Super Contra


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 7

Sound: 10

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 7

As great an action game as it was, "Contra" really didn't find a real audience until it was planted on the super-hot NES. The arcade version was a near classic, hindered by a few oddball choices and short length. The sequel fixes little, if anything, but it's just as close to classic status as the original.

The Red Falcon returns to ravage Earth and once again, only two guys can take care of the problem. In the classic side scrolling fashion, players wipe out the invading forces while two stages break up the action from an overhead view. Power-ups are plentiful and continues are limited (odd for an arcade game).

The main issue with both of the games in the arcade is the control. It's overly loose, never really allowing you to switch a position to hit an enemy above of below you. It just sort of compensates for all of the points missed with the 8-direction firing so many games have used in the past (and still do). It's frustrating to run right by an enemy on a platform above you with guns firing only to see the bullets pass right below him (it?). It's cheap and unfair, something that every console version would fix.

Jumping is also somewhat floaty, especially if you have become accustomed to home versions. There's an issue with the weapons too. You have no way of telling what you pick up. Every power-up looks alike. Picking up a weapon you don't want is nothing short of frustrating.

Otherwise, the action is still intense, fast, and fun. With two players, it becomes an even more solid title. Those two overhead stages do have a tacked-on feel to them, though still keep the action moving along swiftly. It's odd the game ends on one of these since the series is so firmly rooted (even then) with the side scrolling view.

Most of the upgrades to the graphics engine are evident in the backgrounds, including some nice parallax and increased detail. Character sprites remain pretty much the same. Explosions are huge in this one, really hammering home the impact of the bosses demise.

"Super C" features one of the best gaming soundtracks of all time. It's pounding, brutal, and fast paced. Basically, it's unforgettable. The rest of the hardware is put to the test. Those explosions don't just look good either. You'll feel every one.

This is on odd series, one filled with numerous ups and downs. While certainly enjoyable enough, the arcade versions that started it all just don't measure up to those on the lowly 8-bit NES. It doesn't make much sense. Even stranger, those 32-bit renditions on the Playstation and Saturn don't even remotely deserve the name "Contra." More proof that hardware power means little in the end.


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Last updated: Friday, February 25, 2005 06:46 AM