Hard Corps: Uprising is part of the very popular Contra series, and a prequel to Contra: Hard Corps. It is the first title in what is expected to be a new long lasting franchise. The game features a similar gameplay style to the Contra series and boasts intense firefights, extremely high difficulty, and beautiful scenery.
When you start playing Uprising you will play as either Bahamut or Krystal who are part of the Resistance, a group of elite soldiers who are trying to take out the empire known as Commonwealth. Uprising is a 2D side scrolling shooter similar to Contra, with enemies spawning everywhere. Enemy types range from stationary cannons to fast moving foot soldiers with their only intention being to hunt you down. Most enemies only take a shot or two to kill, but their patterns are something you will have to learn to stay alive. Some enemy types will never move but shoot in a certain pattern. While other enemies will come running at you full sprint ahead causing you to stay on your toes at all times. The boss fights are where patter memorization is most important since one wrong move can take a whole life away, causing you to become extremely upset.
Difficulty is still something you will encounter and it is not uncommon with Konami’s side scrolling titles. Uprising is extremely tough. Even with some new additions like dashing, bullet reflection, and multiple weapon slots, the game is still relentless. You will constantly be looking at every corner of the screen to avoid being hit from an enemy in a tree, or a stray bullet that was shot from behind you.
The game requires patience, and if you keep trying to just run through the game you will die, plain and simple. The game is difficult but not impossible. Rising mode is the only way you will most likely get through this game alive. It offers players a chance to upgrade weapons that pick up to make the game a little less challenging. It’s a nice way to keep players playing longer, and adds a nice layer of replay value.
Traveling through the 8 levels will take some time. Each level is fairly long, and each individual stage has its own theme keeping the vibe fresh. One level takes place in a jungle, while another one places you in an ancient tomb. The world is in a hand drawn 2.5D giving it some real distinction from the sprites on screen. The enemy and main character sprites are all also hand drawn, giving them a very impressive animation style.
Multiplayer is included with Uprising, and can be played either locally or over Xbox Live. Playing with a friend can either be really enjoyable, or a nightmare. The issue with multiplayer is if you are used to the screen moving with your character you may have a hard time. The scrolling of the screen requires both players to be moving, so if you buddy that’s playing doesn’t keep up, you could end up eating a bullet from an enemy that is barely visible. Also, having another person on screen can sometimes get confusing. The sprites look very different but in the heat of the action you can lose sight of which character you are controlling.
Overall, Hard Corps: Uprising is a solid entry into the growing lists of side scrolling shooters. It doesn’t bring anything new to genre, but that could be seen as a good thing. The difficulty could rub some people the wrong way, and might cause people to never pick it back up but if you’re a fan of the genre then you shouldn’t hesitate to make the purchase here.