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Hard Corps: Uprising Review

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On 03/08/2011 at 04:15 PM by Stanton Daries

Either shooters have gotten harder or I have gotten worse; my ego is going to go with the former.

For anyone looking to feel abused and worthless. And fans of really hard shooters.

Let’s get this out of the way: Hard Corps: Uprising by Arc System Works is hard -- unapologetically hard. All I could think every time I died was that they should have called it Impossible Corps, which made me think of that awful “This is not mission difficult” quote from Mission Impossible II which only made me angrier. To keep the story short, Arc owes me a new controller. Anyways...

Uprising is technically the fifth game in the Contra series, although it is being more heavily marketed as the second game in the Hard Corps series. It is the prequel to Contra: Hard Corps for the Sega Genesis. Starting the game you are treated to a nice anime cut scene introducing us to four characters (Bahamut, Krystal, Harley Daniels and Sayuri) and how they got started on their path of carnage. Based on the cutscenes we see that Bahumut is a defector who couldn’t watch his comrades gun down any more civilians (or he thought they weren’t dressed as cool as him), Krystal is apparently one of the civilians who was forced to fight to save her life, Harley likes riding motorcycles, and Sayuri likes to cut things. They are fighting an evil emperor and his oddly attired army... and that's essentially the story I was able to piece together - hopefully that’s all the motivation you need.

Arc has done a wonderful job on the artwork of the game, bringing in a heavy anime influence to the characters and animation that is quite beautiful. Individual pieces of equipment move around on each model and the explosions are impressive in their excessiveness. The backgrounds are not nearly as well rendered but I still thought they were better than most in the 2-D scroller genre.

The mechanics of the game are very straightforward. The left joystick is used for both movement and aiming of your weapon, and holding the left trigger locks your weapon into one specific firing position (otherwise it will point in whatever direction you are moving). You jump with the A button, tapping it again will allow a double jump, and B is to fire. Power-ups will randomly float across the top of the screen for you to shoot at, allowing you to pick up health, extra lives or some special ammunition for your weapon. Essential Contra if you will. Enemies will come charging at you from both sides of the screen at various angles with a single hit capable of taking away any power up you have, and three ending your life. The boss segments are massive affairs where you have to master the pattern of attacks shown to you and slowly whittle each behemoth down. There are few checkpoints and you will find yourself very familiar with each one as you respawn there.

The game has two modes available: Arcade and Rising. In Arcade mode you have limited lives and continues and I would truly like to shake the hand of anyone who beats it this way. I feel my opening statement needs no further explanation but I’m going to do so anyways, this game is hard. Not just, “oh, I suck at reflex games” hard but just downright mean. I died so many times and in so many different places that I ultimately found myself admitting defeat and playing the game in the second of the available modes. Even the Konami code doesn’t help you except in multiplayer!

Rising mode introduces a basic RPG element into the game where every kill nets you a certain amount of points that can be spent on various permanent abilities for your character. This is the concession to the quitters and allows you to eventually get to a point where you can actually play the game and not run around cursing.

Even though I have no intention of ever playing this game except as some form of punishment, I really can’t find fault with it for what it is. If you are someone who doesn’t feel challenged by the current selection of games and is looking for some epic pain then this is the game for you.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



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