Operation C Review

With the Contra Anniversary Collection due to be released early Summer 2019, I thought it would be a good idea to review one of the lesser known games on the compilation. That game being Operation C, a title that was originally released on the Game Boy in 1991. Operation C borrows heavily from previous Contra titles, but downsizes them brilliantly to fit the handheld console.

Faithful Contra Gameplay

Operation C features action faithful to its series, which is something that can’t be said of many Game Boy adaptations. Of course that means you get to mow down dozens of soldiers using classic Contra weapons, most notably the spread gun. These weapons can be upgraded by obtaining them a second time, which increases their speed, as well as auto-fired by holding down the fire button. This auto-fire feature was new to Contra at the time and is certainly a treat for the thumbs.

The game is split into 5 areas with areas 1, 3, and 5 featuring side-scrolling run and gun action, while areas 2 and 4 go for the Super C overhead approach. Areas will feel somewhat familiar in design to Super C veterans, but Operation C changes enough to give the portable game its own feel. Lastly, you can expect to find challenging boss battles at the end of every area.

Overall, Operation C doesn’t wear out its welcome as it’s fairly quick to complete for veteran Contra players. I’d go as far to say that it’s the perfect length for a handheld title and game of its genre. The game is challenging enough that newbies will get more gameplay from their experience. However, a 9 lives code does exist to keep the game enjoyable for everybody.

Lack of Multiplayer

Perhaps the highlight of the arcade and NES versions of Contra is found within co-operative multiplayer. However, despite the Game Boy having a way to connect to others via its link cable, multiplayer isn’t available in Operation C. This is without a doubt the biggest downside of Operation C.

Fantastic Handheld Soundtrack

Aside from the game’s stellar gameplay, it also features an incredible soundtrack. Fans of the original Contra will notice the game mostly features remixes from the original title, however, the Game Boy compositions are done with the utmost care, so I’m willing to give the game a passing grade here.

Game Boy Design at its Best

It must have been incredibly difficult for artists to design games for the Game Boy, however, Konami nailed the graphics in Operation C. Never is it hard to distinguish between characters and background elements, but there is still enough detail to keep the game looking interesting. Other Game Boy games struggled to find a balance in this department which often led to smaller sprites and boring backgrounds when compared to their console counterparts.


This was my first time sitting down and playing Operation C from beginning to end, so I don't have to struggle with nostalgia clouding my opinion. With that being said, I came away pleasantly surprised with the game and wishing that I had played it sooner. I am glad that Konami will be featuring this game on its Contra Anniversary Collection and urge gamers to check it out if they decide to purchase the compilation. Serious collectors should seek out a copy of Game Boy cartridge to add to their pile of games as it’s worth owning if found at a decent price.

Final Score: +2

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