Retro Bits: Contra

(Published on March 21st 2016)

In Germany, Contra was released under the name Probotector. This was due their strict laws that limited the access of violent video games to children. The characters were changed from humans to robots, while the enemies were given a more “robotic” look.

Contra was not the 1st game to us the famous Konomi Code. The Up, Up, Down, Down… code that granted you 30 lives in the game made its first appearance in the game called Gradius. However, since Contra was a bigger success, it is usually associated with it.

Does that guy on the cover look familiar? It would certainly appear that the likeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger was used on the cover of the game. Specifically, a likeness from the movie Predator, which oddly enough also dealt with aliens.

And speaking of aliens, in addition to many of the of enemies resembling the creature from James Cameron’s movie, the game is also tied to it in another way. It has been said that the two main characters’ names, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean are actually taken from the actors of the movie. Bill Rizer is a combination of Bill Paxton and Paul Reiser, while Lance Bean came from Lance Henriksen and Michael Biehn.

In the arcade version, level 2 was a little different. It contained a map and time limit, and gave the player the choice of which direction to go. This made it more of a maze, versus the straight forward level that the NES received.