Manliness, Video Games, and You — Lv. 6: The Contra Duo

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[Editor’s note: LethalHairdo is manly. How manly? So manly, that I forgot to write him a special Editor’s note message. If you think you’re a man, then read LethalHairdo’s series. It will make you grow chest hair on your balls. If your a girl, read this too. It will make you grow chest hair on your vag. — CTZ

It’s that time again! Time to grab a stout in a sturdy stein, pull up a stool and ready your studious minds for another lesson in lowering your estrogen levels via videogame-character-emulation. If you think you’re in the wrong classroom, I’m sure you can find a sale on exfoliating cremes somewhere on the Internets. Just don’t think of bringing that business up in here.

Before we begin, be warned that today we’ll be covering what might possibly be the manliest and burliest videogame ever. I cannot be held responsible for your potential feelings of inadequacies and eventual compensation methods, however, if I fail to include this game in my teachings the only people that would suffer are you all. Many of you have probably yet to REALLY beat the game whence these characters come from. This game is Contra 3: The Alien Wars of course. You got that right, today we cover the tag-team of testosterone that is Bill Rizer and Lance Bean.

Bill and Lance come from a time in gaming when beating a game didn’t always happen. Not everyone was expected to finish the game, only the truly worthy were able to see what secrets lay at the end of these games. The first half of these games weren’t tutorials. They were real games. Turn on, play, get ass handed to you. Repeat until you show that game your bulging nuts. If you require my credentials for being able to teach others about such hardcore games look no further than my ability to beat the O.G. Contra without the Konami Code … or further still at my accomplishment of beating Contra 3 on the hardest difficulty setting to get the only ending that didn’t smack you in the face and call you a pussy.* All without save states. If you question my claims, I must remind you of the battle axe I keep at my side. Now sit the fuck back down.

I believe my (more fanatical and extreme) compatriot in the ways of NOT being a complete wuss-ass, Maddox, summed up this game’s plot best: “Aliens have invaded and they’re probably up to no good, so destroy every last one of them to be on the safe side”. So that is where our guys come in. They heard about some hostile alien army of unknown numbers coming to their town. Instead of running for cover like some Hollywood wimp, they respond in the only way they know: 

Without fear or regard for their safety, Bill and Lance rush to the forefront of the evil, alien onslaught armed with ONE GRENADE and some plain old machine guns. They are going to save the world themselves.

Unlike some other game characters that rely on stealth to take out entire armies, these crazy fucks announce their arrival guns blazing; the VERY FIRST thing done in the game is blowing up a car. Not only is blowing up a car a surefire way of hurling your man-cred numbers through the roof, it’s also like sending a flare into the sky telling as many aliens to come get you. These guys WANT a fight. They have the common sense many people lack: these aliens are not looking to negotiate, they’re looking to eradicate. While the politicians and bureaucrats are hunkered down with notepads and arguing over whether to bring the aliens cookies or scones, Bill and Lance start negotiating in the only way that will get through to the alien scum.

It’s nearly impossible to decide where to go next in my laudations … so I think I will hail some of their feats of strength. Firstly they carry and fire two guns simultaneously. For anyone not so familiar with guns, it’s nearly impossible to shoot off two large firearms without hurting yourself. People have enough problems handling a single firearm while standing. Bill and Lance, however, run, jump, climb and swing all while firing one (or both if you’re smooth) gun. Exempli gratia: one MINI-boss battle finds our protagonists using rafters as monkey bars, traveling hand over hand across the screen until the mini-boss’s swinging arms offer you a chance to shoot at it from below. It is hard enough to play the schoolyard game “Chicken” on monkey bars. I can’t imagine the upper body strength required to battle a giant, floating, robot-drilling, arm-swinging thing while firing a gun with your free hand. Just … damn.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg in that regard. The event previously spoken of precedes what might be the manliest sequence in ANY video game: the memorable, airborne, missile-riding battle.

These heroes have to battle a giant, alien airship of some kind WHILE HOLDING ON TO THE BOTTOMS OF FLYING MISSILES (WTF!!!). But they aren’t just along for a smooth ride, oh no, they have to jump from missile to missile while airborne mines destroy the very missiles they’re riding while shooting at this flying juggernaut of a battleship. This is all AFTER fighting a Rocketeer-wannabe, ninja alien while riding the bottom of a helicopter and before that, a crazy-legged robot while riding a badass-futuristic chopper.** Can you think of a more insanely awesome sequence of events in video game history? I can’t.

Let’s list the manly things in this particular battle:
· Missiles
· Explosions
· Riding on the bottom of exploding missiles
· Bandanas
· Flexed-arm hangs
· Dual-guns shooting missiles/lasers/bullets
· Force fields
· Over the top action
· The fact that you died so many times trying to beat it
· Explosions
· Explosions
· It’s in Contra 3

Look, really, if I have to explain why these guys are so manly you are as lost as an octopus in a garage. So many have written so much about this game and its heroes that it’s hard to not feel like I’m beating a dead horse.

I’m not done, however. Bill and Lance taught me something that transcended past my videogame life and into a greater idea that has become the forefront of what I believe makes you a man. Their games are hard. You will not beat them on your first try. You won’t beat them on your second try. In fact, you might never beat them. And really, that is okay. But when I was going through grade school, if you DID beat these games, it earned you adoration and fame. People wanted to be as cool as you, the kid that beat this bitch-smacking game.*** In essence, this game taught me, a spry and bearded viking-child, that things do not come easy. Things aren’t even supposed to come easy. But when you get something because you worked for it, the payoff is worth it and you really appreciate it.

Respect, pride, wealth or any sort of gain; all things that should have to be earned. If you’ve been handed things all your life there is no way you can appreciate what you have. I suggest, if you ever desire to be any type of example of a man, that you make it a point to earn things for yourself. Not in videogames but in life, work, relationships or activities. Put the time in and your sense of worth and accomplishment will be so much more. To put it metaphorically but truthfully: nothing tastes better than a steak you seasoned and grilled yourself (more so if it’s a moose-steak … and you killed the moose yourself … with a self-made knife).

Bill and Lance, you’ve earned every man’s respect and genuflection. Not only for your lessons, gallantry, ability to make anything or anyone explode, being on the fiercest damn boxart evar, slaying space dragons while climbing an alien-cavern wall, battling giant terminators and plowing through hordes of assorted enemies, but also for giving us aspiring males something to strive for.

Hopefully Contra 4 is able to reach a new generation of budding men. Men that unfortunately face more social, environmental, and symbolic castration than even my generation. Perhaps it might even spark a second renaissance in this (for the large part) stale and undemanding world of contemporary videogames.

* I may have paraphrased a tad.

** Oh I’m sorry…do you like crotch-rockets? Here. I got you some colored tampons to go with your matching helmet/jacket/paintjob combo. ::rolls eyes:: Compare this to this…which do you think is tougher?

*** “Bitch” as in ‘little bitch’ or ‘milksop’…hitting a female, bitch or no, is never condoned by me as something cool or manly. In fact, it makes you less so. You should probably be raped if you do these things.

Level 1: The Lost Vikings
Level 2: Sam
Level 3: Sagat
Level 4: Wander
Level 5: Auron

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