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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Konami
Developed By: ARC System Works
Genre: Shooter
Players: 2 (Co-op)
Rated: T for Teen (Mild Language, Use of Tobacco, Violence)
Release Date: February 16, 2001
Xbox: Buy Now!
Written By: Christian Higley

February 22, 2011 - Hard Corps: Uprising will kick you in the teeth. This is because Hard Corps: Uprising is, in fact, a Contra game; the sequel to Contra: Hard Corps for the Sega Genesis. I never would have known this if I hadnít heard it from someone.

Can you blame me?

Sure, it plays like Contra. As one of four characters (the two more interesting of whom youíll need to shell out 200 MS Points for apiece) you run to the right of the screen, dodging bullets, lasers, grenades and missiles while responding with a similar arsenal of your own. Enemies enter the screen from all directions and multiple boss encounters per-level pit you against massive robots and mutants that need to be taken apart piece-by-piece.

Sure, like Contra, the difficulty curve will make even the most grizzled ludophiles soil themselves. Like the Contra of our youth, Arcade Mode sends you into bullet-hell battle with a paltry number of lives and continues. Giant bosses occupy small arenas where youíre forced to memorize their complex attack patterns through trial and error.

Also like Contra, once you know what youíre doing, a lot of the frustrating elements magically vanish. If thereís any series known for its equal parts punishing difficulty and reward for player skill, Contra is it and Hard Corps is no different. Youíll rarely die without realizing how itís your own fault.

Unlike Contra, and a big part of what disguises the game so effectively, is the very anime-inspired art direction. Big eyes, spiky hair, inexplicably large guns, ninja acrobatics and giant, sword-wielding mechas abound. The 2D sprite animation is possibly the best Iíve seen; Hard Corps looks like an anime, like playing a cartoon. Everything else in the environment is 3D, but thanks to good effects and a consistency in style and color, the two graphic styles never clash, but rather work beautifully together. But donít worry, Contra faithfuls -- squishy brain monsters and giant, evil fetus things keep up appearances to lend to that olde-time Contra milieu.

Also new is the gameís Rising Mode; a persistent form of the game in which points can be accrued and spent on permanent upgrades for characters, such as weapons, abilities, health and number of lives. Thatís right, Hard Corps brings grinding to Contra Ö and itís fun! I never saw that one coming.

Hard Corps: Uprising would be a welcome addition to any action game fanís hard drive. Itís everything you love (or love to hate) about Contra, wrapped up in a pretty package and buffed up a bit thanks to the addition of Rising Mode.


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