Super Contra

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Super Contra
European brochure
Europeanbrochure for the 1988 arcade release.
Developer(s) Konami
Publisher(s) Konami
Designer(s) Arcade version
Hideyuki Tsujimoto (director)
Koji Hiroshita (producer)
NES version
Shigeharu Umezaki (director)
Composer(s) Arcade version
Kazuki Muraoka
Motoaki Furukawa
NES/Famicom version
Hidenori Maezawa
Series Contra
Platform(s) Arcade, NES/Famicom, PlayChoice-10, Commodore Amiga, IBM PC, PC Microsoft Windows, Virtual Console (NES version)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Run and gun
Mode(s) Single-player, Cooperative
Cabinet Upright
Display Raster, 224 x 280, vertical orientation

Super Contra (スーパー魂斗羅 エイリアンの逆襲 Sūpā Kontora: Eirian no Gyakushū?, "Super Contra: The Alien Strikes Back") is a Run and Gun-style action game produced by Konami, originally released as a coin-operated arcade game in 1988. It is the sequel to the original Contra and the second game in the Contra series released for the arcades. Like in the original game, the game centers on soldiers Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, who are once again assigned to protect the Earth from an army of alien invaders. The game features standard side-scrolling stages, as well as all new overhead stages in lieu of the original game's "3D" stages.

Like its predecessor, a modified console version was made for the Nintendo Entertainment System, which saw release in North America as Super C and in Europe and Australia as Probotector II: Return of the Evil Forces. Both the arcade game and the NES game, have been re-released in various other platforms since their original releases.


Set a year after the events of the original Contra,[1] Bill and Lance, the heroes from the previous game, are sent on a second mission. This time, the alien forces from the previous game have taken over an allied military base, possessing most of its troops. Bill and Lance 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.


The first level in Super Contra. Inclined surfaces, as shown here, were not present in the original Contra.

The arcade version of Super Contra plays essentially the same as its predecessor. The main difference was in its versatility. While the original Contra had two different perspectives (a side view and an over-the-shoulder view), Super Contra replaces the 3D stages with top-view stages similar to other overhead shooters at the time such as Commando and Ikari Warriors. Additionally, the side-view stages of Super Contra featured inclined surfaces, which were not in the original Contra. In the arcade version, the player can now control the height of their jump; by holding the joystick up and pressing the jump button will allow for a higher jump; likewise the player can perform low jumps as well by holding down-right or down-left while pressing the jump button. The arcade version is composed of five stages which spans a military base, a jungle and an alien lair. Stage 1, 3 and 4 are side-view stages, while Stage 2 and 5 are top-view stages.


Like in the original Contra, the player can upgrade their default gun into one of the following five special weapons:

  • Machine Gun
  • Shot Gun
  • Laser Gun
  • Bomb Gun
  • Mega Shell - launched by pressing the jump button, killing all on-screen enemies (top view levels only)

Unlike the other games in the series, the power-up icons are now represented by the actual weapons wielded by the character instead of the traditional letter-based falcon icons. The player can upgrade their weapon by picking it up twice in a row.

Version differences[edit]

While the western version of Super Contra ends the game once the final boss has been defeated, the Japanese version allows the player to replay the game on a second loop. The second loop sets the game on its hardest difficulty and prohibits the use of continues.

Unlike the arcade version of the original Contra, which saw release in Europe and Oceania under the name of Gryzor, the arcade version of Super Contra was released in Europe with its original title and 2-player mode intact.[2][3]


Nintendo Entertainment System[edit]

A home version of Super Contra was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System on February 2, 1990 in Japan and on April 1990 in North America, where it was retitled Super C. A PAL version of the NES game, titled Probotector II: Return of the Evil Forces, was released in 1992.

The gameplay and graphics of Super C are similar to the port of the first Contra game. There are three stages unique to the NES version: a high-tech base, a mountain and an alien nest, all vertical-scrolling stages. The order of the latter stages and bosses are also slightly different, with new bosses featured in this version (including a new final boss). The NES version uses the same power-ups as the original NES game, but changes the function of the "fire ball" power-up from a gun that fires small fireballs that travel in a corkscrew pattern to a large projectile that spreads fire after hitting its target. The player can charge this gun by holding down the B button and then releasing it, shooting an even larger projectile that passes through most fodder enemies and causes an even bigger explosion when it hits a large target. The Rapid Bullets, Barrier and Special power-ups from the first NES game are also included in this game.

The Konami Code from the original Contra was not included in this game. A different code was added which gives out thirty lives in the Famicom version and ten lives in the NES versions. Like in the Famicom version of Contra, the Japanese Super Contra has a stage select code that was removed from its NES counterparts. All three versions contain a sound test mode. Like the first NES game, Probotector II (the PAL version), replaced the main characters and some of the enemies with robots.

Other platforms[edit]

A pair of computer versions of Super C developed by Distinctive Software were released in North America for the Commodore Amiga and IBM PC by Konami in 1990. Despite bearing the NES version's title of Super C, the computer ports are based on the original arcade game. A direct emulation of the arcade Super Contra was released on Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360 on July 25, 2007,[4] and features enhanced graphics, remixed music and cooperative gameplay via Xbox Live.

The NES version also saw several rereleases. The 2002 Windows PC compilation Konami Collectors' Series: Castlevania and Contra features Super C along with the NES version of the original game, as well as the first three Castlevania games for the system. Super C was later released as a Virtual Console title in North America in 2007.[5] A corresponding release for Probotector 2: Return of the Evil Forces was made for the European and Australian Virtual Console.[6] The Famicom Super Contra was released for the Japanese Virtual Console on February 12, 2008.[7] Both the NES versions of Contra and Super C are also included as unlockable bonuses in the Nintendo DS game Contra 4, also released in 2007.

A mobile phone version of Super Contra was released in Japan and China (Super Contra 2) on March 5, 2008, coinciding with the release of Contra: Dual Spirits (the Japanese localization of Contra 4). This version features the stages from the NES version, but with graphics similar to the arcade game (including the opening intro).[8] It is also now on 3DS virtual console.


Review scores
Publication Score
Allgame 4/5 stars[9]
The Video Game Critic A [10]
IGN 7.5/10[11]
Nintendo Power 3/5 stars[12]
Nintendo Life 8/10 stars[13]

Super Contra received positive reviews. Allgame's Aaron Kosydar described Super C as "an excellent side-scrolling shoot em' up, with tons of fast action, big nasty bosses, and very fitting music and sound effects".[14] The Video Game Critic called it "a killer sequel" and "a must-have".[15]


  1. ^ The game takes place on December 2634 according to the opening sequence of the Japanese coin-op video game, although this detail was removed from the overseas release.
  2. ^ "Promotional brochure published by Konami LTD. in Europe". 
  3. ^ O'Connor, Frank; Boone, Tim (May 1992). "Contra Spirits review". Computer and Video Games (126): 38–39. "Arcade fans might remember the original Gryzor coin-op. It was called Contra everywhere else except Europe. The reason for this was the political conflict in Nicaragua was considered too sensitive. This was a bit daft considering that the sequel was allowed to retain its original name. Super Contra. Confused? Don't worry - everyone else is as well." 
  4. ^ " : Super Contra - Game Detail Page". Archived from the original on 2007-11-30. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  5. ^ " - Wii Virtual Console games - Super C". 
  6. ^ "Nintendo Wii: Info". 
  7. ^ "VC スーパー魂斗羅" (in Japanese). 
  8. ^ "【コナミネットDX】スーパー魂斗羅" (in Japanese). 
  9. ^ Kosydar, Aaron. "Super C - Review". Allgame. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  10. ^ "The Video Game Critic's NES Reviews". Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Super C Review - IGN". Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  12. ^ "Super C Review". Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  13. ^ "Super C (Wii Virtual Console / NES) Review". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  14. ^ Kosydar, Aaron. "Super C - Review". Allgame. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  15. ^ "The Video Game Critic's NES Reviews". Retrieved July 24, 2013. 

External links[edit]