Super Contra, known as Super Contra: The Alien Strikes Back in Japan, is a run and gun video game by Konami originally released as a coin-operated arcade game in 1988.
It was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System under the shortened title of Super C in North America and as Probotector II: Return of the Evil Forces in PAL regions. It is the sequel to the original Contra and part of the Contra series. The game stars Bill Rizer and Lance Bean as they are sent to thwart another alien invasion from the vicious Red Falcon. Both the arcade version and the NES version have been re-released in various other platforms since their original releases.
Like in the original Contra, the game can be played by up to two players simultaneously. The left player controls Bill (who wears green in this installment), while the right player controls Lance (who wears purple). The game retains the side-scrolling format from the previous game, discarding only the pseudo-3D and fixed screen segments. Instead, Super Contra features vertically-scrolling stages played from an overhead perspective, in which the player can move in eight directions. The controls remain mostly the same during the side-scrolling segments, with the only difference is that the player can now control the height of their jump by holding the joystick upwards or downwards while pressing the jump button.
The player can replace their default gun with one of four possible weapons by destroying the flying item capsules that appear throughout each stage. The available weapons include a machine gun, a spread gun, a bomb gun and a laser gun. This time, weapons can be upgraded by picking up the same power-up twice in a row, resulting in greater destructive power. The power-ups in Super Contra are represented by the actual guns the player’s character wields instead of the Falcon-shaped letter icons from the previous game. During overhead stages, the player can also pick up a “hyper shell” item that destroys all on-screen enemies, which can be launched at any time during these stages by pressing the jump button. The player can store more than one hyper shell at a time and the count is carried over between overhead stages.
The game consists of five stages, which are set in a military base, a jungle and the alien’s lair. Stages 1, 3 and 4 are played from the standard side-scrolling perspective, while Stages 2 and 5 employ the top-down perspective. Throughout each stage, the player must fight their way through the enemy’s line of defense (including a few mid-bosses) until they reach the final target waiting at the end.
After running out of lives, the player is not allowed to continue up to five times before the game is entirely over; this depends on the DIP switch settings. Unlike the predecessor, each player can now continue at any time, with no need to wait until the other player runs out of lives.