[Review] Super C a.k.a Probotector II: Return of the Evil Forces (NES)


REVIEW # 00000000 01000101

Super Contra (usually shortened in Super C) or Probotector II: Return of the Evil Forces it’s a wonderful example of Run ‘n Gun game. It shows some different from one version to the other: While the american version (Contra family) features two marines as main characters, the european (Probotector family) it’s like a robot shoot ’em up. The backgrounds and the gameplay remain unchanged but the plot is a bit different. Sincerely I’ve never understood why they did this…

My heart says…

I’ve played Super C for the first time on my NES Mini because I’ve never owned the cartridge (neither the european version, Probotector II); probably my parents didn’t like a game in which the robots were endlessly shooting enemies. Actually I’m not a big fan of robots and shooting game but the first tinme I’ve played Super C I was very impressed. The fast pace of the game, its arcade style and the fact that is not so difficult were all key factors and I’ve been immediately hooked up. Really a fun game!

Splash screen

Apart from the classic intro screen when the game title slides from the right of the screen, the intro sequence is the one where our protagonist go down from his helicopter to land on the enemy base with a battle-like background with menacing clouds. It’s war, man…

Graphics

The real plus in Super C are not just the graphics themselves (anyway really good) but the fact that even with a lot of sprites on screen the game has no slowing and you can always play at maximum speed. Sometimes ehrn the action is more intense you can see some flickering but this is quite normal for the NES.

Narrative

Bill and Lance has just defeated Red Falcon Organization and they’re sent on another mission: the aliens have taken over a military base and they control most of the tropps there . Some of them had also mutated in some strange kind of alien form and our two heroeas has to fight them and normalize again the situation.

Gameplay

Super Contra features 5 differente stages, set in a military base,  in the jungle and in the aliens lair. Stages 2 and 4 have a top down perspective, while the others scrolls horizontally. This is one of the best Run ‘n Gun games ever released so in addition to being careful in what you’re doing, trying to avoid enemies and bullets, you’ll be pressing fire 99% of time, trying to kill everything on screen (and sometimes there’s REALLY a mess on the screen that it almost looks like a bullet hell). In order to do this you have your gun that can be upgraded collecting the power ups hidden in the strange UFO-like thinks that sometimes appear on the screen:

  • M: upgrade your gun to a machine gun. Even though is one of the first (nay THE first) power-ups you can collect it’s very useful because you can keep shoting by keeping B pressed, so you’ll be able to walk almost undisturbed.
  • L: upgrade your gun to a laser gun. I hate it. Really I always try to avoid it when it falls from the sky. Actually the laser should be quite powerful but the problem is that everytime you press B another laser comes out from the gun and the first disappear: this means that if you press B at high speed (as you’re supposed to do througout the game) the range of this weapon is more or less like the one of a knife.
  • F: upgrade your gun to a fire gun. it’s like the common gun but shoots a big fireball that breaks into smaller fireballs when you hit an enemy. If you keep B pressed for a bit the resulting shoot will be more powerful.
  • S: upgrade your gun to a spread gun. Probably the best upfrade in the game. Even though you cannot fire continuously like for the machine gun, you shoot in four different lines that create like a cone of fire in front of you, makieing you able to shoot at targets in fron of you and lateral. It’s very useful against big obstacles (like the tanks) becuase its like hitting then 4 times simultaneously instead of one.

There are also some special items that are not properly upgrades to your weaponry but that can be very useful:

  • R: Rapid fire. Enables your gun to shoot rapidly and the bullets hit the enemies faster and with more damage
  • B: Barrier. It’s like getting some armour; whenyou take it you’re almost immune to everything except the pits for 20 seconds
  • Eagle: kills all enemies on screen. It’s like the cross in Castlevania

Every stage (or “area” as they’re named in the game) you’ll face a boss, obviously the further you go, the strongest is the boss. The first one is a simple helicopter that can be smasher in 20 second if you’re skilled and you have the combo Spread gun/Barrier.

Every enemy or bullet that hits you drains a third of yout HP (even though you actually doesn’t have a proper life bar) so this means that three hits and you’re dead. Luckily you have two continues available so if you die you can start again from the beginning of the stage and you don’t have to do all over again.

Controls

I’m a bit torn about it. I mean the controls are quite intuitive: A jumps, B fires and then you have the D-pad to move. Plus when you jump you have always the possibility to change direction while in air: I know that phisically-wise this is an horrible thing but it’s something that rewards you a bit for the unfairness sometimes the games shows, especially when you’re on the edge of the screen and suddenly pops up an enemy BEHIND YOU. However there’s something that can make you very pissed: for example is not possible to fire up while moving, since if you press right and up you’ll be firing in diagonal. The only way to do it is standing still and aim to the sky. It’s even not possible to stand and fire diagonally because to do it you always have to press up and right so you’ll end up moving right…and maybe you don’t have to! By the way with some practive you can aviud these situations and enjoy the game anyway so actually there’s nothing major to be concerned about.

Sound

In Super C there’s a persistens in game soundtrack but you’ll be so concentrate on what happens on the screen and so busy to press B as fast as you can that you can barely hear it. And this is not a bad thing because there are a lot of games with a looping soundtrack that after 10 minutes makes you want to smash the game. And by the way if you pay carefully attention to the music is not so bad…

Longevity

Super Contra is not an endless game. Features only 7 stages and with a bit of patience and not so many skills it’s possible to beat the game. HAHAHAHAHAHA I’m joking, this game becomes really hard proceedeing through the various areas. Not all the areas are easy like 1st and 2nd. From the third you’ll face some hassle and the Area 4 is a f**king bubble hell! By the way if you’re good enough, after a long practice you should be able to beat the in less than 30 minutes. Or if you are a normal human being you can swear like a trooper and complete the game sweating like a pig in like 1 hour and a half. However, even though sometimes is a bit unfair and can make you crazy, Super C is a game that can be used as a stress reliever. Unless you are in stage 3. That one make you f**king nervous you could destroy your TV. BUT, if you beat the game it’s most likely you’ll play it over and over again.

Final Score 79/100

 


Year: 1988

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Genre: Shooter, Shoot ’em up, Run ‘n Gun

Game Mode: Single Player, Double Player

Original Platform: NES (ported from Arcade)

From same developer/publisher:

Inspired to:

  • Rambo (1985)
  • Commando (1985)

If you liked it you can also try:

  • Alien Syndrome (1987)
  • Turrican (1990)
  • Alien Breed (1991)
  • The Chaos Engine (1993)
  • Metal Slug (1996)

Other chapters of the saga:

  • Contra (1987)
  • Operation C (1991)
  • Contra III: The Alien Wars (1992)
  • Contra Force (1992)
  • Contra: Hard Corps (1994)
  • Contra: Legacy of War (1996)
  • C The Contra Adventure (1998)
  • Contra: Shattered Soldier (2002)
  • Neo Contra (2004)
  • Contra 4 (2007)
  • Contra: Rebirth (2009)
  • Hard Corps: Uprising (2011)

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