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Hard Corps: Uprising [X360]





This game is not nearly as difficult as people would lead you to believe. And that means it's an amazing game.

9.0

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Just plain fun"

Summary

Story: 0/10 (no bearing on final score)

Lolwhat?


Gameplay: 9/10

Obviously the main attraction, Hard Corps delivers the fast and frenetic action anyone who who loves a retro 2D scroller wants. All the series staples are here: super awesome gun power ups and lots of fast-paced action. A truly hardcore player will rarely stop sprinting as they move from start to finish in this game. Bosses are incredibly well designed and offer plenty of challenge but they never break the ultimate ideal of all good 2D scroll fights: they can all be beaten without getting hit once so long as you're on top of things. The game's limited checkpoints are due to the nature of the game and anyone who wants to play it should understand that. The gameplay is not about "beating the boss" alone, it's about "getting through this part of the stage without losing too many lives and retaining my powerful weapon before I reach the boss." For instance being set back in time gives you the opportunity to get powerful weapons before fighting the boss again. The game performs incredibly well online so long as you have an "OK" connection with your partner. A second player can sometimes actually hinder you though due to the same-screen nature of the game. The game has some difficulty spawning players in safe areas during co-op play but nothing major.


Difficulty: 10/10

This game's difficulty is perfect. I've read a lot of other reviews and people will whine about the most ridiculous of things. Your character is more than capable of zooming through an entire level at breakneck speeds while bypassing most obstacles and downright ignoring almost all challenges. Not to mention you can easily avoid everything in the game. Even if you don't feel like dodging your character comes with a built-in "bullet reflect" ability that lets you shoot back projectiles, including some of the bosses' shots. People who are whining about how cheap the game is are simply not playing the game correctly. You don't even need to be a "hardcore" Contra player in order to get this game down. All of the "cheap deaths" in this game are simply the result of players not paying attention to previous hints in the game. For example, one of these deaths results in you jumping up a ledge and a robot tries to punch you backwards off into a bottomless pit. You've encountered this robot twice in the same stage and have been given the opportunity to notice the property of its attacks, including how you can easily dodge it by jumping or going prone.


Replay: 9/10

Anyone who loves 2D scrollers knows one of the funnest things to do is immediately replay the game with the foreknowledge of every obstacles. While games should never make it impossible to win without foreknowledge Hard Corps offers an incredibly fun replay game. Not only can you power up your character considerably in Rising Mode but there's plenty of 1-UPs and little secrets to be found in each stage. Being able to zoom through a stage in less than 5 minutes when it took you an hour on your first try is still as immensely satisfying as it was "back in the day"


Music 8/10

It's Daisuke Ishiwatari. Players of BB and GG will immediately recognize his work. His music in this game is more focused on metal than the "artistic rock-and-roll" he is known for but it still works very well for the game.


Final 9/10

Hard Corps: Uprising is an excellent, fast-paced 2D shooter with lots of replay value. It's an absolute blast to play with a friend with it's high-performance network code. Bosses are tough but balanced and incredibly satisfying.






One of the best arcade titles yet, and a great homage to Contra game!

10

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Revolutionary"

Summary

Where do I begin? The art style for Hard Corps really makes this title stand out, with its vibrant colors, fluid animations, and awesome particle effects and details!

Each of the levels are unique in their own way and are really memorable as far as the atmospheres go. I really enjoy watching this game in motion! All the little details from things happening in the background to the foreground really make me appreciate what Arc Systems has done with a 2d shooter. I love the small attention to detail that you will find everywhere in this game.

The levels are all pretty awesome, and there is not one level that I loathe or dread playing! They are all pretty well balanced and paced out, but are pretty difficult if you have no figured out the patterns and placements just yet. Again, like any Contra game, you will have to spend some time getting to know the levels before being able to run through without taking damage or getting killed.

Which brings us to the difficulty. The game offers two modes, the standard Arcade mode in which you have preset abilities, and a Rising Mode, in which you earn CP points to spend at the store. In the store, you can buy weapon upgrades for the weapons you pick up in battle, extra starting lives, faster run speed, triple jump,etc etc. It really helps you get to know the levels and the boss behaviors, and I highly recommend this mode first if you are not a hardcore Contra vet.

What I love about this game is that they have implemented bosses and enemies from previous Contra games. Hell, they even remade the original boss music from the NES version of Contra, which is so epic to hear for the first time playing through this game! One of the levels introduces a previous foe from Contra: Shattered Soldier, just as an example as what you can expect to find in this game. It's definitely focused to show love to the previous Contra games while at the same time, introducing fun and fresh new bosses and game play mechanics.

I absolutely love the air dash and ground dash. It really can cater to certain peoples play styles, and if you are good, you can dash through the level and feel completely bad ass, but if you abuse this mechanic, it can be punishing as well, as you can get knocked out of an air dash or ground dash, possibly falling into a pit or electric floor panel.

Coop is great fun online or local, although my ONLY gripe is that not too many people are on when I host a game.

This is a must have title for anyone who grew up on Genesis, NES, or SNES. Even if you did not and just enjoy a good, solid, well balanced, memorable shooter. You will love this title.

A true masterpiece by Arc and Konami.
It's a must have in your library.




This rehash of the Contra-series injects some welcome life into the franchise.

8.5

Superb
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Old-school"

Summary

Konami have gone back to basics with this polished shooter, to pay homage to their long-running series - Contra. However, unlike the Contra series, the level of difficulty is not quite so extreme, perhaps to appeal to a new generation of gamers via the enticing presentation of this title.

The game essential plays and feels like Contra: Shattered Soldier, and I suspect it will appeal most to those gamers who appreciated the challenge of that game. Hard Corps, however, is characterized by extensive tinkering within the design department. The difficulty of Hard Corps is not quite so intense as the earlier Contra games, but more akin to Neo-Contra - instant death frustrations are avoidable on the whole, although there are rewards for flawless success; however, whilst the complement of ordinance is varied and upgradeable, your weapon will be lost if you are hit, leaving you to struggle on with a pea shooter until you can find another upgrade - the loss of a powerful weapon will mean the difference between a high ranking and barely scraping through a stage, so I do not think that the challenge has been completely diluted.

The nature of the game - a modern translation of a cult classic - suggests that it will draw most interest from fans of the original series, who will recognise the familiar control system. However, Hard Corps appears to have been designed to entice a more youthful demographic as well; the game boasts a stunning animé introduction, along with further animation sequences rewarded for beating the game with each character. The story follows this group of elite soldiers in their endeavors to topple the corrupt emperor Tiberius, blasting through various visceral opponents en route, with complementary commentary from your character along the way - it is presented in a typically spectacular animé fashion, and is certainly capable of entertaining beyond the multiplayer margin.

As usual, the characters have particular strengths, and you will find an affinity for one or two in particular depending on your playing-style. However, I found myself initially puzzled as to how I was supposed to unlock the ability to play using more than either of the two characters that are supplied with the main download. I finally realized to my dismay that they were not the traditional 'unlockables', but downloadable content - god bless it! In hindsight, however, perhaps this was not such a terrible decision as I had originally thought; although you have to invest a few more coins to obtain the 'full game', the cost for this extended lease of life is minimal, at only 200 points a pop. This cost includes the story arc and excellent animated shorts which bring the Hard Corps universe to life. Furthermore, I believe that this format represents a bold approach on the part of Konami toward retail; although they could have sold the 'full' game in-store at a premium, they have harnessed the Xbox's online capability to distribute samples of their product - your investment in the game will reflect the quality of the title, and ideally encourage developers to respond to positive feedback for their most popular titles with even further content.

So, other than the mystery of the missing characters, the explanation of which I have begrudgingly accepted, my only real beef with this game was the scant amount of information provided about the actual gameplay. Although the basic controls are clearly demonstrated, the numerous 'actions' that your characters can perform are not explained, so that trial and error is the only way for you to harness these all too useful abilities. These actions (derived from purchasable 'action chips' in the game's Rising mode or complementary in Arcade mode) facilitate your flexibility and mobility in the field, and are invaluable tools for an experienced player. Don't get me wrong - I like a little mystery, and enjoy the notion of experimenting with your character to establish a signature style... I just feel as though some kind of hint as to the application of each ability wouldn't have been letting the cat out of the bag.

All in all, I found this game to be as charming as it was challenging, albeit with a few cringe-worthy examples of voice-acting. There were plenty of easter-eggs for the old boys, as well as beautifully rendered animations for any game connoisseur - Contra veterans or otherwise. The true application of this game though is in multi-player mode, in which it excels - there's nothing more satisfying than pinching power-ups from beneath each others' noses, and adapting to the encroaching adversity that this game supplies in spades. I was happy to rate and review this game, as it reminded me that a game does not have to be saturated with cutting-edge graphics in order for it to be a favorite.




Contra Extreme Team

9.5

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Underappreciated"

Summary

I'm a Contra fan, and this is one of the games I've been waiting for a long time for the franchise, it's a welcome edition because it actually has turned a semi sequel game "Contra Hard Corps" and has turned it into a series of it's own.

The plot is nothing special though the difference is your actually fighting an evil military empire that has robots at it's side, I'll admit it feels more like a "G.I. Joe" plot but you know I'm fine with this because it's something different for once, where it's not the usual aliens but humans and robots.

The gameplay is the same, which is fine by me if it's not broke don't fix it. The graphics are great, the blend of both 2-D and 3-D but also the use of Japanese Animation I always felt was a beautiful combo but mostly really makes both the enviorment and the characters lively. The sound and music is also great, some of the songs they have are memorable. There is a great varity of enimes but most importantly bosses which are as intimidating as ever, one I remember is that Wheel Robot boss that looks like a lost additional "Transformer", took a heck of a while to beat that sucker. And as usual the game is hard but not hard to beat if you know all the right places and what to do then you can get though the game alright, I can get though some levels without dying once (or at least not as much as before).

Those features are not new but what makes this game stand out is some of the features that were added that are further proof that sometimes when a video game franchise goes for a long time it gets better and better with time. From the fact you can pick characters each with their strength's and weaknesses and a few unique abilities, and also there are a couple of hot females in the team a blond with one eye and a samurai whom kinda looks and reminds me of the character Susuka from "Outlaw Star"; I just thought that was cool and a nice break from things being an all male fest.

There are mini bosses and the levels are longer, let alone the game is pretty long about 8 levels which makes the game both more chalanging and exausting, but that's fine but me the more the merrier, plus don't fret even when you lose all your lives there are a few checkpoints which make the difficulty managable so you don't have to start all the way to the begining which is a relief. There is also a level where it's stealth action, this might put some people off from what their use to and a bit chalanging but I though this made the game more interesting, and 2-D stealth action games have became a bit of a lost practice so there was a nostalgia element in this.

Though the one thing the I really like the most is the RPG element, the points from your kills actually buy certain items in the game like upgrades and a few extra abilities which also help make the difficulty managable but most importantly just put you a step ahead in the game.

The only bad thing for me would be there are no more anime cut scenes, it just from the texts I read in the loading times and that anime cut scene I saw as an intro, it felt like there was potential for a story. This fact I felt was a lost opportunity for the game because this could of been another unique feature for the game, it could of been like with "Ninja Gaiden" (NES saga) where after the actions of any or two characters you would see the story on them, seeing those cut scenes would have made better use of the loading time.

Overall Contra Hard Corps Uprising is a good shot and hopefully for this semi series it won't be the last shot.




Hard Bore

4.0

Poor
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Overrated"

Summary

Growing up, I loved the Contra games. The games were sweet, the campaigns were too short, and the difficulty was just mean sometimes (I swear, Contra used to talk about my Mother to my face, and not even care). So, naturally, when I heard Hard Corps. was coming out, I became instantly enamored with the thought of a Contra for today's audience, just with a some 3d aspects and tightly drawn anime.

I waited mths for this thing to release on XBLA after I had initially discovered it. And withing 45 minutes, I became bored. There's a boss that is a big circle robot, and you're flying on these hoverboard things, and you just keep shooting all sides until the casing breaks, but it had an insane amount of layers. I said f**k it and turned it off.

Maybe I missed the charm. Perhaps one day I'll back and try this. But I just feel like my time would be better spent sleeping than playing this sleeper of an arcade game.

Giving me and insane amount of enemies, and having the bosses has 6 or 7 "ultra" forms doesn't make the game hard, it makes it pretentious....

Just my personal thoughts... hope they release a sleek new COntra soon to get the taste outta my mouth from this one!
7.0

Great
7.5
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