Hahaha! Yes! Beat Super C for the first time ever and pulled it off without continuing! This feels amazing!
Unlike the original Contra, I’d never played Super C until last week. Unless you count the first level a couple times in the arcade growing up. Essentially, it’s a whole new game to me.
Overall, it was awesome! Do I like it better than the original? Hard to say. Correcting for nostalgia is hard, but Super C does have many advantages. The graphics are greatly improved, the guns have all been slightly redesigned to be better balanced and more fun, the bosses are generally more dynamic and varied, and levels are lengthier.
Other changes are more subject to personal taste. Some might appreciate that the slower-paced pseudo-3D base levels are replaced with zippier overhead ones that feel ripped from a game like Commando. The game is also harder: Contra allowed players to continue three times, Super C only allows it twice. Essentially, you get three fewer lives. The action in general also seems more intense to me, with tougher enemies and longer levels.
Cons? Level design is a bit simplifed here, I feel. Stages like the first and fifth in Contra had multiple platform levels to jump up to, drop down from, and battle on. Super C’s equivalent levels like one and three lack this verticality and are more straight sprints to the finish. Additionally, level seven has you descending a shaft and clearing away aliens rather slowly and methodically when compared to most other levels and I found it a bit of a bore.
Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter, since it’s more NES Contra and that rules! Remember, no matter what anyone tells you, you don’t need a shirt to save the world.