Tuesday 7 July 2015

Super C (NES review)

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Released: 1990

Super C is the follow-up to Contra (1988) and in Europe and Australia it was released as Probotector II: Return of the Evil Forces.

The opening level is cinematic and sees you lowered from a helicopter before moving through a construction site with steep inclines. The action is similar to the first game but the difficulty has been ramped up. Enemies swarm from all directions and you need to be on constant alert to avoid the barrage of bullets flying around. The series is known for its variety and when you reach the second level the gameplay changes to a top-down perspective. These aren't as interesting as the 3D sections in the original Contra but they're tons of fun and the addition of sub-bosses is a great idea. Level 3 takes place in a jungle setting and there's a very cool area where you're able to duck underwater to avoid bullets while progressing forward. Soon after things change again to a vertically scrolling level where you use your platforming skills to jump across perilous cliff edges while dodging falling rocks. The level design is solid throughout these gameplay shifts and instead of feeling disjointed each one is a welcome challenge. The final level is almost a reworking of Alien's Lair from the previous game but it's more expansive and has ceilings that drop to impede your movement. Most of the bosses aren't particularly impressive which is a shame. The weapons are largely the same except Fire which now explodes into smaller projectiles once it hits an enemy; it can also be charged to create an even bigger explosion. The Spread weapon is still the most useful as you can spray several bullets at once. As you'd expect from Konami the graphics, music and SFX are brilliant.

Super C is an excellent sequel to Contra and one of the best run 'n' gun games on the NES. The difficulty is a bit too high (something that would continue with the 16-bit titles) but the polished gameplay and level design will keep you coming back for repeated play-throughs.

Random trivia: For some reason the famous Konami code (which gave you 30 lives in the original Contra) is absent from this game. Instead, a different cheat is available that only gives you ten lives.

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