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The Konami code.
Technically the code is: up up down down left right left right b a and select changed the mode to two players, and then start started the game, but the "[select] start" is generally referred as part of the code. This code is referred to as "The Konami Code", "The Contra Code", or simply "The Code"
The code in the original Contra is Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A [Select] Start. Select is only needed for a two-player game. The code must be entered while the title graphic is scrolling on to the screen, which means you have to enter it quite quickly.
There are 6 ending in total: 4 "regular" endings that you get for following 3 route splits (one at start and then one more split on each branch), a "bad ending" if you agree to join Colonel Bahamut when offered this choice before his boss battle and secret "prehistoric age" ending, if you climb up the wall before Noiman Cascade (the hacker)'s boss room. ...
Most games using the Konami code will have the player input it on the title screen. In the case of Contra, go to the title screen and then enter the code. Push Select before pushing Start to start the game in 2-player mode with 30 lives each.
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