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Released in April 1992, Contra III features the same shoot and destroy action as the previous two Contra games. Contra III offers harder gameplay than Contra and Super C, and is a favorite among fans. Red Falcon is still trying to take over the world and the solution is to shoot everything that moves.

 

Note: Picking up no items is the equivalent of low% in Contra III.

Hard difficulty: 0:14:42 by Jonas Martinsson.

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Author's comments:

The Manliest Story Ever Told

Kommentarer på svenska längst ned!

If you wish to comment on the run, please do so in the verification thread, the YouTube video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdgJG_QifDY) or PM me in the forum.

First of all I want to thank the following:

This Swederun of Contra III is my first speedrun. For some unknown reason, I still don't hate this game. The last one and a half week (505 attempts) prior to completing this run was the only time when I kept track of how many attempts I made. So when I'm mentioning statistics of any kind, I'm only considering those last 505 attempts.

On January 7th 2010, I got a deathless 14:53. Posting this on the forums was the first time I let SDA know what I was doing. I was starting getting really motivated about finishing this run around January 25th, when I all of a sudden felt like my skill at this game had improved greatly for no apparent reason. With this newly found inspiration, and a couple of weeks with a rather empty University schedule, I sat down and started grinding out attempts.

A total of six attempts during this period were sub-15 minutes: 14:58, 14:51, 14:59, 14:56, 14:53 and finally 14:42. All in all, I'm very happy about how this run turned out. My theoretical goal was getting a sub-14:40, but my realistic goal was getting a 14:42 or a 14:43.

Fun fact: I used the same controller all the way, from starting out on Super Probotector eleven months ago to finishing this run.


Some history for this run


FAQ
Q1: How many attempts did it take to finish this run?
A1: Hard to say as I only kept track of the number of attempts during the last stretch. A wild guess would be somewhere around 2000-3000. An average attempt is somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 minutes.

Q2: How long did it take?
A2: I started playing Super Probotector in March 2010. By that time I was kind of bad at it, and was not
able to beat the game on the hard difficulty. This run was recorded on February 4th 2011.
Around April 2010, I got an NTSC SNES and a Contra III cartridge. Acquiring these at a reasonable price was not easy,
as I live in Sweden. Ebay did the trick though. Somewhere around here I also got a Dazzle for recording.
During the course of the eleven months it took, there were about six months when I didn't play at all.
This was due to working in Norway during the summer, my PC breaking down (depriving me of recording capabilities)
and having other things to do.

Q3: What did you use to record this run?
A3: An HP laptop, a Dazzle DVC100 and Pinnacle Studio 12. NTSC SNES with composite cables, PAL controller.
Encoded using Anri-chan, http://speeddemosarchive.com/kb/Anri-chan.

Q4: How do you hold the controller?
A4: I have my index finger on Y and B, while mashing away at X with my middle finger.

Q5: Why this choice of weapons?
A5: C does, by far, the most damage of all weapons in this game. As long as you stay within range of the enemies,
it's undisputedly the best choice.

Q6: Why do you switch between the weapons all the time?
A6: There is a maximum number of shots (from yourself, not enemies) that can be on the screen at any given time.
This number varies between weapons (it also applies to the peashooter, but only on very long range).
By switching weapons you can fire one gun while the other "reloads", effectively doubling the output for some
weapons, C being one of them.

Q7: Why did you use S and C, instead of L and C, on the tank miniboss in stage 1?
A7: S actually does more damage than L if all bullets hit. As I hit the tank point-blank, S is the better choice.

Q8: How come you don't die when standing on the stage 5 boss?
A8: Everytime you spawn or the screen fades in, there is a couple of seconds of invulnerability. I take advantage of this
fact to deal as much damage as possible on point-blank range.

Q9: What happened on the first miniboss in stage 6?
A9: That is a glitch that has happened to me maybe twice before. I have no idea what triggers it.

Q10: How come you don't get hit by the rocks at the last boss?
A10: When you lie down, your hitbox gets really small. I take advantage of this fact on the first wall in stage 1 too.


General improvements:


Stage-by-stage breakdown

All time saved/lost is compared to Mike Uyama's 14:59 run.

Stage 1 (Total time saved: 0.4 s)

This stage is very dear to my heart. 90% of the attempts ended here. Of these, 28% ended around the tower and 40% on the first boss. Needless to say, I love the first boss. He went down 25% of the time I got there. The reason I don't start shooting the instant the boss walks up to me is that it doesn't take damage the first frames.

Fun fact: In this run and the 14:51 run, I have exactly the same amount of points after stage 1 (82381).


Stage 2 (Total time saved: 3 s)

This stage was the biggest source of resets post stage 1. About half of those resets were due to sloppy execution, and half were because of the friendly neighborhood random spawns. The red soldier after the first tower is a real near death experience.

While I didn't have to deal with it in this run, I came up with a strategy that made the "bad" turret pattern seem not so bad. The patterns differ in that the second tower can open either once you're in its line of sight, or only after you've shown your back to it. The latter is considered to be the bad pattern. However, it's possible to fire the missiles (just as I do in this run) and then double tap L or R to immediately turn around while walking away. This makes the turret open and get destroyed as you're walking away with the missiles exploding behind you. When executed perfectly, the "bad" pattern will be just as fast as the good one. The good one is easier though :) Another difference between these patterns is that the third tower will fire when you're in its line of sight instead of when you've walked past it. The roles are sort of reversed between tower two and three.

I only shoot three missiles, i.e. one gun, at the first and second towers to avoid excessive lag. Third and last towers I can shoot with both guns as they takes damage off-screen. Fourth tower I can shoot with both guns since there are none of those crawling enemies on screen. I walk diagonally, since it's faster than walking the normal way. This also applies to stage 5.


Stage 3 (Total time saved: 2 s)

The pose after killing the boss is one of the highlights in this run. It's amazing how many badass moments this game has.

Fun fact: Posing is one of the most important parts of making a good Contra III run.


Stage 4 (Total time saved: 5 s)

In this stage I stopped looking at the time, something I had never done before. This was probably a good thing. Took away some of the pressure. This boss fight is where I start getting nervous in every run. Up to here is not so bad.

Also, a huge thing on this boss is the fact that I figured out how to not die after the explosion. As long as you keep to the far left and over the highest missile, you're safe. This has only been empirically proven, but this is the part of the run which I have practiced the most. Finding this was awesome, simply because having an attempt end just because of pure randomness is really frustrating.


Stage 5 (Total time saved: 1.5 s)

I only fire one gun at the first and fourth towers, to prevent unnecessary lag.


Stage 6 (Total time saved: 4 s)



Total time saved: 17 s

This run is not at all perfect. A perfect time would by my estimate, with the strategies I use, be somewhere around 14:32. However, this game is very random. Most notably in stages 1, 2, 5 and 6 with all their spawns from all directions. It's amazing how little can destroy a good run.

And now for some statistics! (26 January 2011 - 4 February 2010)


Fun fact: I spent more time writing these comments than actually running the game.

That's all folks! I hope you enjoy watching this run as much as I did making it.
TL;DR: This run is made out of meat.
/Jonas 'Huhrblaeht' Martinsson

 

Author's comments in Swedish:

Självklart lite kommentarer på svenska också!

Den här sidan bör ni kolla in, om den fortfarande ligger uppe. Det verkar vara en direktöversättning från Wikipedia, gone horribly wrong. Några av höjdpunkterna finns nedan.

"Huvudrollsinnehavarearna fakturerar Rizer, och Lancebönan utplaceras ytterligare en gång för att kontra en främmande invasion."

"I den original- norden - amerikanlocalization av Contra III, Byttes namn på räkningen och lancen "Jimbo", och "befläcka" respektive."

"Det finns tre jämnar av svårighet i den lätta leken -, det normala, och hårt."

"...danande leken en utmaning till många erfor förtrogen med skyttar för modiga spelare."

Man ska inte sticka under stol med att den här leken var rätt hård.


Följande personer förtjänar en massa tack och bock:

Hard with death warps: 0:05:24 by Kyle Halversen

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Author's comments:

Special thanks to:
Mike Uyama for our friendly Contra III rivalry, for capturing this run from VHS and for the comment that inspired this run:

"I wonder if a run could skip all of the side-scrolling stages like this in real time. I have no idea how you would check your score though. :-/ " Well, QED

Cpadolf & DarkCloud for their Tool Assisted glitch runs. I stole their stage one strategy and got a rough idea of how the run would go by watching their videos.

The whole team at SDA for not accepting mediocrity. Nate for all of his work encoding runs.
And a special thanks to my girlfriend, Rhianna, who is yet to be convinced that the pinnacle of manliness has been manifested in 16 bits, but puts up with my obsession anyway.
To Konami, for making a game that seems so unnecessary to compliment, and for letting such wonderful things happen when you earn a life after losing all of yours in their Contra games.

This run uses a weird glitch that allows you to skip levels.

How does it work?
Apparently, the way the game handles completing a level is the same way that it handles a game over screen. When you lose all your lives the screen fades out and when you complete a level, the screen fades out. When the screen fades out, the game checks to see if you have any lives remaining. If you don't, it's game over. If you do, it registers that the level is complete. If you manage to lose your last life, the screen will start to fade out. If you can manage to earn an extra life during this time, you disturb this delicate balance. The game decides that since the screen is fading out and since you have an extra life, you must have completed the level.

How do you pull off something like this?
The trick is that screen does not start to fade out until your character gets hit, falls back and fades away. It's something of a long animation. The only way to do it would be to detonate a bomb just before you get hit and time it in such a way that it destroys an enemy that's required to earn an extra life after you die and disappear

Is that all there is to it?
No. You have to set this up so that the bomb you set off just before death is able to destroy an enemy that will get you the points that you need. This means that you will need to know what the point values are for all of the enemies on a stage and know almost exactly what your score is. The other challenge is the timing of the trick. If you detonate a bomb and kill off an enemy before your character gets hit and disappears, the screen will not fade out and you will simply gain an extra life. If you do it too late, you risk not setting off the bomb at all or not doing enough damage to your target to defeat it and get the points.

How do you do this trick without being able to see your score in real time?
This is where the run and route planning gets interesting. In some sections of the games, the enemies are fixed. In some sections they are not. You do get to see your score at the beginning and end of each stage. The trick is to get a rough idea of where your score is going to be and then execute the glitch in an area where the enemies are a bit more predictable. I had to do this without pausing because Mike said that it would count against my time.

Why do you use the laser in the top view stages?
Using this glitch involves dying and dying means losing your weapons. Unless you can manipulate drops like the TAS does, you're only going to be using one weapon. The laser is the best single weapon to have in top view stages.

Stage One
I've got a bit of a delay here at the first sniper, but everything else goes off without a hitch. The only trick is to pick up the laser before using the glitch.

Stage Two
I pick the bottom left corner because I can cut my losses if I get the bad turret pattern. It doesn't make too much of a difference here. Running around and the bunkers could be a bit faster. The boss could be a bit faster, but it's not much of an issue.

Stage Three
Where I do the trick here depends on what my score is. I end up doing it on the third sniper. It goes well. With some serious score manipulation you could do it a bit sooner and save time, but you have to make some concessions here. Things like this are extremely hard to control.

Stage Four
I choose to continue here because I don't have any bombs. The TAS has a bomb because it ends stage thee right at the spot where you pick one up. Again, I can't do that. I'm in a bit of a spot here because killing three bikers gives an extra life so this is why I have to settle for taking out the jet pack soldiers. Performing the glitch in hard mode on the bikers is nigh impossible. They can't be destroyed with a bomb. Even with the delays, it's much faster than finishing the entire level.

Stage Five
I was not lucky enough to get C in stage four. I was able to get L (It was a bit risky and it did cost some time) and from there I do the corner trick and hurry through the stage. The boss fight was not that great, but it wasn't bad.

Stage Six
This stage turned out to be amazing. My score was in an almost perfect spot. I kill a few of the running aliens, bide my time until I get a good group ready and then perform the glitch. Sweet victory. The glitch makes you skip out on the ending cutscene and goes straight to the final screen with Bill and Lance in uniform.

Hard no items: 0:22:47 by Kyle Halversen.

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Author's comments:

I hate low %. This run was a real pain. I'm going to be improving this run soon, but I need to take a break for a while. Planning this was a bit hard because this is the first run in this category and there aren't any tool assisted runs in this category.

Special thanks to:

Hurblat: For being the man. As my friendly Contra rival, thank you for helping me to stay motivated during this agonizing run. I hated doing a low % run so much, but you always encouraged me and I definitely appreciate it. Also your stage 3 and 4 suggestions were quite helpful
Mikwuyma: For being an awesome Contra and for helping to keep SDA going for so long. Enjoy your retirement and keep speedrunning
Nate: For maintaining the site and answering my stupid A/V questions
Heid-manrage: For being such a strong advocate of low % runs and speed in general. This run is not worthy of your low % Super C run, but I think my next iteration will be worthy of staying in the same room
DK28: Your low % runs were probably what got me started thinking about a hard mode low % run. You've done a lot to keep Contra interest alive. I know that Mike, Hurblat, and I will always tease you about doing your easy mode runs (as well we should), but I'm glad that you did them. It really helps to know that people still care about this game.
Mater-88: For your excessive praise, which my runs do not actually merit. It helps me not feel like a loser after spending 30 minutes trying to get past stage 1
Frezy- We desperately miss you at SDA, and your low % Contra run helped inspired me to do this
My Ustream viewers: These are the people who would watch me die 5-6 times in a single playthrough. Thanks to Something915, lxx4xNx6xxl, Random Uppercut, Evussen, Kareshi, Romscout, and many others. If I missed any of you, my apologies, but know that I really appreciate the support. I can't tell you how many times
SDA in general: For being such an incredible site

====================
Tricks used during this run:

Rapidly Switching Weapons
(Props to DK28 for first demonstrating this in a run)
You can switch weapons in this game without any delay. You'll see this used to the fullest extent in an any % run when crush guns are used.

Glancing Shots
The peashooter shots may look very small, but they are still a few pixels wide. If you fire in such a way that only the very sides of the pixels will hit a target, the shot will damage the target, continue on, and hit another target. I really only use this at the beginning of stage 6, but it's extremely helpful. This is what allows me to destroy the mid boss from the first Contra much faster than I could without it. Since the angle of this is so precise, there are very few places in the game where it can be used. You might notice it when fighting the alien queen from Super C later in the stage where you hit the red core and eye at the same time.
==================
Stage 1
I'm still tinkering with the strategy here, but this one didn't turn out too bad and the boss fight was pretty well optimized. Optimized means that the boss does not reach after you with its head or spay fire. I think there is a 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 chance of getting this pattern. Also, I hate stage 1.

Stage 2
It's possible to kill the bunker in the top left in one cycle, but it's very, very hard. The problem with these bunkers is that if you strike at a certain angle the shot will hit the solder in the bunker instead of the bunker itself. This prevents the bunker from being destroyed in one cycle. The hitbox for the soldier in the bunker is two narrow strips bordering the center. Getting this is hard because in order to destroy this bunker you need to switch weapons back and forth which means switching arms back and forth which makes it harder.

I don't want to talk about that boss fight. My run is tainted and I must wipe away my tears on the butt of my rifles.

Stage 3
There's not much to say here. The boss patterns of the drilling enemy can be manipulated, but I haven't been able to get it perfectly yet and it's pretty difficult to keep those patterns up for the entire duration of the fight. Naturally the fight is much longer with low %. Someday, I would love to defeat the stage three boss in two cycles, but at the moment, evading those homing lasers just makes it too hard.

Stage 4
Not much to say about stage 4. I manipulate the jetpack soldiers before the tank fight so I won't have to jump multiple times during the fight. The tightrope soldier fight is purely luck based and I don't make out too bad. Yes, you are perfectly safe if you stay at the very left side of the screen and shoot diagonally. I move out just a little bit. I don't chase the soldier around because while you might be able to get a few more shots in, you also have to spend time defending yourself and the risk is too high. The first part of the boss fight went well. I had a bit of bad luck and positioning so there's not much more to say here.

Stage 5
Other than a bad spawn near the bridge there isn't much to say about this stage. There also isn't much to say about the boss fight other than that I am lucky in that I don't have to lose my positioning due to the fire streams.

Stage 6
I hate stage 6. I use glancing shots to take out the first mid boss fast. The path to the heart is a test of skill and faith. I do play it a bit defensively on the heart, but it's not terrible. I may try and optimize this a bit more in the future. This is the ideal spot to use a bomb because the heart and pods all need to take damage so I get the most time savings out of it. Using the bomb here also eliminates protects me from the homing projectiles which means that I don't need to turn back. The crawler fight went well as did the gargoyle fight. I had an optimal pattern during the queen fight which allowed me to take it out pretty fast. The brain fight went pretty well. I accidentally got two snake patterns, but it didn't end up costing me too much time. The final form also went pretty well.

Thanks for watching!!!

2-player Hard difficulty: 0:13:48 by Jonas Martinsson and Kyle Halversen.

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Author's comments:

Live streams:
http://twitch.tv/mister___k
http://twitch.tv/hurblat

Special thanks
BizHawk - I think I'm probably this BizHawk's biggest fan. BizHawk is what really let us crush last year's run. Without this emulator we would not have been able to complete this run in the amount of time that we had to work with. We would also not have been able to brainstorm and execute our strategies to the levels that we did. We were really methodical about strategies this time around. We had an accurate measurement of lag and we could compare the time saved or lost using different strategies with a frame counter. I was on a long and desolate journey in search of accurate as SNES emulation. ZSNES was utterly atrocious. SNES 9x 1.43 did such a poor job emulating lag that the current two player run on TAS videos is at least a full minute faster than it should be. Of course the emulator is CPU intensive nerve few steps to install better but it is so worth it. Thanks to all the people who made this possible.
Mike- kudos to you for being the first person to actually speedrun this game on hard. The time and effort you invested into this game is really help me stay with it. We very much appreciate your support.
Pasky- I have to thank you for being an absolute genius. It's not enough that you worked on BizHawk, it's not enough that you were able to reap the code to understand how the games randomness works, you also created the box viewer. That was tremendously helpful for this run. On top of all that you're a cool guy and you like to keep us company on our stream. We will reenact that intro for you. I promise.
Nate- How can we ever express our gratitude for all that you do behind the scenes for the site? Thank you so much for everything and keep up the good work.
DK 28- we certainly underestimated your Contra prowess. I regret to say that I missed out on a lot of your skill and humor while I was falling through the super C abyss. It was great to have you at the conference. I'm sorry you missed the lion share of contra III but there will be a next time.
The devoted stream viewers- we ended up not streaming our Contra III attempts due to technical difficulties but we very much appreciate all the support we received from our small but devoted following. I mentioned do all a bit more specifically in my Contra comments.
Frezy- You know I forgot to mention you in the contra comments but I feel absolutely terrible about it. You've really been an inspiration to me and Hurblat. You've made contra speedrunning what it is and we can't thank you enough. Hopefully we can carry on your legacy and do you proud. Part of the reason why I speedrun contra III is because I never thought that I'd be able to match your times in the first two games. Now if we could just get you out of retirement...
Heidman- what can I say? The discipline and intensity that you bring to your games is commendable. You've got that speedrunning mindset. When you told me that you read every forum post and watch every submission that comes through SDA I didn't believe it. After I got to hear you cursing your phone for not loading the forums for week I finally did. The way you always push your games to the limit has helped inspire me to keep going.
Hurblat - My kindred Contra spirit. It's been a blast. I suppose I don't have to tell you how I feel. You already know. Contra III for life.

Player one -Hurblat
there's a specific reason why Hurblat is player one for this run. Player one's job is pretty similar to what happens in a one player speedrun of this game. Player one will have the same weapons from stage 1 all the Way through the rest of the game. The only thing new to learn is the positioning.
player two - Mr. K
Thanks to some changes in route planning player to gets to use a wider variety of weapons. There's a bit of peashooter in the first stage in the lots of laser through the remaining stages. I am player two in this run. A big part of that is because I've done a fair number of speed runs of this game with the laser for no good reason. Well that's not entirely true. I've also got a lot of practice using the laser in the top few stages in my death warps run. Hurblat has the current record for any percent so I think it's safe to say that he's pretty well-versed in all things crush.

Stage I
the positioning is a little weird in this stage. Hurblat is a little bit further ahead of the center screen. This puts a minute bad angle for collecting the barrier and it means that I need to jump and hit it at a weird diagonal angle and even then he has to jump to collect it. He then has to damage the ground turret and the first sniper. The barrier does not instantly destroy enemies in this game and so I have to finish the ground turrets off. As we move toward the café I turn around briefly on purpose to adjust my positioning so that I can efficiently collect the first laser upgrade. I have to shoot the enemies over Hurblat's head or else he will get hit. The laser allows me to take out most of the problematic enemies before they even have a chance to fire a shot. I'm thinking of you second sniper shooting comfortably from that ivory tower of yours.

Heidman was the inspiration for our next strategy. Usually in a speedrun it's slower to get into the tank. The tank moves at a decent speed, but the animation of getting into it takes too much time. In our case Hurblat can stay ahead and keep the screen scrolling and as long as he keeps the screen scrolling we don't lose any time if I lag behind getting into the tank. This works well because then we don't have to worry about any enemies coming up from behind. Also notice the slight increase in forward momentum as a move the tank forward while Hurblat is on it. Perhaps the best part about this strategy is that having an artillery gun that's as large as your head chasing you a hair's distance apart makes Hurblat less than inclined to slow down. I help off the tank at the last second to take out the bomber up top and to get off a shot on the core. I lag behind Hurblat as we approach the gas pipes. Since he is able to keep the screen scrolling we ultimately don't lose any time. It's definitely not a good day for that enemy tank. Using our combined firepower were able to get through the section that we affectionately call the volcano without using a bomb. Getting over the parabola of fire is a bit tricky. Our sprites slightly overlap but they're a little bit staggered that it makes the timing for the jump especially difficult.

The boss fights is random and interesting to say the least. Whether we succeed or fail is based on whether or not the core in the center shoots bullets at us. Whether or not the boss shoots bullets is determined by the games random number generator which feeds a counter of between five and 135 frames. In single player you need 100 frames to finish the boss. With two players you need about 55 to 65 frames. We use a meat shield strategy. I have two laser guns. I can afford to lose one and still not lose any time in stage II because of how the laser gun works. We get lucky against the boss and I get to keep both. After the bosses destroyed we both duck because this reduces lag.

Stage II
if you were wondering why we play two player A then here is your answer. The screens are split apart and each player can go in his own direction. In two player B mode both players have to be on the same screen. A mode lets us split up. It's almost worth watching stage two twice, it's really impossible to keep track of both of us simultaneously. The angle with two players is extremely awkward in the window of time that we have to react to things that come on the screen is razor thin. You probably shouldn't watch my side because I die and I'm really embarrassed.

As far as my route goes I certain the top right. I take out the bunker there as quickly as possible so that I'll have invincibility frames to get through the collapsing section of highway. I don't quite kill the top bunker fast enough to get through so I take the collapsing section at an interesting angle. I use the angle that I do so that if any surprise soldiers come laser will take them out. In order to be able to run through the collapsing section without stopping you have to hit it at a diagonal angle. When I start moving across I cannot see whether or not it will be safe to continue and once I start moving I'm committed. I take the wide angle that I do as a precaution. I try and use the laser as little as possible because if there are crush missiles on the top screen and laser on the bottom screen at the same time the game will lag. I just barely missed taking out the second bunker in one cycle and to get crossed up because of an unexpected enemy and I eat it. We don't lose time because Hurblat was able to take care of last bunker. It does embarrass me though. He also steals the barrier that rightfully belongs to me.

There's not much to say about this boss. The angle that you face is different in two players. Once you learn it there's not really much to it.

Stage 3
Ideally I'll have two laser upgrades here. Because of the stupid death that I had in stage II I only get one shot to take out each sniper. While I don't miss my shot on the first sniper it's a little late and he gets a shot off. We both dodge it. It looks cool. I take out the second sniper before he gets a shot off. That's how it's supposed to go. I collect my second laser upgrade here but I won't be keeping it for long.

We don't quite have the best luck getting past the mosquitoes on the way to the mid-boss. We also have to be careful not to have too many shots on the screen at once for the game lags. I tried to take out everything that's necessary with the laser because the explosions of the crush gun lag more than laser shots do. It could have gone a little better.

Taking out the mid-boss is considerably easier with two people. The next strategy is the most important optimization of the entire run. The climb up to the second phase of the mid-boss fights is the most lag inducing part of the entire game. The clouds in the background scroll, the screen is moving upward, the boss is climbing upward, the boss's legs are composed of segments that rotate individually at a rapid pace. If you combine that with the players sprite you get some serious lag. If you have a second player in the mix it's atrocious. We calculated that it was at least 17 seconds faster to kill off the second player than to keep him alive going through this part. Here's the beauty of it. You can hold two weapons in this game, one on each hand. When you die you lose the weapon that you're holding. I collect the crush gun here and then switch hands. Even though I lose all of my lives I still have the crush gun on the other hand. After the climb phase, once Hurblat reaches the top I can steal a life and come back with the crush gun. I also pick up laser and so I'm heavily armed going into the next fight. The UFO boss is something of a joke. We stormed past the next part not even waiting for the barrier. There's not much to say until the boss fight. I made a stupid mistake of not scrolling the screen over immediately and we lose about a second. We do have a very good boss strategy. Both players can actually stand in the bottom left corner and we have enough firepower to take out both of the skeletons before they pose a threat. It may actually be beneficial for me to have one laser shot here because of how far away we are from them. The second part of the fight is equally pathetic.

Stage IV
I don't have a lot to say about the stage. We really decimate everything with the additional firepower. The tank doesn't last for long. We're able to take out the tightrope soldier without using a bomb. The Walker doesn't really get to do anything. Neither does the jet pack assassin.

The boss fights was crazy. I'll make my case for the importance of having at least one laser during this fight because it does very good damage from a distance. I sneak in a couple of extra shots Hurblat does not believe in keeping his distance and that should be readily apparent as you watch the fight. He just goes ballistic. In the end it ultimately doesn't cost us any time as you will see the next stage.

Stage V
This is a tough situation because Hurblat is missing a crush gun. He needs to pick it up before the boss or we lose the run. You need to watch this stage twice to get a full idea of what's going on here.

I start in the top left because I'm pretty well used to it. My goal here is to take out the bunker there and try and make it through the narrow section while I still have a few invincibility frames remaining. Fortunately for both of us it takes only one volley of crush shots to destroy the bunker. I use that to my advantage to fire and forget and unable to make it through the narrow section with the invincibility frames that I have left. There is a particular way I need to align myself up for the narrow section after the first bunker and I need to be holding a direction that the certain time because the game will lag and then stopped lagging while I'm going through that area. If I'm holding the D pad in the direction where want to go before the lag starts and stops I'll be able to react. If I'm trying to center myself while my speed is changing I'll probably die. I had a spawn that was waiting for me as soon as I lost my invincibility frames, but I was able to take it out without losing too much time. I had another narrow escape on my path to the second bunker. Luckily for me there were no spawns blocking my shot on the second bunker. I was able to communicate that I was on pace to take up the second bunker and so Hurblat was able to wait for an item drop on the third bunker that he took out. Luckily for both of us that drop was crush. Since Hurblat had only one crush during this stage he was forced to use fewer missiles and in this turned out to reduce lag. We would have lost the run if that last drop wasn't crush as it would've ruined the boss strategy.

Speaking of bosses, the goal of this boss is to destroy it before the eye closes. With two players the game lags a lot. I've done some checking and they know that bosses do not have more health with two players. I don't know if it's because of lag or because of how damage is calculated in this game with two players, but I do know that it's very hard to destroy the boss before its eye closes with two players. Both of us need to do a pretty good job of damaging the eye and quickly re-centering ourselves when the ground starts spinning. When you're using crush and the laser you want to fire a volley and then quickly switch back to laser and wait a few moments for the missiles to explode before you switch back. Mashing the X button is not optimal for me. We were both able to take the boss out in one cycle which is great.

Stage VI
I switch laser out for spread here because it does better against the first mid-boss and it makes it easier to collect crush . The cocoon dropping mid-boss from the first contra is decimated. I'm able to collect crush without slowing down here thanks to spread. To help reduce lag and make things a bit easier we take out all of the mouths on the path to the heart. We don't use a bomb this time because we're cool like that. A bad spawn could mean a running alien taking out both of us. Thankfully that didn't happen. The heart doesn't last too long against four strains of crush missiles. I consider the same thing for the mutant boss and Super C.

The one thing that makes me sad about this run is that we did not get the quick gargoyle kill. That's not to say we didn't kill the gargoyle quickly though. We found out that it's possible to kill the gargoyle with two players immediately when he charges forward. This strategy was originally thought to only be possible in a tool assisted speedrun but thanks to BizHawk and Pasky's hitbox viewer we found a new strategy that made this possible in real time. The gargoyle retreats when his health reaches 92. If you retreats amid charge he will pause for a moment and this gives just enough opportunity to finish them. He probably had a sliver of health left. We have done it on console once. When you do this the game does not expect the gargoyle to die this fast. It expects the fight to go into a second phase where the gargoyle teleports around. If you get the quick kill the music actually glitches out for the fight against the Queen. Speaking of the Queen fight, ours was really something.

We had a perfect pattern against the reaching heads and both of us pummeled the Queen with crush missiles and neither of us missed. It was a thing of beauty

The brain fights what very well. Hurblat does more any % speed runs than I do and so he's a little better than I am at selecting orbs with the crush gun. I let him do it. If you're not in the know, the brain has 30,000 health. Each time you shoot one of the orbs the brain does an attack pattern and at the end of the pattern itself is cut in half. It takes at least four cycles or attack patterns to kill the brain into one player speedrun. In a two player speedrun it can be done in just three cycles. The first cycle is the gray or pattern. This involves abusing the games hit box detection and pummeling the brain with crush missiles. The second pattern that Hurblat gets is the eyeball pattern. This is a dangerous pattern to get. While you have an unobstructed shot at the brain, the eyeball pattern is random and if you're not careful you can get crushed. Neither of us played safe and I just narrowly managed to avoid getting hit at the very end. I think I might have been one frame away. Hurblat gets the grey orb pattern again and we finish off the brain. All in all the brain fight was fantastic. Even if you get the right attack patterns by shooting the correct orbs, you can waste a lot of time lining up your shot. Hurblat lined of his shots very quickly.

The final phase is a bit of a joke. We moved to the center of the missile and shoot down. We don't even have to jump to get out of the way of his charge. And that's the game. Thanks for watching!

Run Comments from Hurblat
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First of all: whatever you do, don't miss the audio commentary. Heidman will tell you why, without even saying a word.

Thanks to
Mr. K, for sharing my passion for this game and being ever supporting.
Mike Uyama, for getting me into speedrunning with his Contra III run.
DK28, for making the Contra Conference even more enjoyable and for being a great co-op partner.
Heidman, for showing me what true devotion is.
Frezy_man, for getting me into speedrunning by ripping his shirt off and playing Contra.
Nate, for all the technical work on SDA.
Pasky, for BizHawk, the hitbox viewer and for being such a great help to so many in the speedrunning community.
All our viewers during the Contra Conference, for showing support for a game series that is too often forgotten; and for supporting our ridiculous attempt at completing three co-op runs in a week.

Stage 1
My main job in the beginning of this stage is to clear the path in front of us. I have to use a minimal amount of shots to do so, as the game is never far away from a lagfest in 2-player. The most significant part for this is at the first sniper tower, where I really hold back. Thanks to the fact that Mr. K takes care of the surroundings at the second base wall, I can just run up to the core and go nuts. With the agility of a housecat, I graciously evade the two bombs just before the fire pillars.

Stage 2
I have good luck when approaching the second tower. Usually there are at least one or two more spawns there to make my life harder. We get the slower pattern, which means I have to fire a volley at the second tower and then turn around rapidly for him to show himself. He eats the explosions for lunch as I carelessly stroll towards the third tower. If Mr. K has a good stage he will usually get to this tower before me, but this time I get to take care of it. It gets close, but I manage to get in a good position and duck. I grab the barrier, which is mine by right. The boss is a helpless spider bro.

Stage 3
Double dodge at the first enemy, for your viewing pleasure (or because we were close to a fatal mistake, your pick). The flies show what a carrion swarm they are. Spinning pole miniboss is not much of a problem, but Mr. K decides to end his life anyway. But not before picking up crush. I get to do the most exciting part of this game alone. And what a fun climb it is. I can barely contain my excitement, and at one point I even fire some crush to commemorate my late partner. The drilling form of the miniboss goes down quickly. I fail the first manipulation, but manage to salvage it by making him go after me with a double drill. This is about as fast as he will go down. The explosions are not enough of a celebration, so I engage in a trademark DK28 slap to the face. The climb up the wall goes really well, and Mr. K comes back in time to pick up the laser and close the time-saving suicide circle. The pause before the boss is the only real mistake in the run, and it doesn't really waste more than a second or two.

Stage 4
Mr. K is low on lives by now, so he gets to kill the first enemies. The hanging soldier goes down very quickly. The walker doesn't have much to say. I stop shooting before Mr. K, to reduce lag. Jetpack ninja is denied at the door. The boss fight was just as crazy as it should be. I didn't feel like holding back, so I went down with the boss for a quick kill. This could (and probably should) have been a run-ender, but it ends up saving us some time in stage 5.

Stage 5
I start with only one crush gun. This puts me in an interesting position, as I'm depending on luck to get the second one back. The second and third bunkers both have a 1/4 chance of dropping a C (they can drop S, H and a bomb as well), but I'm not stopping to see what the second one gives me. Thankfully the third bunker gives me a C, and the true order of things is restored. The boss fight is a lot harder to do right with two players, but we both manage to position ourselves quickly and get the one cycle kill.

Stage 6
First part of this stage is much less of a hassle with the double firepower. The one round gargoyle kill was so close, he probably had less than 5 hp left after teleporting. We sort of make up for it with a smooth looking queen fight. Orb selection at the brain fight was quick. Picking the eyes was not intended, but it's a good pattern for doing lots of damage. I'm happy with how we didn't play it safe during that pattern. Obligatory pre-true last boss pose before getting to za choppah. Poor boss spends more time climbing than fighting us :( The run ends in a hug of heroes, showing us that platonic love can exist between two grown men.

I'm sad that many of my best poses didn't make it into this run, but I'll trade that for the low amount of mistakes actually costing time. Hopefully one day I will be able to show you the Gunslinger, greatest pose of them all.

Easy difficulty: 0:12:39 by Jeremy Doll

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Author's comments:

Starting things off, much love and gratitude to all SDA staff. Especially Mike for putting up with all this. I've said before that I was done with this game, but I seem to keep coming up with runs for it anyway. But I'm really done running Contra III now, for good, I think...

Anyway, on to the run and all it's glory. I really liked my old run and only saw a few seconds of improvement. This run is only 9-10 seconds faster, so I really think I'm tapped here. You'll see why.

Stage 1 - Not much to say. More of the same here. Minor hiccup before the volcano, I accidentally jump straight down instead of diagonally, but no time lost. I actually thought Donatello was going to kill me, usually when he humps the ground it results in a death. Lucky! A foreboding of things to come...

Stage 2 - More luck, starting only one spot away from where I need to be. Minor inconvenience with some soldiers, but no big deal. Spider is squished like always.

Stage 3 - The first part of the mid-boss is slightly faster here, as well as the second part as I catch him even though he tries to fake me out. My only real mess up afterwards, I fall instead of jumping up. I lose about 2-3 tenths of a second. Great Boss AI manipulation as the Twins stay together allowing me to net some more time killing them simultaneously. And thanks to Mike, re-watching his run I was able to better my position for the Big Boss over my previous run. Sometimes it's the little things...

Stage 4 - Nothing new in this level. The Acrobat tries to jump away, but I kill him in the same time as before. The first mid-boss is a smidge quicker in this run. The most improvement in this run came from the Carrier fight. I annihilate it this time.

Stage 5 - Some really close calls with the bugs this time around, but I'm a soldier. The Mound is point blanked to shave every fraction of time I can.

Stage 6 - I debate using the bomb in the beginning as I have made it through without it before, but everything has been so perfect, I don't risk it. The Boss Gauntlet goes excellent minus the Queen sending one worm long. Red Orb = Brain death. Win!

This is definitely my best run of Contra III. I am absolutely satisfied and can finally rest. But I must say, sorry it's on easy Mike.
What's an Easy?

Easy no items: 0:15:30 by Jeremy Doll

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Author's comments:

First off, thank you to SDA Staff. The work you all do is awesome and the effort put into the recent marathons has been exemplary. You are an inspiration to us all. The least we can do is contribute runs to keep you busy. So let's get to it.

This is my much overdue improvement to Contra III, no items and no deaths. I knew I'd eventually get back on it, so you better enjoy it. With this out of the way, I can get on to running some new games.

Unrivaled pea shooting carnage revisited -

Stage 1 - Fairly identical to the old run. Nothing much to say.

Stage 2 - The bulk of the improvement is this stage alone, level and Boss. Everything. While you can stay in the Spider's face, he will randomly change the direction he's spinning and run you down. This method is quick and consistent.

Stage 3 - This level starts off comparable to the old run, but starts improving as the Wall Boss is killed a bit faster. The Aircraft is as well. The Robot fights have a new strat which sometimes gives a better pattern. The Twins die a little quicker even though I didn't get the optimal pattern I wanted. Big Daddy Robot is killed noticeably quicker, but I don't think a one round kill is possible without bombs.

Stage 4 - Standard stuff as most of the level is auto-scrolling. The mid bosses are done decent. The Flying Ninja didn't cooperate though costing a couple seconds since he doesn't pull himself up to the rocket. The next biggest improvement over the old run is the Boss Air Carrier. More aggressive play and better rocket luck equal Win. And yes, I almost died towards the end.

Stage 5 - More of the same here. Some bad bug luck, but I had that in to old run too if memory serves. The Boss Mound is a touch quicker by getting in close. And yes, I almost died towards the end.

Stage 6 - Some repeat performance here, but I get bad spider spawning on the Heart. I make up for this with a great Crawler fight. The Gargoyle battle was perfect. Queen fight is the same, right down to the error jump. And the Brain poses no threat.

And the mission is complete. A substantial improvement that I am quite proud of. I can finally put Contra III on the retired shelf. If I ever play this game again, you better believe it's casual.

May SDA and Aliens continue to cross paths.

Easy no items with deaths: 0:15:24 by Jeremy Doll.

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Author's comments:

So here we go again. Contra III, no items, putting Bill through the grave repeatedly for extra bombage. Still loving it. Funnily enough, usually after I finish a run, I never want to see the game in the near future again. But with Contra III, I have not tired of it and still enjoy a good run through.

The previous run I did was accepted, but had a couple of areas with room for a decent amount of improvement. At the time of acceptance, I was needing a break, but now I'm back on it. I've polished up the big areas and some minor ones. I think the end result is quite nice. Enjoy!

Stage 1 - This level went great. The tank mid-boss was as fast as possible. The back pipe just barely gives my gun a kiss. The flames 'o carnage area was fantastic and the only slight hiccup was Turtle Power doing the second set of ground humping. Fornicator......

Stage 2 - Pod busting went really well, had a small holdup almost backing into the two soldiers towards the last pod. Spoiler Alert! Huge improvement. Stomped the spider this go around, double time.

Stage 3 - No complaints here. Let me explain the first rotating beam. It has happened exactly three times in all of my attempts, but if you aim down-right and fire as you walk, you will sometimes not get picked up. But not this time, of course. First new strategy, dying to bomb the first phase of the spike mid-boss. It comes out to the same time without bombing him, because of lag, but it takes the hard work out of the equation of perfectly shooting him down on one pass with the pea shooter. And I had great luck on the final phase. Cruising until the end. Boss time, the Red Twin jumps left first, it's better if he jumps right to give me more shooting time, but they go down well enough. Now it's new strategy number two, my favorite, first round knock out on the Big Guy. Yes, my arm was hurting after that,

Stage 4 - My arm gets a rest after that last boss fight, thank you auto-scrolling. I was actually happy with this level. The acrobats cooperated really well, the jetpack mid-boss could have pulled up on the first grab though. The boss went better than last time, except for it clipping a couple of my key rockets, but I still like it.

Stage 5 - Very pleased with the level portion. Rock skip just for you Mr. Uyama! The boss got delayed a fraction of a second, because the third worm came out instead of the flame shot. No big loss though.

Stage 6 - The final obstacle. I take no chances and let off a bomb as I pass through. Good thing too, that jumping alien on the right is exaclty the same one that gets me. He jumps over your straight shot, but is too low for a diagonal shot. Not this time bastard. And I reworked my route to not need to save that bomb anyway. Heart, no problem. Crawler, like the level 3 mid-boss, the bomb isn't necessary, but this takes the guess work out of counting shots so he doesn't go underground from too much damage. Gargoyle, new strategy number three, a whole lot faster, enough said. Queen, AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!! Just shoot me in the face Bill. Totally accidental jump, notice it happens as the head is pulling away? My finger was resting on the button just in case, I flinched, let's just move on. Brain, exactly as planned.

And that's it. This is, by far and away, better than the last run. Really just the one second lost on the Queen jump, other than that, Contra III with no items done right!

Long live Bill Rizer!

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