Super Cobra: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview


Coming out just months after Scramble, Super Cobra is considered to be the slightly less popular one of these two shoot ‘em up themed arcade games. In fact, only the cabinet art and various parts of the arcade system were changed in Super Cobra to distinguish it from Scramble.

While Scramble reigned supreme in the arcades, Super Cobra was a major hit with home gaming systems. The game made its way to the MSX, the Atari 2600, the ColecoVision and several other home consoles. In addition to Super Cobra’s inclusion on multiple video game consoles, the arcade title was also ported to many home gaming computers.

Game developer Konami created Super Cobra in 1981, and the game was distributed in the United States by Stern Electronics. This game is available in one and two player modes.


Game Play Overview

While flying from left to right, players control a helicopter that is capable of both shooting and avoiding enemies. Players can shoot oncoming enemies that appear in front of the helicopter, or drop bombs on opposing forces from above.

On top of avoiding enemy fire and other obstacles, players must also be mindful of the amount of fuel that remains in their reserves. Additional fuel packs can be picked up along the way by destroying fuel containers. Fuel containers are red, circular icons with the letters ‘RB’ written on the side of them.

In total, there are 10 levels in Super Cobra. Each level is measured in the game as being 1,000 miles long. After all 10 stages have been completed; players are treated to bonus chapter, similar to that of a boss level. The objective of each stage is to capture a box referred to as booty, and destroy the enemy base.

Instead of battling individual foes, players must take on a slew of fighter jets, tanks, rockets and other enemies. Certain objects must not be shot, such as the booty, or else players risk having to re-start the current level. All enemies have an assigned point value, with the exception of mystery tanks. These tanks can be worth anywhere from 100 to 300 points.

Special Features

Extra lives are awarded in 10K point intervals. Extra men can also be earned when the booty icon is recovered at the end of a level.


Helicopter – This is the military vehicle that players control. Running out of fuel or being hit by enemy fire will cause you to lose a turn. When a life is lost, the player has to start the current level over again from the beginning.

Fuel containers – Fuel containers appear many times on each level. When destroyed, fuel reserves for the player’s helicopter will be replenished.

Booty – This icon must be recovered in order to complete certain stages. When this task is successfully completed, players are rewarded with an extra life.

Enemies – Foes come in many forms in Super Cobra, including standard tanks and more obscure flying pinwheels. Shooting some enemies will result in points being earned, while destroying others will simply help to keep players alive.

How to Play Super Cobra

At the start of Super Cobra, you will see a progress bar at the top of the screen. This bar will tell you where you are in the game. A total of 10 levels plus the bonus base stage will be indicated in the progress bar.

On the lower portion of the screen, you will see your fuel bar. When full, the bar will be solid purple. As fuel depletes, the bar will start to turn yellow. When the fuel bar turns completely yellow, you will lose a life.

Level 1
During this stage, you will only face one type of enemy. Rockets will fly either quickly or slowly, in an attempt to crash into the player helicopter. You can choose to shoot them with the standard gun or drop bombs on top of them.

There will be a number of fuel containers present, especially at the beginning of this level. Try to keep your fuel reserve as close as full to possible. While your enemies will pose little threat, the fast changing terrain may cause you to inadvertently crash. Always look to the far right of the screen in order to anticipate how the scenery will change next.

Once you have gotten to the end of this level, the screen will display a message reading “1,000 Miles Cleared.’ Immediately, the game will segue into the next stage.

Level 2
On level two, players have a new enemy group to battle. Beware of flying missiles which ascend from the ground, looking to take out the helicopter. These missiles will also shoot torpedoes at the helicopter. In order to complete this stage, you will again need to maneuver the ever changing screen as it goes up and down a rugged mountain range.

Toward the end of the level, there will be several mystery tanks that appear. You can quickly increase your score if you shoot them all. When the terrain becomes level, no more enemies appear and a message that says “2,000 Miles Cleared’ appears, you will know that you have completed level two.

Level 3
Level three features both flying pinwheel formations and rockets. The pinwheels are fast moving, and they work together in groups so you will need to stay on guard. Rockets, however, simply deploy once you get close in their proximity. You can choose them down with ease.

The terrain on this level will be relatively flat as most of the action will take place in the air. Use the relatively large portion of air space to steer clear of flying pinwheels. Once the end level screen message is displayed, you will move onto the next board.

Level 4
Flying pinwheels appear individually instead of in groups on level four, but they are even more dangerous now. These fast moving foes will quickly move up and down, essentially blocking the path of your helicopter. In addition, stage four contains multiple rocky mountains and narrow caves. You will need to carefully pilot the helicopter while simultaneously shooting fuel containers, flying pinwheels and rockets in order to stay alive.

Again, several mystery tanks will make an appearance during the latter portion of this chapter. If you are able to, destroy them and add extra points to your total score.

Level 5
There is only one type of enemy on this board that is dangerous to the player helicopter, but they are also very hard to avoid. Landmines will be strapped to the top of the caves that you fly through, falling directly into your airspace. Either shoot or evade these mines, and pick up fuel containers whenever you see them.

At some points, the caves will turn into narrow tunnels and the landmines will appear in rows of two or three. You will need to continuously hit the fire button and quickly move the helicopter in order to avoid being hit. At the end of this level, you will have officially hit the mid-point of Super Cobra.

Level 6
For the first time, tanks will start to fire upon you on level six. In addition to having the ability to move, they are also capable of sending a line of fire in the direction of the helicopter until they are destroyed. Rockets will also be present on this board, but they do not pose any challenges to players.

At this point in the game, your fuel reserves will also begin to diminish much more quickly. It is necessary for players to shoot every fuel container that they see in order to reduce the risk of running out of fuel.

Level 7
Fast moving meteorites make up the bulk of your enemies on level seven. These meteorites will always come from the right, and they need to be hit multiple times in order to be destroyed. Unless you are very skilled at shooting, it is best to just try and avoid most of them. If you keep the player helicopter relatively low on the screen, you will be able to keep out of danger.

Immobile, non-firing rockets will also be present. Again, focus on shooting fuel containers as well as low flying enemies.

Level 8
Flying saucers, rockets and tanks will appear on this stage. Only the flying saucers will be capable of firing upon the helicopter. Flying saucers move up and down like pinwheels, but they travel much slower. This should give you enough time to either shoot them or fly past them safely.

Target fuel containers, shoot all flying saucers and fly all 1,000 miles in order to get the level nine.

Level 9
Level nine is extremely short, but there is one treacherous obstacle that players must overcome. A skyscraper with missiles must be navigated around in order to make it to the end. Time your shots and fly as high as you possibly can.

Level 10
On the final regular stage of Super Cobra, you will see a totally new background setting. Instead of flying in the rugged outdoors, the helicopter will have to fly down the narrow paths of some type of structure. Large groups of fuel containers will appear at once, giving players the chance to quickly refuel completely. However, there will also be longer stretches between the appearances of extra fuel.

Descending rockets are the only enemies present on this level. Stay away from the walls of the structure in order to prevent against losing a life, and follow the paths until the end of the stage.

Base Level
This is another short level that features the booty icon, tanks and missiles. Simply fly over a few smaller buildings, shoot down missiles and pick up the booty icon to beat Super Cobra.

Hints and Tips
- Besides being hit by an enemy, the only other way to lose a life is if you run out of fuel. As long as you hit all upcoming fuel containers, you should always have fuel in your reserves.

- Remember that both shoot and bomb your enemies. Use both of the action buttons in order to take out foes.

- Meteorites are extremely dangerous enemies, and it is nearly impossible to clear them all. Instead of flying into a group of meteorites dead on, always stick to the bottom of the screen.


We hope you enjoyed the video and the information shared on this classic arcade game.

Order Your Very Own Authentic Classic Arcade Machine Here

Check Out Other Classic Arcade Game Videos Here

For over 30 years Arcade Classics continues to bring the classics to life!