GSQ5: Contra diction

I wonder why it is that Super C lacks the iconic clout of its predecessor Contra? They’re both pretty dang great, but Super C is a little fancier and slicker than Contra without abandoning the simplicity and gritty “holy crap everything everywhere is exploding” sensation that made the first game so popular. It is a mystery!

But yeah, as this article explains, the arcade version was kind of lousy. When I hung around at Putt-Putt on weekend afternoons wasting tokens on arcade games, I always preferred playing Konami’s Aliens game to their in-house work Super Contra. Neither were especially great, but at least Aliens was honest about its inspiration.

12 thoughts on “GSQ5: Contra diction

  1. I always loved both the arcade Contras and the NES games. I was introduced to the series by the first NES game, and when my dad started up an arcade, Super Contra was one of the first two games there.

    I loved playing that one, and I really looked forward to the home version. And I have to admit, some of the changes made to the port disappointed me at the time. It was some time after that before I ever saw the arcade version of the original.

  2. My Putt-Putt arcade game of choice was always The Punisher, mainly because it seemed to be so rare, along with never being able to find the Genesis version.

    I have great memories of Contra, but my first exposure to Super C actually came with the Wii Virtual Console service. For some reason, I skipped over this game as a contemporary NES fan, a nostalgic NES fan, and a ROM pirate. Better late than never, because to me, it’s just as fun and challenging as the original.

  3. Wow, Aliens. I remember drifting between that, SFII, and Two Crude at the good ol’ Aladdin’s Castle arcade whenever I got dragged to the mall in the “big city” 40 miles away.

  4. I’d still like an explanation of why they went with Super C on the NES instead of Super Contra or Contra II. It always sounded to me like Contra’s late 80’s/early 90’s hip hop name.

    Maybe to distance itself from the arcade title, I guess?

  5. My favorite is still NES Contra, but I love the box art of Super C, the opening with the helicopter, and the opening level in general (cool futuristic steel world).

    I think the NES Contras had the best control and gameplay. There’s something about the size of the sprites relative to the playing field that makes for the perfect amount of jumping space.

  6. Contra 3 is my personal favorite. For all the nostalgia of the first, I can’t pretend I didn’t play the 3rd one hundreds of times with friends.

  7. I always preferred Contra to Super C. Super C was a cakewalk compared to Contra. Very good game though and much better than Super Contra which suffered from feeling claustrophobic because of the monitor orientation, the dodgy hit box detection being too sensitive and horrible jumping physics.

    Also Aliens always felt like it was orginally a contra game before Konami got the license.

    Not happy about the dig at Hard Corp, it’s by far my favourite game of the series and much better than Contra 3 which gets all the love:)

  8. Slopes can actually add a lot of processing overhead. Back in the 1.78mhz NES days, it can really add to the amount of CPU time the collision detection takes. Mathimatical shortcuts can be made if you limit it to just 45 degree angles, or to a lesser extent 30 and 60 degrees. For arbitrary angles, it can get really hairy with the trig. Not to mention all the extra space needed for additional tiles to make it all fit together.

    I always thought Super C was harder than Contra on NES, but I suck at both.

  9. “I’d still like an explanation of why they went with Super C on the NES instead of Super Contra or Contra II. It always sounded to me like Contra’s late 80’s/early 90’s hip hop name. ”

    Presumably to avoid association with the Iran-Contra scandal.

  10. How much of it was also because most people didn’t see the end of Super C, given that it didn’t have a 30-life code?

    I’m still partial to the original NES Contra, although Super C is quite good, too. I’m just a lot better at the original, but still have yet to put together that elusive one-life run.

  11. I actually like both Contra arcade games, even though I can understand why not many people like them.

    Super C felt more like an expansion pack of the original Contra full-fledge sequel, which is probably why it isn’t as iconic as the original game. Plus, it’s rather easy compared to the original, even without the ten men code (even though the NES original is not as hard as most people make it out to be).

    However, I liked how it tried to integrate more vertical-scrolling stages than there were in the first NES game, including a bottom-scrolling stage. The MSX2 version of Contra (which came out in 1989, a year before Super C) actually had a couple of downward-scrolling stages too (as well as right-to-left side-scrolling stages), but they felt rather half-assed (kinda like the test of the port itself).

    As for the title change from Super Contra to Super C, I think that it had more to do with Konami wanting to distance their series from the Iran-Contra affair than from the original arcade game. Back when they named the original game after a group of right-wing rebels in 1987, the ramifications of the Iran-Contra scandal weren’t exactly clear then.

    By the way, the arcade version of Contra actually has ten stages according to the official brochure. The machine bosses at the end of the base stages actually count as separate stages (they were merged in the NES version), as well as the four segments in the final level.

  12. The arcade game “Super Contra” is a great game. To this day, it’s the most intense and exciting Contra game to play, IMO; it’s the only one I still can’t do without dying consistently, although I do one CC it consistently.

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