released on Jan 08, 1991
Operation C is an Action game, developed and published by Konami, which was released in 1991.
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Riding off from the success of both the original Contra and Super C, Konami would then bring the franchise to the handheld scene four years later. And for this installment, unlike with Castlevania, they aren't gonna try to ruin it for their first handheld installment (sorry, but again, it's just too easy). So, after those four years, Konami would then release Operation Contra to the public. Or... I guess Operation C, because, again, letters are just so much cooler then full words.
As the first handheld entry in the Contra series, it does a pretty great job at bringing the standard Contra gameplay to the smaller screen, and it ends up being a pretty good game. It does suffer from some small issues, but they don't get in the way from being a surprisingly good time.
The story is pretty much the exact same as the other two Contra games, which I can excuse, the graphics are Game Boy graphics, but they do a pretty good job at replicating the original NES sprites, the music is just remixed versions of the original Contra music, but it still sounds incredible, the control is pretty solid, even if, again, your movement speed is slower than usual, and the gameplay is what you would expect, but it is carried over extremely well.
The game plays exactly like the previous two Contra games, where you move from left to right, shooting up various enemies and bosses, getting different weapons to fend off enemies with, and taking on different types of stages as well, such as the top down shooter sections, which return from Super C. There isn't too many new elements that are introduced in this game, aside from a few new weapons such as a homing missile shot, which is pretty useful. Despite the lack of new additions, it is still pretty fun to play through all the same.
However, it doesn't get a pass, as it does have its problems. Similarly to Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge, the game reuses a lot of elements from Contra and Super C, with a good chunk of the levels being from Super C, with the layout being changed around, and again, like mentioned earlier, all of the music is just remixed versions of the music from the original Contra. These reused elements aren't really all that bad, and none of them are executed in a poor way, but I would've preferred seeing original levels rather than remixed versions of older ones. Aside from that, the only other complaint I would have would be the short length, but since this is a Game Boy game, that is to be expected.
Overall, while it does reuse elements from previous games, it is still a surprisingly fun entry in the Contra series, and a great start for the series on handheld systems. I would recommend, especially for those Contra fans who haven't played it yet.
Looking at my past reviews of old games, if you learn anything about me, you'll learn that I'm VERY easily impressed when handheld games/ports are given much love and attention to the point they show a very strong ambition to be something different while still playing to the series strength. Operation C is a prime example. I never would have played this if it weren't in the Anniversary Collection and after having played it, I REALLY wish I had this game as a kid, I would have loved it.
This game doesn't feel like a downgrade at all, instead it feels like a sort of extension of Contra and Super C blended together mixed a bit with it's own stuff. I really did enjoy the music and the gameplay was very smooth and I enjoyed the challenge it brought but not once did I feel like I was playing something lesser. I can say I enjoyed this about as much as the NES Super C and that's without nostalgia.
Is it weird to say that Contra as a series doesn't interest me? I wanna say around 2015 I played the first one on an emulator once and wasn't really understanding the hype. I still thought it was a good game but not great. I still kind of blame myself for using the 30 lives code for the reason I felt underwhelmed. Ever since then the only other Contra game I played was Hard Corps on the Mega Drive which was a surprise hit for me being a top 10 for the console as of writing this.
I gotta say though after playing this game I was kind of impressed by how fun it is for a GB game. It's the same Contra gameplay you know and love. Oddly it doesn't actually use the Contra name well I guess it's probably Operation Contra. It's just odd cause in Japan it's just called Contra. I usually appreciate when Game Boy games try to go for their own thing but this one seems to be very similar to the 2nd Famicom game. From the research I did and by that I checked two sites, this seems to be it's own original game? I guess I'll know whenever I play Super Contra.
This game is a little slower then usual but that's fine but I was a little put offguard by it's difficulty. It's actually pretty easy for the most part. Yeah you will die in areas but once you've done it once you will get through the levels in no issue. The game does have a 9 lives code and even a stage select if you have no patience to practice.
There's only 3 weapons here which are a spread shot that shoots many bullets, a homing shot which is self explanatory, and a fire weapon which I liked for the top down stages due to the blast radius it has when it explodes. I basically just switched between them a lot during the playthrough as they all can be pretty helpful but be warned that death will make you lose them. I was shocked at the lack of invincibility and even stuff like the laser is gone. TBH I don't really miss it. Even rapid fire is just a default thing given to you when you begin.
Sadly what stops it from being better than Nemesis on the GB for Konami GB competition is that it's short. I really wanted more but the game ends at just a meager 5 stages. The game felt like it wasn't even halfway and I'm already being told I'm done. What a shame. Also it bothers me you can't strafe on those top down stages. Thankfully the stages aren't hard but I wanna strafe damnit.
Can I just say the final boss is also the hardest part of the game. I won't lie and admit I did die like three times to him. I know I know, I should be ashamed but it just caught me off guard honestly. When I beat him I was like "There's more?!" but no it's just a very easy dodge lightning section along with shooting a thing that doesn't fight back and you win. Kind of anticlimatic if you ask me.
The game graphically is pretty good for the GB and doesn't sacrifice playability for the sake of looking good. The speed of the game also isn't too bad either. I'm not sure how much of this game borrows graphics from the Famicom games but they look good here. The music is good but not my favorite from Konami. Still the fact they were still putting effort in these is always nice. Like seriously who do they hire for their older games because they really gave it their all.
I do enjoy what was developed but I wish there was more to it. It's a fun Contra game but it's nothing mind blowing and maybe too easy for a lot of it. It's hard to recommend nowadays but if you like Contra then you probably have already played this. So really it's hard to say if has any worth in today's age but hey at least it's playable and fun! That's all is what needed at times, especially for Game Boy games.
Considering the platform and the year and the hardware demands of the 'Contra' series, 'Operation C' can only be seen as a triumph. Just a bit slower, and a bit easier, than a typical 'Contra' game, 'Operation C' offers up five very good, very different run-and-gun levels. Horizontal and vertical scrolling and a difficulty curve that gently slopes upward to the conclusion. After a few playthroughs, you'll learn the enemy patterns well enough to beat the game, and a full playthrough, start to end credits, is less than twenty minutes long. But if you're exploring the early days of the 'Contra' series, 'Operation C' is not one to overlook on account of its underpowered platform. This is good 'Contra.'
Who knew Contra on the Gameboy could work so well. The spreadshot is now a homing shot as well which is awesome. The music and grpahics are pretty good for a early GB title. Definitely worth a playthrough, and fairs much better than the Castlevania GB titles.
Contra, but for Game Boy, and with quite satisfactory results. A game with a certain degree of difficulty, which will require several attempts to finish it, quite enjoyable on its own merit and a demonstration of the GB's capabilities.
If you have ever played a Contra, you more or less already know what is going to await you in the game, such as power ups for your weapon and many enemies and obstacles on the screen that you will have to avoid since one hit is enough to knock you down, etc. the typical
The game is impressive, as it retains the same action of the NES games, albeit with some changes to movement speed and jump height to fit the GB's screen. Although yes, it also reuses many elements of Contra and Super C, such as music and scenarios, however this is not always the case, in addition to the fact that the design of the levels and the bosses is completely their own, so it is not a simple adaptation of the NES games. Other aspects that impressed me were things like the game's graphics, which are detailed and unlike other games for the same console, don't really suffer from slowdowns.
A good Contra and a good game for the system.