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Guide and Walkthrough by FDelles

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 11/24/2007

Contra Arcade/Xbox Live FAQ
Version 1.0
By Fred Delles
E-mail: fdelles (at) twcny (dot) rr (dot) com


- 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


1.0 - first (and complete) version of the walkthrough. Also including a few
hints and tips. More details will be added later.


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!


As soon as I get some, they'll be placed here. :)


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).

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.

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


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

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

(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

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

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

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

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. :)


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

- 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!

- 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)


- 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|

- Score
- Description
- How to get

- 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!

- 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.

- 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.

- 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.

- 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.

- 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.

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