Contra: Hard Corps

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How to play Contra: Hard Corps

Each game uses different controls, most Amiga games use both mouse and keyboard.

Contra: Hard Corps Description

Contra: Hard Corps, released in Japan as Contra: The Hard Corps (魂斗羅 ザ・ハードコア Kontora Za Hādokoa) and in the PAL region as Probotector, is the sixth original installment in the Contra series of games by Konami, and was released for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in 1994. The character designs were done by Yasuomi Umetsu (who also illustrated the cover artwork for the Japanese version).

The game retained the fast-paced run and gun gameplay from previous titles but shifted focus from fighting onslaughts of enemy troops and vehicles to mainly boss encounters. Some enhancements were established in this title such as multiple paths, multiple endings and selectable characters. It's also considered to be the most difficult game in the series, especially the international versions, which removed the lifebar that was present in the Japanese game.

Set in 2641 A.D. (five years after the events of Contra III: The Alien Wars), the alien threat is gone and civilization is rebuilding. In order to enforce law and order in the rebuilding world, the Unified Military Special Mobile Task Force K-X, or "Hard Corps", is assembled.

The game opens when a security system has been breached and causes robots to break loose and wreak havoc on the city. The robot insurrection is but a diversion to catch the Hard Corps' attention while an unknown task force infiltrates the city’s defense computer complex. Further investigation leads to Colonel Bahamut, a hero from the Alien Wars, who aspires world domination with the aid of an alien cell which had been stored in the defense complex. It is up to the members of the Hard Corps task force to investigate and vanquish this threat.

The story has a number of branching paths through stages that the players can take. Depending on the path taken, the player will get a different ending. There are four normal endings in all, as well as a secret ending for completing the hidden Battle Stadium and a bad ending if the player decides to join Bahamut's forces (which counts as a "Game Over").

The gameplay follows the same formula as its predecessor. As in Contra III, the player can carry more than one weapon in their arsenal, as well as a stock of smart bombs that kills all on-screen enemies. This time the player can carry up to four power-ups, with each character having a unique weapon configuration. The weapon capsules are labelled "A", "B", "C" and "D", with A replacing the default machine gun weapon once picked up. As in Contra III, the player will lose their currently equipped weapon when they die. Hard Corps also gives bigger emphasis on set boss battles and encounters than previous games in the series.

Another feature unique to this game at the time of its release was the option of selecting four different characters (the Hard Corps), each with its own set of weapons. The characters available for selection are:

Ray Poward - A young male soldier.
Sheena Etranzi - A young female soldier.
Brad Fang - A werewolf/cyborg hybrid warrior.
Browny - A small and agile combat robot.

Regional differences
Japanese version

The Japanese version provides the player with a life bar, allowing their character to take three hits before dying. This is the only game in the series besides the MSX2 version of the original Contra to provide the player with such benefit. The Japanese version also features cheat codes that were removed from the international versions, including a 70-lives code, a stage select and power-up cheat that gives the player all their weapons.
PAL version

Not only was this the last Probotector game for the PAL region, this has the most changes in the game. While previous games have just changed the main character and/or enemies into robots, there were more extensive changes to the game due to the heavier emphasis on the storyline:

Ray, Sheena, and Fang are replaced by robots named CX-1, CX-2, and CX-3 respectively, with the first two being palette swaps of the same sprite. Since Browny (CX-4 in the PAL version) was already a robot in the original game, his character design was left unchanged.
Additionally, Colonel Bahamut and Deadeye Joe have been redesigned into aliens. Only Noiman Cascade and Dr. Geo Mandrake remain relatively unchanged, although Dr. Mandrake's role has been downplayed so that he is no longer a traitor.
The alien cell has been changed into the X Drive, described in the game as "a newly developed energy system with unimaginable power".
In Stage 9, the villain no longer offers the player to join him.
Occurrences of "Damn!" have been replaced with "Blast!" or "Oh no!"

Contra: Hard Corps - additional information

Game year
Developed by
Also known as
"魂斗羅 ザ・ハードコア" -- Japanese spelling
"Probotector" -- European title
"Contra: The Hard Corps" -- Japanese title
"콘트라 하드코어" -- Korean spelling
Cover Art
Contra Hard Corps - Cover Art Sega Genesis