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    FAQ/Walkthrough by FDelles

    Version: 1.0 | Updated: 11/24/07 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Contra Arcade/Xbox Live FAQ
    Version 1.0
    By Fred Delles
    E-mail: fdelles (at) twcny (dot) rr (dot) com
    
    --------+
    Contents|
    --------+
    
    - Updates
    - Intro
    - FAQs
    - Control
      - Platform
      - Behind-the-player mode
    - Walkthrough
      - Level 1
      - Level 2
      - Level 3
      - Level 4
      - Level 5, section 1
      - Level 5, section 2
      - Level 5, section 3
      - Level 5, section 4
    - Enemies (not yet fully compiled)
    - Weapons
    - XBox Live achievements (XBox Live ONLY, duh)
    - Differences between arcade and NES versions
    - Credits and Legal
    
    
    
    -------+
    Updates|
    -------+
    
    1.0 - first (and complete) version of the walkthrough. Also including a few
    hints and tips. More details will be added later.
    
    
    
    -----+
    Intro|
    -----+
    
    This FAQ is for both the arcade version and the XBox Live port.
    
    Contra is a 1987 platform arcade game (with a few gimmicks here and there)
    
    There's Bill Rizer (who kinda resembles "Dutch" from the movie Predator) and
    Lance Bean (who kinda resembles "Rambo"), and they are sent out to a jungle
    island to take down the Red Falcon, an alien life form that came from a meteor
    that crashed in the jungle in the past and somehow became a terrorist
    organization to conquer the world. Don't ask. :)
    
    The Japanese version has them in "Galuga" (a fictitious island near New
    Zealand) in the year 2633.
    
    The American version has them in South America, year 1988.
    
    There are three ways to play: The shady pirate way via MAME and a ROM of the
    game (find your own, pal); via Xbox Live Arcade (400 Microsoft Points, or
    about $5 US); or the arcade cabinet (a few hundred bucks, or a mere quarter
    if you manage to actually find this in an arcade or bar or wherever).
    
    If you DO find the arcade cabinet, do yourself a treat, pump a few quarters
    in, and give it a shot!
    
    
    
    ----+
    FAQs|
    ----+
    
    As soon as I get some, they'll be placed here. :)
    
    
    
    -------+
    Control|
    -------+
    
    Platform
    --------
    D-pad/Left stick/arcade stick:
    Up - Aim up
    Down - Duck, laying prone
    Down + Button 2 - Jump down to a lower level (if possible)
    Left or right - If you don't know what this does, you shouldn't be playing
    video games :P.
    Left or right + Up or Down - Aim in that diagonal
    A or Button 1: Fire
    B or Button 2: Jump
    In midair (including a jump), the joystick also points you toward where you're
    aiming - e.g. a jump THEN holding down (and pressing fire) will make your
    character aim downward (and fire).
    
    IMPORTANT!
    Only by holding STRAIGHT DOWN will you actually duck. Tilting the stick too
    far to the right or left will make you leave that prone position and aim
    diagonally - not good if you are ducking bullets above your head.
    
    ALSO IMPORTANT!
    Unlike, say, a Mario game, your character's jump height is constant. You
    can, however, "hook" your jump easily in midair to your left or right.
    
    
    Behind-the-player mode
    ----------------------
    Up - Move up (you will get electrocuted by the fence if you didn't disable it,
    but NOT die, ironically enough)
    Left/Right - Move left or right. Duuuuuuuuh.
    Down - Duck, laying prone
    A or Button 1: Fire
    B or Button 2: Jump
    
    
    
    -----------+
    Walkthrough|
    -----------+
    
    Level 1
    -------
    
    This one is pretty straightforward - just charge and fire to your right with
    the occasional southeast bullet on some of the sniper mooks on the lower
    part of the stage, up until the first powerup pods.
    
    Your best bet is to go after the Spreader from the first flying pod that
    you see. The Laser is another good weapon (especially in the behind-the-player
    levels), but it's very hard to use, as it is hard to aim and its abysmal rate
    of fire. For beginners, stick with the Spreader.
    
    Careful of the exploding bridge. Hop on the second segment, then fourth, then
    on to safety. YOU ARE DEAD if you touch any part of the exploding bridge.
    
    - Shortly after the bridge, go take the low ground. Few of the enemies can
    reach you, and the snipers in the bushes can't reach you. Ignore the Fire gun
    unless you're merely trying for the Armory achievement - it is not worth it.
    
    Duck and quickly shoot to kill the super-turrets.
    
    If you did die and lose your weapon, there's at least the machine gun in a
    pillbox during the super-turrets. Then a small turret and another sniper.
    
    The boss is a sort of a wimpy-looking fortress. Take the topmost sniper mook
    out first. He will most likely shoot first so watch out for that bullet.
    Remain on the topmost platform, on the far-left side of the screen, and duck
    and shoot the two grenade launchers until they are destroyed. Finally smash
    the core at the bottom.
    
    
    Level 2
    -------
    
    You have about 1 minute and 10 seconds (more or less) to get past four segments
    before the boss. If time runs out, you lose a life. Even so, just stay calm - 
    destroy what you have to, that's plenty of time.
    
    The detailed side is the direction you go. Right, right, left, then left.
    
    Segment 1: Straightforward, but you might want to stay down until you kill the
    first shooters. When the crowd comes, fire straight and as fast as you can.
    Duck again if you need to.
    
    Segment 2: There's a turret to your left. Take it out ASAP. Then move/jump to
    your right, and take out the pod to your right. Time your ducking (again).
    There may be a powerup here.
    
    Segment 3: Don't waste valuable time destroying the wall - just crouch and
    shoot the pod to clear this part. If the cylinders-o-death roll on the floor,
    don't panic - just shoot straight, forward, and all should be well.
    
    Segment 4: The large pod. Kill a turret or two first to make things easier.
    Watch for grenades.
    
    A few enemies drop weapons (they are lighter-colored, with a slight red tint).
    The first drops the Fire Gun (useless here, okay against the boss) and the
    second a Spreader (?).
    
    After the fourth segment, you complete behind-the-player mode and reenter
    platform mode.
    
    The boss is two segments: The first with four (harmless) pods and two (insta-
    lethal) turrets. IMMEDIATELY after reentering platform mode, move your
    character left until he is below the left edge of the triple-turret's shield.
    The bullets should miss. Reverse this for the other turret.
    
    It is imperative that you take out the turrets first - once you destroy the
    four pods, the boss will appear, and any turrets still up will remain up, and
    cause additional trouble.
    
    The boss shouldn't be too hard. It fires a huge but slow and destructible ring 
    of fire from its eye. Pretty much, destroy or dodge it as it appears, and
    keep shooting up. It isn't too strong.
    
    
    Level 3
    -------
    
    IMMEDIATELY after you enter, kill the two sniper mooks up top ASAP before they
    shoot and kill you. The fire bridge isn't too tricky. Jump over the walking
    flame, then jump for the moving platform.
    
    If you were doing poorly up to this point, a pod will drop the Barrier.
    
    There's an underwater sniper nearby that fires a single shot, which explodes
    into a 3-way shot, which falls to the surface and explodes. I just ignore them.
    
    Don't go *too* far to the left or right a mook that appears will kill you
    with a touch. Like everything else. :)
    
    Still, stick to the left side and keep jumping upward, shooting down mooks and
    various turrets along the way. Note that most of them take a moment before
    they fire, so if you're fast and daring enough, just pump them full of lead
    with no regards to evasion.
    
    Be careful of the sniper mook right after the second boulder hole. A pillbox
    near there has the Spreader if you need it.
    
    The boss? Ugh. I still don't have a concrete strategy for this guy. Usually, I
    take out the left turret, then use that part to take out the 5-way and right
    turrets.
    
    The 5-way is what kills me here (no pun intended). It fires slightly leftward
    or rightward, so there is no safe spot. Just predict where the bullets will
    land and get between those spots. On the plus side, it is a big (and fairly
    weak) target. Once those three turrets are down, it's just the pod on the top
    of the alien tower thingy. And an occasional mook from the left or right. Just
    watch for those while blasting upward.
    
    
    Level 4
    -------
    
    Yup, another pseudo-3d gauntlet. You have 1 minute and 50 seconds this time
    around.
    
    (From start): Left, right, left, right, right.
    
    Segment 1: Uh-oh, this time, the pod is to the upper right corner. With 2
    turrets. Drop the turrets to make things easier (they're only torso level).
    Good news with nothing to do with GEICO: One of the "powerup enemies" drops a
    Spreader.
    
    Segment 2: Lower and to the center this time. Easy beans, drop the turrets
    then the pod. Another powerup guy drops the Fire shot.
    
    Segment 3: Duck and shoot toward the center. Easy, easy...
    
    Segment 4: ...because they amassed all their firepower for this one. The center
    turret is the most trouble and NOT behind one of the walls, so drop that one. 
    Here, jumping left and right is best in evasive techniques.
    
    The first guy that appears is a powerup guy (and drops the Laser?)
    
    Segment 5: Double ugh. The big pod is behind a friggin' wall. And the turrets
    are just above your standing range, so hitting them is more difficult. Just
    be patient, jump around to destroy the two turrets (and the wall), then fire
    away at the wall.
    
    And if you thought that was bad, now there's the boss. For the first part,
    your priorities are: (1) the enemies - some shoot, others grow wings and
    suicidally leap onto you; (2) that 3-way on the top of the screen; and (3) the
    four pods.
    
    Once the pods fall, You will face a pair of brains each in their own futuristic
    jars. They bifurcate and come back together in slow motion, all while shooting
    those double-bubble thingies that have a mind of their own and are VERY hard
    to hit. The bubbles descend slowly for a few seconds when they first appear, so
    that's your cue to destroy them. Defense before offense.
    
    The brains can ONLY be damaged when they are together. So, your best bet is to
    time it so that the bullets land as they are coming together, for maximum
    damage.
    
    Aim your shots slightly to the left or right of the (destroyed) 3-way turret
    to hit the brains.
    
    When they are glowing red, they are nearly defeated. Just keep at it!
    
    
    Level 5, section 1
    ------------------
    
    This is the loooong stage. So long that when the game was ported to the
    Nintendo Entertainment System, it was split into FOUR different levels.
    
    Right near the beginning after the first grenade trap (and a pillbox with the
    Spreader), a UFO-like ship appears, shooting downward while paratrooping out
    soldiers leftward and rightward.
    
    This is easier than it appears. Move to the right (while shooting), stop just
    short of the bombs dropping, and fire upward while making shots left and right
    to kill the paratroopers that landed. It should drop easily.
    
    Once you pass that, after another long run, you will reach a small drop. At the
    edge, DUCK. You will face enemies on mounted turrets with high-tech pavises.
    Just duck and shoot, but note that there are several enemies that move in
    from behind (and a touch is instant death).
    
    Usually, in tight spots, I found that it is easier to just jump the shots the
    manned turrets fire. You will face a few of them, then a jump back up to the
    forested higher ground.
    
    If you have your plain old gun, two pods appear, one with Rapid Fire and
    another with the Machine Gun.
    
    STOP running when you hear some engines grumble - a huge truck will roll along,
    with spikes on its plow and a cannon up top. Stay close to the spiked plow and
    feed it with as much lead as possible. It will change color several times and
    soon blow up.
    
    The truck's cannon will fire straight ahead, but if you move around too much,
    the cannon will fire in diagonals, and it is hard to both dodge and fire away
    at the truck at the same time.
    
    After two of these, you'll meet a super-soldier, something that resembles a
    football player jumping around tossing spiked footballs at ya. Well, that's
    the best I can describe it. It will fire a salvo of 2 "footballs" that skid
    along the ground. Time one jump to clear both.
    
    But if you're fast enough with the spreader, you could defeat the boss before
    he fires a single shot. If you still have the spreader and if you're lucky.
    
    
    Level 5, section 2
    ------------------
    
    The Energy Zone. Early on, duck the flamethrowers to get past them. They have
    a set timer on when they fire (every 3 seconds or so?)
    
    Take the high ground, shooting downward to destroy the manned turrets. You'll
    have the least trouble with the flames up top. There's a Laser powerup in a
    pillbox if you want. A long jump will clear the last of the flamethrowers
    (but watch out for mooks below!)
    
    A little bit later, you will face a second super-soldier.
    
    His patterns are more erratic, and some of his "spiked footballs" bounce as
    well. I think you have to jump and stay in midair an allow three to pass. I'm
    still not exactly sure. Still, he doesn't take too many hits to kill.
    
    
    Level 5, section 3
    ------------------
    
    The Hangar. 
    
    Take the low ground. Time it so you can get under those spiked balls. The
    mine carts will NOT kill you if you stand on top of one.
    
    After the first set of spiked balls, there's a manned turret. And look up!
    
    There should be a single pod... but it contains the Barrier powerup. Grab it
    and just charge right. everything you touch will be destroyed, and it's pretty
    much a free pass up to the final section (and a bit past it depending on how 
    fast you are - read the "If you still have the barrier powerup" segment).
    
    Well, if you didn't get it... keep taking the low ground, ducking if necessary
    to take out the mine carts and manned turrets. With so many enemies coming in
    from behind, this can be a bit tough.
    
    No boss, thankfully. But the next section...
    
    
    Level 5, section 4
    ------------------
    
    Yessir, the final boss. The ENTIRE final section is the Red Falcon (more or
    less).
    
    Your first challenge is a serpentine head, firing diagonally flying aliens in
    fetal positions (uh, yeah). 
    
    - If you still have the barrier powerup and haven't stopped for nothing, just
    aim upward and FIRE AWAY! You should destroy the boss before the Barrier
    expires. I did this even with the wimpy gun. You can, too.
    
    But it's not over yet! A long corridor awaits you, and underneath the floor
    and ceiling are alien orifices firing pinkish tentacle balls. Yeah, it does
    look creepy, at least on this writer's opinion.
    
    Go slowly, taking out the orifices one or two at a time. Hit-and-run moving
    diagonally. A single salvo of shots should take one out. Most are from the
    top, while a few appear from the bottom.
    
    Those pinkish tentacle balls (kinda like an alien Koosh ball) can be VERY
    annoying like those double bubbles on Stage 4. Destroy them as fast as you can.
    
    When you see pinkish, undetailed alien scorpions, you are getting close! Jump
    the ones that drop from the ceiling while ducking or shooting the ones from
    the floor.
    
    Finally... the heart of the Red Falcon. The final boss. There are 5 pods
    spawning aliens, with two more of those alien orifices shooting more Koosh
    balls.
    
    I actually found it easiest to stay to your left, staying low and shooting out
    the three pods (and possibly the orifice). Then make jumps while shooting at
    the heart, and shoot diagonally to destroy the aliens (as well as the alien
    Koosh balls).
    
    If you have about two or so extra lives, though, just charge in and fire
    diagonally right as much as you can.
    
    When you're done, you get the staff credits. The end. A winner is you!
    
    Also note that you get 1,000,000 points for the boss - far more than
    everything combined up to that point. And 14-15 lives depending on yourscore. 
    
    Enjoy the end credits. Why someone would name himself "Passionate Norio", I
    don't know. :)
    
    
    
    -------+
    Enemies|
    -------+
    
    There are tons 'o enemies in the game and to really add to the challenge,
    they can pretty much kill you with one touch. With ONE touch!
    
    Enemy "name" (since the enemies are unnamed, I'll just add my own names here.
    :))
    - What it's like
    - Toughness
    - Score for killing
    - Strategy
    
    Mook
    - A dude in some sunglasses-like-thing and a red-yellow suit
    - One hit kills him.
    - 500 points
    - Mindless, but often sneaks up from behind while you're fighting something
    tougher. Or are at the edge of the screen. Touch him and YOU ARE DEAD.
    
    Sniper Mook
    - Same a regular mook, but are stationary and shoot. Can sometimes hide in
    jungle, or behind cover (stage 1), or underwater (stage 3 and 5)
    - One hit, but he must be up or he's invincible.
    - 500 points
    - Can be a bit tricky. Best bet is to shoot when he's about to pop up. The
    ones in the water only pop up when you're above them.
    
    Small turret
    - Dull gray thing with a small cannon, embedded in rock. Sometimes pops out of
    conspicuous, brownish patches of rock.
    - Eight hits kills it.
    - 2000 points
    - If they pop out of brown rock, you have a few seconds before they fire.
    Blow 'em away ASAP!
    
    Super-turret
    - High-tech trapezoidal thing with a red glowing disc in the center, and a
    thin barrel protruding from it.
    - Eight hits kills it (I believe).
    - 2000 points
    - Fires a salvo of 3 shots. Tough, but only shoots in front of it, so it's
    easy to duck or get behind and shoot.
    
    Mounted turret
    - Some sort of pavise-gun that has a mook standing and firing it, the bullets
    chest height. Cannot turn around or fire low.
    - Twelve hits destroys it. Shooting the mook first should kill it instantly
    (not entirely confirmed).
    - ???
    - The bullets are fast, and odds are, if you're fighting one, there will be
    enemies coming in from behind. I found it better to just jump the bullets all
    while firing.
    
    
    Oh, and you are also DEAD if you:
    - Run out of time in the behind-the-player levels
    - Touch any part of an exploding bridge segment in Stage 1
    - Touch the bottom of the screen (especially in the Waterfall stage)
    - Touch any part of any pool or lake EXCEPT for the water in stage 1
    
    (Other enemies/hazards coming soon)
    
    
    
    -------+
    Weapons|
    -------+
    
    - Plain Old Rifle
    You start with this at the start and with each new life. It fires a wimpy shot
    with each button press. But don't knock it - you can have about eight shots
    on the screen at once, and best of all, you can aim in more directions than
    just eight if you "swivel" the joystick in the direction of the quadrant you
    want to fire at.
    
    - Machine Gun
    Gained by picking up a long tubelike gun. Not much more than the Plain Old
    Rifle, actually, though you can have rapid fire by holding the button down.
    And the bullets are a tad bigger, giving the illusion of strength.
    
    - Flame Gun
    Gained by picking up a red-winged "F" powerup. Fires fireballs that spiral
    around in an orbit in which its diameter is about the player's height, while
    moving slowly toward the direction you are firing. 
    Fairly useful on the platform levels. Nearly useless on the behind-the-player
    segments. You can have up to four on the screen at once.
    
    - Spread gun
    Gained by picking up a red-winged "S" powerup. Allows you to fire five-way
    shots! But there's a catch: you can only have about 10 bullets on the screen at
    once - e.g. if you fire when there are 7 shots on the screen, only three will
    fire from your gun. Though this can be devastating when close up.
    
    - Laser gun
    Gained by picking up an angular, futuristic-looking, big-handled gun. Fires
    one long laser on the screen (worth about 8 bullets). But the rate of fire
    just plain STINKS, as you can have only one laser on the screen at a time.
    Firing again will cancel out your previous laser if it is still on-screen. 
    It has its qualities, though: One shot can mow through any minor enemy,
    including the turrets and pods in the behind-the-player levels.
    
    - Rapid Fire
    Gained by picking up a red-winged "R" powerup. Your bullets go faster, as far
    as I can tell. The only time I can find one is Stage 5 in the middle of the
    snowfield (before the "killer snowplows" and ONLY if you have your plain old
    gun at that point. Nothing too special.
    
    - Barrier
    Gained by picking up a red-winged "B" powerup. Turns you into an invincible
    badass that can destroy anything with a single touch. Take THAT, touch-o-death
    schlubs! Two spiked spheres orbit your character.
    Once your powerup is running low, the number of spiked spheres orbiting you
    will reduce to one, then disappear.
    
    
    
    ----------------------+
    XBox LIVE Achievements|
    ----------------------+
    
    Achievement
    - Score
    - Description
    - How to get
    
    
    Armory
    - 10 Gamerscore
    - Collect 4 different weapon powerups.
    - This can be done in the first stage (Laser, Spreader, Fire, Machine Gun).
    Just go catch them all!
    
    Untouchable
    - 10 Gamerscore
    - Get to the first tunnel without losing a life.
    - Not too difficult once you get the patterns down. Just take the low road for
    the most part.
    
    Infiltration
    - 10 Gamerscore
    - Destroy the alien tower at the end of the water level.
    - It doesn't matter HOW you do it, just do it. This should be easy for anyone.
    
    Proficient
    - 20 Gamerscore
    - Complete the second tunnel with a score of 100,000 or more in Arcade mode.
    - If you didn't continue, this should be rather simple. That second tunnel
    boss, though, might make things very ugly.
    
    Tunnel Runner 1
    - 10 Gamerscore
    - Beat the first timed tunnel with 33 seconds or more left.
    - Tricky. Ignore the turrets for the most part and destroy the pods. Remember,
    right, then right, then left, then left.
    
    Tunnel Runner 2
    - 15 Gamerscore
    - Beat the second timed tunnel with 55 seconds or more left.
    - This felt easier for some reason. The Laser is your friend here, as one shot
    should destroy each of the pods. From start, Left, right, left, right, right.
    
    Full Assault
    - 30 Gamerscore
    - Compelte the game in under 12 minutes
    - You don't have to rush, and you have 5 continues to do so. Heck, I did this
    without even knowing I was anywhere close to this achievement.
    
    Tough Guy
    - 25 Gamerscore
    - Get to the second tunnel without obtaining a single weapon upgrade.
    - Frankly, the trickier part is avoiding picking up powerups along the way.
    And yes, that includes the Barrier powerup.
    
    Well Equipped
    - 15 Gamerscore
    - Collect 3 different weapons in the second tunnel
    - Fairly easy, but there are only 3 weapons in the second tunnel, and if you
    miss one, you have to restart the game. :( Or die, and hopefully, a fourth
    powerup guy will hop in.
    
    Bulletproof
    - 25 Gamerscore
    - Complete the game in one credit in Arcade mode
    - VERY hard, but achievable once you get the enemy patterns down pat.
    Alternately, you can stand in a semi-safe spot, and kill mooks for a long,
    long time, earning points and bonus lives - kinda like a poor, patient man's
    Konami Code.
    
    Team Work
    - 10 Gamerscore
    - Score 100,000 points in an Xbox Live Co-op game
    - Just get a partner and keep each other alive. Nothing too fancy.
    
    Partnership
    - 20 Gamerscore
    - Complete the game in Xbox Live Co-op mode
    - Pretty much, get someone else who can easily get Bulletproof or Full Assault.
    (Not sure if you still qualify if you continue. I personally haven't gotten
    this, so I have no clue.)
    
    
    
    -------------------------------------------+
    Differences between arcade and NES versions|
    -------------------------------------------+
    
    - The arcade version's fifth stage is an amalgamation of the fifth through
    eighth stages of the NES version.
    - Laser is better here than the NES version, IMO.
    - Arcade is easier (even without the Konami Code!), as you can continue in the
    middle of a stage. You are limited to five continues total from both players.
    - On the arcade version, there's some amount of blood on your player if you
    die :)
    
    
    
    -------------------+
    Copyright and Legal|
    -------------------+
    
    This FAQ copyright 2007 Fred Delles. All rights reserved. This FAQ is not in
    any  way licensed by Konami or Microsoft. You are  allowed to publish this
    FAQ on any website, provided that (1) it is not altered in ANY way, (2) that
    I am given credit for this work, and (3) that you  do not make ANY money off
    this FAQ in any way, shape, or form. An e-mail on the website URL in which
    this is published is appreciated. Other than that, go nuts! 8-)
    
    Contra (c) 1987, 2006 Konami. All rights reserved. XBox and XBox Live are 
    registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.