Super Contra

One year after Bill Rizer and Lance Bean successfully stopped Red Falcon, an alarming distress call is recieved. In a military base located in South America, the "GX Army" has begun revolting for reasons which cannot be explained. It is later discovered that the same alien life form that occupied the Galuga archipelago is back on earth and has taken over the soldier's minds and mutated their bodies in order to do their bidding. Forced to kill their former comrades, Bill and Lance once more head into the warzone to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.

Editor's review

Konami did a pretty good job recreating the perfect control that Contra is famous for having. Sadly there are a few flaws here and there. For instance, your character doesn't jump as high as he does in the NES version, and for some strange reason the gun doesn't instantly shoot in the direction it's aiming at if you're switching it's position. Other than that it's just the way it's supposed to be. Another problem with this game is that it's way too difficult (even for well trained Contra players) and way too short (there are only 5 levels, while the NES version has 8). It is also more important than ever to have excellent dodging skills, because the soldiers shoot at you like maniacs.

Graphics are similar to SNES graphics actually, impressively detailed with some decent animations (your character has this really weird looking walking animation though). Enemy soldiers have purple and green skin, which might make you think these guys have serious skin pigment problems, but I'm guessing it's to show that their bodies have been taken over by the aliens. Many of the differences I told you about lie in the way levels have been designed. Things appear at other places than they do in the NES version, and there are even some new enemies to deal with. Remember the dragon-like alien mini-boss at the end of Contra 3? If I'm not mistaken this is where it made it's first appearance, but with different attack patterns.

The music seems to be a combination of FM synthesis and sampled drums, sort of like the Sega Genesis soundchip but better quality. At the intro screen, you are treated to hearing the voices of Bill and Lance as they make their way through the alien lair. In a cheesy but cool way, Bill looks around and says "What is this place?". Lance tells Bill to keep his eyes peeled and then they both load their weapons, now that's something you don't get to see in any of the other Contras!

Super Contra doesn't have as much fun factor as other games in the series, because you'll probably spend most of your time cursing after dying for the 100th time. But it sure has a lot of coolness factor, I'll give you that. It's certainly not the best Contra game either, yet fully enjoyable if you're a skilled player and know what you're doing. To sum it up, Super Contra had a lot of potential. However, it's extremely hard and could use more levels to add more replayability.

Released Japan  January 8, 1988
North America  1988
Other titles Super Contra: Alien no Gyakushū (The Alien's Counterattack), (Japan)
Platform Arcade
Ports MS-DOS
Xbox 360 (Live Arcade)
Wii (Virtual Console)
Mobile phone
Tandy 1000
Commodore 64
Famicom / NES
Developer(s) Konami
Publisher(s) Konami
Staff H. Tsujimoto (director)
Koji Hiroshita (producer)
Players 1-2 players

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