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The first game in the series. Many of the series' conventions such as power-ups, two-player cooperative gameplay and the character's light mobility (including somersaults) were already present in this game. The game is composed of traditional side-view stages that scroll either vertically or horizontally, as well as "3D view" stages in which the player moves towards the backgrounds. The NES version is essentially identical to the arcade version in terms of content, but has longer stages and other modifications. The NES version of the original Contra also used the Konami Code (previously featured in the NES version of Gradius), Due to the game's popularity and relatively small size, it can be found on some multicarts and received a somewhat extensive hack in the form of Super Contra II.
Super Contra replaced the "3D view" stages from the original with "top-view" stages similar to those in Commando or Ikari Warriors. Features unique to the arcade version includes upgradeable weapons and the ability to control the character's jumping height. The NES version (retitled Super C in North America version due to the then recent Iran-Contra affair), again thanks to the game's popularity, it can be found in many multicarts. It has also been hacked many times.
Contra III: The Alien Wars / Contra SpiritsEdit
The series' first entry for a 16-bit game console, Contra III allows the player's character to climb on walls or railings and carry two weapons that can be switched back and forth, as well as smart bombs that kill all on-screen enemies. Many of the stages and bosses made use of the system's Mode 7 graphic effects, including a bike riding stage that ends in a midair battle with the main character riding missiles. The player is now required to rotate their character in the top-view stages to move along with the scenery. A port was made for the Famicom, based on the Japanese version of the game and another port was made for Wii clone hardware, titled Super X-Man and later re-branded as Commander. The Game Boy port can also be found on some multicarts.
Contra Force combines the run and gun style of the Contra series with a power-up system similar to Gradius. The game is notable for being the first Contra to feature selectable characters with their unique weapon configurations. Contra Force lacks the alien invaders and futuristic environment of previous installments, as the game centers around an elite task force fighting human terrorists in a present day setting. The game was actually planned as an unrelated game in Japan as Arc Hound, but was never officially released there, nor in Europe. The game was criticised for constant slowdown not seen in other Contra games and having very little to do with the other games. It also has a hack called Super Contra 6 which can sometimes be found on multicarts.