A Rather Contradictory Continuity

Written by Johnny Undaunted
During the earlier days, back in the NES era, Konami used to develop their games completely in Japan, including the localized versions of their games, leaving their American subsidiary (Konami of America) with not much to do other than provide the packaging (the box and manual) and the marketing.

However, Konami of Japan had no supervision in how their games were marketed by Konami of America. As a result, the writer who wrote most of the manuals for Konami of America took liberties with each game's storyline, ignoring the original game designer's intentions and more often than not, making a mockery of the games he was writing for. The Contra series is no exception.

The Famicom (Japanese NES) version of Contra contained various cut-scenes which explained the game's storyline. However, they were taken out from the NES version due to localization issues. Since the NES version of Contra had no in-game storyline, the KoA's manual writer took the liberty of changing it. As a result, the 27th century setting was dropped and the date of the meteorite's arrival to Earth was changed to 1957, with the actual Contra mission occuring 30 years later. Moreover, the apparent location of the game was changed from Galuga to the ruins of a Mayan temple in the Amazons. Bill and Lance were also given the nicknames of "Mad Dog" and "Scorpian" by the manual.

The American manuals for Super C and Operation C took even further liberties with their plot. In the US version of Contra III, the future premise was kept. An explanation was given that the main characters were not Bill and Lance, but their descendants, Jimbo and Sully.

Konami of America's marketing deparment has changed since those days and the recent Contra games, starting with Shattered Soldiers, follows the proper continuity and storyline as established by the Japanese games. Ironically enough, the Probotectors released in Europe had their own manuals using the original Japanese manuals and thus, are more faithful to the Japanese plot than their American counterparts.