Contra (NES)

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North American box art.

Contra for the NES, known in Japan as 魂斗羅 [Kontora] and on European consoles as Probotector, is a run-and-gun action shooter developed and published by Konami for the NES on 1988-02-09. It is a port of the original arcade game, the first in the Contra series. While the game has several similarities to the arcade game, Konami made enough changes to it to warrant calling it a different game.

My earliest memory of Contra for the NES was playing it or watching it being played with my step-brother. He always referred to the flame thrower as "freaky" and purposely avoided it, which, at the time, I thought was odd, but now, I completely understand. At the time, even the Konami Code which granted 30 lives wasn't enough to beat the game without needing to continue, but I've since become a more seasoned player and can now beat it with the stock lives.


I have beat the American and Japanese NES ports several times without needing to continue.


  • Overall: 5/10
  • Best Version: NES


  • The controls are really responsive and intuitive. You have good control over your jumps.
  • Each stage is pretty unique with new enemies, scenery, and music.
  • The game is challenging enough that even after playing for years, you'll still have difficulty beating it.
  • The graphics are pretty good, and using Giger's art style as adapted to Alien was a great idea.
  • Allowing a player who has lost all their lives to steal a life from the remaining player to join in was a great way to keep the fun going for both players (although, it also leads to a lot of ire when you don't want to give up your hard-earned lives),


  • The game is painfully difficult. Had I encountered this game later in life, I wouldn't have the patience for it. Thankfully there is a 30-lives cheat code which makes victory more possible for an amateur.
  • Only the spray gun, machine gun, and rapid fire are worth getting. Laser and flame thrower are essentially downgrades from the default weapon since they are so difficult to work with.


  • Nothing.

Box Art






Role Names
Directors Shigeharu Umezaki (Umechan), Shinji Kitamoto
Programmers Shigeharu Umezaki, Satoshi Kishiwada, Kouki Yamashita, T. Danjyo, Mitsuaki Ogawa
Graphic Designers T. Ueyama, Setsu Muraki, M. Fujiwara, T. Nishikawa, C. Ozawa
Original Music Composer Kazuki Muraoka
Sound Arrangers Hidenori Maezawa, Kyouhei Sada,
Special Thanks To Kenji Shimoide, Naoki Sato, AC Contra Team