Game Review

Super C (1988) [NES]

Super Contra‘ was the game I fell in love with. I played and beat that game with my mom.
-Demetrious Johnson


ssmango “The following is a contributor post by the Smarmy Smango Mage.”

Super C on the NES is just like any other Contra. Contra is a franchise that isn’t for the faint of heart. While I had never really gotten to play Super C as a kid, I decided to finally play it as an adult. Super C is one of those titles that you would consider to be “NES hard”.

My experience with Contras has always been on Nintendo consoles, besides Contra Hard Corps which is only available on Sega Genesis. So coming in as an experienced Contra player I thought the game would go smoother than normal.

Sadly, I was mistaken.

Whenever it comes to Contra and Contra type games, really it comes down to remembering the levels. Practicing, and practicing some more. Practice makes perfect… right?

(Screenshots were taken off a real NES but upscaled to 720P.)

Watch out where you jump

Sometimes the jumps alone will get you killed.

You constantly have to be aware of where you jump, as it might lead you to your next life lost. Super C likes killing people so much it sends the NPCs to their deaths quite frequently. Just like with any other Contra though, practice makes perfect… but then you eventually still screw up.

No matter how good you become at jumping and dodging bullets you can make your life a lot easier with one simple power-up. Grab this power-up gun and hold onto it for dear life, as your Super C experience will depend on it.

The Spread Gun

Jeez, how important is this gun in this game? It is beyond important!

The spread gun makes this game look easy if you have it, but good luck dodging all the stray bullets and death traps along the way. There were several parts of the levels that were almost impossible without utilizing the spread gun.

Here is that same part with the spread gun! It’s amazing what difference a single power-up can make.

The game literally goes from ultra-insane to pretty mild but still intense with one simple gun upgrade. It’s almost hard to believe it yourself unless you see it with your own eyes.

The Konami Code

The famous Konami code actually doesn’t work in this game. There is, however, a similar code for 10 lives. Right, Left, Down, Up, A, B, Start, which will grant you 10 lives, unlike in the original Contra which gave you 30.

I did have to use this code to complete the game. Even for an experienced Contra player, this game is still hard with 10 lives. The real reason I used the code instead of trying to master each level was because of time constraints. It is good practice to use the code, then go back and try to beat the game without any cheats/codes since you are familiar with the map and boss patterns.

An extra tidbit: the first game that used the legendary cheat code known as the Konami Code was another one of their games called Gradius.

(Me trying to figure out the code while live streaming)

NES Specific Levels

The NES version of Super C contains extra levels not found in the Arcade version, which gives it more of a home console feel, for sure. Three extra areas were added from the previous five in the arcade.

With eight levels of intense bullet dodging action, there wasn’t a second that went by that I wasn’t on my toes. Each jump, each shot has to be almost perfect if you are going to complete this game.

The levels are harder than the bosses

If there is one thing I found kind of strange, it’s that the bosses/last guys/small bosses are simple compared to the dangerous levels that you are forced to traverse through.

They are even more easily taken down if you have an actual power-up. I don’t remember the bosses being too difficult in the original Contra, as well. So really, the most challenging parts of Super C are just making your way to the end of the level.

However, the bosses are very cool and fun to fight. You quickly learn their patterns and stay out of harm’s way. I love the design on just about every boss in this game. They all feel unique and very fun to fight.

Making it to the end

The final stage is fairly creepy. Everything is purple and that gives you the sense that you really are on the last stage defeating the aliens.

If you are lucky enough or skilled enough to make it to the end, that is. Even with cheats/codes, I didn’t make it to the final stage on my first few run-throughs.

Whenever you get the chance to play this game, from what you’ve seen and read above, just be prepared to die and die a lot.

The picture below is right before the final boss comes up from underneath the ground. I won’t show the final boss as I figured if you ever wanted to play this game after reading this review then you could have something to look forward to.

After figuring out the pattern of the final boss, it was actually pretty simple.



The 8-bit Review
Visuals Visuals: 7/10
Super C looks fantastic. The colors are bright, you can clearly see what you are shooting at. It is one of those NES titles that you can tell really pushed the system. With the cool looking backgrounds, this was a great addition to the NES library. While it’s not the greatest looking game on NES, it is still high quality.

Gameplay Gameplay: 10/10

If you enjoy running and gunning, this is the game for you. There isn’t a point in the game where it is boring, or there isn’t a billion bullets or something trying to kill you. Just watch out for the cheap deaths, they are literally around every single corner.

Replayability Replayability: 8/10
Super C always leaves something to be desired. After you have beaten the game, you can always improve on your time or your score, not using cheats/codes.

I’m sure someone is constantly trying to speed run this game, or trying to do only spit-wad shooter (normal gun only) runs or something insane.

Contra always gives a challenge in every game of the franchise I’ve ever played. You take a hit you die. You miss a jump you die. With limited continues and limited lives, this game is one of the true essences of NES hard.

If you don’t want a challenge, that would be the only reason to not play this game.

You can also grab a friend and play co-op and have a blast!

Audio icon Audio: 8/10

Super C offers a great soundtrack. For a little 8-bit system, the NES sure did create great tunes. Super C has fantastic bullet sounds each time you shoot. You know whenever a boss is approaching since the music changes instantly. Quality sound and music all around makes for a great NES experience.

Uniqueness icon Uniqueness: 8/10
Front flipping your way through levels and dodging bullets around every corner is very unique.

The only other game that comes close to mimicking Contra is the Metal Slug series. They are both fantastic games but there is something special about Contra and the way it feels.

All the bosses are unique and the levels all flow and play differently, making Super C a very unique game in many more ways than one.

Accessibility icon Accessibility: 8/10

Nintendo decided to release Super C on the NES Mini instead of the original Contra.

With the prices of NES Minis coming down to the original MSRP, and all the scalpers are now crying, that means more and more people will finally get to enjoy this classic.

Fortunately, I have the game on a cartridge with my real NES. But, I also had to pay a decent price tag for it though at a retro gaming store.

With Nintendo on the prowl, killing each and every ROM site there is now, I figure most games will get even rarer as time continues on, including the more popular titles such as Contra.

So your options are: grab you a NES Mini, get you some real hardware in a Nintendo Entertainment System and the original game, or try to find the Super C ROM to play.

Plenty of options in 2018 assuming Nintendo will probably eventually release this on the Switch.

challenge Challenge: 10/10
Even with 10 extra lives, trying to complete this game was no simple task. I consider myself an average (above average in some games) gamer. I’m not a pro in any game as you can clearly see in the screenshot below. I died a lot, and I have tons of experience in retro and specifically Contra games.

To truly master a game like Super C, you have to play repeatedly and start remembering each and every pattern. I went into this game blind, so I didn’t look up any glitches or anything that would’ve given me an advantage on skipping parts of the game. The only thing I used was the code for 10 extra lives (which doesn’t help much).

Not only can you master the game, but there is one other thing Contra games are known for that I mentioned above.

That is co-op play. Trying to beat Super C or, matter of fact, any Contra with a friend and completing it to the end with both characters alive is something within itself. I’ve still never found someone around in my group of friends that I’ve completed this task with.

So you want a challenge? Grab a friend, don’t put it any codes. See how long you last then.

My guess is that it won’t be very long until someone starts trying to steal the other player’s lives.

my personal grade My Personal Grade: 8/10

I had an absolute blast playing this game. I love a game that gives me a challenge and is just a fun and easy pick-up game to play through. I plan on trying going through the game again without using codes and eventually truly conquering the game the way it was meant to be played.

After playing Super C and trying to compare it to the original Contra on NES, I would have to say that I still prefer the original compared to this one. However, the top-down view from Super C is way better compared to the running down hallways thing the original Contra does.

Super C, Super Contra, whatever you want to call it is a worthy game to go back and experience on one of the greatest consoles to ever grace planet Earth: the Nintendo Entertainment System.

You can watch the full playthrough here with chiptunes instead of sound:

I played and reviewed this game using an original NES, and the original Super C cart. Some of the images you saw are upscaled images using an RCA to HDMI adapter and captured using an Elgato HD60 Pro.

Aggregated Score: 8.4

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8 replies »

  1. Nice rundown of a classic Contra game. Konami’s long running series was never particularly easy. Fortunately for those without an NES the digital rereleases over the years have included save states. Konami also rereleased the ROMs in a PC compilation in 2002 which also included the three NES Castlevania games. This also offered save states. Unfortunately, it isn’t cheap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still will always feel that the true way to play Retro is to play it the way it was meant to be played.

      Emulation and all that is fine to test out those old games but there is something about playing the real stuff.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I only mention it because some games aren’t cheap to collect. Case in point; Mighty Final Fight. I bought it on the Wii U eshop for $7.99 because I wanted to buy it legally, but I couldn’t afford to spend $200 on the Game Pak.

        Liked by 1 person

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