Super Contra review
A fairly lame sequel to a badass Stallone-inspired NES game
Contra was such a hit, that it managed to spawn a sequel. While most people view this as a reasonably good sequel, I view this as a pretty lame sequel. Yes guys, I didn't like Super C. I didn't even like it as a kid, and as a kid, you find a lot of things to be good that really aren't, like Turok 2 on the N64, or the Power Rangers (excluding the awesome beat em up on the Super Nintendo). I guess even my four year old self didn't like Super C, though I guess it didn't help that I had played Contra 3 beforehand, and Super C didn't exactly register as the one in between 1 and 3. Maybe Contra was chronologically confused back in the day! Regardless, I still find this to be a pretty lame sequel, which is weird, because aside from different locations until the last couple of levels and the overall easier difficulty, it's basically the same as the first game!
Story: Shit has gone down as Bill Rizer and Lance Bean (aka, Mad Dog and Scorpion) land in a city that's been destroyed by the alien race from the first game, Red Falcon. I guess they didn't destroy them in time to send out extra forces from the base on the remote island. Whatever. They have to destroy Red Falcon correctly this time. Same as before, it's a basic action movie inspired story that serves as an excuse to shoot everything in sight.
Gameplay: Like before, your objective is to get from Point A to Point B while gunning down enemies that lay their lives down the line. The guns you get are about the same - starting each new life off with a crappy BB gun, and being able to upgrade to a machine gun, laser gun, spread gun, or the fireball gun. The only difference here is that the fireball gun doesn't spin around as it goes, but rather, it's just a big fireball that zooms towards what's directly in front, and if it hits the ground, it explodes, which is pretty cool. But other than that, the weapons will instantly feel familiar to anybody who has played the first game.
In lieu of the "behind the player" view presented in the first game, you're given an overhead view for some of the levels. All I can really say is that this is what Ikari Warriors on the NES should've been. You move at a normal pace, and enemies aren't *bleep* ridiculous hard to plow through. Yeah, you can only fire in 8 directions, and if an enemy isn't directly in any of those lines, you have to do a little moving around and risk getting hit, but that's the NES controller for you. Not bad, though.
The major downfalls of the game lies in the lowered difficulty level and fairly lame level designs. This is like the first game on EASY mode. The enemies tend to come in high numbers, but most of them rely on the need to rugby tackle you in order to kill you, and we all know of the classic "one hit you're dead" rule. Only some of the soldiers, some stationary guns and the bosses actually fire back at you. That, and the enemies have the intelligence of pigeons, since they don't really do much. They come out of very obvious places and don't really throw much at you, like they're on some sort of kamikaze mission or something. But really, it's nothing worth using the code on - the code itself is different from the infamous Konami code, but I won't reveal it, because you'll be adding insult to injury to this game if you have any semblance of experience with the series or run and gun genre, and none of this bullshit about it being harder will save you.
The bosses are shit easy. You might die a few times, but the first game had you dying more in an attempt to get an idea of how each boss functions and how to kill them. Here, the bosses aren't really that hard. If you know where to stand and when to move, you'll be able to beat these bosses with no problems, and it's not usually that hard to figure out. If you have the spread gun, you've beaten these bosses before they even appear on the screen, unless you're mentally challenged! It's a joke!
If that's not enough, the levels don't really give you that POW that the levels from the first game. The levels feel like they were designed by folks who just wanted to go through the motions, just go with what might seem plausible, and the problem is that the levels feel boring! Level 1 and 3 pretty much set up the scene - straight paths. Yawn. The first game had three different altitudes that you could walk across, and the third level had you scaling up a mountain to get to the base. Both of those levels put you under the impression that Contra had interesting levels. Only the overhead stages are any good, and that's only because most non-Konami made overhead shooters on the NES tend to be shit, and this, well, isn't. Doesn't mean much in the long run. Really, the game relies on shitting out enough enemies to feed third world countries five hundred times over to compensate for some mediocre level designs, and that's just lazy in my book.
Controls: Thankfully, the controls are just as good as they were in the original. Yeah, I mentioned that there's only 8 ways to shoot and you have to risk getting shot to move to a position where the bullet hits the enemy/boss, but that's the fault of the amount of buttons the NES controller has, rather than any responsive flaws or bad control mapping. But like before, there's no delay in the responses to button presses, so you don't have to fear death by bullet because of stubborn controls - just your own damn fault.
Graphics: As with the story and controls, the graphics manage to retain the same quality as they did before. The levels still look nice with some detailed foreground objects and solid black backgrounds to contrast with the feel of the game - that being an edgy yet inferior sequel to a badass action movie. The colors seem pastel-ish, but I feel that it fits with the dark and edgy theme, since vibrant colors would look inappropriate and give you the wrong impression. Graphics are good, overall.
Audio: While the sound effects are consistent with the first game - "meh" and nothing special - the soundtrack goes down the same path as the gameplay. The soundtrack is bland, redundant, and very unmemorable. When I have to look up tunes on Youtube in order to isolate the music from everything else, to concentrate on the music, you know that you didn't write up a good and memorable soundtrack. In itself, it sounds okay and doesn't hurt your ears, but it isn't nearly as good as the first game's, and like I said, it's easily forgettable.
Replay Value: While there is a two player mode, there is almost no point to replay the game after finishing it, probably except to be the millionth person to show people that it's possible to beat Super C without getting hit (+100 points if you use the BB gun). Other than that, just stick to the first game - it's more interesting, more refined, and - above all else - more challenging!
Overall: Super C is a lame sequel. It was a nerfed copy and paste job by Konami because they had to pull a sequel out of their ass, and I honestly just didn't get into it. The difficulty was set too low to the point where it felt like a generic run and gun game with nothing really going for it, and it doesn't have the lasting power that the first game had. It just felt... there! Oh well. There's always Contra 3.
Replay Value: 3/10
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