A major advantage the Genesis had over its predecessor (the Master System) is third party developer and publisher support. One of the kings of third party developers in that era was undoubtedly Konami, and boy did they know how to develop games on the Genesis. Watching this game in action, you might mistake it for an SNES game with one of those fancy extra processor chips packed into the cartridge. Nope, this is just the raw power of the Genesis being manipulated in the hands of the once great Konami. The graphical effects are stunning for the time, and really bring the arcade experience home. Sprite scaling and rotation are more than common place here.
Presentation aside, my love of this game comes from late night co-op play during summer sleepovers at my best friend’s house. Though I haven't played it since those days, it has really stuck with me through the years, as we were able to get a lot of play time out of this title. Hard Corps features split paths and multiple endings. There is even a hidden area with a series of arena battles (check out the Castlevania remixes here!) that can lead to a quick and humorous game ending.
As with any Contra game, it's not for the weaker game players out there. This game is hard, and to be honest I have never been great at Contra, so thank god for those Konami codes. A cheat in this game unlocks 70 lives.There are also level select and weapon unlock cheats.
If you have a buddy that loves classic games, I suggest you pick this up and give it a go. This is number 7 on my personal list, but without a doubt this is one of the most impressive games on the system, and perhaps one of the most impressive games on a 16 bit home console.