Contra: Hard Corps

From Sega Retro


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  • NTSC-J
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ContraHardCorps TitleScreen.PNG

ContraHardCorps MD JP title.png

Probotector MD title.png

Contra: Hard Corps
System(s): Sega Mega Drive
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Action[1]

Series: Contra series
Number of players: 1-2
Official in-game languages:
  • 日本語
  • English
  • Français
  • Deutsch
  • Release Date RRP Code
    Sega Mega Drive
    ¥9,000 (9,270)9,000e[2] T-95093
    Sega Mega Drive
    Videogame Rating Council: MA-13
    Sega Mega Drive
    ELSPA: 3+ OK
    Sega Mega Drive
    DM 129.95129.95[7]
    Sega Mega Drive
    £44.9944.99[5][4] T-95106-50
    ELSPA: 3+ OK
    Sega Mega Drive
    OFLC: G8
    Sega Mega Drive

    This short article is in need of work. You can help Sega Retro by adding to it.

    Contra: Hard Corps, known in Japan as Contra: The Hard Corps (魂斗羅 ザ・ハードコア) and in Europe and Australia as Probotector, is a side-scroling run and gun-style shoot-em-up for the Sega Genesis by Konami. It is the only Contra installment on the Sega console aside from Contra: Legacy of War. The game is also notable for being one of the hardest games in the Contra franchise in the west, as the hit points system from the Japanese version was removed.

    The game's story takes place after Contra III: The Alien Wars (which was never released on the Sega hardware) and revolves around the theft of an alien cell. The story unfolds in a nonlinear fashion due two two crossroad points in the game. Depending on the players selection, the following stages become different. A total of 5 endings exist, one is a spoof ending found by clearing the secret arena in stage 3 (climb up the wall before going to the boss)


    Each player can shoot with B (aiming and rapid-fire work the same as with any Contra title or other Konami titles like Sunset Riders), change weapons with A (as unlike other Contra games, you accumulate weapons), and jump with C. Down+C slides, which also grants full body invincibility for the duration of the slide. Pushing A and B simulatneously switches shooting mode between "I" and "II". "I" allows to run and fire at the same time, while "II" forces the player to stop while firing.

    The functions of A, B and C can be remapped from the default key config via the options menu. With a 6 Button Arcade Pad, X, Y or Z can be used to switch between shooting modes without the need to press two buttons.

    A parody of Simon Belmont, from the Castlevania series (also by Konami) is featured as an optional boss. He also has his respective theme, Simon1994RD, a remixed version of Vampire Killer.


    In the game you can control one of four characters.Each character has his or her own special weapons special to them. The only shared weapons are the standard gun and smartbombs. Also, a second player can join in at any time during the action.

    • Ray Poward a male soldier
    • Sheena Etranzi a female soldier
    • Brad Fang a cyborg genetically-altered werewolf
    • Browny a tiny robot.


    Levels in Contra: Hard Corps are not played in a linear order - the player is given the opportunity to choose a path at several points in the game. While the level select suggests there are 13 stages in total (many of these actually being cutscenes or bosses), the manuals only allude to 6.


    Stage 1:


    Stage 2:


    Stage 3:


    Stage 4:


    Stage 5:


    Stage 6:



    The development team called themselves "TEAM機知GUY" (Team Kichi Guy). This is actualy pun and not present in the western staff roll. The Japanese "機知"(Kichi) alone translates to "wit", but together with "GUY" is sounds like "きちがい" (Kichigai), a slang word for crazy.


    Two levels from Contra: Hard Corps would be recycled for the Game Boy Advance release of Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX in 2002.


    Like many Contra games released both before and after Hard Corps, the game differs significantly depending on region. In the Japanese version, a three point health bar exists for for each character, where getting hit removes one point and grants a short timeframe of invincibility. Continues are also unlimited, and there are also various cheat codes that were disabled in the other versions such as a stage select and a 70-lives code.

    Conversely, the North American release removed the health bar system, meaning a single hit results in death (which is consistent with most games in the series). Continues here are limited to four retries.

    In Europe the game was reskinned as Probotector (not to be confused with the original Probotector on the NES - a reskinned version of the first Contra game), replacing living humans and an anthropomorphic animal with robots or aliens, and consequently replacing Ray, Sheena, and Fang with CX-1, CX-2, and CX-3, respectively. Browny was simply renamed to CX-4. The story was rewritten to remove elements of human betrayal and the alien cell was replaced with the mechanical X-Drive. This version also lacks the health bar and the number of continues have been reduced to three retries.

    Aside from the aforementioned changes and an added langauge select option (which was uncommon for the era), Probotector is the same game as the North American release of Hard Corps. This extends to the game's performance, with no optimisations put in place for PAL systems, resulting in a slower game that only runs at the correct speed on 60Hz systems.

    Localised names

    Also known as
    Language Localised Name English Translation
    English Probotector Probotector
    English (US) Contra: Hard Corps Contra: Hard Corps
    Japanese 魂斗羅 ザ・ハードコア Contra: The Hard Corps

    Production credits

    • Director, Scenario Writer, Graphic Supervisor: N.Nakazato
    • Programmers:
      • Main Program: Miyaoka♪Kenji
      • Enemy Program: Takeda☆Takashi, Hamada Hidemi, K.Karasawa
      • Help Man: Kenichiro Horio
    • Design Works:
      • Nice Guy: S.Shimamura
      • Bike Man: K.Suzuki
    • Sound Works: H.Devi Kobayashi, Akiropito, Miyaoka♪Kenji, Chiru2 Yamane, Gajokai, Nitachigu
    • Package Design: S.Kumasaka
    • Special Thanks: Yutaka Haruki and all Konami staff
    • Producer: Tomikazu Kirita
    In-game credits (English)


    Digital manuals

    Magazine articles

    Main article: Contra: Hard Corps/Magazine articles.

    Promotional material

    Print advert in Beep! MegaDrive (JP) #1994-08: "August 1994" (1994-07-08)
    Print advert in Beep! MegaDrive (JP) #1994-10: "October 1994" (1994-09-08)
    Print advert in GamePro (US) #64: "November 1994" (1994-xx-xx)
    also published in:
    • GamePro (US) #66: "January 1995" (199x-xx-xx)[9]
    Print advert in Joypad (FR) #36: "Novembre 1994" (1994-1x-xx)
    Print advert in GamePro (DE) #1994-12: "Dezember 1994" (1994-11-25)
    also published in:
    • MAN!AC (DE) #1995-02: "02/95" (1995-01-11)[7]
    Print advert in Velikiy Drakon (RU) #60 (2002-09-05)

    Physical scans

    Sega Retro Average 
    Publication Score Source
    {{{{{icon}}}|L}} Division by zero.
    Based on
    0 review
    Sega Retro Average 
    Publication Version Score
    1700 igr dlya Sega (RU) NTSC-U
    1700 igr dlya Sega (RU) PAL
    Beep! MegaDrive (JP) NTSC-J
    CD Consoles (FR) PAL
    Cool Gamer (RU)
    Computer & Video Games (UK) PAL
    Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) NTSC-U
    Entsiklopediya luchshikh igr Sega. Vypusk 1 (RU)
    Entsiklopediya luchshikh igr Sega. Vypusk 3 (RU)
    Famitsu (JP) NTSC-J
    Game Players (US) NTSC-U
    Game Players (US)
    GamePro (US) NTSC-U
    GamesMaster (UK) PAL
    Games World: The Magazine (UK) PAL
    Hobby Consolas (ES) PAL
    Joypad (FR) PAL
    Mega (UK) PAL
    Mega Fun (DE) PAL
    Mean Machines Sega (UK) PAL
    Next Generation (US) NTSC-U
    Player One (FR)
    Sega Power (UK) PAL
    Sega Pro (UK) PAL
    Sega Mega Drive Review (RU)
    Sega Saturn Magazine (JP) NTSC-J
    Tricks 16 bit (RU) NTSC-U
    Tricks 16 bit (RU) PAL
    VideoGames (US) NTSC-U
    Sega Mega Drive
    Based on
    29 reviews

    Contra: Hard Corps

    Mega Drive, JP
    Contra Hard Corps MD JP Box.jpg
    ContraHardCorps MD JP CartTop.jpg
    ContraHardCorps MD JP Cart.jpg
    Contra md jp manual.pdf
    Mega Drive, US
    ContraHardCorps MD US Box.jpg
    Contra MD US alt cart.jpg
    Contrahardcorps md us manual.pdf
    Contra MD US pcb.jpg
    Mega Drive, US (alt)
    Contra MD US alt cover.jpg
    Contra MD US alt cart.jpg
    Contra MD US alt pcb.jpg
    Mega Drive, US (cardboard)
    Contra MD US cb back.jpgContra MD US cb left.jpgContra MD US cb front.jpg
    Contra MD US cb cartback.jpgContra Hard Corps MD US Cart.jpg
    Contra MD US cb pcb.jpg
    Contra MD US cb pcb back.jpg
    PCB back
    Mega Drive, EU
    Probotector MD EU Box.jpg
    Probotector MD EU Cart.jpg
    Probotector MD EU Manual.jpg
    Mega Drive, PT

    Mega Drive, AU
    Probotector MD AU cover.jpg
    Mega Drive, KR
    ContraHardCorps MD KR Box.jpg
    Contra MD KR carttop.jpg
    Contra MD KR cartback.jpgContraHardCorps MD KR cart.jpg

    Technical information

    ROM dump status

    System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
    Sega Mega Drive
    CRC32 c579f45e
    MD5 2bd30479556da5c310d8f2a1fe66e8fa
    SHA-1 68ea84146105bda91f6056932ff4fb42aa3eb4a7
    2MB 1994-09 Cartridge (US)
    Sega Mega Drive
    CRC32 bc597d48
    MD5 22289fe42b00a5fe5df3299747480fc0
    SHA-1 69d905751ffa6a921586767263e45ddeb73333c2
    2MB 1994-10 Cartridge (EU)
    Sega Mega Drive
    CRC32 2ab26380
    MD5 3d94f57af4258416e65197a9da854219
    SHA-1 0a9d263490497c85d7010979765c48f98d9927bd
    2MB 1994-09 Cartridge (JP)


    1. 1.0 1.1 (Wayback Machine: 2020-07-02 23:21)
    2. Beep! MegaDrive, "August 1994" (JP; 1994-07-08), page 9
    3. 3.0 3.1 Sega Magazine, "November 1994" (UK; 1994-10-15), page 76
    4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Mega, "November 1994" (UK; 1994-10-27), page 42
    5. Sega Magazine, "November 1994" (UK; 1994-10-15), page 74
    6. Sega Megazone, "December 1994" (AU; 1994-xx-xx), page 36
    7. 7.0 7.1 MAN!AC, "02/95" (DE; 1995-01-11), page 15
    8. (Wayback Machine: 2018-08-27 17:06)
    9. GamePro, "January 1995" (US; 199x-xx-xx), page 52
    10. 1700 igr dlya Sega, "" (RU; 2003-xx-xx), page 50
    11. 1700 igr dlya Sega, "" (RU; 2003-xx-xx), page 181
    12. Beep! MegaDrive, "October 1994" (JP; 1994-09-08), page 20
    13. CD Consoles, "Décembre 1994" (FR; 1994-xx-xx), page 140
    14. Cool Gamer, "9" (RU; 2002-10-13), page 55
    15. Computer & Video Games, "November 1994" (UK; 1994-10-15), page 94
    16. Electronic Gaming Monthly, "October 1994" (US; 1994-xx-xx), page 34
    17. Entsiklopediya luchshikh igr Sega. Vypusk 1, "" (RU; 1999-xx-xx), page 302
    18. Entsiklopediya luchshikh igr Sega. Vypusk 3, "" (RU; 2000-xx-xx), page 28
    19. Famitsu, "1994-09-30" (JP; 1994-09-16), page 41
    20. Game Players, "Vol. 7 No. 10 October 1994" (US; 1994-xx-xx), page 92
    21. Game Players, "Vol. 7 No. 12 December 1994" (US; 1994-1x-xx), page 51
    22. GamePro, "November 1994" (US; 1994-xx-xx), page 78
    23. GamesMaster, "November 1994" (UK; 1994-10-20), page 40
    24. Games World: The Magazine, "December 1994" (UK; 1994-10-28), page 15
    25. Hobby Consolas, "Diciembre 1994" (ES; 1994-xx-xx), page 110
    26. Joypad, "Novembre 1994" (FR; 1994-1x-xx), page 122
    27. Mega Fun, "11/94" (DE; 1994-10-19), page 63
    28. Mean Machines Sega, "November 1994" (UK; 1994-09-30), page 60
    29. Next Generation, "Premiere Issue 1995" (US; 1994-12-08), page 105
    30. Player One, "Novembre 1994" (FR; 1994-1x-xx), page 128
    31. Sega Power, "November 1994" (UK; 1994-09-29), page 53
    32. Sega Pro, "December 1994" (UK; 1994-11-03), page 70
    33. Sega Mega Drive Review, "1" (RU; 1995-04-03), page 33
    34. Sega Saturn Magazine, "September 1995" (JP; 1995-08-08), page 85
    35. Tricks 16 bit, "Tricks Sega Gold 800 igr" (RU; 1998-xx-xx), page 45
    36. Tricks 16 bit, "Tricks Sega Gold 800 igr" (RU; 1998-xx-xx), page 201
    37. VideoGames, "November 1994" (US; 1994-1x-xx), page 83

    Contra: Hard Corps

    ContraHardCorps TitleScreen.PNG

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    Contra games for Sega systems
    Sega Mega Drive
    Contra: Hard Corps (1994)
    Sega Saturn
    Contra: Legacy of War (1997)