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The 411 Dumpster Fire of the Week: The Most Annoying Enemies in Contra

August 30, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The 411mania Dumpster Fire of the Week: The Contra Edition

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the latest edition of The 411 Dumpster Fire of the Week. I’m Bryan Kristopowitz.


Contra for the Nintendo Entertainment System is one of my favorite video games of all time. It’s a game that I played constantly back in the day when the NES was the home video game system. You played as a badass guy in blue pants (or maybe red if you were doing the two player thing) on a weird beard island somewhere that’s been taken over by aliens, and your job is to kill as many of the rat bastards as you can as you progress through eight levels, trying to obtain advanced weaponry along the way. And when you get to the end of level eight, you blast the shit out of a giant alien heart thing and, if you succeed, you save Earth. How could you not like a game with all of that going on?

At one point, I was good enough at Contra to beat the game with only three lives. Of course, I had one of those turbo controllers (the one that looked like a Batarang) and, when I obtained the spread rounds, it was game over for the Red Falcon aliens (that’s what they were called, right?). I honed my skills, like I imagine millions of other Contra nerds did, with the 30 lives option using the classic “Konami code,” and I have no problem saying that, eventually, I was just awesome at the game.

I eventually “lost touch” with Contra as I moved on to other gaming systems (and other interests. Heck, I lost touch with video gaming in general for about six years, until I got a Playstation 1 in like 2003), but I never lost my love and appreciation for it. I always wondered, and still do, why no one tried to just copy the game with newer graphics and shit. Contra gameplay was perfect, so why not rip it off a million times?

As I recounted back in my Super Mario Bros article, I got one of those bootleg mini-NES things this past Christmas and have been getting reacquainted with my childhood since then, playing many old video games that I loved (and to a certain extent still love). And while I’ve had tons of fun playing these games, I’ve also noticed that my skills with all of them have atrophied, especially Contra.

Beat the game with only 3 lives? I could barely get by the first level without dying three times. Even using the Konami code and getting 30 lives didn’t help. I had to play the game twice with those 30 lives until I finally beat the game again (I finished the game with 8 lives to spare). Contra seriously kicked my ass.

Well, in the eight months or so since I got back into the world of Contra I’ve actually become better at it. I’m still not as good as I used to be, but I’m losing fewer and fewer lives with each time I play. I think my best so far is only losing around 12 lives. If I keep at it, maybe I’ll get it down to like losing only 5 lives.

And so, like I did with Super Mario Bros and that game’s enemies, I’m going to use this Dumpster Fire of the Week to talk about the six worst/most annoying enemies in Contra. A few of these have always annoyed me but, really, these are the six that have pissed me off since I started playing again. I fucking hate these douchebag asshole motherfuckers.

And so, it’s time for the 411mania Dumpster Fire of the Week: The Contra Edition.

Video game nostalgia really is wonderful, isn’t it?

The 411mania Dumpster Fire of the Week: The Contra Edition

But first, this week’s honorable mentions :

Soldiers: These are the first enemies you encounter when you start the game and, man, are they a pain in the ass. They run at you, they sometimes shoot at you, and, worst of all, they sometimes jump at you. The jumping thing is easily the most annoying aspect of these enemies, as they can sometimes just appear from the side and attack you (they can also pass through solid objects on occasion, which is just bullshit). Shooting them when they’re just running at you can be somewhat easy, but once they start doing more than that it’s controller throwing time. I think they’re most annoying on level 5, the winter weather level. I love blasting them with the spread weapon, or just running through them with invincibility. That’ll show them. Fuckers.


Crawlers: These are the purple sort of scorpion things that appear on level 8 and pop up out of those little egg things on the floor near the big alien heart. Crawlers typically come at you on the ground, but sometimes they run along the top of the board and then drop down and attack you. They can be super hard to kill if you just have the standard rifle weapon, but they’re easy if you have spread or machine gun. At the same time, you can get cocky with the spread weapon and assume that because the rounds shoot out three at a time you will hit a crawler as it approaches you (how can you miss with three rounds coming out all at once?). Yeah, if you don’t hit the crawler dead on it will fucking jump on you and own your ass. God, I hate these things.

Mines: These enemies appear in levels 2 and 4 and are just total bullshit. They’re more prevalent in level 4 than 2 but, regardless of the level, they suck. Having an upgraded weapon really helps destroying these things, as the standard weapon can be hit and miss destroying these things. On top of that, they tend to appear when tons of other shit is going on, like soldiers running and shooting at you and those wall guns shooting at you, too. I wish there was a way to stop these fucking things from appearing. I mean, you can kill the wall guns by shooting at them, why can’t there be an option where you can stop the mines from coming at you?

And then there are those times when you accidentally run into the Taser fence at the exact moment the mines appear and you can’t jump over them or get down fast enough to shoot at them. Mines are such bullshit, they really are.


Bubbles: It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the big bubbles at the end of level 2 or those small bubbles at the end of level 4, they are fucking awful. They’re easy to shoot, yes, but sometimes you don’t get the chance to and you have to avoid them/jump out of the way and they fucking get you. Those little ones tend to follow you around, and that’s just the biggest pile of shit ever. Fucking bubbles.

Gunner: These motherfuckers first appear on level 5 and, if you’re not careful, will blow you the fuck away. You have to shoot them multiple times, regardless of the weapon you have, and they pop up in the absolute worst places (levels 6 and 7, I’m looking at you). Like level 5, they’ll show up at the same time as some alien prick is launching grenades at you. And you can’t jump over these fucks (well, I never could). You have to take them on and shoot them dead. Such fucking bullshit.

And finally, this week’s 411 Dumpster Fire of the Week: The Contra Edition goes to



Those fucking straight line wall laser things on level 6: Oh my God, I hate these fucking things. Hate them, hate them, fucking hate them. Even if you figure out the pattern there’s still a chance they’ll get you because of other shit going on around you (like soldiers jumping and shooting). And I don’t know which ones are worst, the ones that come down from the ceiling or the ones where you have to jump up and then lay down multiple times in order to go up. And then there’s the whole “if you don’t hold the arrow down enough and slip and stand up you’re fucked” thing. I get killed by this every single time I have a weapon upgrade. It never fucking fails. And I never get that invincibility weapon where you can run through the lines. I always fuck that up.

These wall lasers are such vicious bastards. I know they wouldn’t have made sense on level 7 or 8, but, at the same time, I’m shocked they weren’t incorporated into those levels anyway. Because why not?

Fucking wall lasers. Fucking assholes.


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article topics :

Contra, Bryan Kristopowitz