aka: Arcade Archives: Contra, Gryzor, Kon To Ra
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Description official descriptions

In the year 2631, a small meteorite has fallen into the Galuga archipelago, located 20km northeast off the coast of New Zealand. Two years later, a terrorist group known as Red Falcon has seized the island in preparation for an alien invasion. The earth's marines sent two members of their elite Contra unit, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, to neutralize the terrorists.

As either Bill (player 1) or Lance (player 2), the player must get to the end of each stage, shooting everything in sight, while avoiding enemy fire themselves. The player can upgrade their standard-issue rifle into one of four different weapons, including the powerful spread shot.

The game contains some differences depending on the platform:

  • Arcade version - contains 10 levels. All versions below are ports of this version.
  • Amstrad CPC - contains 7 levels and uses flip-screen instead of scrolling
  • C64 - contains 6 levels
  • DOS - contains 9 levels
  • ZX Spectrum - contains 7 levels


  • アーケードアーカイブス 魂斗羅 - Japanese PS4 / Switch spelling
  • コントラ - Japanese spelling (alternate)
  • 魂斗罗 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • 魂斗羅 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (ZX Spectrum version)

7 People

Programmed by
Music and Effects by
Graphics by
Produced by
Copyright ©
  • Konami
Copyright © 1987
  • 1987 Ocean Software Limited
Cover Artwork (uncredited)



Average score: 70% (based on 32 ratings)


Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 68 ratings with 0 reviews)

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Subject By Date
Beautiful video for a beautiful game Donatello (453) Feb 13th, 2014
Finally beat it Donatello (453) Mar 10th, 2013


Cover Art

The protagonists illustrated on the front cover (Bill and Lance) were both borrowed heavily from two different Arnold Schwarzenegger (Predator - directed by John McTiernan, 1987) poses.

German index

On August 31, 1988, Contra was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. For more information about what this means and to see a list of games sharing the same fate, take a look here: BPjS/BPjM indexed games.


The ending environment is very similar to the movie Aliens. Also, the cover of the American release features two soldiers who are slightly modified and repainted images from the movie Predator.


The English title of Contra comes from the way the title is phonetically displayed in Japanese, using the characters "Kon To Ra". The literal meaning behind these characters seems unimportant: "kon" means "spirit", "to" means "battle" and "ra", means some sort of cloth. Literally this would translate to something similar to "Battle Spirit Cloth". An alternate source of translation claims that the title translated is "Soul Big Dipper Gauze".

Regardless of the literal meaning, the title seems to have been written as a "gikun". What that means is that the phonetics of the title are more important than the actual meaning itself.

It has been suggested by some that the intent behind the name is even more complicated than that. "Kon To Ra" purposely chosen to sound like "Contra", a term popularly used to describe armed guerrilla forces in Central America during the 1980s.


  • ACE
    • October 1988 (issue #13) - Included in the Top-100 list of 1987/1988 (editorial staff selection)* Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #13 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll

Information also contributed by 雷堂嬢汰狼 -jotaro.raido- Foxhack, Johnny Undaunted, PCGamer77, WildKard and Xoleras

Related Games

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Released 2002 on PlayStation 2, 2013 on PlayStation 3
Contra ReBirth
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Contra: Anniversary Collection
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Contra 4
Released 2007 on Nintendo DS
Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX
Released 2002 on Game Boy Advance, 2015 on Wii U
Contra Hard Corps
Released 1994 on Genesis, 2021 on Nintendo Switch
Neo Contra
Released 2004 on PlayStation 2, 2012 on PlayStation 3
Super Contra
Released 1990 on DOS, Amiga, NES...

Related Sites +

  • CPC-Power (in French)
    for Amstrad CPC: game database entry; package material; manual digitalizations; goodies; advertisement; magazine reviews; downloadable releases; music; additional material
  • Contra Encyclopedia
    Fan site dedicated to the official games in the Contra series. All versions of each game are covered. Information includes release dates, detailed game descriptions, regional differences, lots of trivia and interesting information about the games' developmental stages. There is also plenty of screenshots, links and additional resources.
  • Lemon 64
    for C64: game entry database; reviews; magazine review; music; manual; cover art digitalizations; online version; additional material
  • MSX Generation
    for MSX: package material digitalizations; additional material
  • The Contra Headquarters (archived)
    A hosted fan "shrine" site devoted to all the games of the Contra series, including the original arcade/NES/PC game. Content includes game info/descriptions, plot summaries, various kinds of media (images, MP3s, etc.) and links to other Contra-related sites.
  • The International Arcade Museum (Contra)
    extensive information about the arcade game machine
  • The International Arcade Museum (Gryzor)
    extensive information about the arcade game machine
  • Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Contra)
    encyclopaedic entry for combined platforms
  • World of Spectrum
    for ZX Spectrum: downloadable releases; additional material including – cassette inlay, advertisement, instructions, game drafts; player reviews; magazine references; magazine adverts
  • X360A achievement guide
    X360A's achievement guide for Contra.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 4863


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by The Ring Hawk.

Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum added by JRK. Arcade added by 666gonzo666. Nintendo Switch added by Rik Hideto. BlackBerry added by firefang9212. PlayStation 4 added by Sciere. Amstrad CPC added by Martin Smith. Xbox 360 added by Ben K.

Additional contributors: Rascal, PCGamer77, Shoddyan, Jason Musgrave, Sciere, Alaka, Johnny Undaunted, lights out party, Игги Друге, Jason Smith, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, Rik Hideto, Jo ST, ZeTomes, Terje Høiback.

Game added February 19th, 2020. Last modified September 26th, 2023.