Contra: Hard Corps is the sixth game in the Contra
franchise. The game was released by Konami
on the Sega Genesis on September 14, 1994 in North America, September 15, 1994 in Japan, and October 14, 1994 in PAL regions. The game was known as Probotector in PAL regions, and was known as Contra: The Hard Corps in Japan. The "Hard Corps" in the title is a pun on the word "hardcore," which makes sense, as the game is believed to be one of the most difficult Contra games.
There are various differences between the different releases of the game. The Japanese version is notable because it grants the player with a life bar, allowing the player to get hit a total of three times before death, rather than once in the North American version. The PAL version has a number of changes, most notably a much simpler collection of sprites, the removal of a part of the game that allowed for the player to join the enemy, and the replacement of the word "Damn!" with either "Blast!" or "Oh no!"
Contra: Hard Corps takes place in 2641 A.D., and is a continuation of the plot of Contra III: The Alien Wars
(which took place five years previously). The Alien Wars have long sense ended, and the world is being rebuilt. To help restore order to the ravaged world, the Unified MIlitary Special Mobile Task Force K-X (also known as the Hard Corps) is formed.
In the game, a security system is hacked into, causing a group of robots to break out and start destroying the city. While the Hard Corps are taking care of the robot threat, another threat is quickly overtaking the central defense computer of the city. Later in the game, the infiltration is revealed to be lead by Colonel Bahamut, who was involved in the Alien Wars. He is attempting at world domination by trying to capture an alien cell that is stored in the defense complex.
After this, the story can branch out into many paths. Every path has a different ending in store for the player. There are six endings in all: four regular, one secret ending, and one bad ending.
Contra: Hard Corps has four playable characters: Ray Poward, Sheena Etranzi, Brad Fang, and Browny. Thus, Contra: Hard Corps is the first Contra game to feature a female character, a werewolf character, and a robot character.
The gameplay of Contra: Hard Corps is essentially the same as Contra III's gameplay. Players traverse a side-scrolling stage, shooting enemies along the way. Players can hold multiple weapons in their inventory at once, as well as bombs. There are four spaces for weapons to be held, and one for a bomb. Each character has a unique weapon configuration.