CONTRA: HARD CORPS

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Overview
Gameplay Specifics
Full Plot
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RELEASE INFORMATION

Native Platform: Sega Genesis

Media/Formats: Cartridge

Developer: Konami

Publisher: NTSC-J: Konami

NTSC-U: Konami

PAL: Konami

Release:NTSC-J: September 15, 1994

NTSC-U: August 8, 1994

PAL: October 14, 1994

 
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OVERVIEW

Contra: Hard Corps is Konami’s follow-up to Contra III: The Alien Wars, although it is considered a spin-off of the series. This game takes the core gameplay of Contra III: The Alien Wars and makes various modifications and expansions. The run-n-gun aspect is greatly toned down and the number of boss battles is greatly increased.

Indeed, Contra: Hard Corps is a boss-rush video game with occasional run-n-gun action. As such, it is notoriously difficult, especially the North American and PAL versions (see Regional Differences). Simultaneous 2-player mode is retained.

You have 4 new characters to select from at the start of the game: Ray, Sheena, Browny and Fang, each with their own unique set of guns. You play as the selected character until the end of the game or until a Game Over. Since there are no difficulty settings to choose from, the characters are the primary determinant of difficulty. There is also a new maneuver: a slide that damages enemies while keeping you immune to hits; Browny also has a hover ability, further making him the easiest character to play with.

The fast-paced action is complemented by the techno music. Contra: Hard Corps features multiple endings determined by decisions you make, and thus the paths taken, throughout the game during the plot progression. This adds to the replay value of the game, as each path features different levels and bosses to fight. The continue system is retained from its predecessor, Contra III, in which there are 1 or more checkpoints throughout many of the stages.

The plot involves a rogue war hero who steals an alien cell to accomplish various goals, again, depending on the path you choose. Along the way, you work with and encounter many characters that play important roles in both plot and gameplay. Their fates also vary with the different scenarios.

Contra: Hard Corps is generally considered to be an excellent game in the series. Many find that it is superior to Contra III, praising its fast-paced gameplay and high replay value. The only complaints, though minor, stem from its unforgiving difficulty (particularly in the North American and PAL releases).

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Covers:

NTSC-J

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NTSC-U

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PAL

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GAMEPLAY SPECIFICS

Stages:

Note: These stage names are unofficial.

Stage 1: City Streets
Stage 2A: Laboratory Rescue
Stage 2B: Deadeye Joe Pursuit
Stage 3: Junkyard
Stage 4: Jungle
Stage 5A: Laboratory Arena
Stage 5B: Train
Stage 5C: Spaceport
Stage 6A: Ocean
Stage 6B: Forest Headquarters
Stage 6C: Alienated Headquarters
Stage 7: Bahamut’s Headquarters
Stage S: Battle Arena

Arsenal

Opposition

Cheats, Assistance

 
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FULL PLOT

NTSC-J/NTSC-U:
Set 5 years after the events of Contra III, the world is struggling to recover from the damage of the Alien Wars. Despite being free of alien threats, the segregation of populations and resources into undamaged areas of the world leads to highly rampant crime. The severity of crime is worsened by the advancements in cyborg technology acquired from the Alien Wars.

Formed in response to the rising crime is a group of 4 elite military personnel collectively named the Hard Corps. This special mobile task force consists of Ray Poward, a delinquent-turned-soldier, recruited for his supreme combat skills; Sheena Etranzi, a warrior with exceptional skill in guerrilla tactics; Brad Fang, a cyborg werewolf loyal to his teammates, specializing in close-range combat; Browny, a robot with a warm personality and a key resource of data.

Around the holiday season, the city’s defense system is compromised and unmanned weapons wreak havoc in streets, led by an unmanned robot. After cleaning the streets and confronting the unmanned robot, the team realizes that the robot is actually being controlled by a man calling himself Deadeye Joe. Deadeye Joe flees and before the Hard Corps can give chase, an urgent message is received from the research center that it is under attack.

The plot progression and ending to the game vary greatly depending on choices made throughout gameplay. The following paths are in no particular order.

Path 1A: Opting to help the research center, the team rescues the lead scientist, Dr. Geo Mandrake. When he explains that the attackers are attempting to steal an alien cell, recovered from the Alien Wars, they realize that the rampant robots were just a diversion. However, they are too late and the alien cell is stolen.

Soon, the team tracks down and subdues the computer hacker, Noiman Cascade, who is responsible for the chaos in the streets. He caves in and reveals the whereabouts of the terrorists and their leader, Colonel Bahamut. Bahamut is a former hero from the Alien Wars who unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the government 2 years prior, but escaped capture.

At the enemy hideout, after an intense re-encounter with Deadeye Joe, the Hard Corps fall into a trap. Dr. Mandrake is revealed to be a traitor, working for Bahamut. Instead of getting captured and attempting an escape later, the team opts to fight Dr. Mandrake. Despite winning, Bahamut escapes.

The final location of Bahamut is pinpointed. Once the team confronts him, he offers that they join him, which they accept. This brings the world into a dark age as one of the most powerful and malicious factions is formed.

Path 1B: From 1A, the team refuses Bahamut’s offer and proceeds to subdue him. Desperate for his plan not to fail, Bahamut launches a massive nuke with an alien payload before dying. In the midst of chasing the nuke in the sky, Deadeye Joe returns for one final battle that costs him his life. The Hard Corps ultimately neutralizes the alien threat and stops the nuke. Saved from the skies by their ally plane, the team are in for heroes’ welcome.

Path 2: During the trap in path 1A, the team opt to surrender and fight later. While they are transported on a train, Deadeye Joe breaks them free, intent on killing them later. They eventually reach Bahamut’s main base. They defeat Deadeye Joe for the last time; Bahamut, disappointed, kills Deadeye Joe. Bahamut then mutates Dr. Mandrake into an arachnid alien, which the team kill. Finally, they reach Bahamut, who fuses with the alien cell to gain ultimate power. During the battle, the fusion goes awry and Bahamut loses self-control, mutating into a series of grotesque alien forms. The Hard Corps destroys the fused alien and escapes as the base collapses. Finally, they return home on their jetbikes.

Path 3: From the first dilemma in path 1A, the team opt to chase Deadeye Joe. After defeating him, he reveals that he has served as a diversion while his allies have successfully stolen an alien cell from the research center. Deadeye Joe then suicides.

Soon, the team tracks down and subdues the computer hacker, Noiman Cascade, who is responsible for the chaos in the streets. He caves in and reveals the whereabouts of the terrorists and their leader, Colonel Bahamut. Bahamut is a former hero from the Alien Wars who unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the government 2 years prior, but escaped capture.

At the enemy hideout, the Hard Corps fall into a trap. Dr. Mandrake is revealed to be a traitor, working for Bahamut. Instead of getting captured and attempting an escape later, the team opts to fight Dr. Mandrake. Despite winning, Bahamut escapes.

The team locates and confronts Bahamut at his base before he can complete a bio-weapon. The alien cell breaks free of containment and mutates the terrorists. Despite clearing the base of all aliens, the team reaches Bahamut just as he escapes. Although Bahamut is still at large, the Hard Corps will not spare any effort to stop him.

Path 4: from the trap in path 3, the team chooses to get captured and fight later. At the terrorist headquarters, Bahamut reveals that he has moved his operations to his space station and intends to destroy the headquarters with everybody in it. As the team and enemy soldiers are fleeing the destructing base, Dr. Mandrake starts mutating the soldiers into aliens from an aerial vehicle. The team escapes and boards an elevator to Bahamut’s space station. During the ride, they battle and kill Dr. Mandrake. At the space station, Bahamut explains that he has used the alien cell to create Big Magnum, an organic weapon of mass destruction; he then demonstrates the weapon’s devastating power on a part of Earth. Before he can do any further damage, the Hard Corps kill Bahamut and destroy Big Magnum. The entire space station is destroyed in the aftermath, killing the team in the process. For their heroic actions, memorial statues of the Hard Corps are built.

Secret ending: This ending can be accessed by finding the shady businessman on stage 3. After defeating a series of strange creatures in an arena, the Hard Corps are pulled into an inter-dimensional portal that sends them into the prehistoric age. They live the rest of their lives among a small group of primates in the forest.

Characters

Ray Poward – protagonist; playable

Sheena Etranzi – protagonist; playable; first female playable character in the Contra series

Brad Fang – protagonist; playable; werewolf

Browny – protagonist; playable; robot

Helicopter Pilot – protagonist; non-playable character; assists the players at certain points in their mission

Hard Corps Commander – protagonist; non-playable character; head of the Hard Corps’ operations

Noiman Cascade – antagonist; computer hacker who staged the robot crisis diversion at the start of the mission

Deadeye Joe – antagonist; mercenary who works for Colonel Bahamut, but seems to hold his own agenda

Dr. Geo Mandrake – antagonist; lead scientist; originally a protagonist who is revealed during the mission to betray the heroes and defect to Colonel Bahamut

Colonel Bahamut – primary antagonist; former alien war hero who assembles a terrorist army, steals an alien cell with various intentions

PAL:
The plot in the PAL release follows its overseas counterparts to a certain degree, but several plot elements have been changed. The main characters are replaced by robots; Ray, Sheena, Fang and Browny are CX-1, CX-2, CX-3 and CX-4, respectively. Deadeye Joe and Colonel Bahamut are aliens, instead. Dr. Mandrake does not betray the team, essentially making him a protagonist. Finally, the alien cell is replaced by the X Drive, a powerful energy system.

Characters

CX-1 – protagonist; playable

CX-2 – protagonist; playable

CX-3 – protagonist; playable

CX-4 – protagonist; playable

Helicopter Pilot – protagonist; non-playable character; assists the players at certain points in their mission

Hard Corps Administrator – protagonist; non-playable character; head of the Hard Corps’ operations

Dr. Geo Mandrake – protagonist; non-playable character; lead scientist

Noiman Cascade – antagonist; computer hacker who stages the robot crisis diversion at the start of the mission

Alien Pawn – antagonist; mercenary alien who works for Colonel Bahamut, but seems to hold his own agenda

Alien Leader – primary antagonist; alien entity who assembles a terrorist army, steals the X Drive with various intentions

 
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SOUNDTRACK

•Konami
•Locked And Loaded
•Charshoe X
•Contra Overdrive
•Something Wonderful
•Jurassic Dope
•Alien’s Den
•AC Violence
•Yoru No Nikusyokujyu
•The Hard Corps
•Zephyr
•Gekokujoh Norakura
•The Foggy Cave In The Darkness
•Guillotine
•Simon 1994RD
•R.A.V.E.
•JB303
•A Spirit Of Bushi
•GTR Attack!
•Moonlit Army
•Format X
•Last Springsteen
•The Dawn
•Contra The Blue Gale
•The Hard Corps Blues
•What A Painful World
•Game Over
•Stage Clear
•All Stage Clear

 
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OTHER VERSIONS

Conversions:
Contra: Hard Corps has not yet received any conversions.

Ports:
Microsoft Windows

Re-Releases:
Contra: Hard Corps has not yet been re-released.

Pre-Releases:

Prototypes
Probotector Prototype (Sega Genesis)
Probotector Beta (Sega Genesis)
Probotector Sample (Sega Genesis)

 
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VARIANTS

-Later releases of the North American version were manufactured by Majesco, in Mexico. These variants feature a cardboard box, as opposed to the plastic casing of the initial release. There are other minor differences, such as the printed manufacturing information and blank end labels on the cartridges. A more significant difference is the thicker cartridge shell, which makes it difficult to insert in model 1 Genesis systems. The game data is completely identical, however.

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-There exists a very rare variant that contains a misprint on the packaging artwork; the backside lacks the artwork entirely.

 
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MISCELLANEOUS

Regional Differences

Developmental Material – There is currently no known developmental material to present.

Technical Information

Trivia

Promotional Media

 
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