Contra: Hard Corps

From Sega Retro


ContraHardCorps TitleScreen.PNG
Contra: Hard Corps
Publisher: Konami
System(s): Sega Mega Drive
Genre: Action

Series: Contra series
Number of players: 1-2
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive
¥9,000 T-95093
Sega Mega Drive
$? T-95106
Sega Mega Drive
£49.99[1] T-95106-50
Sega Mega Drive
?F T-95106-50
Sega Mega Drive
DM 129,95[3] T-95106-50
Sega Mega Drive
?Ptas T-95106-50
Sega Mega Drive
$? ?
Sega Mega Drive
₩? GM94017JT

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.



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.

Magazine articles

Main article: Contra: Hard Corps/Magazine articles.

Promotional material


GamePro US 064.pdfGamePro US 064.pdf

Print advert in
GamePro (US) #64: "November 1994" (1994-xx-xx)
also published in:
  • GamePro (US) #66: "January 1995" (199x-xx-xx)[4]

Joypad FR 036.pdf

Print advert in
Joypad (FR) #36: "Novembre 1994" (1994-xx-xx)

GamePro DE 1994-12.pdf

Print advert in
GamePro (DE) "Dezember 1994" (1994-11-25)
also published in:
  • MAN!AC (DE) #02/95 (1995-01-11)[3]

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
60 №2, p140-143[5]
92 №156, p94-95[1]
93 №23, p40-42[6]
89 №6, p15
88 №36, p122/123[7]
94 №25, p60-64[8]
88 №26, p42/43
60 №1, p99[9]
89 №47, p128/129[10]
74 №60, p53
74 №39, p70/71
90 №70, p83[11]
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
13 reviews

Mega Drive, US
ContraHardCorps MD US Box.jpg
Contra Hard Corps MD US Cart.jpg
Contrahardcorps md us manual.pdf
Mega Drive, US (Classics)

Mega Drive, EU
Probotector MD EU Box.jpg
Probotector MD EU Cart.jpg
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, 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 File:CVG UK 156.pdf, page 94
  2. File:SegaMagazine UK 11.pdf, page 76
  3. 3.0 3.1 File:MAN!AC DE 1995-02.pdf, page 15
  4. File:GamePro US 066.pdf, page 52
  5. File:CDConsoles FR 02.pdf, page 140
  6. File:GamesMaster UK 023.pdf, page 40
  7. File:Joypad FR 036.pdf, page 122
  8. File:MeanMachinesSega25UK.pdf, page 60
  9. File:NextGeneration US 01.pdf, page 105
  10. File:PlayerOne FR 047.pdf, page 124
  11. File:VideoGames US 70.pdf, page 83