By Konami NES 1990

Review by Luke O'Sullivan


And, as well as being a gaming saviour, the NES was the home to a large number of great games. Two genres seemingly dominated the NES's software library: platformers like Super Mario, Bubble Bobble and Castlevania, and shoot-em-ups like Gradius, Salamander and Contra. Perhaps this was largely due to the suitability of platformers and shooters to the world of 2D (something the NES excelled in). At any rate, regardless of the reason for the popularity of shooters at the time, one thing is certain: the shooters available on the NES were ground breaking, and highly enjoyable.

One of the masters of the NES shoot-em-up was Konami. They created the hugely popular Gradius and Salamander games, and also the legendary platform shooter Contra. Following the success of the first Contra game on the NES and in the arcades, Konami soon went to work creating a sequel. That sequel is Super C. It provides a greater challenge, and better level design than the original Contra. And as well as being a better game, it also managed to help boost Contra's popularity further.

One quick warning on Super C: If you don't have quick reflexes or plenty of caffeine to fuel your gaming, you may find Super C pretty hard to play. It's a game with a high difficulty level, not unlike Irem's classic shooter
R-Type. In other words, it's BLOODY HARD! Fear not, though. With plenty of practice, it's possible to master the gameplay, and memorise the levels sufficiently enough to kill the Red Falcon, and complete the game. Just be prepared to swear a lot if you're not a seasoned gamer..

The majority of Super C's gameplay is traditional side-scrolling stuff, with the odd vertically scrolling overhead level in the vein of Ikari Warriors to add some variety. The pace of the game is pretty manic and unrelenting, but thankfully the controls are extremely tight and respsonsive, giving you a fighting chance. One neat feature Super C has, and which many of its more recent imitators (
Metal Slug etc) lack, is the ability
to fire your gun in all 8 directions, even while jumping. It's important to master utilising this ability, because it means you can jump to dodge enemy fire, while simultaneously taking out the bad guy responsible. And when the going gets tough later in the game, the more of an edge you pack, the better...

The graphics in Super C are great by 8-bit standards. The heroes are smoothly animated, as are their adversaries, and the characters and backgrounds all show great attention to detail in their construction. As the game progresses, the environments you traverse get a little weirder (think fleshy alien "walls" and "floors", and mouths trying to spit acid at you), but they still look very cool and help maintain the creepy atmosphere Konami attempted to create in the Contra series. The bosses are also a graphical highlight - they're big, they're bad, and they're detailed and smooth moving. All in all, Super C is a graphical tour-de-force by NES standards.

Sonically, Super C is also a masterpiece. The soundtrack resounds with techno and rock beats that keep your adrenaline pumping, and your senses on edge. I found myself humming the tunes from the game long after I finished playing it. That is as good a sign as any that Super C's soundtrack kicks ass! The sound effects are the usual PCM generated grunts and explosions we are used to hearing from the NES, and although they aren't anything amazing, they get the job done. The excellent and highly atmoshperic music more than makes up for the mediocre sound effects anyway, so there's no real reason to complain about Super C's audio at the end of the day. The soundtrack is great, and the SFX get the job done, and that's what matters.

All in all, Super C is one of the all-time classic NES shooters. It betters it's predecessor, Contra, in all respects, and gets a big thumbs up from yours truly. It's truly one of Konami's best games of all time, and provides a hefty clallenge, so it's a must-play for shooter fans. It's just a pity the Contra series seems to have died recently (mainly due to the original Contra development team leaving Konami to form Treasure), because if Konami could keep the series going, it would probably not have lost as much credibility with hardcore gamers as it has over the last few years...

Remember Konami: Contra: Legacy Of War and C: The Contra Adventure do NOT constitute true Contra gameplay. Either get it right, or leave the series to rest in peace. No Contra at all is still better than sub-standard trash that just belittles the reputation the series once had as a classic game! Understand?!?

At any rate, despite the Contra series now being seemingly well and truly dead, it's still possible to replay the original Contra trilogy on the NES and SNES and have a DAMN good time. Super C is just how Contra SHOULD be. A tightly executed piece of 2D wizardry, not some lousy 3D hunk of trash which reeks of sheer developmental incompetence. The former Contra team are gaming geniuses, and games like Super C will demonstrate just why that's so...

Track yourself down a copy of Super C and a working NES and try it out for yourself. If you're a shooter fan, you're bound to fall in love with Contra's classic gameplay style. And, even if you've never played a shooter before, Contra is still a fun game to play, and may just be the game that converts you into a shoot-em-up fanatic...

SUPER C scores a 5/5 rating from yours truly, and is a definite must-play! Play it. Play it now!!!

Score out of 5

Luke O'Sullivan

Luke is the webmaster of
Ox Man's Probotector Base
Tres excellent review.. thanks Luke! As Luke said NES Cuper Contra is definitely one of the highlights of the series - and anyone who ever had the privilege of playing the arcade game (you can also try it in the MAME emulator) will realise what a good version it is. Another one of my favourites is Contra Hard Corps on the Megadrive/Genesis (It was renamed Probotector in Europe). Contra 3 (aka Contra: The Alien Wars or Super Probotector) wasn't quite as good as the latter I think, but still a darn sight better than the awful Legacy of War travesty on Playstation. How about a new 'proper' 2D Contra Konami?! Mike

Super Contra, also known as Contra 2 (and best known to Europeans in its roboticised incarnation of Probotector 2) was one of Konami's finest hours on the NES..

Long before the days of 3D graphics and texture mapping, gamers played games via a rather wonderful console called the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The NES was the system which actually managed to be largely responsible for saving the gaming industry, following the financial disaster which faced many gaming companies as the golden age of gaming drew to a close. The NES brought gamers a powerful (for the time) system, and inventive games. This managed to revive the interest of many gamers who had tired of the glut of mediocre games that had ultimately desroyed the once-popular Atari 2600 (Pac-Man or ET, anyone?)

(Above) The title screen is probably the
most sedate part of Super C...

(Above) The Contra soldier is dropped into enemy
territory, completely oblivious as to what awaits him.
"Bring it on!" he naively yells.


An evil alien entity called the Red Falcon landed
on Earth, and had attempted to conquer Earth by utilising alien minions and robotic war machines to
kill anyone who opposed it. Two marines were
sent in to stop the Red Falcon, by striking at its
South American island base, and were successful
in defeating the Red Falcon and its forces. Or, at
least they thought so...

The Red Falcon had actually been merely wounded
in the attack, and after it had healed itself, it
concocted a new plan for world domination. It
called on its galactic allies, and together they took
mental control of US army forces, using a mind-
altering chemical agent
. The Red Falcon gained
control of these US soldiers, and then began its
second campaign toward conquering the planet Earth.

The marines responsible for destroying the Red Falcon's previous form were called back to active duty, and flown into the Red Falcon's base by Helicopter, with one single order: destroy the Red Falcon and its forces, once and for all. You take control of these marines, and guide them through 8 levels of frantic and challenging side-scrolling mayhem in their quest to kill the evil alien warlord and end its reign of destruction.

(Above) A soldier under the Red Falcon's control tries to
avoid fire by hiding behind sandbags. Too bad for him
that I can just shoot straight through them..

The Level 1 boss: an army helicopter. It hovers overhead,
firing down at you with its machine guns, before landing
briefly to throw enemy soldiers at you, and then becoming
airborne again. The helicopter isn't that hard to beat, so
use it as target practice before things get harder.

(Above) Level 2 is an overhead, upward scrolling affair,
resembling Gunsmoke and Mercs - two classic Capcom
shooters. The first big nuisance to show up is the level
boss: a tank armed with three gunners, and a bizarre
cattle-prod. Shoot at it from the side, where you are less
likely to be hit by incoming bullets. (Looks a bit like
SMASH TV here eh? Mike)

(Above) Level 3 sees you take to the jungle for a bit of
guerrilla warfare. Soldiers attempt to take you out from
above, as they are often hiding in trees. A bit of jumping at
upward shooting at the right time, and they'll be biting
the dust before you know it.

Level 3 mid-boss: A cable TV satelite...with guns, and
legs. Shoot at his torso, and when he attempts to stomp
you, jump on top of him. Repeat this tactic to toastify
Mr. Satelite Dish. (Hey I remember this chap
being in Contra Hard Corps! - Mike).

The Level 4 final boss: A nasty sod resembling an old US Army supercomputer. Best thing to do is pull out the power cord, and laugh as it loses all ability to function. Or, alternatively, just blow the crap out of it...

Forward to Page 2 of Luke's Super Contra Wlakthrough..

Super Contra Midis:

Stage 1
Stage 3

Don't forgot to take a peek at Luke's
Contra/Probotector website:
Probotector Base!

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