That we’ve been excited for Hard Corps: Uprising to come out isn’t really a secret and we’re all big fans of the original Contra game on the NES. After dumping 4 or 5 hours into Hard Corps: Uprising, I can tell you three things:
- It deserves Contra in the title, no question, because it is just as addictive and incredibly difficult;
- I’m not sure my brain is flexible enough to remember the location of every single enemy and trap like it was when I was in elementary school; and
- Every time I hear some little punk whine about how hard it is, I’m going to smile because I know that’s how all games used to be.
I’ve read a couple of other reviews that slammed the game for its difficulty, but I’m not having it. Arc System Works has developed a game with beautiful, bright graphics, creepily odd enemies and a rockin’ soundtrack with solid backing from the sound effects (except for the voice volume – it’s very loud but thankfully adjustable), yet gameplay wise, Hard Corps: Uprising would be right at home on an 8-bit cartridge from the Reagan Administration. Just like its predecessors, the difficulty is permanently set on WHAAAAT?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? I’ve been using it as a way to limber up for time spent playing other, lesser games designed for mere mortals, games with difficulty adjustments and auto-save spots that aren’t spread so far apart as to make deciding to use a Continue akin to being at mile 16 of a marathon and told you have to start over.
Separate from the standard straight-through Arcade mode (which I have played exactly once before realizing that I was courting an aneurysm), the Uprising mode is a solid addition that allows you to upgrade your weapons (i.e., the Spread Gun has 7 bullets instead of the base-level 3), increase your life meter and abilities like Bullet Reflect (learn it, use it, love it) and, most importantly, unlock each level so that you can start off at Level 3 with a full load of continues.
Mechanically, Hard Corps: Uprising is a side-scrolling shooter open to one or two players at either the same console or online. It has a very high difficulty level and is rated T (for “Teen” by the ESRB) for animated violence and brief tobacco references. For any parents, unless you’re violence-sensitive enough to ban Looney Tunes in your house, I’d say this is actually safe for everybody although I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone with high blood pressure and a temper. The gameplay is strictly linear and requires patience, memorization and the emotional resilience of the British after Dunkirk.
With all of the Cursed either already playing this or looking forward to getting into it, I imagine we can look forward to a full review in the future, but at this time, Hard Corps: Uprising is fun, gorgeous, well polished, and comes with a solid recommendation from me, but keep in mind, I grew up with Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers…and Contra.
Reflex Review – Like a memorable meal, some games make a big enough impression that you’ve got to tell other people about them before they’re fully digested.