General information about strategy
First of all, let us define terms.
Strategy answers the question "What do I do?".
Tactics answers the question "How do I do it?".
In other words, tactics is the way of carrying out strategy.
AA - anti-aircraft unit or anti-aircraft defense structure.
AT - anti-tank unit.
TG - tactical group.
AI - artificial intelligence (the one which plays against you in Skirmish mode).
It is complex to single out one strategy for all cases and all generals in Contra. There is no such thing. Each general has a unique set of strategies and tactics suitable for different situations.
But first of all, one need understand a unique feature of Contra. It is the rank system. All units, buildings and upgrades are divided into 3 classes: early, middle and late technologies. Early technologies are available from the start. Middle technologies are unlocked automatically after you reach rank 3. Late technologies are unlocked after you reach rank 5.
Thus, experience becomes a critical resource. You must protect your units to prevent the enemy from gaining experience and ranks while you kill more enemies to rank up faster. The one who gains 3rd rank first has a strong advantage as a Rank 3 army is significantly more powerful than a Rank 1. Like wise, Rank 5 is a substantial advantage. The 5th rank gives access to super weapons and super units which can level bases alone.
Some common tactics and strategies are listed below. But it is not a full list. You can always think up strategies and tactics of your own.
Tip 1. Don't spend your money to buy mines around buildings or building security systems without necessity.
Tip 2. Don't try to attack strong enemy forces with single units. Gather at least small group before attack.
Strategy and tactics.
For all generals:
For all generals but Air Force and Super Weapon.
Lets assume first we are fighting an equally matched opponent. If we both fight to the death we can expect one of two results:
1) Our Forces are destroyed and a few of the enemy units remain. We switch to defense in this case or counterattack with new units to finish enemy forces.
2) We destroy the enemy, but few of our units remain. The enemy has opportunity to perform a counterattack with minimal losses in this case.
In both cases we profit nothing. Both we and our enemy received equal experience and equal losses. This how most beginners will learn to play, but it has no potential for long term success.
Attack with retreat.
If we win a local battle we must not allow the enemy to perform a counterattack. Hence, we can retreat for repairs and regrouping. We get bonus in experience and strength in this case. Our new attack will be more powerful with reinforcement units plus survivors from the previous attack. In the next battle we will sustain fewer losses and can then retreat again. The Enemy will loose both experience and money. It becomes a war of attrition in our favor as our enemy will be leveled with larger army sooner or later. Thus, it is better to retreat after successful battle.
- We sustain fewer losses.
- Enemy gets less experience, we get more experience.
- The difference between our army strength and enemy army strength increases continuously. And it increases in our favor.
- Enemy builds his army while we move to his base. The longer we move - the bigger army he has.
- We loss control over the situation and allow enemy to recover when we retreat.
Attack with supply line.
There is yet another way of attacking. We create supply lines of constant inflowing vehicles and infantry. In order to do so, order your factories to build new units and set rally points properly before attack. Build new units at
factories and reset rally points while moving forward. Assign factories to teams to make this process more convenient.
To say, factories can be assigned with Ctrl+7, Ctrl+8, Ctrl+9 and selected quickly with 7,8,9 keys on keyboard. Thus, we get constant reinforcements.
The enemy who lost a local battle must build a new army to defend himself. But our army grows constantly and moves
forward without retreating. He needs to have a large force to defend from it. But large force needs much money and
- All advantages of previous attack method are kept;
- Attack gets a piercing property: our forces move forward after each battle and never retreat;
- This attack is very hard to defend against. It brings victory in the most of cases.
- Supply line is vulnerable: enemy attack from the back can end very sadly;
- Base defense is weakened;
- High risk: whole supply line and whole base is in danger if at least one local battle is lost.
For all generals.
Since Contra has rank system, gaining experience in battle is critical. The one
who gets higher rank faster - wins. This tactics allow to reduce the speed your
enemy gains experience with. It consists in the following. If you see your unit
low on health and it is hopeless to evacuate and repair it - destroy it
yourself. Don't allow enemy to do it.
"One for everybody" team play strategy.
For all generals.
Allies choose the most skillful player
as commander. Then they build up economy and send money to him (Money Drop
ability is available in Supply Center). Commander fights on all fronts and
defends his allies. This strategy is effective because one player gains 5th rank
faster than whole team. When enemy team will get rank 2-3, your commander is at
rank 5. Thus, you invest your money into technological superiority. But this
strategy has one big disadvantage: too high responsibility lies on one player.
If he makes an error - all is lost.
"General Janus" team play strategy.
For all generals.
This strategy is possible if you have Infantry, Nuke or Stealth general in your
team. The gist is to combine multiple technologies with one general. Stealth
general can snipe allied Dozers with Assassin, but can not present his
technologies to allies. Infantry and Nuke generals have neutron shells. They
allow to kill driver in allied Dozer and capture it, or kill driver in your own
Dozer to present it to allies. When enemies see nuclear tank hunters loaded into
infantry general's Helix or tank general's Emperor - they surrender.
And so, we have typical situation. One player builds his defenses around the base of another one. When the opposing player sees it, he usually makes the same error - tries to level that defenses.
And even after first unsuccessful attempt he tries to do it again and again. It is loss.
If you want to exit this situation, you need to understand that enemy can not defend everything and everywhere. He directs all his forces to one defense line, while other places remain
undefended. At first, you need to estimate the situation. If you have noticed Designator or Missile Fire Base building in time and see only a couple of units defending the building site, then just destroy it. But everything becomes different if enemy has strong and fully functional defenses near your base. Do not attack them. Direct your main forces to enemy base and destroy it.
You can lose your own base in such case.
It is nothing bad with it because you go to exchange: he destroys your base, you destroy his base. You must prepare to it beforehand. Build second Command Center far from you base or take a Dozer with you to build up on ashes of enemy base.
This strategy works well on large maps, where you have many exits from you base. It is difficult to implement it on small maps and impossible in such case when you have only one exit from your