In the arcades, the year between the release of the original Contra and its follow-up, Super Contra, bore a sequel that was graphically much more impressive and significantly more challenging. By comparison, the two years between the release of Contra and Super C on the Nintendo Entertainment System bore a sequel that took much of its structure from Super Contra but lacked the graphical upgrade or the increased difficulty. It ends up just feeling like more Contra, which isn't really a bad thing, especially because the original Contra isn't yet available through the Wii Virtual Console.
For the most part, Super C has you running to the right, leaping around to avoid enemies, as well as their gigantic, slow-moving bullets, and hammering on the fire button just as fast as you can. You'll shoot pods containing weapon power-ups out of the sky. In addition to using comically oversized ammo, the spread fire weapon is just as overpowered as it was in the original. Success depends on a gung-ho attitude, but there are also occasional traps and regular end-of-level boss fights that benefit from a certain amount of memorization.
Super C throws a steady stream of dudes and bullets at you. And contact with any of them means instant death. A big part of the challenge comes from a stingy number of lives and continues, though a modified version of the Konami code provides a little more wiggle room. Super C can be intermittently frustrating, but it can also be satisfying when you're able to make it through a particularly harrowing section unscathed. Playing Super Contra with a second player takes a certain amount of the edge off the difficulty and is the ideal way to play.
While Contra mixed up the gameplay with pseudo-3D corridor crawls, Super C introduces top-down shooter sequences. These levels are reminiscent of twin-stick shooters, such as Robotron and Smash TV, except you've only got the one stick here. This means that your movement and your aiming are bound together. While most of the challenge in Super C feels honest, there's a sense during these top-down sequences that you're fighting against the controls as much as you are the enemies.
You may get the feeling that not as much care went into Super C as its predecessor. A lot of the art from Contra gives the two games an almost identical look and feel, yet the visuals feel even more spartan in parts of Super C. It ultimately doesn't have the same kind of wide-reaching nostalgic resonance as the original, but Super C is still a competent side-scrolling shooter.