a Barrier in the fourth room and a Spreader in the sixth.
Also the first has nothing, second is Fire, third has Laser, fifth an R,
seventh and eighth I believe were Machine gun and Fire but I forgot what was
where.  Base1 has two Rs, a Machine gun, and a Fire gun but again, I don't
know which rooms they correspond to."
He also told me to just hang around in each room until a red guy came around,
and shoot him to see which Power-Up was in what room, which I'll do 
eventually. Thanks!)

Level 1:
Power-Ups:
1- M
2- R
3- S
4- F
5- S
6T- R
6B- L

BOSS: Base Guards (S or L)
This Boss consists of 3 parts. The top part is a single soldier who appears 
out of hiding and fires shots at you at regular intervals. Just blast him
as soon as he emerges and you should have no problem. The middle part is made
up of 2 Turret guns that fire Bombs at you. These can be taken out by 
standing on the second platform from the top and firing at them, but watch 
out, as occasionally its shots can reach YOU as well. The bottom is the
actual base entrance. Just run right next to it and pump bullets diagonally 
into it. You fight all three parts at once, but it's not that bad because 
1. The bottom doesn't actually DO anything, and 2. You can take out the top
part before it ever gets a chance to fire at you.

Level 2:
(To come in time....)

BOSS: Base (L)
I guess the best way to do this is in an ASCII Diagram, so here we go...

                   -------------------------
                   |                       |
                   -------------------------
                   |  1        2        3  |
                   |                       |
                   |  4        5        6  |
                   -------------------------
                       X

Now, in this Diagram, Points 2, 4, 5, and 6 represent Weak Points of the 
base. Points 1 and 3 are guns that fire out 3 spreading bullets. X is you 
(NOTE: You are obviously movable). The Laser is good here, but the Spreader 
(When used incorrectly) will actually put you at a DISADVANTAGE because, once
the 4 Weak Points are destroyed, you enter another phase, and if the guns
are still remaining, you have to deal with THOSE too. ALSO, you can only hurt
the guns while they're firing at you, which isn't as big a deal as it seems.
The best order to take out the 6 points, IMO anyway, is: 4, 1, 6, 3, 2, 5.
  After you take those out, the boss becomes a bubble which moves back and
forth across the top of the base. It shoots rings of fire down at you, which
can be dodged or destroyed. Just dodge and return fire, jumping up at the 
boss to decrease the distance your laser has to go if you'd like.

Level 3:
Power-Ups: 
1- F
2- L
3R- R
3L- B
4- S
5- M

BOSS: Alien Base Guard (S)
This boss, much like level one, consists of 3 parts. There are 2 Arms which
swing about, randomly shooting fire (Which CANNOT be destroyed) at you. These
will sometimes stop and "Follow" you around. They can only be hurt on their
very ends. The Face will also randomly spit fire at you, which spreads out.
Note that you can only hurt the face while it is doing this. 
Focus on killing the Arms, first the right, and then the left. It's easy with
the Spreader because your aim doesn't have to be very precise, and you may 
also score some hits on the Face as well. When those are gone, the Face will
ALWAYS shoot fire at you. Just get under him and shoot straight up, dodging 
to the left slightly when it shoots fire at you, and repositioning yourself
to fight back.

Level 4:
(See Level 2...)

BOSS: Base 2 (L)
Once again, it's ASCII Diagram time....

                       ---------------------------
                       |                         |
                       ---------------------------
                       |            1            |
                       |                         |
                       |   2        3        4   |
                       ---------------------------
                                 X

Now here, X is again you, and you are again movable. 1 is the Spreading-Fire
Turret, and 2-4 are the Weak Points. But here, we have another interesting 
element thrown in: Enemy soldiers. The first wave will be your normal 
One-to-Two- Bullet firing ones, I.E. the red ones you've encountered 
throughout the game. The SECOND wave will be Bat-Soldiers. These are blue 
soldiers that try to swoop down on you. These two waves will alternate 
throughout the fight. These soldiers should take precedence over everything 
else in the fight, IMO. When you're not distracted with these soldiers, you 
should be taking out the Weak Points and Weaponry in the order  3, 1, 2, 4. 
  After you do this, there will be no more soldiers. But we will (As in Level
2) enter another phase of combat. Here, you fight 2 things I really can't
describe, which are positioned at the top of the Base. These are tougher than
the thing you fought in the First Base for 2 reasons (3 if you count the 
obvious strength in numbers thing): 1. They split apart and come back 
together, and can be hurt ONLY when they're joined (When you see 2, not 4). 
2. They shoot slow moving bubbles which are heat-seeking and VERY tough to 
destroy, although they can be jumped over. They can ALSO shoot these bubbles
when they're NOT joined. So, take out the right one first, again jumping at
the Boss to reduce the Laser's traveling time. Then go after the left one.
The move on to Level 5.

Level 5:
Power-Ups:
1- M
2- R
3- F
4T- R
4M- Smart Bomb
4B- S

Mini-Boss: Tanks
There are 2 of these in the level. The tanks slowly roll toward you. They 
will then shoot out 3 set of 3 bullets. Then they fire a 10th and final 
bullet, and begin rolling toward you again, not stopping. They can't be 
jumped over, but if you stay to the far left of the screen, they can't shoot 
you if you just stand and blast straight at them.

BOSS: Alien Ship (S or L)
The Alien Ship will randomly appear in a certain spot. It will simultaneously
fire bombs straight down while sending out smaller ships that go to the edges 
of the screen, down the edges, and finally along the ground. The bombs it 
shoots can be destroyed, and so can the ships, which is why the Spreader 
works well here. Eventually it will disappear and reappear somewhere else. 
You can use the Laser here, too, but you'll have to do some fancy jumping to
dodge the ships, whereas the Spreader will take out most of them before they
become a threat.

Level 6:
Power-Ups:
1- M
2- L
3- B

BOSS: Cyborg (S or L)
The Cyborg has several attacks to deal with. He will walk from side to side,
while occasionally stopping at the edge of the screen to jump high into the
air or to throw what seem to be spiked frisbees at you. If he walks toward
you, take a running jump over him. Also jump over any frisbees he may toss
your way (You can jump 2 at a time). As he's walking toward/away from you
or jumping, you can and should shoot him. As you weaken him he'll turn from
blue, to purple, to red before finally blowing up.

Level 7:
Power-Ups:
1- F
2- R
3- B
4- M
5 (Occurs almost immediately after 4)- S

BOSS: Lair Entrance (L or S)
This Boss is very Pattern-Specific. It will shoot bombs from the two pods 
along the ground. These bombs will explode into 3 smaller bombs, then hit the
ground. Then, soldiers will rush you from the door. The Weak Point here is
the Cross above the door. Just run up to it and pump bullets diagonally into
it. Jump over the rightmost bomb when it comes your way. What being near the
door does is make the soldiers appear from the LEFT side of the screen 
instead. Just shoot them and continue shooting the Cross until it blows up.
You may have to repeat the pattern of Jump-Turn-Shoot, but that's okay.

Level 8:
Power-Ups:
1T- M
1B- B
2- S

Mini-Boss: Alien Head
The Alien Head doesn't move, it just hangs over you and occasionally shoots
out shrimp with teeth, which can be avoided by jumping over them. Just aim at
his head and shoot, while dodging the shrimp. It's even easier if you grabbed 
the Invincibility beforehand.

BOSS: Red Falcon (S)
Your final challenge...the Red Falcon. This Boss, besides having one of those
Pods that shoot out starbursts along the ground (You should destroy it before
actually seeing the Red Falcon), has 4 pods near it that spit out spiders.
Two of the pods are on top, 2 on bottom. The ones on top will generally spit
out spiders that start on the ceiling then drift down to the floor. I like to
destroy the bottom 2 pods first, by crouching and shooting at them (Crouching
isn't necessary if you have the Spreader). I also, naturally, shoot the 
spiders that pose a threat to me. Then I like to fire diagonally upward at
the Red Falcon itself. As you weaken it, it will start beating quicker and
quicker. Just keep shooting at it, while also dealing with the spiders, and 
you'll get to watch the ending. Really! :)

Section V: Other Tricks
Just what it says, other tricks to help you survive in the game.

-Leading off...the Konami Code. Press Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, 
Right, B, A, Start as the title screen is scrolling to begin with 30 Lives!
hit Select before hitting start for 2 players.  
   
-If you're playing a 2-Player game, and one player loses all of his lives, he
can press A to take a life from his partner and rejoin the action (Assuming
the partner has at least one life in reserve).

-In the Base Stages, if you crouch WHILE holding Up on Controller TWO, your
shots will go high, as if you weren't ducking. Not overly useful unless you
have six hands, but still, it's a trick.

-In level 4, with some weapons, you can crouch and destroy the red shield 
around some of the pods you have to kill to advance, even if the shield ISN'T
low. I know you CAN'T do this with the Laser, but I'm unsure about anything
else. As always, E-Mail me with help and get credit for the submission.

-Spoondog(spoondog@inetnow.net) Informed me that in a one player game
you can use one controller to control the player and the second to fire
his bullets (Hence why the Base Stages trick works). When you get to a tough
boss (Tanks in Level 5) use BOTH controllers to fire. I followed up on this
and found you can ALSO control the MOVEMENT of the player with controller 2.
In other words, you can control the blue character (Player 1) with controller 
2 if you're so inclined. Don't ask me how this is helpful, but the 
double-fire trick is kind of cool (Again, though, you need a friend to make
it work to its fullest). Thanks!

Section VI: This Guide's Future
This guide was pretty hastily written (Yes, 2 days is quick for me), in 
response to Contra being the number one requested NES game on gamefaqs.com. 
As such, it will probably be updated with people needing help or whatever. 
So, until that time comes, I will see you later...
-Marc

Section VII: Legal Stuff
This guide is copyrighted by me; However, you can do pretty much what you 
want with it except A. Sell it for cash (If I wanted that I'd be trying to
find a publisher right now), B. Quote parts of it directly without putting
the quoted parts in quotation marks and naming me as a source (THAT IS 
PLAGIARISM!!), and C. Say you wrote it (See B). A special thanks to Every
guide that ever printed the Konami Code (For said code), to FuncoLand (For
selling me my copy of Contra), to whoever on gamefaqs.com requested a guide
for Contra (For the inspiration to write this guide), to Spoondog (For the
Double-Fire trick), to Dragonknight Zero (For letting me know about the 
Barrier's name and the base Power-Ups),  and to.....The Lagged Riftez Man (For
nothing in particular).