Hard Corps: Uprising Hands-On

Some things about shoot-'em-ups just never change--but that doesn't mean everything has to stay the same.

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Konami calls Hard Corps: Uprising the "imaginary prequel" to the 1994 Genesis game Contra: Hard Corps, but that's not to say that this downloadable shoot-'em-up is the product of anyone's runaway imagination. The harsh reality is that bullets will rain down on you, you will die, and you will repeat that process several times over. There's nothing fictitious about any of that. Instead, that description is more of a wink-and-a-nod reference to some of the connections that link Uprising and Contra: Hard Corps (like the mutual protagonist and shared gameplay elements) while avoiding the constraints that go along with releasing a "true" Contra game.

Most notably, there's a new feature called Rising mode. Anyone familiar with the Contra series knows these games are synonymous with a tough-as-nails level of difficulty. Call it retro or call it antiquated, that's just what the genre is known for. Uprising is no different. The core gameplay offers little in the way of mercy, as twitch reflexes are required to withstand the near constant barrage of enemy bullets, traps, and powerful bosses. What Rising mode does, however, is give the less hardcore among us a reason to keep trying in the face of defeat. You're constantly rewarded though a progression system that lets you gradually upgrade your character and weapons, gaining new health slots and abilities as you go along.

Basically, it's a system that makes sure that even if you die against a vicious boss, you're at least being rewarded for the journey up to that point and given the ingredients to make sure that your next four or five attempts at killing the boss give you that much more optimism with every subsequent attempt. On the flip side, if you fancy yourself a hardcore player through and through, you can simply play through Arcade mode. This option offers the exact same game--including levels and enemies--but without any of those upgrades. You are who you are from start to finish.

The other area where Uprising takes a step forward from Contra is its visual design. The game is being developed by Arc System Works, known for its work on Blaz Blue and the Guilty Gear series. Those games featured elaborate hand-drawn animation, and that penchant for stylishness and eccentric characters is visible in Uprising. The level we played was set in the jungle and featured dense vegetation, robotic crocodiles, and--because why not?--giant machine gun enemies apparently wearing clown makeup.

The whole game can be played in either single-player or two-person co-op, both online and local. Whether you want to share in the madness or not is a decision you can make when the game is released on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network at the tail end of this year.

Discussion

16 comments
moe3000
moe3000

HARD CORPS LOOKS GOOD FROM WHAT I`VE SEEN ON YOUTUBE

hrvat_na_netu
hrvat_na_netu

end of level? c'mon, its Contra...only thing is, Contra looks beter!

magicalclick
magicalclick

@green_dominator they can't Arc System Works , the developer, has no right to Contra. And this game is not a contract. This game is developed before Konami is involved.

green_dominator
green_dominator

It seems to me if they really wanted to make a Contra Hard Corps Sequel then they should just do that instead of come up with a game that plays like Contra but isn't Contra. At least it's Konami who is making it.

Dezuria
Dezuria

Looks great. I want it!

moe3000
moe3000

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Copybass
Copybass

@Castlevania1986 If School is as challenging as a proper Konami game, then I guess you're bad at more things than just video games.

Guzthon
Guzthon

"God bless Konami". :) Good old 2D shoot 'em up for the hardcore fans and players around the world.

PSP_AMoN
PSP_AMoN

lol it would be funny if the Konami code (UP,UP,DOWN,DOWN,LEFT,RIGHT,LEFT,RIGHT,B,A) works :D

Mickleohb
Mickleohb

@ Castlevania1986. Well too some people the challenge does make the game fun. I guess this game just isn't for you.

Castlevania1986
Castlevania1986

Every time i hear about "constant death" in a video game. The first thing that comes to my mind is "constant waste of time". Sorry, but back in the day when I died in a game I hated trying over and over again. But because of the fact that as a kid, I had the spare time to waste retrying a game. These days, if I buy a game and its just based on being the hardest to beat game just to show me what a "true challenge" is. Then screw it, School is challenging enough. I play video games for the enjoyment, not to constantly die in them.

Asagea_888
Asagea_888

Oh man, this game looks freakin' nice. Day one download for me.

X-RS
X-RS

omg, i just realized teh huge inuendo in this games tittle lol