The present work reports on the properties of nitrogen rich carbon films produced by an intense gas discharge between carbon electrodes in a nitrogen atmosphere. The energy of the discharge, initial nitrogen pressure, number of discharges and geometry are varied to establish their effect on the nitrogen content and the mechanical, structural and morphological characteristics of the deposited carbon-nitride films. The structural diagnostics include optical and scanning electron microscopy, as well as Auger and Raman Spectroscopes and Rutherford Backscattering. The C-N films formed fell into two categories, differing in morphology and mechanical properties. Type I are C-N films, containing up to 35 at. % nitrogen, and which have an amorphous structure. These films are formed at relatively low plasma shock pressure and exhibit relatively low microhardness, ̴ 2 GPa. In a relatively narrow range of the plasma shock pressure and temperature the second type of C-N deposition is observed consisting of high density, closely-packed crystal-like grains growing perpendicular to the substrate surface and displaying a cauliflower-like morphology, The microhardness of these films reaches 15 GPa, as measured by the Vickers method.