Contra: Hard Corps, released as Contra: The Hard Corps in Japan and Probotector in Europe and Australia, is a run and gun video game released by Konami for the Sega Genesis in 1994, making it the first game in the Contra series released for a Sega platform.
Set five years after the events of Contra III: The Alien Wars, a terrorist group led by the renegade Colonel Bahamut has stolen an alien cell recovered from the war and now intends to use it to produce weapons. A new task force, known as the titular “Hard Corps”, are sent to deal with the situation. The game features a branching storyline with multiple possible endings.
Hard Corps spawned its own series of follow-ups; including the Appaloosa-developed sequels, Contra: Legacy of War & C: The Contra Adventure; and the Arc System Works-developed prequel, Hard Corps: Uprising. Hard Corps has since been considered to be a spin-off from the mainline Contra entries.: 36–37
In June 2019, it was re-released as part of Contra: Anniversary Collection for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows, and was also included in the Genesis Mini dedicated console that same year. Since October 25, 2021, the game is available through Nintendo Switch Online’s “Expansion Pack”.
The objective of each stage of the game is to reach the end by shooting at every enemy that gets in the way, and fight the boss awaiting at the end. While most of the game have the character walking on foot, certain stages have the player riding a Motoroid, a hoverbike that can transform into an ostrich-like robot. Unlike previous Contra games, which featured overhead segments in addition to the regular side-view stages, all the stages in Hard Corps retains the standard side-view perspective for most of the game. Another difference is the player can now choose between one of four unique player characters. A new feature to the game is that the story is advanced through story cutscenes.
Like in the previous Contra games, a maximum of two players can play simultaneously, but they are not allowed to choose the same character.