Retro Review: Super C (NES)

Super C is basically just Contra again, but a bit lesser. This is even reflected in its lives code, which gives you 1/3 as many lives to play with. Super C is graphically superior in many ways, but doesn’t really offer a whole lot more than that. Though unlike Contra, it is available on the Virtual Console, which is something.

Konami seemed to have a philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when making Super C. The biggest innovation in the game is the mix of horizontal and vertical scrolling, with some diagonal scrolling tossed in for good measure. It also changed the Fire gun from an afterthought into a pretty cool explosive weapon, suggestive of the Crusher from Contra III (which is one of my favorites). It was all very technologically impressive in the NES era, but only really noticeable in a side-by-side comparison with Contra now.

The best part of Super C is the collection of bosses, which are on par if not beyond those of its predecessor. Starting the game off with a battle against a gunship was an inspired choice, and this is also the game that gave us the concept of the “Contra button,” the glowing red orb that screams “weak point” to the player.

One controversial change in the game was switching out the base stages to top-down stages where you can move and fire in 8 directions. I rather enjoy these stages, though they are far less unique than the Contra bases. To me, Contra games feel their best when you’re running and gunning.

On the whole, Super C is a pretty game but doesn’t offer much beyond the original Contra aside from looks. It’s a totally serviceable game, not quite as hard but certainly no cakewalk, but a lot of what made Contra really special was its unique style, which just isn’t as unique in Super C.

Review Score: B−

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