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Released in February 1988, Contra was one of the first of dozens of one-hit death run 'n gun shooters. Like all run 'n gun shooters there's a plot concerning a great evil (in this case the alien Red Falcon), but in the end everyone knows the purpose of the game is to shoot everything that moves while looking buff and manly.

Contra   Contra

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

Runs on the Xbox 360 NTSC-US version:

Runs on the Nintendo Entertainment System NTSC-US version:

Runs on the Nintendo Entertainment System NTSC-J version:

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Normal Difficulty: 0:04:52 by 'Zakky the Goatragon'

Author's comments:

I adjusted the settings to use the Original graphics and music. As far as I can tell this has no affect on the speed of game. I also tested this and my times appeared to stay consistent between settings.

The Jungle:

Nothing out of the ordinary here. Quick and clean.

Base 1:

Again, not much of note here. Cores go down quickly and then it is on to the boss.

Base 1 Boss:

This started out as usual, with the two left panels going down fast, but that was all that went to plan during the first phase. The shot I fired when I jumped did not fire diagonally and up, but directly to the right. Fortunately it hit the lower right panel. From there I just improvised the rest of the first phase.

The second phase went as usual and despite that improvised start I actually gained a small amount of time on this fight!


The jumping in this game is...special. Boxfat referred to them as "Dolphin Flips" in my stream chat one day and it stuck. How appropriate that you see the jumping the most in this stage.

There is a rather tight jump in this stage (see if you can spot it!). I also have to make some fine adjustments for a couple of jumps, which is not at all easy with a 360 controller joypad.

The gun turrets on the defense system go down fast and I got really good luck on the gun panel opening right away. How fast the panel opens is completely random. It can open fast like it did for me, or take a really long time; long enough for a soldier to come wandering on the screen from the left before the core goes down. If we do not see that soldier at all; that "bringer of bad news", it is a good fight. If we do, we shoot the messenger and reset.

Fortunately we did not see the messenger and I am sure he was relieved to not have to get shot.

Base 2:

Not much to note until the last room. In this last room there is a box blocking the core. It is possible to shoot over the box and kill the core, instead of having to burn a few shots on the box before being able to hit the core, thus saving some time. During my first runs I could neither pull this off nor had the confidence that I could, so I was not going to even try. Then Boxfat and I had a bit of a lighthearted chat about "saving the boxes" and being a good sport about it I decided to take on the challenge. So I worked on it and it became second nature and so the box, although it gets destroyed in the end anyway, is not destroyed directly by me.

Base 2 Boss:

2-cycle is all you need to know here.

The Snowfield:

The aiming in this game is pretty special, too. Add the 360 joypad and it makes it worse. Add in more enemy congestion and things can go awry fast. I had to fire an extra laser shot at the first shield gunner and let fire a stray shot, but fortunately that is all that went wrong there and it did not cost much time.

The Energy Zone:

Discus Guy #1 gave me a good pattern. He is usually fairly consistent from run to run.

Right after the discus guy, I need to make a fairly precise jump. Too early I die to the flame behind the shield gunner. Too late and I end up dying to the lower flame behind the shield gunner. You may notice I pass right through the shield gunner's sprite. Shield gunners have no hitbox, only their bullets do, so you can pass right on through them.

The Hangar:

Discus Guy #2 also gave me a good pattern, but as those who have watched the runs I have streamed know, he is a massive troll. I took no chances and did a safety jump.

You are set up perfectly to just keep running through the spiked balls in the next section and I take advantage of the shield gunner non-hitbox again.

Missed a shot on the shield gunner at the end, but recovered quickly.

Alien Lair:

Luck was really good to me on the midboss this time. The enemies the midboss spawns can show up in such a way that it is impossible to kill them before they kill you or that they can eat up a lot of time while you kill them before you attack the midboss. I got probably the best luck I have ever had here and was able to killed them really quickly.

You see me fire off some laser shots that do not hit anything. The purpose of this is to make sure my aim is staying where it should and to make sure I properly time the two shots I need to kill the lower mouths. The rest of the mouths and their projectiles are of no concern.

A few properly placed laser shots take care of the "spiders" and the rest of the shots break the heart quickly.

The Wait Until the Credits: can walk around while the victory music plays and up until the screen has faded out completely and switched to the credits. This takes fifteen seconds no matter what.


This is a very short run, but it is much harder than it looks. There is so much execution squeezed into a short time. There is also the factor of bad RNG in critical areas being able to just outright kill a really well executed run over and over again in the same place. That I only made several minor mistakes and got pretty much the best RNG possible is quite fortunate.


First and foremost to Mr. K. I would not have at all picked this up seriously if not for him and he provided a lot of key advice and encouragement. I also finally took his advice about letting this run be! Also a great big thanks to Mr. K for doing audio commentary with me.

Boxfat who also provided encouragement, was around for many of my run attempt streams and that 4:53 I got the day before this run, came up with "Dolphin Flips" as a descriptive phrase for the jumping, and encouraging me to "save the boxes!"

Hurblat, PJ, sinister1, DK28, zallard1, Deuceler, Murphagator, and anyone else I might be forgetting who showed interest in my progress and/or offered encouraging words. You all rock!

All the stream viewers who watched me reset over and over and over and over again, but still stayed tuned in throughout it all.

And lastly to the boxes who gave their lives before and while I was learning how to be consistent enough to shoot over the one in the last room of Base 2. I am happy to report that I did not hurt a single box in this run (directly anyway).

0:09:47 by 'K1ngK0opa'

Author's comments:


Not much to say on this level, just running and kill the boss that is random and sometimes it gives you an impossible pattern but i got a decent pattern on this run so i survived.

Base 1:

Decent rooms, the boss kill could been a little faster but pretty decent base 1 overall.


Shoutouts to JDSilvaCA and his 5 ledge skips route. The climb on waterfall was decent the only mistake is that i messed up the last skip, the boss kill was very decent i got the 1 cycle kill.

Base 2:

The first 2 rooms was a bit slow but the next ones was very good also in the room 5 i did a new strat that requieres to destroy the roller so you can get very good spread rhythm and makes the room much more consistent, on the jumping room i got a 2 jumper so that was very good and saves almost 1 second compared to a 3 jumper, last room was sick and the boss kill was decent the only super little timeloss is one missed shot on the right panel so i have to turn to the right again to destroy it, also shoutouts to Dxtr for his 1 cycle kill setup.

Snow Field:

Very Decent level overall, the 2 tank kills was a bit slow but not bad and i also didn't go for the Frezyjumps and i simply duck , and the boss on this level is also random it can give you a right side spawn , middle spawn and left side spawn on this run luckily i got the right side spawn which is the best possible spawn you can get so i didn't lost any time on the boss.

Energy Zone:

Probably the most infamous level of Contra, on this level i lost a lot of PB paces due to the brutal RNG, after the L-Jump before the 2 stationary guys there is 3 flames that can give you 3 different patterns bottom flame this one is a very decent pattern. middle flame the second hardest pattern to get but is the best one overall and the one that i got on this run , and the last one top flame the worst pattern to get it lost 2 seconds compared to middle flame there is also a top flame pattern that let you past without slowing down this one is the best pattern but the odds for this one are very unlikely. oh right so i also got the EXO skip 2.0 no Leap of Faith sadly but the duck on the last stationary guy was absolutely sickand i'm sure it was frame perfect, i also got a pretty decent boss pattern this guy can sometimes jump 4 or 5 times even more sometimes and kill your run.


On this level i got a very good global timer so i tecnhically didn't lost any time, the B grab route was decent no jumping wallbreak but very decent mash and on the last set of claws i got the perfect pattern to do the pause buffer ,let's move to the boss this kill was very good but not perfect .This level was beautiful is the best hangar i ever got on a PB run.

Alien's Lair:

The easiest level on the run but is not that easy if you are nervous luckily i clutch it out the level on this run also that ceiling spider before the Heart can sometimes drop and kill you so you need to shoot up to kill it  and that was the run. Huge shoutouts to all of my viewers on twitch and speedrunner buddies: Thanks to TheMexicanRunner, Angrylanks, Frezyman, Archycoffee, JDSilvaCA, Mingura666, tr1sklion, MrMimixer, Yumashev_, GGuy22, CombustibleDan, andrewtekkie, Slormer, Stormy, Jaquiox, Jeremyarroyo, TheDrifter18, Sidesswipe009, AntiAaron, WhoAteTheSquid, kidCharlemagneReturns, hirexen, st4nzzz, skip1lep7ic, ContraRaces, skawttie, Jerminator81, FULGOR_R.  

Low% with 2 Players: 0:10:34 by Jeremy 'DK28' Doll, David Heidman Jr.

No author's comments provided.

Low%: 0:10:57 by 'K1ngK0opa'

Author's comments:

Hello everybody am k1ngk0opa and this are my comments over my Contra Low% run in 10:57, i'm gonna explain some of the strategies that i used and also tell what are the remaining timesaves for each level.


Not really much to say on this level , just need to be focus on killing the enemies and is done, also the boss on this level is insanely random on Low% luckily i got the best possible pattern on this run so i technically didn't lose any time.

- Remaining timesaves: Better mashing on the boss can save up to 0.35

Base 1:

Very good rooms ,for room 4 i'm doing a different strat pretty much a new strat and this one saves around 0.6 and 0.8 compared to a normal strat on room 4, room 3 and 5 could been a little faster but is decent overall , the boss kill is very good too all shots connected.

- Remaining timesaves: Micro improvements on every room can save between 0.5 and 0.7, is also possible to get a slightly faster boss kill that can save 0.1 maybe 0.2 at best.


I used the 4 skip route with some modifications for a Low% execution, very goood climb overall but not perfect, i sadly missed the 2 cycle on this run.

- Remaining timesaves: This stage have a LOT of potential timesaves, you can go for the 5 skip route is insanely hard but it saves between 1.2 and 1.5 seconds compared to a 4 skip route, the 2 cycle boss kill saves 3 seconds.

Base 2:

First 2 rooms went well, room 3 could been a little faster but is good overall, good room 4 as well, on room 5 i messed up the turret so ended up surviving but still not a timeloss, decent room 6, on room 7 i got the 2 jumper so very good as well, the last room could been a little faster but good overall, very good execution destroying the cores that make the boss to spawn , i got a 2 cycle on the right side head and ended up getting the vulnerability glitch on the left side head so i saved 2.5 seconds there.

- Remaining timesaves: This stage have more rooms than the base 1 so the timesaves are much bigger, around 0.2-0.3 can be saved on the first 2 rooms, on room 3 you can go for no jump strat that saves 0.2 maybe 0.3, micro timesaves on the next 3 rooms can save 0.3, a better room 7 can save 0.1 at best, there is a strat for the final room that lanks do on his PB it involves waiting until the turret shoot the first bullet and if you time your shots perfectly you can save 0.5 seconds here, you can also get the vulnerability glitch on both heads this is insanely difficult but it saves 3 seconds over just getting the glitch in 1 head.

Snow Field:

On the beginning i avoided the turret guys without slowing down this is definitely not easy it requieres good mashing and good timing on the jump this the second scariest section of snow field for a Low% run, decent tank kills the mash could been a little faster but is ok overall, decent execution on the last turret guys no  timeloss there, the UFO is definitely the scariest section, for this boss i used a strat originally found by Heidman this strat involves to positioning bill on the edge of the UFO this will make all the shots fired to hit the UFO and don't get destroyed by the dropped bombs of the UFO ,this is a really hard strat you just a few pixels to positioning bill but the timesave is worth it.

- Remaining timsaves: Better mashing on both tanks can save 0.3, a more agressive duck can save 0.2, and a slightly better UFO kill can save 0.1.

Energy Zone:

The killer of good paces, this level is already a run killer on Any% but oh boy Low% is a different story, the first half went ok until the L-Jump i sadly got unlucky and got some trolls from the back and ended up losing time because of the turnaround, i got bottom flame a decent pattern for this section, good rest of the level, i got SUPER lucky for the boss fight so i ended up getting 0 jumps from him, that was just insane that is actually the third time of all of my Low% journey that i got that good of a boss pattern simply unbelivable.

- Remaining timesaves: If you get 0 trolls before the L-Jump and middle flame you gonna save 2.5 seconds, more agressive duck on the last turret guy can save 0.2, and if you get the same boss pattern of this run but with slightly better mashing you gonna save 0.2 maybe 0.3 at best.


Very good global timer so i didn't lose any time on the first half, good mashing on the walls as well, i also got the minecart boost, after the gap jump when the M weapon drops i got a wave of trolls that caused some lag so a slight timeloss there, the next walls went ok decent mashing as well , no bad trolls on the last section of hangar, good boss kill but not perfect.

- Remaining timesaves: Slightly better global timer can save 1 second, on the first turret guy is actually possible to past there without slowing down but is insanely difficult this can save 0.4 compared to just ducking, agressive movement and mashing on all the walls can save 0.3 maybe 0.4 , the pause buffer on the final claws can save 0.8, better boss kill can save 0.3.

Alien's Lair

Good mashing on this level overall, i sadly didn't get the good head boss pattern so i ended up losing time there, on the end i also didn't get the perfect heart boss pattern so i lost time there as well, but that is not that big of a timeloss to be honest.

- Remaining timesaves: Better mashing with agressive jumps can save 0.5 , perfect head and boss patterns can save 1.5 seconds.

So after the putting all of the remaining timesaves together is technically possible to get a 10:45 or 10:46 time, but getting all of that timesaves on a single run is just too unrealistic but i definitely see someone getting at least a 10:49 in a near future and well that was it , i hope you guys like it this run it was definitely a hard one to get i'm gonna say that my next goal is a sub 10:55 but beying aware of all of that timesaves i just want to push the category even lower but we will see thanks for watching everybody and see you next time.  

With 2 Players: 0:09:51 by Piotr 'TheMexicanRunner' Delgado Kusielczuk, Matthew 'AngryLanks' Wissig

No author's comments provided.

0:09:31 by Jeremy 'DK28' Doll (Japanese version)

No author's comments provided.

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