TURN TO CHANNEL 3: Difficult and destructive, ‘Super C’ ups the ante of the NES classic
Certainly “Super Mario Bros.,” “The Legend of Zelda,” and “Mega Man” are three of the most well-known key pieces in making the original Nintendo Entertainment System the success that it was, but what about those supporting titles that also carved their own niche in the success of this console and beyond? What about those franchises that are also synonymous with the NES but don’t often get the same spotlight of those aforementioned games?
Well, this month, we are paying tribute to one of those supporting series that would run and gun its way into gaming history – “Contra!”
Today, we begin with “Super Contra” (known simply as “Super C” in North America), so get those big guns ready as we set off to take out alien scum!
“Super C” (NES, 1988)
Continuing their tradition of great tunes in their games, Konami composers cranked out another awesome adrenaline-pumping soundtrack that dare I say may be better than the original “Contra” soundtrack, as blasphemous as that may sound to some gamers.
Accompanying it, of course, is a barrage of bullets, explosions, and everything you’ve come to know and love from the alien wars encompassing this series, and it is near perfection as far as a score for a run and gun game goes.
While not breaking any barriers in terms of originality, as “Super C’s” graphics don’t look much different from its predecessor, there are some subtle details that make the game look a bit less stiff than the original “Contra” on the NES, from the running of your character to the sheer beauty of the spread gun.
The level design is a bit better too. “Super C” has twice the grit and bullet smoke decay of the original. The enemies look good, but the bosses are definitely a highlight here, and it’s all wrapped up with enough explosions to make Michael Bay blush.
Let’s not kid ourselves here – “Super C” also continues the tradition of “Contra” games being NES hard with one-hit kills, and to further up the ante here, you only get 10 lives via code entry, as further help in this regard is restricted to European and Japanese releases of the game only. If that’s not enough, enemies engage you in a much faster speed than the first game, so you definitely have to keep on your toes (and keep your fingers on those buttons!).
That being said, “Super C” also added a bird’s-eye view mode for certain levels, which is definitely a welcome twist to the “Contra” franchise, keeping it fresh and offering a different kind of challenge, so hats off to Konami for that.
Tough as nails, “Super C” will beat you down while offering you the kind of run and gun experience that fans of the genre love. At $12-$15 for a loose copy, it’s an affordable piece of your NES collection, should you be a follower of the franchise or just a lover of great action titles.
Next time on Turn to Channel 3, we head over to the Super Nintendo for its entry into the Contra franchise – “Contra III: The Alien Wars!”
Until then, stay cool, stay dry and, as always, game on!