Monday, December 26, 2016

Contra: Hard Corps (Sega Genesis, 1994)

Here's the Genesis counterpart to Contra III, and it's everything you'd expect. Higher difficulty, brighter color palette, and lots of X-TREME ATTITUDE. Sega: They Do What Ninten-don't.

This time, there are four characters to choose from, each with a different set of weapons. You've got Generic Contra Dude!

Sassy Blonde!

Wolf with... sunglasses? What the fuck?

And... robot. Well, I get a robot, but what's up with a wolf with sunglasses? How does that figure into the Contra universe? I'm guessing this was a result of Sega execs wanting the game to be "Maximum Radness", and in 1994 that meant "wolf with sunglasses". Awooo!

Here's a closer look at the Sassy Blonde. Hell Yeah. About time this series gave us some sex appeal, because all those phallic Xeno-aliens don't count.

Damn that Julian Assange!

The game begins in modern-day Detroit. I chose the Sassy Blonde. Her name is Sheena, and she isn't as attractive ingame as she is in that intro shot.

The first thing that jumps out about this game is that it's FULL of explosions. I mean explosions covering half the screen at any given time.

One of Sheena's weapons is a combination spread gun and homing gun. As you might expect, it's pretty damn overpowered, and lets me breeze through a lot of regular enemies. On a side note, this weapon is basically identical to the Needle Cracker from Axelay.

What's that in the distance?


That was just a mini-boss. A high-pitched scream is heard as I must now ride spinning hang-platforms ala Contra III. Please don't make me fight a boss on these again.

Huh, this car is oddly situated. I'd bet money that something falls down and crushes it.

Like... this robot. Yep, here it...


That was the boss of the level. Onward. This guy is Deadeye Joe, one of the antagonists of the game.

After level one you have a choice of how to proceed. This choice affects the last couple stages of the game; there are four different variations on what those stages will be. Weird that a choice way back in stage one is what decides where you end up later on.

Next our hero bikes past a bunch of pyramids that look like the Skynet pyramid from Terminator 2's concept art.

Bro? My God. Sheena is a dude?

At this point you hang from a flying ship and fight this ninja-ish cyborg. I hated this fight in Contra III, still hate it. PROTIP: One smart bomb actually takes this guy out, despite his miniboss-ish status.

Here's a series favorite, a hovering fighter jet. As is tradition, there are several safe spots.

This doctor is one of the good guys. You have to save him early on from the terrorists, and he informs you that they're after an alien cell left over from Contra III. With said alien cell, they can create an army of alien clones. Or something like that.

Boss fight. This is an uber-freaky version of the giant terminator in the previous game. This game is bombastic and over-the-top, Sega-style. Ninten-don't!

Noiman? Is that like a Jewish mother's version of Norman? "That Noiman, he's such a good boy."

Sunset battle. It's another giant mech. This game is pretty much all mechs, all the time.

Here he is, Noiman. He doesn't look like much, until he pulls us into The Internet. And the '94 idea of The Internet... The Lawnmower Man.

This is a lengthy and cool fight. He takes on a bunch of virtual forms, all of which are constellation outlines.

Then you fight a bunch of morphing blocks. This part is frustrating, and I don't want to talk about it. Come to think of it, this whole game is frustrating unless you use the 70 lives code. Yep, the 70 lives code.

Game Over, Man. With this victory over NOIMAN, however, the game is just beginning.

Bahamut will forever be associated with Final Fantasy for me, even though I know the name/mythos existed well before that.

 The next stage is a jungle, like the kind seen in a lot of these games. However, this is HARD CORPS~! which means that a massive crowd of enemies immediately descend on you before you even realize the stage has started. As in, dozens and dozens of these things. It's like the wave of people from World War Z. If you don't have a weapon that can blast through them, you're screwed.

 This miniboss looks like The Fly from Jeff Goldblum's The Fly. Huh. I'm sure it's just a coincidence. In any case, this is one of the easiest fights in the game. Stand all the way to the right and none of its attacks reach you. Really cool the way it pulls and pushes the bridge that you're standing on during the fight.

 The hell? A brontosaurus? This is wildly incongruous with the rest of the game. It's another death trap, as enemies randomly start dropping RIGHT ONTO YOUR HEAD moments after this. One thing I really don't like about this game is the abundance of cheapness and enemies striking before you can possibly react.

There's Deadeye Joe, and he's got some kind of mech. What follows is an extremely lengthy autoscrolling tunnel chase, and easily my least favorite part of this game.

It just goes on and on and ON, and most of the time you can't even attack him.

This last part is especially cheap, as the boss blocks off the hallway and uses a 360 degree sweep laser. I thought this was legitimately unavoidable until I looked at a guide and found out that the feet of the boss don't damage you, so you can move through them. There's -no other place- in the game where these physics are true.

EGAD! It turns out that the scientist guy was actually working with Colonel Bahamut all along. With our hero trapped, there's a big decision to make.

This determines which set of final stages you get. There are four, depending on what you say here and what you said at the end of the first stage about chasing Deadeye.

The route I'm on has me immediately facing off with the scientist. In a scene straight out of The Fly, he uses these teleportation devices to bring in enemies and fuse them together.

These new enemies are basically a series of minibosses. None are very difficult.

The last monster is a fusion of all of them, and it's basically The Thing. The top of its head splits open to reveal teeth, then it sends out a tongue-mouth to devour the scientist. Jesus Christ dude!

It then sprouts legs and attacks. This is a much easier fight than you'd expect, given how badass this thing is. Most of the lame robotic minibosses are tougher than this.

Oh, I neglected to mention... I switched characters. Discovered that the robot is a vastly easier character to play as than the others. He's got a double jump and can hover, which is a huge saving grace. His weapons could be better, but I'll take it.

Apparently the wolf-man with sunglasses is the "hard mode" character. I guess they figured that only the raddest players would be bad enough dudes to choose him.

A running mech is the next challenge, as my robot goes all Sons of Anarchy on a sweet Future Motorcycle.

Most of the robot's weapons are defensive. This is kinda like the Wood Shield from Mega Man 2, except the discharge attack homes in on foes. He's also got a morning-star that homes in. Less useful is his rapid fire weapon, which is half of the Round Vulcan from Axelay. Konami definitely reuses a lot of assets. truly bizarre. A boss that consists of a bunch of enemy soldiers locked together in some kind of human uroboros.

Colonel Bahamut gives you the chance to join him. Doing this isn't advised, as it gets you...

...the Bad Ending. Hmm, this might have been worth it if I were playing as the Sassy Blonde, since I assume she'd get some more artwork here.

Back to the matter at hand, here's the homing morningstar in action. I like the red curtain in the background, gives this a very totalitarian feel.

Defeat Colonel Bahamut, and that Deadeye guy returns yet again. This time, he unleashes the Alien Cell that the bad guys have been after all this time.

First, you battle this centipede. It isn't too bad. I was expecting something from Contra III, since this cell is left over from that game in-storyline.

The rest of the cell now emerges from its storage. My God.

This is vaguely Thing-like, but not as much as that boss earlier. In any case, this is quite a nasty final boss. After you take out the arms, it sprouts a tentacle-head...

...that proceeds to regurgitate worms all over the place. MAKE IT STOP

Not sure if this is a bug or what, but early in the fight I fell off the platform and managed to grab onto the side of it. Even though I'm mostly offscreen, I somehow didn't lose a life. From here, NONE of the attacks that this boss has can reach you. I hammered away with the homing shield for a while until I got the win.

Our hero sails out of the enemy fortress on a flying ship as it blows up.

Game over. That was a pretty cool game; wish the difficulty weren't quite so astronomically high, though. I enjoyed Contra III a lot more.

Other Contra posts!


  1. 1994 is when the famous wolf-and-moon T-shirt was popular, wasn't it? It's hilarious he's the baddest brother of all.
    Going the blonde was a good choice. Yeah of course she'd have to be muscly to handle what's ahead, though.
    That Cyclops was terrifying; the skyline behind you looks like it's on fire; this system isn't as beautiful as the SNES but sure does have attitude.
    The Internet looks TERRIFYING. Why did we get ourselves into this?!
    These constellations -are- beautiful though.
    They really send dozens of enemies at you right away? So it's like one of those awful Mario mods with millions of enemies.
    Having an enemy push and pull the bridge is awesome.
    Great win, you really deserved it. This hardcore indeed.