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'Super Contra' Review

Sharing My Thoughts on the Sequel to the Original 'Contra' Game

When I first purchased and received my NES Classic Edition just weeks before Christmas in 2016, Super Contra, or Super C, was one of the games that I was eager to play. As a kid, I played the original Contra game, but was unable to get through the third area. In Super Contra, Pfc. Bill Rizer and Pfc. Lance Bean of the Contra unit must not only fight against their former comrade-in-arms, but also a new mutated form of the same alien creatures they fought during their previous mission. As for getting extra lives, it's a little bit different. On the original Contra game, on the title screen, you would use the popular Konami Code, which is Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start and receive 30 lives. In Super C, you would receive 10 lives by using the following code on the title screen: Right, Left, Down, Up, A, B, then Start. My favorite weapon, without a doubt, is the beloved Spread gun. It's my best friend and I say that because it's a lot more effective. There are eight areas in this game, so I'm going to give my review of each one.

Area 1 was fairly easy to get through, in my opinion. When you get to the Transport Helicopter full of enemies, you really have to be aware of your surroundings and successfully shoot both. The enemies come towards you really fast, so keep shooting at them until there are no more and then focus on destroying the Transport Helicopter. Now that the area is complete, Area 2 awaits me. 

In Area 2, constantly keeping an eye out for enemies and tanks shooting at my direction while annihilating them was the goal. The boss for this area was Magnus. Magnus is a large, heavily-armored tank that has three gunner stations on its top from where soldiers manning rifles can attack individually. The soldiers on the side posts man miniguns, although these shoot standard single rounds. They can be killed individually in order to weaken the boss's overall firepower. The commander at the central post is actually the boss's weak spot, and once defeated, the whole tank will be destroyed.

Even though it is a tank, and as such, moves via two-wheeled straight tracks on each side (according to its artwork), the vehicle can also move horizontally without problems.

The vehicle also features two retractile electrodes on its front from where a magnetic field is generated. These can be extended a certain distance in order to attack ground enemy units easier.

Since most of the tank's offensive capabilities are designed to attack enemies on the front, by quickly positioning oneself behind it will considerably reduce the threat it poses. When I first went against Magnus, it was difficult trying to destroy it while it was shooting at me. I died a few times, but eventually, I got the hang of it and defeated it. 

Area 3 was no walk in the park. There were enemies coming towards me and from behind. I had to be quick destroying them or else I'd lose lives. I have reached Spidal. Spidal is a giant mecha which moves via four mechanical legs, giving it an appearance similar to a spider. It is fought right after exiting the jungle section of the third stage. It comes armed with six giant cannons affixed to its main body, each pointed at a different angle.

It mainly attacks by slowly moving toward the enemy and making stops in order to open fire. The four cannons aimed at an angle shoot straight in that direction, while the cannons aimed horizontally fire in a wave-like manner, covering more space.

The only way to destroy this enemy is by damaging the glowing core underneath the main body, which fortunately remains at the same height from most weapons' firing range. If it becomes necessary to lie down in order to avoid the projectiles, a weapon that covers a wide area, such as the Spread Gun, will be able to do the work.

In Area 4, the bubbles can actually kill you. You have to destroy the machine that shoots the bubbles and dismantle it. As you propel and reach the boss, Laser Chandelier. It is a large machine with several cannons tagged on to it. It moves on a rail, shooting an array of laser beams straight down in a pattern. The Spread gun is the best weapon to use to destroy the enemy. 

The first part of Area 5 was not as difficult until I reached Giralal, which is a large flying alien battleship. Its exterior appears to be conformed by an amalgamation of metal and living tissue, hinting it could actually be a living being. It mainly attacks by hovering from side to side in the air, while releasing what appear to be alien skulls from the two hatches it has on each side. These skulls will start crawling rapidly toward the player as soon as they touch the ground. Giralal was the most difficult boss in the entire game that gave me a hard time. It not only features another three hatches from below, but shoots three organic projectiles.  It mainly attacks by hovering from side to side in the air, while releasing what appear to be alien skulls from the two hatches it has on each side. These skulls will start crawling rapidly toward the player as soon as they touch the ground. The way to destroy the enemy is by shooting the glowing core on its center by using the Spread gun. 

Area 6 was one of my least favorite stages. Enemies appearing randomly from the ground was a headache. I would never know where or when they would appear half the time. Once I have killed off the enemies, it was time to face Gava. Emperor Demon Gava, that is. He belongs to the Red Falcon Organization as its highest ranking member and presumably its leader. The red core on his forehead is his weak spot, so destroy it and the alien embryo will appear. Annihilate Gava again and the area is clear. 

Area 7 will challenge you greatly. Always be aware of enemies that come towards you. Gerbis is the second to last boss that you go up against. It is a large organic structure composed at the head, a central hatch, and finally, two devices (one on each side). It attacks by ejecting acid blobs from its two support devices. Start by destroying the hatches before eradicating the head. 

Area 8 is the final stage of the game. Be aware of the Lizard Aliens, because they run so fast, so destroy them as they appear. Kimkoh is the final boss that you go against. It resembles a chimera—its overall appearance is an amalgamation of several organisms combined into one. It has massive frog-like legs which it uses to jump with as well as shoot biological or energy-based projectiles out of its tube-like feet. Its upper head possesses a snout similar to a tapir's; its eyes can fire lasers at the target's location. This upper head's fangs and nose are seemingly connected to the lower head, which is Kimkoh's most distinguishing and disturbing feature due to its human-like face with horns or tusks surrounding it. Finally, it has insect-like legs sprouting out from under this human head, using it to run along the ground whenever it tries to ram its targets. It shoots constant projectiles from the tube-like feet and the upper head's eye. It has a "blind spot" at its frontal knee; if the player stands there, all of its projectiles will miss and thus the player can fire at will until the creature is defeated. You have now successfully beaten Super C.

I had a great time playing this game. It was difficult at times, but the areas were awesome and challenging. Honestly, I never thought I'd beat Super Contra before the original Contra game. If I had to give a rating for Super Contra, I would give it a 7 out of 10. There were a couple of bosses that I had difficulties with, but overall, this game is among the NES games I would recommend to someone. I'll say this one last time: the Spread gun is your best friend. Use it on all the areas in the game. 

Bye, Bye Kimkoh!

10/23/2017: Me Destroying Kimkoh in Area 8 and Earning an Extra Life in the Process

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'Super Contra' Review
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