By Gemma @Juicy Game Reviews
Super Probotector: Alien Rebels (known as Contra 3 in North America) is arguably one of the finest side scrolling action games from the Super Nintendo era. That’s a pretty bold statement but it sure holds a lot of validity by today’s standard’s and if price is anything to go by then Super Probotector is definitely one of the pricier titles if you snap up a boxed, complete copy. Why is it so sought after? Why is it one of those retro games that comes up in conversations a lot? Why do some of us go to further lengths to obtain those games like Super Probotector?
Remember those days when you used to count your change to try and reach the desired amount to buy a game? Perhaps you didn’t need to do this but I remember a dirty old second hand (thrift) store on the outskirts of my town. I counted copper pennies, twos and had a few pound coins laying around back when I was fourteen. I wanted so desperately to buy a used copy of Super Protector: Alien Rebels on the Super Nintendo. It was priced at £10 and forced so deeply to the back of a shelf that I could barely see it in store. Alas, I had counted £9.50 and I knew I was short when I handed my money over. I prayed the old guy would’t notice but he did. He was a good sport and let me walk out with the discounted Super Probotector: Alien Rebels. Even a teenager I went to those lengths. How rude of me to think I could get away with short changing this guy! I knew I wanted my very own copy after first playing it at my friend, Matt’s house. I always wanted to be the red robot during our fights before a two player game.
Robots Vs. Humans
Contra 3, as it is named in America is essentially the same game as Super Probotector with some subtle differences. A source over at Falselogic.net highlighted the main areas to include differences notably the story in the instruction manuals differ, the protagonists, the cut scenes and the ending. The enemies and level designs are the same which makes for a very small difference in overall gameplay value. Why the difference? It’s difficult to write about Super Probotector without taking the differences in to account. It seemed that censorship laws in Germany were a lot tighter compared to the rest of Europe. The notion of humans shooting humans wasn’t a welcome one in the German video game market so Robots were used and the name was changed to Super Probotector. Having played both versions my preferred Protagonists’ are the robots. There’s just something that appeals much more to the storyline that using the robots (RG011 and RD008) over the humans, Jimbo and Sully. The names alone don’t have the Heroic Twang of RG011 and RD008. Okay so they’re names right? Big deal? Wrong. Names can impact heavily on perception. Imagine if The T1000 was named Rolf! Terminator 2 would have been rather amusing at seeing John, Sarah and Arnie legging it from Rolf. The same principle applies here.
I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the developers were told “hey we have to redesign most of the Sprites for the European market”. Priceless.
From left to right
It’s a formula that worked since the 1970s with early side scrolling games like Dizzy. Even if the games struggled to load in the ZX Spectrum’s and Commodore 64’s the side scroller was a winning formula in any console or computer. Part of the appeal of Super Probotector comes in the fluidity of the action. Enemies enter from the left and right hand side of the screen which means it can be tricky to dodge the flailing bullets at times. The flow can break easily when there’s too much on the screen at once as the frame drops considerably. The final boss of the first stage is where I can think of it happening the most. The rupturing explosions of his death really slows things down. Nonetheless, it doesn’t detract from the ever luring appeal of Super Probotector (Contra 3).
The level design is wonderfully versatile. It goes beyond the run and gun approach and branches out to include riding in tanks, hanging from monkey bars, climbing walls and battling through those kick ass top/down levels. Mode 7 really shines in Super Probotector on the top/down levels which is surprising considering games like Pilotwings seem a little glitchy in places.
Timing seems to be a critical feature in Super Probotector. Or should I say Good Timing? I’ve often felt sheer frustration at missing the overhead weapon drops due to terrible timing and aim. On the contrary the yearning to succeed and progress in Super Probotector is great and it’s great for one reason only: You get hit once and you die. What does that mean aside from the obvious? To me it means that every weapon counts and storing up items like Bombs is crucial to progress.
2 Player all the way
Back in the 8bit and 16bit days (in fact all the way through to the Playstation 3/Xbox 360 era), two player games were hugely popular. Now it’s all about playing online Multiplayer games which is great but some of us remember theGood Ol’ Days of wading through a game with your friend sat next to you right? I miss those days. Super Probotector (Contra 3: Alien Rebels) is a thoroughly enjoyable experience overall. Playing two player certainly makes Super Probotector feel more tangible; you feel hard, untouchable and ready to destroy the world. My personal favourite moments are the boss battles. They go down so easily with a second player which makes me conclude that Super Probotector is better played with a mate. The pace, the action, the power; all feel ramped up!
Divide and Conquer
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a fellow gamer say a bad word about Super Probotector. In fact I don’t believe I read a bad review about it. There are many Super Nintendo games that played so well and continue to thrive in 2016. Super Probotector Conquer’s the battle for greatness. Level design, variety, looks and story are still a pinnacle talking point of Super Probotector’s appeal. Within the might of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One generation I still return to mySuper Nintendo and pop in the cart of Super Probotector. Who needs Fallout 4 when I have this?
Retro Game Reviews. Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, Sega Dreamcast and more
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