The series debuted in 1987 as a coin-operated arcade game simply titled "Contra", which was followed by the release of "Super Contra" in 1988 and several sequels produced for various home platforms.
The plot of the games is set in the future, when the Earth faces multiple invasions by alien forces that try to conquer our planet. The original Contra videogames were influenced by many Science fiction and action films from the 80s, most notably Commando, the Rambo movies and Aliens.
The in-universe use of the term "Contra" is first explained within the Japanese instruction card of the arcade version of Contra, and reiterated in most games (including Contra: Shattered Soldier), as "a title awarded to a superior soldier possessing almost super human drive and ability, while excelling in guerrilla tactics".
The arcade version of Contra was released in February 20, 1987, a few months after the Iran-Contra affair was made public. While it is unclear whether the game was deliberately named after the Nicaraguan Contra rebels (since the company that made the game is Japanese and not American), the ending theme of the original game was titled "Sandinista" (サンディニスタ?), after the adversaries of the real-life Contras.
A home version was released for the NES home console in 1988, along with ports for various computer formats, including the MSX2. The home versions were localized in the PAL region as Gryzor on the various computer formats and as Probotector on the European NES, released long later. Several Contra sequels were produced following the original game.
List of games
- Super Contra
- Contra III The Alien Wars
- Contra Hard Corps
- Contra: Shattered Soldier
- Neo Contra
- Contra Dual Spirits
- Contra Rebirth
- Hard Corps: Uprising