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File:Hard Corps cover.jpg

Hard Corps: Uprising is Konami's first downloadable entry in the Contra series for Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network, despite not having the Contra name directly attached to it, although the game makes it pretty clear that it is indeed part of the franchise. Produced by Arc System Works - best known for the critically acclaimed Guilty Gear and Blaz Blue series of fighters - it's the prequel to Contra: Hard Corps, the spinoff entry released on the Sega Genesis, hence the name.

The story of Uprising involves the, well, uprising in the far future against the world's current tyrannical dictatorship, the Commonwealth, and its leader Emperor Tiberius. Leading the Union Forces in the fight is ex-Commonwealth soldier Bahamut[1], who deserted and switched sides after realizing it was evil. His unit also consists of fellow soldiers Krystal, a young woman with considerable combat skills whose village was destroyed during a Commonwealth attack and joins the fight so nobody else would have to suffer a tragedy like hers; Harley, a boisterous guy with Cool Shades and an awesome pompadour; and female samurai Sayuri, who forgoes the whole shooting thing in favor of a more close up and personal approach to fighting. Of the quartet, only Bahamut and Krystal are initally available as playable characters, with the other two, as well as Tiberius' right hand man Leviathan, available as premium Downloadable Content.

Gameplay wise, Uprising combines the classic run-and-gun Contra formula - wherein you move forward mowing down hooded Mooks and other dangerous opponents, picking up weapon powerups and dodging hailstorms of bullets - with the style and some of the mechanics of Blaz Blue. By default, your character can sprint forward, double jump and dash in midair, which makes evading enemy fire just a tiny bit easier. In addition to the Arcade Mode's challenge of blowing through all eight stages in a single go with limited lives and continues, there's the more manageable "Rising Mode" where you can use upgrades to your characters purchased with your hard-earned points. These range from increasing your maximum amount of starting lives and health, improving your basic mobility, instantly receiving upgraded versions of weapons when you pick up their corresponding capsules, and adding new contextual moves such as dodging during a run (and counterattacking), reflecting certain enemy shots, or busting through barricades and enemy cover.


This game provides examples of:

  • Arc Number: 573 (which stands for Konami, in case you somehow didn't know by now) is all over the damn place and probably shows up more than in any other Konami game: the stage 3 midboss and boss are called 573-Tigris and 573-Draconis respectively, the Rising mode upgrade that gives you 30 lives costs 57,300,000 points to buy and if you use a variation of Konami Code that allows you to buy it without beating the game first with that character, the main menu reads "CODE 573". Finally, the longer you play the game, the more continues you get: the number starts from 3 and goes steadily up to 20 before finally jumping up to, you guessed it, 573.
  • Anime Hair: Harley
  • Art Shift: With Arc Systems at the helm, the game heavily resembles Blaz Blue, as in high-res sprites, anime characters, and 3-D environments combined.
  • Background Boss: Tiberius Invictus
  • Badass Biker: Harley
  • BFG: The three gun using heroes apply, but Harley's gun is even bigger.
  • BFS: Hello, Knight Lunata.
  • Blood Knight: Harley, Leviathan and Tiberius.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: By the time you get the "UPRISING R" upgrade (30 lives), you probably won't need it because at that point, you're probably skilled enough to not need it. Not to mention you probably already bought all the other possible upgrades.
  • Bring My Red Jacket: Leviathan.
  • Broken Bird: Krystal. Believes her life is irreversibly destroyed and she aims to fight until she dies so that somewhere out there, girls can grow up, go to school, get married and find happiness like normal human beings.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: A notable moment of this happens at the end of Stage 7, where Leviathan grabs what should be a one-hit-point mook and uses him to absorb about ten seconds of concentrated fire from the horrible death guns the protagonists are carrying. Apparently the mooks gain many more hit points when they're about to die horrifically.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Leviathan, more or less. In Arcade mode, playing him means that everything is essentially an One-Hit Kill, but to compensate, gaining access to 2 moves that grant him large amounts of invincibility frames (both of which are superior to the options other characters have since his slide goes farther and lasts longer than Sayuri's palm thrust and each moonsault covers a ridiculous amount of distance and allows you to chuck grenades downwards while performing one) and a permanent moderately strong secondary weapon both mean that he gets hit a lot less often to begin with if played properly.
    • To a lesser extent, Sayuri. Killing bosses with her goes by in less than a minute if you're skilled enough, but that means you have to get within kissing distance of a boss and give yourself significantly less breathing room than if you're using a gun.
  • Doomed by Canon: Bahamut is the Big Bad in Contra Hard Corps. The producers, however, have stated that he could be someone else entirely, only sharing the same name.
  • Downloadable Content: To the frustration of many, two of the four characters displayed and showed off in the intro, Sayuri and Harley, must be purchased to be used. Afterward, a fifth character, the boss Leviathan, was released.
  • Drives Like Crazy: In Stage 4, you have cars trying to run you over. Leads to some funny moments when two cars are trying to do it at once and crash into each other. And then of course there's driving on the ceiling later in the level.
  • Epic Rocking: Would you expect anything less from Daisuke Ishiwatari?
  • Expy: Sayuri = Baiken.
    • Bahamut = Sol Badguy
    • Krystal = Millia Rage
    • Harley = Potemkin + Johnny
    • Leviathan = Ky Kiske + Chipp Zanuff
    • Tiberius = Jin Kisaragi + M. Bison?
      • Tiberius Augustus: Justice
      • Tiberius Invictus: Chaos
    • Some of the enemies too. There's one who resembles a Gigafly (from Contra III, Shattered Soldier and Contra 4) that tries to "kidnap" your character by taking them away to the top of the screen.
  • Escort Mission: Near the end of Stage 5, Capital Laboratory. Escorting Dr. Mandrake.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Krystal has one due to injuries suffered during the attack on her village. Doesn't stop her from being sexy, though.
  • Fastball Special: Leviathan uses a mook as a Human Shield and then throws him at you.
    • Also, a midboss in the Jungle Stage will pick up an alligator and chuck it at you,although it's aim isn't as good.
  • Fetus Terrible: Boss 5, Celestial Imperator.
  • Freudian Excuse: It is heavily implied that Sayuri is the daughter of Tiberius, seeking revenge for abandoning her and her mother.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The helicopter mini-bosses from Level 2 each have a grabber arm... which they will use to throw crocodiles at you!
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Sayuri, who wields a katana that can produce energy waves.
  • Heavy Metal: Lots of Hair Metal and Thrash Metal, courtesy of Daisuke Ishiwatari.
  • Helicopter Blender: The helicopter mini-bosses from Level 2 will occasionally land on either side of the screen and throw their blades at you.
  • Hostage Spirit Link: If Dr. Mandrake takes too much damage while you're escorting him, he dies and revives shortly afterwards...using up one of your lives to do so.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Krystal.
  • Immune to Bullets: Tiberius between attacks. "I'm here! Shoot me!"
  • Konami Code: You can use it at the loading screen for Stage 1 to replace the music with a Daisuke Ishiwatari-ified remix of the Stage 1 theme from the first Contra.
    • You can also use another variation of it (replace B and A with LS/L3 and RS/R3 respectively) in the "press start" screen to unlock the ability to buy the upgrade that gives you 30 lives with every continue without beating the game first for every character. Notice the word "buy", meaning you still need to get the necessary 57,3 million points to be able to use it.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Krystal does this in her ending scene.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Sayuri's loading screens reveal that Tiberius is her adoptive father.
  • Meteor Move: Sayuri can use one if you connect with her upward palm strike. Useful if timed correctly since it has plenty of invincibility frames and the victim also kills any other enemies they come in contact with. Amusingly enough, it can also be performed on power-up capsules and otherwise immobile large flowers.
  • Meaningful Name: Hard Corps. Think about it.
  • Money Grinding: There are various methods of doing this to get upgrades...
  • More Dakka
  • Nintendo Hard: Well, it is Contra. And it is called "Hard Corps". Not even Rising Mode subverts this.
    • In Arcade Mode, you get 3 continues. There is an achievement for beating the first stage in arcade mode. This is much, much, MUCH harder than it sounds (you only get 3 lives to start, and are only able to use the various evasive moves and character-specific special abilities).
      • And then there's the following two achievements: "The definition of a warrior" means going through the game without picking up a special weapon.[2] "I'll make them pay..." is going through without dying. To say that only God could perform these feats would be the understatement of the century.
      • Another special mention is Disposable Warrior which you have to stock up to 20 or more lives. The main reason this is so hard is because not only are a lot of the lives littered throughout levels, they can reach Guide Dang It level of finding them, not to mention some lives are in very... volatile areas. Thankfully, it's made easier because you simply have to get 20 lives, and you don't need to keep them. Keeping the lives while you climb up to 20 is the hard part.
  • No Fair Cheating / Anti-Grinding: Attempting to milk a safespot for CP and score will eventually result in a NEGATIVE PENALTY, locking your score for the rest of the stage. That being said, the negative penalty takes a while to activate, meaning that one can theoretically grind for quite some time, die, then go back to the same spot and do it all over again for more points. It also seems to be easily fooled by doing anything except holding the fire button, allowing you to easily get enough points to max out your character several times over before it kicks in if you're bored enough to keep shooting the said respawning enemies manually or park your character on one of the conveyer belts in level 5 so that they're constantly pushed by the boxes coming out of the machine.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Leviathan starts out this way. He can also only wield one weapon at a time.
  • One-Hit Kill: The sole reason Vitus Engine is sometimes referred to as the Sayuri killer. It's last attack consists of it rolling around the rim you stand on, and if it hits you, it deals one HP of damage... and sends you flying off the platform into a pit. The only way to avoid it is to successfully hit it, something that only Sayuri has trouble with due to her limited range, especially since it keeps gaining speed with every hit which eventually makes it so quick that it's extremely difficult for her to hit it even with autofire before it hits her.
    • There's actually an alternate way to defeat it without leaving yourself open to the mercy of the game's collision detection: leaving one of the pillars extending from the ceiling intact and using it to climb up and hang from the ceiling before destroying it allows you to just attack downwards to hit the boss without getting rammed. You still need to take care that the rotation of the rim doesn't cause you to fall down since it moves faster than you do while hanging and thus need to spam airdashes when necessary.
    • Arachne deserves mention here because every one of its attacks will knock you off and kill you. Tiberis Invictus could qualify too. by the same rule of Arachne and Vitis Engine.
      • Snipers can one hit kill players as well, but only in Arcade and early Rising Mode as they're technically doing 4 bars of damage per shot (and you can get more than 4 bars of life in Rising Mode).
      • Robotic alligators in the Jungle (and early Capital Tower) stage. Although getting caught by one of the gators may mean...
  • Parental Abandonment: Sayuri, by Tiberius.
  • Running Gag: Bahamut hates spiders...
  • Sand Worm: The boss of the first level is a robotic variant. You also fight other smaller robotic ones in the first level, which the boss also spits out.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Dr. Mandrake, as revealed by Harley.
  • Shout-Out: Boss 4 is ripped straight out of Gradius, complete with ring bullets and core shooting.
    • The Ripple weapon is also fired much like its Gradius counterpart, albeit with a much shorter range, but it has the benefit of negating and even reflecting enemy shots.
      • And finally, the Mook Makers and the flying drones they spawn from level 8 are both straight from Gradius
    • In mission 5 you can hide in boxes like Metal Gear Solid. The game even has similar alarm sound effects.
    • All the increases to your max number of starting lives in Rising Mode reference previous Contra titles in their names: "Uprising S" = Super Contra, "Uprising III" = Contra III, "Uprising SS" = Shattered Soldier, ect. And then there's the prohibitively expensive "Uprising 30" earned by completing Rising Mode. . .
    • One of Krystal's alternate colors gives her outfit the same scheme as Noel Vermillion's; combined with the fact that her rifle looks a lot like Noel's "Zero Gun: Fenrir" Distortion Drive, this is most likely not coincidental.
    • Might be bit of a stretch, but the first battle against Tiberius has several things in common with the battle against Colonel in Mega Man X 4: both involve high-ranked military men with Commissar Caps that use swords as their main form of offense and can block your attacks in a game where enemies rarely do so and both battles take place near a location with flying battleships.
    • Leviathan has a Master Chief and EVA-01 palette.
    • The rocket-hopping part in Stage 6 is more than a passing resemblance to the fourth stage (and boss) of Contra III.
  • Spread Shot: Obviously. While it's still invaluable against Mooks due to, well, being spread out, it's not nearly as useful against bosses since each projectile does less damage than a normal shot, you need to get close enough to most bosses in order for all the shots to hit and even then it only equals the damage output of most other weapons.
  • Theme Naming: Sayuri's sword upgrades, as follows.
    • Kikuichimonji: Named after the 13 Japanese swords that bear the imperial chrysanthemum crest for each month of the year.
    • Raikiri: Naruto reference. Translates to "Lightning Blade".
    • Muramasa: The name of a real Japanese swordsmith who, in legends, created swords that were bloodthirsty and evil. This is a commonly used name for swords in fiction.
    • Masamune: Like Muramasa, the name of a very famous Japanese swordsmith. Often used as a name for swords of superior quality in fiction.
    • Amanomurakumo: The sword used by Susano'o to slay Orochi, renamed Kusanagi afterward. Also a Blaz Blue reference.
      • This specific name counts as a minor Genius Bonus because the sword Kusanagi could control the wind, and guess what Sayuri's Charge Attack is?
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: In Stage 4, the boss is a flying 2D homage to Gradius, and Stage 5 starts off as a stealth sequence.
    • Of course, you can skip the stealth altogether and storm the lab with guns-a-blazin', the way the game is meant to be played.
  • Video Game Settings
  • Wake Up Call Boss: ARACHNE. That One Boss who teaches you that health wont protect you from falling.
    • To put this in perspective, imagine you're riding on the top of a train car. Suddenly, you enter a tunnel, and when you come out of it the view has changed to you grabbing on the car for dear life as the camera switches vertically. Then this big mecha comes in, sending out mechanical BEES like his namesake. While it's doing this it's charging up a laser that causes the entire line of cars you're holding onto to explode. You need to dodge both the bees and the lasers while jumping to the set of cars opposite you. Woe to anyone playing Harley at this point.
  • War Has Never Been So Much Fun: Applies to the game...but Harley actually believes this.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: The enemy soldier deaths in cutscenes are almost always played for laughs.
    • In Stage 1, a mook gets run over by the first boss. Said boss later gets eaten by a bigger boss.
    • In Stage 2, mooks tend to get caught by alligators. Also, while not in a cutscene, if you're not speeding through the level, you'll see a mook land in an alligator's open mouth.
    • In Stage 6, one mook gets left behind by the train and subsequently tackled by the player character.
    • In Stage 7, Leviathan uses a mook as a Human Shield, and then chucks him at you.
  • X Meets Y: Contra meets all things Daisuke Ishiwatari.
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