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Preview

Hard Corps: Uprising

Hard Corps: Uprising Preview
by Bryan Vore on Oct 06, 2010 at 01:20 PM
Platform PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Publisher Konami
Developer Arc System Works
Rating Rating Pending


Yes, this is a new Contra game from Konami. I don't know why they didn't put Contra in the title. Aside from that huge mistake, the rest of Hard Corps: Uprising is looking great so far.

If you haven't been in the loop on Hard Corps: Uprising, it's a prequel to the 1994 Sega Genesis title Contra: Hard Corps. In this new game you actually play as Bahamut, who eventually becomes the primary antagonist in the old game. According to CHC's story, Colonel Bahamut was a war hero who staged a coup d'etat against the government and failed bigtime. It doesn't seem like HCU's story is going to end well, but at least fans will finally get to see how the old colonel went bad.

CHC stood out in the Contra series because it had several branching paths all with different stories, stages, boss fights, and endings. It was also known to be especially difficult so many players didn't really get to experience a ton of the options. Players could select from four different characters including a standard buzz cut dude, a babe, a robot, and a cybernetic werewolf with a gun arm and sunglasses.

Sadly, it doesn't look like our hairy friend, Fang, will be returning in HCU. But we do get to control a pre-stache Bahamut and  a woman named Krystal in on- or offline two-player co-op. Two more characters, Harley Daniels and Sayuri, appear in the anime intro and character bio screens, but it is unknown if they'll be unlockable or if they'll be some kind of DLC add-on.

Two playable modes are available from the get go, and look to appease both hardcore fans and players who only played the NES Contra with the Konami code activated. Arcade mode is most like the Contra people expect with a set number of lives and continues. The new Rising mode allows players to accumulate Corps Points and spend them on persistent upgrades for their character. Players can extend their health bar, add extra lives, upgrade default weapon power, unlock new moves like a bullet reflect, and much more. This adds in a sense of progression in Contra that you don't really see at all in other games within the franchise, and since you've earned the upgrades it doesn't feel like cheating either.

Combat feels like classic Contra with a slick anime sheen over top. This should come as no surprise as HCU is being developed by Arc System Works (known for the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series). Eight way shooting is back, of course, with aiming locks tied to the trigger buttons. New moves include a double jump, sprint, and most notably an air dash.

Weapon power ups include: machine gun, spread shot, homing laser, some weird ripple gun, heated plasma (which is chargable), and crash gun (missiles). You can stock up on two weapons at a time and swap back and forth between them with the tap of a button. If you manage to avoid getting hit long enough to find a duplicate of a weapon you already have, you can level up its power up to two times. This generally means more bullets in guns like the spread shot or larger and more powerful shots like with the huge maxed out crash missiles.



We played the first three stages of what looks to be a total of eight in our preview build, but who knows if that includes any branching paths like in the previous Hard Corps. Environments range from desert to jungle to ancient ruins. In the first level, players will mow down grunts in a desert town, escape the perils of quicksand, defeat a massive mecha worm, and get chased by a metal pod with spider legs while speeding along on hover bikes.

While Konami has yet to offer up a solid release date for Hard Corps: Uprising, a spokesperson confirmed that it will release sometime before the end of 2010 (probably November or December) on PSN and XBLA. Don't forget about this solid-looking title just because Contra isn't in the name! We'll have a review posted as soon as we can get our hands on a final build.

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Hard Corps: Uprisingcover

Hard Corps: Uprising

Platform:
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360