Contra: Hard Corps
From Sega Retro
|Contra: Hard Corps|
|System(s): Sega Mega Drive, Nintendo Switch Online|
|Distributor: Majesco Sales (US re-release)|
|Peripherals supported: Six Button Control Pad|
|Series: Contra series|
|Number of players: 1-2|
|Official in-game languages: |
It is one of the only two Contra installments on any Sega console, the other being Contra: Legacy of War. The game is considered one of the hardest games in the Contra franchise in the West, as the hit point system from the Japanese version was removed.
In 2641, an elite team of commandos called the "Unified Military Special Mobile Task Force K-X," also known as the "Contra: Hard Corps," has been assembled to combat the rapid spread of crime and illegal activities following the war. When an unknown hacker infiltrates the city's security system and reprograms a group of unmanned robots to cause havoc, the Hard Corps are deployed to handle the situation. Members include male soldier Ray Poward; female soldier Sheena Etranzi; Brad Fang, a wolf-like humanoid; and Browny, a small robot.
The game is a side-scrolling run-and-gun. The objective of each stage is to reach the end, shooting enemies and fighting numerous bosses along the way. Players can choose between one of four unique player characters, which have their own unique weapons. Two players can play simultaneously (but they are not allowed to choose the same character). The second player can join at any time during the game by pressing. Bosses are tougher and require more hits to defeat when playing with two-players. The story is advanced through story cutscenes, and some stages present the players with branching paths. A total of six different endings exist (including a hidden spoof ending).
Characters move with or and lie prone with . In two-player games, the screen only scrolls if both players are moving. They jump with and jump off platforms with +. They can slide along the ground with +. The character is invulnerable for the duration of the maneuver; some enemies can also be damaged by sliding through them. Characters grab walls and ceilings automatically and move along them using the D-Pad.
Characters shoot with (which can be held for continuous fire). The character can shoot in any of eight directions by holding the D-Pad while firing. There are two shooting modes, Type I and Type II: Type I allows the character to run and fire at the same time, while Type II fixes the character in place while firing. The shooting mode is switched by pressing + (or , , or when using a Six Button Control Pad). Players can change the shooting mode while the game is paused (with ). While using Type II, pressing while holding fires directly downwards; otherwise, pressing while holding fires while lying down. When using Type I, the player cannot fire directly downwards and instead always fires while lying down when holding and together. Weapons can also be fired while jumping.
Characters can now carry up to four different weapons, as well as a supply of bombs. Weapons are cycled through with . Characters are initially armed with a standard machine gun, but additional weapons are obtained from flying capsules. The weapon items are labeled A, B, C, or D, each corresponding to a different weapon depending on the character controlled by the player. The starting weapon is upgraded by collecting an A item. Bombs are held in slot E (and behave the same regardless of which character is selected).
In the Japanese version, characters have a life gauge that allows them to take three hits from enemies before losing a life. The Western releases remove this, so characters lose a life when they are hit one time. A fallen character revives in place with a short period of invulnerability if the player has extra lives remaining. Losing a life costs the equipped weapon (but the player's supply of bombs is untouched). Players earn an extra life at 2,000 points and then every 6,000 points after that. The Japanese version also features unlimited continues, while the Western versions only allow a player to continue five times.
|Shoot to release an item.|
|Equips the character's A weapon, which replaces the standard machine gun.|
|Equips the character's B weapon.|
|Equips the character's C weapon.|
|Equips the character's D weapon.|
|Gives the player another bomb. Bombs explode and damage all enemies on the screen. The player can hold multiple bombs at a time.|
At several points in the game, players are given the opportunity to choose between two branching paths, which determines the next stage. These paths converge at certain points, so some of the stages are played regardless of which previous paths were chosen.
|Players are given a choice at the end: go after Deadeye Joe (go to Stage 2A) or rescue the Research Center (go to Stage 2B).|
|This stage has the player riding a "Motoroid," a hoverbike that can transform into an ostrich-like walking robot.|
|This stage is played on all paths. There is a hidden alien in this stage who offers the players the choice to "make some money in the battle arena": players can choose to "give it a try" (skip the rest of Stage 3 and go to the Hidden Stage) or "forget about it" (finish Stage 3).|
|This is a hidden stage that consists of three boss fights (including a parody of Simon Belmont from the Castlevania series, with remixed theme music). If it is completed, the game ends with the secret ending.|
|This stage is played on all paths. Players are given a choice at the end: fight to the end (go to Stage 5AB) or surrender and fight later (go to Stage 5C if previously played Stage 2A or go to Stage 5D if previously played Stage 2B).|
|This stage is followed by Stage 6A if the players have previously played Stage 2A or by Stage 6B if the players have previously played Stage 2B.|
|The game ends after completing this stage.|
|This stage is followed by Stage 6D.|
|The game ends after completing this stage.|
|This stage is followed by Stage 7.|
|The game ends after completing this stage.|
|Colonel Bahamut offers the players to join forces with him. If the players accept, the game ends with the bad ending (and the players are given the chance to restart the stage if they have continues remaining). Otherwise, players fight the Colonel for one of the good endings.|
The development team called themselves "TEAM機知GUY" (Team Kichi Guy). This is actually a 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.
The game spawned a series of follow-ups featuring the same characters, including the Appaloosa Interactive-developed sequels, Contra: Legacy of War and C: The Contra Adventure, and the Arc System Works-developed prequel, Hard Corps: Uprising.
Two stages from Contra: Hard Corps would be recycled for the Game Boy Advance release Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX in 2002.
In 2019, it was re-released as part of Contra: Anniversary Collection for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. It was also included in all versions of the Mega Drive Mini the same year. The game was re-released on Nintendo Switch Online in 2021.
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 period 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 five 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 language 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 60 Hz systems.
|Language||Localised Name||English Translation|
|English (US)||Contra: Hard Corps||Contra: Hard Corps|
|Japanese||魂斗羅 ザ・ハードコア||Contra: The Hard Corps|
- Director, Scenario Writer, Graphic Supervisor: N.Nakazato
- 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
- Main article: Contra: Hard Corps/Magazine articles.
also published in:
- Velikiy Drakon (RU) #61 (2003-02-07)
|Sega Retro Average|
|Mega Drive, US (cardboard) (Majesco Sales)|
|Mega Drive, PT|
- Main article: Contra: Hard Corps/Technical information.
- https://sega.jp/history/hard/megadrive/software_l.html (Wayback Machine: 2020-07-02 23:21)
- Beep! MegaDrive, "August 1994" (JP; 1994-07-08), page 9
- Game Players, "Vol. 7 No. 9 September 1994" (US; 1994-0x-xx), page 10
- Sega Magazine, "November 1994" (UK; 1994-10-15), page 76
- Mega, "November 1994" (UK; 1994-10-27), page 42
- Sega Magazine, "November 1994" (UK; 1994-10-15), page 74
- File:NewReleases 1994-11 AU Catalogue.pdf, page 19
- Sega Megazone, "December 1994" (AU; 1994-1x-xx), page 36
- MAN!AC, "02/95" (DE; 1995-01-11), page 15
- https://store-jp.nintendo.com/list/software/70010000046986.html (Wayback Machine: 2021-10-26 03:04)
- @NintendoAmerica on Twitter (archive.today)
- @NintendoEurope on Twitter (archive.today)
- @NintendoUK on Twitter (archive.today)
- @NintendoAUNZ on Twitter (archive.today)
- File:Contra Hard Corps MD credits.pdf
- @JeremyBlaustein on Twitter (Wayback Machine: 2018-08-27 17:06)
- GamePro, "January 1995" (US; 199x-xx-xx), page 52
- Velikiy Drakon, "" (RU; 2003-02-07), page 68
- 1700 igr dlya Sega, "" (RU; 2001-xx-xx), page 50
- 1700 igr dlya Sega, "" (RU; 2001-xx-xx), page 181
- Beep! MegaDrive, "October 1994" (JP; 1994-09-08), page 20
- CD Consoles, "Décembre 1994" (FR; 1994-xx-xx), page 140
- Cool Gamer, "9" (RU; 2002-10-13), page 55
- Computer & Video Games, "November 1994" (UK; 1994-10-15), page 94
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "October 1994" (US; 1994-xx-xx), page 34
- Entsiklopediya luchshikh igr Sega. Vypusk 1, "" (RU; 1999-xx-xx), page 302
- Entsiklopediya luchshikh igr Sega. Vypusk 3, "" (RU; 2000-xx-xx), page 28
- Famitsu, "1994-09-30" (JP; 1994-09-16), page 41
- Game Players, "Vol. 7 No. 10 October 1994" (US; 1994-xx-xx), page 92
- Game Players, "Vol. 7 No. 12 December 1994" (US; 1994-1x-xx), page 51
- GamePro, "November 1994" (US; 1994-xx-xx), page 78
- GamePro, "Oktober 1994" (DE; 1994-09-30), page 40
- GamesMaster, "November 1994" (UK; 1994-10-20), page 40
- Games World: The Magazine, "December 1994" (UK; 1994-10-28), page 15
- Hobby Consolas, "Diciembre 1994" (ES; 1994-xx-xx), page 110
- Joypad, "Novembre 1994" (FR; 1994-1x-xx), page 122
- Mega Fun, "11/94" (DE; 1994-10-19), page 63
- Mean Machines Sega, "November 1994" (UK; 1994-09-30), page 60
- Next Generation, "Premiere Issue 1995" (US; 1994-12-08), page 105
- Player One, "Novembre 1994" (FR; 1994-1x-xx), page 128
- Play Time, "12/94" (DE; 1994-11-09), page 102
- Sega Power, "November 1994" (UK; 1994-09-29), page 53
- Sega Pro, "December 1994" (UK; 1994-11-03), page 70
- Sega Mega Drive Review, "1" (RU; 1995-04-03), page 33
- Sega Saturn Magazine, "September 1995" (JP; 1995-08-08), page 85
- Todo Sega, "Enero 1995" (ES; 199x-xx-xx), page 40
- Tricks 16 bit, "Tricks Sega Gold 800 igr" (RU; 1998-03-20), page 11
- Tricks 16 bit, "Tricks Sega Gold 800 igr" (RU; 1998-03-20), page 201
- Video Games, "10/94" (DE; 1994-09-28), page 96
- VideoGames, "November 1994" (US; 1994-1x-xx), page 83
|Contra: Hard Corps|
|Contra games for Sega systems|
|Contra: Hard Corps (1994)|
|Contra: Legacy of War (1997)|