Contra for Famicom was released on February 9, 1988 in Japan. Retail price: 5300 Yen.
There are a few differences between the original arcade game and the Famicom conversion. The first obvious change is the screen aspect ratio - the original arcade game features a vertical screen and the horizontal screen of the Famicom port arguably suits the gameplay better. Thinking about it, it is rather surprising that the original arcade game used such ratio in the first place, this feature is typically reserved for vertical shooters. The 3D over-the-shoulder corridor levels are also a bit more complicated and ask the player to turn left or right at the end of each room. Weapons are scattered differently throughout the maps, and there seems to more emphasis on the Laser. There's only six levels (but the game's content is the same), and their layouts are also different - for instance the large two-headed statue at the end of the waterfall stage was replaced by a one headed Alien-inspired monster. The last stages are also completely different - in the arcade version, the last three levels are played in one breath (which explains why there's only six stages), and the bosses have been shuffled around (the robot-shuttle appears at the beginning of the snow field, the armored colossus appears twice and the defense system found at the end of the Famicom's Stage 7 doesn't appear in the arcade game). As a side note, the snow field also doesn't feature a blizzard and snowflake animation in the arcade game, unlike the Famicom conversion. Although the arcade game has more features in store (better graphics, more objects on screen, players can fire in sixteen directions), the Famicom port is often regarded as superior, with a much more responsive and intense gameplay.
A Japanese Demo cartridge is known to exists.
This game is known in Europe as "Probotector
". For the European version, both the game's human heroes and all human enemies were replaced with robot sprites. This is to make the game less overtly violent than its US counterpart.
[US] "Contra [Model NES-CT-USA]
[EU] "Probotector [Model NES-77-EEC]
[DE] "Probotector [Model NES-77-FRG]
[DE] "Probotector [Model NES-77-NOE]
[UK] "Probotector [Model NES-77-UKV]
[JP] March 05, 1988; Contra Hisshou Hou Manual
[JP] April 10, 1998; Contra Hisshou Kanpeki Hon