“The Contra series is a classic gaming staple, and Contra: Hard Corps for your Sega Genesis is no exception! Can you battle through near-impossible levels in great 2D shooter action?”

Contra - Hard Corps

by Konami

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I knew that - unless Konami had started allowing its programmers to smoke crack - Contra: Hard Corps was going to be a great game. What I didn't know is that Hard Corps would borrow so heavily from Sega's Gunstar Heroes, Contra-esque action title that was one of the best Genesis games of 1993. And here's another strange twist - the programmers of Gunstar Heroes had previously done Contra III for the Super NES. Goofy, eh?

For the pathetic few readers who've never played one of the previous three Contras, they're the most enjoyable platform/shooter games around.

There's nothing fancy involved - just plenty of running, jumping and shooting, with a side order of awesome weaponry and some really intense bosses.

Hard Corps meddles with the time-tested Contra formula in several ways. First, instead of the usual generic musclehead, there are four characters to choose from (buff dude, buff chick, buff wolfman and cute li'l robot), each with unique skills and weapons. Second, there are several paths through the game - there's even the possibility of a bad ending as seen in Streets of Rage. Third, there are literally dozens of bosses throughout the game, most of which have at least two and usually three or four different forms. Bosses in Hard Corps don't go down easy!

It's the multitude of bosses that most resembles Gunstar Heroes, which also had tons of baddies in each level - in fact, one of Gunstar's levels was nothing but bosses. Some of Hard Corps' enemies and weapons also have very similar appearances to bad guys from Gunstar. But this type of ripping-off happens all the time - just look at the game-play inbreeding of fighting games - and Gunstar Heroes was technically a Contra offshoot to begin with.

Hard Corps' most outstanding features are the visual effects, which are, in my completely uneducated opinion, as good as Genesis graphics are ever gonna get. The bosses are animated as smooth as buttah, and with very little slowdown or flicker. There's also some show-off scaling and rotation, along with a dash of morphing. Too cool.


The backgrounds look good, but it's the variety of bosses that blows you away. Every time you think you've finally killed a boss, it changes into an even more smoothly animated had guy. And don't forget the scaling, rotating, and morphing.


With all those nifty graphics, it's no surprise that the music is disappointing by comparison - a lithe bit of techno, a little rock, and a little boring. But the sound effects are a lot better, especially the truly satisfying explosions.


Konami has play control down to a science, it's hard to screw up run-jump-shoot game play (although it's been done before). The weapons are cool and the levels are tough - how much more playable can you get?


Contra: Hard Corps is definitely a different breed from the previous games in the series, but change is good - and this game benefits very much from the changes made to the Contra formula. The multiple paths, the powerful weapons and the incredible bosses keep you constantly challenged and constantly tripping out at what the programmers have managed to wring out of the Genesis. Nice oh, Konami - now let's get cracking on Contra for the 32X!

Continue: Desert Strike (arcade/action)

If you like Contra - Hard Corps, try other games: After The End, DevastationZone Troopers, Theseus: Return of the Hero.

Contra - Hard Corps system requirements:SystemP-200.

Systems: Win9x Windows 9x, Windows 2000 WinXPWindows XP.

Game modes: Contra - Hard Corps supports single modeSingle game mode Contra - Hard Corps supports multiplayer modeMultiplayer (HotSeat).

Contra - Hard Corps rating

Contra - Hard Corps news:

2005-06-05 Contra is a classical scrolling arcade.

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