|Publisher & Designer:||Konami|
|Release Date:||April 1990|
|Genre:||Action...and lots of it!!|
|Players:||1 or 2|
Super C was everything I could have hoped for from the sequel to a game as beloved and revered as Contra. Featuring nearly identical gameplay along with the same high-octane graphics and music that made the original game such a winner, Super C is yet another fantastic performance by Konami. If you love classic action games, you simply can't go wrong with Super C!
Overview: Although there is certainly room for argument, many classic gamers feel that 1990 was the pinnacle for the NES in terms of the overall quality of the games being released. After all, this particular year got to witness the release of classic, vintage games such as Batman, Crystalis, Super Mario Bros. 3, Mega Man 3, Little Nemo: The Dream Master, and Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers among others. Another game that really made the year 1990 a special one for NES fans was undoubtedly Super C. Although Mario and Mega Man were at the forefront of my nine-year old mind back then, Super C definitely caught my eye as well. I, like many young gamers who grew up during this era, absolutely adored the first Contra game and couldn't get enough of the non-stop action and challenging (yet satisfying!) gameplay. I remember looking through the pages of my May/June 1990 issue of Nintendo Power magazine and just being enthralled with the awe-inspiring screenshots of Super C in that issue's in-depth review. I simply had to play this game!
Unfortunately, it would take some time to get that chance because, as many of my closest friends know, I had fairly strict parents growing up. Much to my shagrin, they weren't really big on Konami games...particularly ones such as Contra and Life Force due to the skull/demon/monster-like bosses that you would face throughout the course of the game (this is a true story by the way!). Anything that looked truly evil was frowned upon back then. I can understand my parents being the way that they were but it was still frustrating and it definitely kept me from playing a lot of games that I really wanted to play.
Overprotective parents aside, I finally got a chance to play Super C in 1991-ish thanks to a few of my friends in Tennessee (Ryan and Nolan Smith if you guys are reading this review!) owning the game! And the wait and eager anticipation was worth it because Super C is every bit as amazing and fun as its predecessor. The fast-paced, frantic gameplay was somehow even more action-packed and challenging and the variety in terms of layout and level design was impressive...just like the original game. Other than minor improvements, Konami didn't really change a whole lot of things in this game other than including a more potent arsenal of weapons (the fire weapon in particular was vastly upgraded/improved in Super C) and eliminating the 30 man code that we all loved and replacing it with the lesser 10 man code. It's pretty safe to say that if you played the original Contra game, you know exactly what to expect in Super C.
Graphics: Konami really seemed to hit their stride around 1988/89 in terms of maximizing the potential of the NES. Contra, Life Force...even Blades of Steel really dazzled in the graphics department. And Super C...my goodness...Super C...what an amazing game this is from a visual standpoint! If you enjoy incredibly detailed, colorful, eye-popping graphics in the old 8-bit style, you can't do much better than this! I loved the graphics in this game as a kid and I still do today. And as much as I love the visuals found in the original Contra game, I think that Super C might actually be more impressive in this department! The attention to detail and overall polish is outstanding and was without a doubt one of Konami's finest efforts. From the electrifying effects of the rockin' opening stage to the vivacious jungle area of Stage 3, Super C razzles and dazzles...Rambo style.
In addition to impressive visuals throughout the game's eight stages, the bosses are equally detailed and vicious! If you enjoyed facing the big, intimidating bosses in Contra, you'll feel right at home in Super C. Some of the bosses in this game (notably the Stage 6, 7, and 8 baddies) are truly terrifying for the NES...which fits the mood of this game perfectly! It is pretty safe to say that no one was disappointed with the visuals laced throughout Super C.
Music: Konami always did have a penchant for composing top-notch music in their games and Super C is certainly no exception to the rule. High-octane and rocking with that good old Konami beat, Super C is yet another impressive auditory performance. It isn't necessarily a great stand-alone soundtrack and it may not be quite as memorable or catchy as the original Contra game in this regard, but it is anything but chopped liver. Right from the flashy helicopter intro in Stage 1 all the way threw Red Falcon's lair in Stage 8, Super C features plenty of adrenaline-pumping music with some of the best percussion/bass sounds you will ever hear from an NES game. Konami in particular seemed to really have a good handle on the NES' percussion capabilities (extremely limited compared to other musical instruments/elements) and Super C exemplifies this in spades.
As good as it is, however, Super C certainly does not feature a platinum, triple-A soundtrack. Arguably none of the tracks in this game are as catchy or memorable as the Stage 1 and 2 themes from the original Contra game and it is possible that zero of the Super C tracks will stick in your head even after multiple playthroughs. However, the strength of Super C's soundtrack is the fantastic atmosphere that it gives the game. Stage 1 is high-octane and jumpstarts the game with lightning flashes, explosions, and a strong stage theme to match! The more subdued jungle track (Stage 3) blended in perfectly with possibly the best stage in the game while the final stage (Stage 8) featured a much better, epic track than that found in Contra (although the classic suspenseful feel of Contra's Stage 8 theme might appeal to some of you more than myself).
In addition to adrenaline-pumping music, the sound effects throughout Super C are equally superb! Flashy with plenty of oomph and razzle-dazzle, Super C is definitely what you call a "man's game." All of the weapons sound great (Once again, you've gotta love the new fire weapon.) and there are more than enough explosions to please even diehard action gamers here.
Play Control: One of the real strengths of the Contra series has always been the intuitive play control. Being able to shoot in virtually all directions (up, down, left, right, and diagonally) was a fantastic idea and constantly attempting to maximize the potential of all of the various weapons never gets old. Being able to drop onto lower ledges by pressing Down + A is handy in a pinch as well. Like with all great action games, Super C's controls are easy to learn yet are diverse enough and varied enough to keep the game from ever getting too repetitive and/or boring.
Challenge: Just like its predecessor, Super C is one tough son-of-a-gun to beat! The first time I played it, I had a devil of a time just getting halfway through the game and unlike the first Contra game, there is no 30 man code to save the day this time around. Thankfully, a 10 man code does exist but the difference between 10 lives and 30 is pretty immense so don't expect an easy ride in Super C.
Personally, I feel like Super C's difficulty is probably slightly higher than the original Contra game. Both games are pretty challenging if you play them straight up but Super C has a few areas (particularly the cheap sections in Stage 6 where the eyeballs/teeth can randomly appear on top of your guy and kill him) that are probably more difficult than anything the original game had to offer (although Stages 6 & 7 from the original game are making me second-guess myself a little bit). It also seems like enemies pop out from the left and right sides of the screen more often in Super C but that could just be me.
In terms of replay value/lasting appeal, Super C scores about as well as an action game could. It is a straightforward, linear game without any secrets to discover but the gameplay is simply so good that I can never get enough! If you enjoy this classic style of video game, you could literally play this game over and over and over again and never really get tired of it. This is especially the case if you happen to have a friend nearby and can play the game with two players (which in all honesty is how Contra games are meant to be played).
Storyline: I don't know how the rest of you feel but personally, I absolutely had a blast reading through the manuals to Konami games. They always seemed to be so fun and creative and, while the storylines would typically have a desperate/bleak feel, the good-natured humor would always lighten things up a bit. Kudos to whoever wrote the manuals because they literally made reading a video game manual exciting stuff!
As far as Super C's background story goes, this game takes place shortly after the first Contra game. After managing to defeat the vile Red Falcon, the humbled nemesis of all things good and sweet apparently retreated to the far (and dark) reaches of the universe in the hope of building an even stronger army/force than before. The manual to Super C describes this in great detail which was really cool and fun to read as so many notorious villains from the darkness join Red Falcon during this go-round.
It isn't terribly original for sure but it sure is a lot of fun to read! And it does set the stage for a truly fantastic video game. Without the background story, the Contra series just wouldn't be the same. Thank you Red Falcon for being such a menace so that we can take you down time and time again!
Funfactor: No surprise here...Super C is a really fun video game! Konami had to know that they had something really special with the Contra franchise because they decided to keep pretty much everything intact for the sequel. This was a safe move for sure but a smart one as well. The graphics are slightly better, the play control feels even more polished, and the special weapons are definitely improved in Super C. If you thoroughly enjoyed the original Contra game, I strongly recommend that you play the sequel! And like Contra, Super C is simply a godsend for two gamers looking for something to play together. This game was meant for two players so pull a friend or family member aside and fire up the game already!
Negatives: Ironically, not including the classic 30 man code might have been one of the few mistakes that Konami made in Super C. Even though beating the game with 10 or even 3 men isn't impossibly hard, the accessibility of Super C isn't quite as high as the original game for this reason. You don't want to make any game too easy but Super C might be the exception to the rule.
And while the music in Super C is very enjoyable and fits the mood of the game very well, I honestly think that the original Contra soundtrack is much more memorable for some reason. Super C probably has the better soundtrack in terms of quality and atmosphere but Contra's classic tunes just stick in my head so much better. It is an oddity for sure.
Ratings: Graphics: 4.7 Music: 4.3 Play Control: 4.6 Challenge: 4.3 Storyline: 4.0 Funfactor: 4.7 Overall Score: 26.6 out of 30.0 Overall Rating: Silver Stud!
Back to NES NostalgiaLast Updated: November 23, 2011