|Contra: Hard Corps|
|System(s): Sega Mega Drive|
|Series: Contra series|
|Number of players: 1-2|
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 (aiming and rapid-fire work the same as with any Contra title or other Konami titles like Sunset Riders), change weapons with (as unlike other Contra games, you accumulate weapons), and jump with . + slides, which also grants full body invincibility for the duration of the slide. Pushing and 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 , and can be remapped from the default key config via the options menu. With a 6 Button Arcade Pad, , or 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.
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 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.
|Sega Retro Average|
| Based on|
|Mega Drive, US (Classics)|