contra hard corps

Contra: Hard Corps (along with Gunstar Heroes of course) is arguably the absolute best side-scroller shoot-em-up on the Genesis, let alone any other 16-bit console.

Today I got a chance to see some new gameplay footage from Arc System Works’ new Hard Corps: Uprising on the PS3 and Xbox 360 – let me tell you, my excitement is back!

Check out the new single player video courtesy of 1up:

According to Kenji Yamamoto, Associate Producer of Hard Corps: Uprising draws its inspiration from the original title:

“From a game design perspective, Contra: Hard Corps is interesting because it introduced a lot of new gameplay elements that really enhanced the feel of side-scrolling run-and-gun action. It was a both a design and technical achievement. So we wanted to expand on that philosophical direction.”

As you can see, they’ve done away with the stranger characters like the wolfman Fang and the robot Browny, opting for a more classic Contra feel. That’s not to say we can’t hope for unlockable characters (listening Konami?). The protagonist in this next entry to the franchise is none other than Colonel Bahamut, the villain from the first Hard Corps game:

“We thought the Bahamut character in Contra: Hard Corps was rather fascinating. So it was a fun challenge for us to imagine his backstory. This is our take on Bahamut’s early career as he becomes a hero in the Alien Wars.”

You can really see from the video how much they’ve injected their own style and balance into the game. For example the shields and life bars are a noticeable addition as we American gamers didn’t get that in the original (quite possibly the one time a Japanese company didn’t nerf the U.S. release instead) and it is a lot faster.

hard corps uprising

A more obvious difference is in the different gameplay modes available, Arcade mode and Rising mode. Arcade mode is your standard Contra run and gun experience, with one hit kills slapped right back in the mix for all you die-hards out there. According to Yamamoto, “Rising” mode on the other hand has a few RPG elements introduced into it, creating a character building dynamic not present in previous Contra games:

“As you play, you will collect points that you can spend to upgrade your character’s abilities, armor and weaponry. Difficulty-wise, it’s still no cakewalk, but you at least have a chance to build up your character to help you advance through the game and improve your shooter-playing skills.”

This makes sense, as the Contra series has been known for, if anything, being notoriously difficult. Scratch that – Hard Corps was extremely tough and Yamamoto seems to recognize this when bringing in new players to the franchise:

“Run-and-gun shooters are so much fun, but they’re also known to be super hard. The new Rising mode enables more players, including ones who aren’t super-expert shmup players, to enjoy this thrilling kind of experience.”

In the co-op mode you play as some blonde female soldier along for the ride. We don’t really have any details on her character but we do have some footage of some sweet, sweet co-op action:

I can’t wait! And neither can Yamamoto, who is itching to show off the main stars of any Contra game – the bosses.

“WE LOVE BOSSES. We can’t wait to show them all to you, but you can get a taste of where we’re going with the footage you see here.”

When I was growing up there was another kid on my block who was just as much into gaming as I was. Thing is, he had a Super Nintendo and I had a Genesis, so there were quite a few times that I would head over to his house to play a game that wasn’t available on the Sega console. I would always hear him blabber on like a fanboy about how much better his SNES was. Contra: Hard Corps was one of the games that got him wanting to play Genesis.

With E3 rockin’ and rolling lets hope Hard Corps: Uprising can get something more solid than a tentative 2010 release date.

Think you’ll revisit the side-scrolling 2D world of Hard Corps: Uprising?

Source: 1up