Contra: Hard Corps on the SEGA Genesis is one of my favorite Contra games. The enormous bosses, branching paths, and epic action sequences made for one of the most thrilling 16-bit experiences back in the day. So imagine my delight when Konami told me it is bringing the spiritual sequel to Contra: Hard Corps to Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network this year. Picture a more anime-styled Contra game with the word "Contra" removed from the title, and you're starting to get a good idea of what Hard Corps: Uprising is. Konami describes it as "homage to legacy Konami run-and-gun platformers," of which Contra is the most famous (although there is also Rush 'N Attack, which is getting a facelift this year, as well). I got to play a bit of Hard Corpse recently and came away excited.
Hard Corps: Uprising stars Colonel Bahamut, who, interestingly enough, was a bad guy in Contra: Hard Corps. For some reason or another he seems to have had a change of heart and is now battling against the aliens he was previously working with. He can be joined by a pal so that players can play cooperatively, both online and off. Unlike the Genesis Hard Corps, where we had four characters to choose from, here we just have two -- although Konami is looking into making additional downloadable characters available.
Hard Corps: Uprising
Gameplay is straight up what you would expect from Contra. You'll be running left to right through eight alien-infested stages blasting everything in your way, collecting familiar power-ups, and riding vehicles. One sequence I saw had Bahamut riding a motorbike while a flying saucer with legs chased after him. The boss of level one is, appropriately, a giant wall much like in the original Contra.
Arc System Works, that of BlazBlue and Guilty Gear fame, is developing Hard Corps -- which explains the new anime art style. Although it's a slight departure for the series I rather like it and it still undeniably looks like Contra.
Contra games are typically brutally difficult affairs where one bullet puts you in the grave. Hard Corps sticks to this tradition with its Arcade Mode, but also introduces a new Rising Mode. Rising lets you take three hits before losing a life, making for a considerably more forgiving game.
Hard Corps is set for a winter 2010 release.