Contra and Gryzor (Amiga)

This summary of yet another lost Amiga conversion comes from contributor, Termie Gen, who talks about the unreleased Gryzor and Contra conversions for the Amiga.


Developed between 1987 and 1988, but never released it seems. Screenshots of an Amiga version found their way onto various print material, including the box art of other home computer versions of the game, shown below.

The September and October 1988 issues of Amiga World magazine make multiple mentions of Contra. They even provide 2 price points for the game, as part of a list of Amiga software that are available through phone or mail order.

Like the DOS and Commodore 64 versions of the game, a putative Amiga Contra would not be developed by Konami themselves, but another company. It could have been handled by a European developer, such as Ocean Software, given the Commodore 64 Contra is simply a North America regional release of Gryzor, also handled by Ocean. This is less likely, however. Interesting side note: Contra for DOS would in turn be released in Europe by Ocean, re-dubbed as Gryzor. Talk about a real mix-up with their conversions.

The fact that a smaller developer house, and not Konami, had likely worked on Amiga Contra means that getting a lead on this title will be much more daunting of a task. Judging by the screenshots, this looks to have been the definitive home computer conversion, graphically at least. It is one that definitely needs to be brought closure. Out of all the home computers that Contra was converted for, the Amiga could have handled Contra the best.


Less concrete information is available for this title than Contra. Most of the references to it are in magazines that advertise or cover the versions of the game from Ocean. It’s possible that this would have been the same case as the DOS version, where the North-American developed Contra was simply renamed to Gryzor when localized to Europe.

The following advertisement is present in many computer magazines, such as ACE and Amstrad Action:


Although focused on Ocean Software’s Gryzor releases, it also mentions that the title is available for PC and Amiga. The latter 2 are even interestingly grouped together and separated from the CPC, Spectrum and Commodore 64 releases.

In their article reviewing the DOS and Commodore 64 versions, German magazine Power Play lists Gryzor as being also available for Amiga (as well as Amstrad CPC and Spectrum):


A less credible reference is/was on a few websites, where they claimed that there is a Gryzor game for Amiga that was developed by Ocean Software and published by Sega. A game such as Gryzor for the Amiga computer would not go unnoticed if Ocean Software was indeed the developer.

An Amiga version of Gryzor could have fared pretty well compared to the other 4 available ones. Perhaps more information about this game may be unearthed if its counterpart, Contra, is recovered first.

Here are some additional scans thanks to Ross Sillifant – suggesting that Gryzor was not going to be outsourced.

36 Responses to Contra and Gryzor (Amiga)

  1. Here’s a thought about a lead on Contra. I don’t remember if I ever brought this up in the past. One of the ads I included in my old write-up above advertises 4 Amiga titles, including Contra: Jackal, Boot Camp and Rush N Attack. All 4 of these were cancelled. We know that waning Amiga sales wasn’t really the reason Contra (or these other titles) was cancelled, as Super C then wound up being released on Amiga, 3 years later in 1990. These 4 Amiga games all have in common that they’re earlier Konami titles for Amiga (1987 and earlier).

    Could these have been assigned to a particular developer and for whatever reason, that fell through (like that company going under or something), resulting in these games being cancelled? That would broaden the net for trying to get answers as it would be 1 company commonly handling these 4 games. Finding developers to one of these games would mean finding the developers to the other 3.

    I think Metal Gear may also be able to be lumped in with the above 4. Metal Gear itself being 1987. The DOS and C64 versions came out later, in 1990, sure. But they were handled by USI and Banana Development, and we could also make the case that Konami went to other developers such as USI after their initial Amiga developer contracts fell through (I mean, Super C itself was handled by DSI/USI for DOS and Amiga, in 1990). So it might be possible that Metal Gear for Amiga was also assigned to the developer who was supposed to handle the above 4. Hence it being canned, too.

    • Hi Termie Gen – it is plausible that all 4 could have been signed to one company. I had spoken with Kris Hatlelid, and he did think that they had done the Amiga version of Metal Gear at least, and suggested contacting Colin Fox and Bruce Dawson. Bruce had never heard of it, and I wasn’t able to find Colin. Same group could have been involved with those titles, so i’ve asked Kris again about those ones – but I don’t think we’ll get anything definitive.

      How about a company like Quicksilver Software, who did a number of Data East conversion on the C64? It feels like it was an American company like this that could have been behind the conversions, similar to Banana Developments. Or even a company that focused on business software and decided to branch out into software briefly. There were a few odd cases of this for some C64 titles that were cancelled, and the company subsequently disappeared or just went back to business software.

      • Kris has confirmed that he recalls getting tangled up working on Rush n Attack. So it seems that Distinctive Software, Inc could well have been doing the whole suite of games. I’ve asked Kris if he has any idea why all of the titles may have got scrapped (but not Super C a few years later). So this is the route to start with for now, finding some of the devs from the company from around that time.

        • Some really interesting developments! Thanks a lot for following up with this information. Looking forward to any possible updates with it, and hoping for some interesting discoveries to be dug up down the line.

          I agree that the developers to these Amiga conversions are likely based in North America. I used to think if Contra is found, Gryzor might be, too. Except it would most likely just be a title-changed localization of Contra; that would have only happened if the game was released in the first place. It’s what happened with Contra DOS. Ocean Software received the DOS version for them to change text to Gryzor. But they don’t recall ever receiving an Amiga build of it.

          • No worries. I’ve reached out to a few people who worked there, so i’ll see what can be found out. I’ll do a page update once there is something significant to add.

          • Just waiting on some further input, though its been suggested to get in touch with Peter Pavich, who arranged conversions from Konami. Done some initial searches without any joy yet.

  2. There are here some what were advertised but unreleased, why they not added?:

    1-BOOT CAMP for PC.

    2-BOOT CAMP for amiga (colorful screenshot but the time charset is biggest than arcade, and neighter doesn’t mismatch location, neighter “Hi-Score” charset.)

    3-RUSH’N ATTACK for amiga (colorful screenshot the green beret looks like too big, there are an enemy whit an white (shirt?), the barrels green barrels are too weight, the flametrower line fire is higher than arcade, it seems there are not an extra gfx like commodore64 when the player shots secondary weapon).

    4-JACKAL for amiga (poor in colours -grey/greenish- but the POW gfx indicator are in almost the same vertical line than charset “1UP”, in he arcade their are a bit more separated about three charsets maybe?).

    • Thanks mt237. No particular reason they haven’t been added, apart from that I just hadn’t checked the released status of the other titles at the time. There’s always going to be cases of games not covered on the site, as its just myself doing the updates. I’ll add to the backlog though to get some pages up on each of the games, so thanks for flagging up! :)

  3. By the time of Batman Returns, Konami seemed back to using UK developers…

    initally RAGE, but by time Konami got themselves sorted out, they were too busy with other contract went to Denton Designs…

    Konami seemed keen game wasn’t in similar vien to Ocean’s Batman The Movie, released some years earlier, so here at least they did seem to show they at least kept an eye on Amiga scene.

    I’m starting to realise there is simply so much about Konami and it’s games on C64/Amiga yet to be discovered.

    It also appears they had bought the rights to produce Home Micro versions of games based on the ANIMATED version of Batman, but did nothing with it.

    Bit off track, but just another part of greater puzzle regarding Konami’s home micro development i guess…

    • Heh, I wish Konami would have kept a better eye on the Amiga scene. Personally, just from what I’ve seen with many of their other home conversions, it doesn’t seem like they actually cared what products were churned out to bring their titles to home computers.

      Metal Gear on Commodore 64 is fatally bugged, making it unplayable without cracking it; Metal Gear on DOS is full of bugs/glitches, including a fatal one that prevents it from being completed without cheating. The North American release of TMNT for DOS is also impossible to beat without cheating due to the sewer gap segment. Contra for DOS, while conquerable, pretty much requires cheating due to being highly unbalanced. Super C for Amiga was… yeah. Plus, lots of people complained about the Amiga version of Castlevania, and the other home computer versions to lesser extents. I’m sure the problems don’t end with just these titles.

      On a related note, I got Foster Hall’s contact again, though it’s his eBay account. I’m trying to get a follow-up on his word about Amiga Contra, as well as Amiga Super C’s development backstory. Unfortunately, he has not responded. If you may be interested, I can provide it in case you might consider taking a shot, yourself.

  4. The other name it might be worth looking into…

    John Brandwood who did the CPC coding of Gryzor…

    I’ve seen comments in a WIP look at CPC version talk of Konami having very little involvement…

    Ocean’s new ST based development system, which would of made 8 bit to 16 bit conversions a lot easier etc….

    Never know, might be worth looking into?.

    • Unfortunately, I think this lead would be a dead-end. Going by what Mark R Jones has stated over the years, there has never been any work or talk of an Amiga version of Gryzor in terms of in-house work; he has seen all 4 of the known conversions as they were being worked on at the software house.

      The thing about Amiga Gryzor is that it would have been the same deal as DOS Gryzor; that is, just a localization of North America’s Contra. Except DOS Contra was released in North America, whereas Amiga Contra was not. I strongly believe an Amiga version would have been handled by a North American developer, so we’d need to look out west. The only lead I have is Banana Development employees. They handled Contra and Metal Gear for DOS; plus, the coder of the latter had even stated that he was at one point tasked with working on the Amiga version of Metal Gear, which never came to be.

      On a minor tangent, I wonder which company localized the Commodore 64 conversion for North America.

  5. What’s the story with Konami and home Micro conversions?

    Around time of 8-bit conversions of things like Jailbreak and Nemesis, they no longer handed out rights to others to convert, or so i’m told…instead they used:

    Nemesis Management Consultants (NMC), who were run by:

    Mike Daniels and Farah Jones of Global Software?

    Probably compelete wild card in terms of leads, but might be worth a shot trying to find these pair, see what they know, as they were supposedly tasked with finding the right coders and over seeing conversions, as Konami were apparently ‘concerned’ standards were met….

    Having seen C64 Jailbreak etc i find that hard to believe, but thought i’d throw these 2 names out..

    • Hi Ross Sillifant,

      I find this very hard to believe. Going by the 2 titles you mentioned, they predate Contra/Gryzor, and lots of other games of Konami that were converted to home Micros by various companies. Plus, the Ocean-based conversions were developed entirely in-house, with next to no direction from Konami (or any kind of external supervision for that matter). I think Konami placed NMC in charge of overlooking only a small subset of their games that were converted, if they were even actually involved at all; based on the end results, I’m sure they didn’t exactly do a good job there.

      • Yep, i’ve seen them listed on adverts for titles like Iron Horse on C64 (which wasn’t anything great), Jackal…which had Atari 800 version listed, but i doubt was ever started, etc.

        They do seem 8 bit era and more distrubution based than anything else.

        Trouble with UK Press coverage of Konami titles, you get so many mixed views on who did what at times.

  6. :-)

    I can answer what became of U.S Gold’s Nightmare On Elm Street Game…

    According to Danielle Woodyatt, it was always something of an on/off project wirthin US Gold, by the time the licence had expired, she revealed the issue with basing a game on the film, was that the agr group of those old enough to see the film, differed from that of the age group the game was aimed at, so project was abandoned.

    Hope this clears this one up?.

  7. Never mind about Gryzor…. I’m more interested in seeing any remnants of the U.S. Gold version of A Nightmare On Elm Street! Does anyone have a screenshot or anything of this unknown attempt at a licensed game?

    • Why not do some research and see what you can pull up :)

      Incidentally, US Gold published a PC DOS compilation containing 4 Ocean Software developed/localized games including… Gryzor. This compilation is incredibly rare, just like the DOS version of Gryzor itself.

    • It’s believed the game would of been an arcade adventure with you avoiding Freddy in his many dreamworlds.

  8. While looking for information about the DOS version of Metal Gear, I came across a developer commentary from Charles Earnst, who converted the DOS version (scroll down a bit). As you can see there, Earnst was under the employment of Banana Development Inc, the company that also made Contra for DOS. On top of that, he states in that commentary that was Banana Development was also given the responsibility of creating Metal Gear for Amiga, which ultimately ended up cancelled.

    I feel like this is another lead; could it be possible that, like Metal Gear, Banana Development was also responsible for Amiga Contra that never came to be?

  9. Hehehe, on the Spectrum I had a 8-in-1 compilation box called The In Crowd and hated how my Gryzor looked nothing like the one on the back of the box, which would usually be from an Amstrad!

    It would have looked pretty sweet on an Amiga.

  10. Looking at C.U’s “Gone, But Not Forgotten”,Feature….

    They mention Ocean’s Combat School, Renegade and Gryzor, saying only Renegade made it out and that was for Export Overseas only.

    And regarding the other 2?

    “….and Ocean’s Gary Bracey admits that Combat School and Gryzor were never farmed out”.

    No idea how valid the claim is, UK Press has made plenty up in past, leading to many a false goose chase, but thought i’d add it.

    • Excellent find! I don’t doubt the legitimacy of the information in that CU article; Amiga Gryzor has not been released, 99% chance. One thing to take into consideration is that since there was no recollection of anyone from Ocean working on an Amiga version (according to Mark R Jones), they were definitely never tasked with actually developing it from the ground up.

      It is the same deal as with DOS Contra. Banana Development Inc developed the DOS conversion of Contra and it was released in North America. When it was localized to Europe, it was handed over to Ocean Software to rename it to Gryzor (and make a few other minor changes) and put their name all over it. Because Amiga Contra was never released, Ocean was never given the task of renaming it to Gryzor for Europe.

      Interesting side note: Steve Merrett, who wrote this article, currently runs a secondary PR company for Konami, who of course created the original Contra.

      • It’d be nice to have Gary confirm the quote,as Edge has falsely quoted Psygnosis talking about having a Jaguar development system and Harrying Holmwood,making out he was a Ninja Sega Saturn coder..he never touched the Saturn…

        But I doubt Gary would remember much, but thought I’d forward the article on.

        It does seem to tie in with info the ex-ocean coders have said which gives it credibility.

        • Unfortunately true, he might not remember much if anything about these projects. He moved on from Ocean in 1994, over 20 years ago, and that’s even more years from the quote.

          But regardless of that, I’d say Mark R Jones’ word is pretty solid, too. He was more closely involved in the development of the Spectrum version and had firsthand witnessed and experienced the other 3 while they were WIP; he’s still in the community with material from those days.

          Anyway, I think the effort should be focused on the Contra version; it would have started with that one.

          Here’s another really interesting aspect that highlights Contra being unreleased on Amiga. Notice how the manual for DOS Contra is the exact same as for C64 Contra. In fact, the manual includes loading and playing instructions for both; this is true for several other Konami games that are available on multiple home computers (and that includes Contra’s sequel, Super C, where the manual for the Amiga version is also for the DOS one). Anyway, there are no instructions for an Amiga version.

  11. Looking into lost Atari games over the years I’ve seen a good deal of confusion crop up at times regarding formats listed online by people who once worked on them..

    Jaguar and Panther get mixed up, people cannot remember differences between the STFM STE and Falcon.

    Unreleased Jaguar and Lynx games listed as released and released as unreleased..

    So it’s possible Amiga has been listed in error.

    Also there’s a ex-Core Design coder who lists ST Chuck Rock 2 on his C.V but despite a lot of leads looked at nothings come of it.

    So best of luck with these, it’s a long,frustrating process at times.

    • I suspect more and more that’s all it really was all along; because now a new bit of info puts a dead-end to this lead I had.

      That geocities INDEX page I linked is not a list of games that person owns/owned, but rather a non-exhaustive list of BPjM indexed games. Don’t you just hate language barriers? Part of that list, including the Gryzor bit, was likely taken from the same source as lists I found on various old forum posts (2001-2003). They seem to have to have retrieved it from official documentation.

      Back to square one, I guess. Still, I’m not giving up on this front. There must be someone with a finished/near finished build of either game out there.

  12. Yesterday, I stumbled on a tremendously old Geocities page that was run by a gamer/game collector from Germany (NSFW Warning):

    Go to the INDEX section through the left side bar and scroll down; you’ll find that this person stated to have owned a Gryzor for Amiga. Also posted there is that it was by Ocean; this is at least consistent with my hypothesis that even if Ocean didn’t develop an Amiga version, they would have been responsible for its localization to Europe and their label would be all over the game and its packaging. This person could have mistakenly classified it as an Amiga title when he actually meant PC, but this is not certain.

    It is also worth noting that the only known copy of the DOS version of Gryzor originated in Germany. Additionally, it was stated in a German magazine that Gryzor is also available for Amiga.

    While none of this is solid, I think the most important thing is to track down and get in contact with the individual who ran that web site.

      • I was thinking similarly that they accidentally put Amiga there instead of DOS. Who knows, I’m just hoping something will shake loose.

        I find it funny that absolutely none of the print material for the home computer Contra games in North America (DOS and C64) show actual screenshots of those versions, and instead use ones of a separate, unreleased version (Amiga). The localization team(s) must not have been proud of those two versions’ displays. Meanwhile, this wasn’t the case in Europe/Australia.

  13. More likely you need to track down folks from Ultra Games:

    They did things like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the Amiga and were supposed to be coding Amiga Metal Gear…

    Foster Hall, programmer of Contra sequel Super C, in conversation with the HOL September 2008: “I vaguely remember that, that game was in development,(Contra) but then Konami pulled all games for the Amiga, as at that time [in the US], sales of the Amiga were waning.”

    You can also try and find:James Anderson, Konami USA Product Planning Manager

    • Foster Hall’s comment doesn’t really add up with respect to the chronology of the 2 games (Contra and Super C). Contra is the predecessor and its Amiga conversion was under development before Super C. It would have seen a release on the Amiga at any point in 1988, latest in 1989; bottom line is it would have been released before Super C. How could Contra, and all other Konami titles on that computer, have been pulled in 1987/1988 due to waning Amiga sales if Super C on the same computer saw a 1990 release? It also doesn’t match up with all the other Konami titles released on the Amiga post-1988. If Konami pulled any of their titles on the computer, it had to have been after Super C and definitely way after Contra should have been released.

      The problem with contacting James Anderson is that he started with Konami in 1999, 9 years after Super C and around 11 after Contra. More than likely the company faced major restructuring and consolidation by then; additionally, Konami’s main involvement with home computer versions was slapping their name on its packaging and credits. So this kind of information would not have been kept or at least accessible. Most importantly, he’s no longer with Konami and would not have been able to take any records or information with him when he left.

      The DOS version of Contra was developed by Banana Development Inc, a really obscure game company. Unfortunately, finding out which house handled the Amiga conversion could be a nightmare of a task if it was just as obscure; and it would involve trial and error. My personal biggest hope is if one of its devs happens upon one of our articles on these Contra games and can help finally release the game.

  14. There have been a number of lost arcade conversions to the ST and Amiga..

    Green Beret was supposed to be in development for the ST, then you’ve SNK’S Guerilla War which was supposed to of been sub contracted by Ocean France to Prestasoft..

    Might be worth trying to contact likes of Alain Devitte and Philippe Dessoly to see if they were ever approached?

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