Saturday, December 24, 2016

Operation C (Game Boy, 1991)

This is the Game Boy spinoff of Contra, and like most Game Boy spinoffs from that era, it's very scaled-down in comparison to its NES counterparts. While those games had 8 or 9 stages, this one has 5. Said stages are shorter, too. That said, it's pretty damn fun. PUSH START KEY!

 Much like Super C, this game doesn't use the Konami Code, but a fairly close approximation of it. Also like Super C, here you get ten lives to make your way through every stage. Continues are limited, and it doesn't tell you how many you have, so a game over can sneak up on you. That said, it isn't a very difficult game, and easily beatable on a second or third go at it.

 This game handles and plays almost exactly like the NES games. The controls are just as loose and quick-moving. The only differences are the graphics, obviously, and the jumping. You can jump higher in this game, but not farther. There's very little forward momentum, so hurdling over gaps is a bit scary.

 The spread gun is still awesome, but now it comes in two varieties. Rather than go right to a five-shot spread, the first powerup you grab gives you a three-shot spread and the second gives you a five-shot spread. I'd rather it just go straight to five, but it's fine either way. An odd thing to change.

 ::"Spread" by Outkast plays::

 This game has a pattern of having every miniboss be a downscaled version of the stage boss. In the first stage, players learn how to aim downward with the first miniboss. A fight where the enemy is below you? You don't see this every day.

 The stage boss is an even bigger submarine, and again, it's all downward-firing. Again, it's odd to see a fight like this and I wonder why more games don't do it.

Gotta say, this game is already wildly enjoyable. It's a little bit easier than the NES games, and it's pure gameplay. No cutscenes, no interruptions, no TUTORIAL MESSAGES, none of the bullshit that constantly interrupts our modern games in an effort to be more movie-like or hold your hand. And for that, I salute this game.

 Stage 2 is a vertical scroller, as is tradition. It's worth noting that this game does away with the "Machine Gun" powerup, and your shots are rapid-fire right from the get-go. Definitely helps your thumb out; could only do that in the NES games with a turbo controller.

I'm happy to see that the fire gun is the improved version from Super C. This thing is bad-ass, and the only reason I don't use it more is because of the spread gun's greatness.

This game also introduces a new weapon: the homing gun. It's a lot like spread, except it fires fewer shots. As the name implies, the shots home in on enemies, which makes the game even easier. I tended to stick with the spread gun, because the homing gun almost feels like cheating.

As for the useless laser gun... it's gone. Awesome.

Tank miniboss. Definitely having flashbacks to the first two NES games here. While this one isn't a remake, it's awfully close to being one at times.

Boss is... get this... a bigger tank! Like most vertical-scrolling bosses in this series, there are several safe spots. Those plus the spread gun make these fights easy.

 How I play a Contra game: I run straight forward and fire nonstop, alternately straight ahead and diagonally up. This takes out pretty much everything, aside from those annoying low-to-the ground enemies.

 It's exactly like this.



Note: Stage 3's theme is a remix of Contra's first stage theme. Stage 3's miniboss... a weaker version of the stage 3 boss, no surprise there. This is an interesting fight because the thing you're standing on sometimes attacks you.

 Stage 4. Time for things to get alien-ish, now that the Call of Duty half of the game is over. Every Contra follows this theme.

Well, hopefully these Xenomorph egg looking things don't hatch into...


 They're actually slower, less vicious, and less complete-copies than the facehuggers in the earlier games. The primary danger here comes from the bone-spikes that shoot out of the walls.

 The boss is a giant xeno-spider. Maybe it's supposed to be a super-facehugger, I don't know. Aside from how wonderfully creepy this is, it isn't something that we've seen in another game already.

 It's an intense fight because you need to worry about a laser that bounces around the room while also watching the boss.

 The final stage has some even more facehugger-y facehuggers. They hang out in glass cases, ready to be unleashed on unsuspecting victims.


I'm wondering why the bad guys keep these things in glass cases that they can so easily break out of.

 It may seem like this platform is too high to jump to, but the jump height is substantially higher in this game.

In other news, the music in this stage is a remix of one of the later stage themes in Contra. Probably the best theme from that game. I'm liking the musical synergy in this series.

The final boss is a streamlined, revamped version of one of the original Contra stage bosses.

 This is easily the toughest fight in the game, and probably as far as most players get on their first few runs. Not only does it leap and fly around the screen faster than your character can move, it...

 ...UNLEASHES MISSILE HELL from its giant, morphing head. Gotta say, whatever this thing is, it's bad-ass.

 But wait! The game still isn't over?

 That's right, after the final boss, you have another boss to go through. It doesn't actually fight back, weirdly enough. I guess it's possible to lose if you wander off the cliff for some reason. Luckily, World of Warcraft didn't exist yet to turn the hands of gamers into flippers, so I doubt that happened very often.

This reminds me of the original Mother Brain fight, but at least the MB had defense systems around it.

 Blast it enough and the case explodes. No idea what that thing was, but GAME OVER, MAN!

I GET TO THE CHOPPA as the game concludes and I think about how much damn good sci-fi we got in the 80's.

Contra Force next, then the awesome Contra III: The Alien Wars. Hey, at least they finally put "Alien" in the title, huh?


  1. That is definitely the correct way to play Contra.

    The weaker minibosses remind me of the cloudless Kracko from Kirby.

  2. I'm gonna miss the neon, man, but I'll still enjoy these.
    Hey, these background images are not bad. They all look like they were done by a pro.
    I like the miniboss prepping you for the real boss. I also like fighting something below're right that that's rare.
    "it's pure gameplay." PREACH
    Whoa, nice job introducing animated GIFs.
    The (difficult) final boss does indeed look badass. It feels good to beat someone like that, as I did when I played Ninja Gaiden: Shadow Warriors on the GB.
    This game looks fantastic. Great job making me feel the excitement of how good the gameplay is.