Lukas' Super Contra Review
A bit too much button mashing
Much like the first game
Game title isn't exactly the best (Super C?)
Contra made a huge impact on the NES with its amazing run and gun gameplay style. So big of impact, that Konami decided to make a sequel to it. Good move, too, because all in all, this is a very, very good sequel. Everything from the last game has been improved, well, almost everything. Most guns still require a lot of button mashing. And most levels require you to die a lot just to know how to get through them without dying at all to finish the game. Also, Super C is far from a good title. I mean, this isn't going to get games off the shelves. There wasn't any internet back then to look up what the C in Super C meant, so...bad move, Konami. But we'll look past it.
When you start up the game, you'll be treated to a screen similar to that of Contra's, just without the main guys on it. There's still an option of just playing either a 1 or 2 player game. Much like with Contra, if you plan on playing a 1 player game, prepare to die often, because you will. More often than in Contra, because Super Contra seems to have doubled the amount of enemies. 2 player mode might now be a challenge as well, because of the insane amounts of enemies. Oh well, let's start up this game!
You'll land down from a chopper to a destroyed city infested with soldiers. Soldiers who are all against you! Most, if not, all of your enemies, will come out of the sides, or just out of nowhere, to kill you.
Just like the game before it, Super Contra plays extremely well. Very fluent sprite animations, responsive and easy to memorize controls (well then again, there was only the D-pad, A, B, Select and Start buttons back in the NES days, while we got three or four times the amount of controls), and if you thought the last game had lots of enemies, keep dreaming. This game has about twice the amount of enemies the last game had. As you scroll from left to right, you'll see some flying football objects which you should shoot down, as they have upgrades. They're mostly the same as in the last game, with the Machine Gun (M), Spray Gun (S), Laser (L), and Rapid Fire (R), but the Fireball Gun (F) gets a bit of a makeover. Instead of being something slow that goes round and round, it's fast, heads forward and causes a fair bit of damage around where it explodes. Woah! So yeah, collect the upgrades as you go, while killing some enemies. Then you'll be destroying a hellicopter (first boss), starting with the turrets, then this... energy core thing. Once done, you head on over to a base.
The second level (and another, can't quite remember) have overhead views...like not entirely over your head, but not right behind you either. At first, the controls might not be of your style, but you'll eventually get used to it. This takes advantage of the fact that the d-pad can go 8 ways.
The other levels play like Contra does. Scroll from left to right, while shooting down a whole lot of enemies. Really though, I think there's just too many enemies to count, and they just keep coming. Some, such as the sort of soldiers that gun you down or the snipers in the treetops/rooftops, can get on your nerves as they come out of nowhere to get in a cheap shot and kill you. Just be aware of them and shoot them before they shoot you. Of course, aliens will add to the onslaught, and become the onslaught, after a few levels. The worst part of it all is that you only have 3 lives and 3 continues, and one hit kills you, so you have to be careful not to get shot or rushed into by enemies. Which means you'll need to be quick with your gun and moving skills.
But really, Super Contra is pretty much Contra, just improved in many areas and with more enemies. The aliens are introduced earlier in the game (original had one as a boss in Level 3 and the first lot in Level 7, this one has its first lot come in on Level 4) and the whole thing itself is harder, and the bullets are easier to see so you can dodge them, but still, this is quite similar to the original. I would normally have a problem with this, but since Contra was (and still is) such a great game, Super Contra, by default, must be a great game too!
You think with this high increase in difficulty, they'd keep the 30 lives code for those just starting out, right? Wrong! Instead, they changed the button combination, and it's now 10 lives instead of 30. So now even with this code, you can't really slack off and expect to finish this game lickity split. The button combination? Check the title of this reivew (if you're playing 2 player, replace start with select for the code input, though I wouldn't know why you would, 2 players is a lot like having 10 lives and 3 continues, just that its 2 VS 2,222,222 instead of 1 VS 2,222,222).
Overall, this game is an improvement over the original Contra, although much harder.
Like with the original, you have left-to-right gun and run gameplay, just extremely hard at that. And there is not one time where you are without enemies. You can't even sneeze without an army coming towards you, but the fun of it is gunning them down. Two levels have an overhead view and it's kind of awkward to start with, but you will adjust quickly. However, the main problem is just that there might be too many enemies at a time, and in the worst of places, making you lose concentration, and walk towards enemies. Oops, dead. Oh well, it's still got very good gameplay elements regardless.
Just like with the original, the controls are simple but very easy to get used to, and you should have to get used to them due to how hard this game will get. But just like with the original, there's a lot of button mashing needed for all guns except the Machine Gun and Laser. This will give your fingers one hell of a workout with the many enemies on screen at once.
Aliens and corrupt soldiers are trying to take over the world and it is your job, as a soldier of the army, to kill the soldiers and aliens, and give the Red Falcon itself what for for trying to destroy the world. The main problem I have is that it doesn't give out much of an ending, just once Red Falcon dies, you're inside your helicopter and credits roll. Did we save the day or what? Well, let's assume we did, eh? Well, for now anyway. Another invasion will come...
Didn't really say much about the graphics, but the graphics are very, very good for the NES. Everything is as detailed as it gets with 8-bit graphics. Well, almost everything. The trees, platforms and enemies all look good and of good quality, but the guy or guys you play as aren't too detailed. They almost look like they literally are 2D, while everything else almost feels 3D (what, with the outlines and little 8-bit textures, mostly on the platforms and trees). Aside from the good guys, it's all good.
Really, the graphics of this and the original aren't all that different, but everything is just more detailed in this game, even the soldiers are a bit more detailed.
Most of the sounds get a complete makeover. The music sounds a bit more like background music, the boss music sounds more like the boss music of today that was influenced by this, and no sound effects are completely annoying. Some might get on your nerves, but that's just a minor inconvenience and won't mean much.
This game takes around about an hour and a half to beat, but that's just a playthrough without losing all three continues. This will take at least 4 or so weeks to get to the point where you'll go through all 8 levels without losing all three continues. But you will come crawling back for more, as this game is addicting either way. Sure, it's very hard, but that's what makes the game last. It's difficulty, and trying to get better and better at it.
Much like with the original, Super Contra can be really fun, especially with a second player. Even with the difficulty being higher than most of today's games and the original, you'll still have fun trying to beat it, and beat your high score, and get higher, and higher, and higher until you get bored, which might take a while, because this game is quite fun. No, really, it is.
Super Contra is a very good sequel to a very, very good game, and needs to be bought (as long as you have an NES. If you don't, get one). If you can get past the button mashing and harsh difficulty, this game will be forever a favorite of yours and won't just collect dust unlike a fair amount of today's games.
This super special awesome sequel deserves a 4.8/5.0. Don't regret buying this game!