The Optimized Guide to Contra: Hard Corps [WIP]
By MrKingFunkMrKingFunk. Last updated
This guide is designed for players who want to get the fastest times in 1-player mode and therefore only covers the walkthrough with Fang. Fang has an overpowered glitch that allows him to kill all enemies (especially bosses) in the game much faster than any other character and is thus the optimal choice for speed running this game.
Before we tackle this game, let me lay out some jargon that I will be using through this guide.
For the weapons I'll be using the abbreviations WepA (gun), WepB (punch blast), WepC (flame), WepD (charge shot) and bomb.
I'll also be adding movement notes whenever necessary such as crouching, jumping, etc.
Charge Shot Glitch (CSG): the infamous glitch with Fang which involves WepB and WepD. If you shoot with WepB and switch to WepD during Fang's shooting animation frames, the game turns the WebB punch blast into a WepD charge shot. This is most likely due to the fact that both weapons share the same startup animation. This technique is incredibly powerful and abusive as it allows you to shoot charge shots really quickly, which kills everything hilariously fast. To perform it, you can shoot with WepB and switch 3 times (WepB [shoot] -> WepD -> WepA -> repeat). The process can be done as quickly as your fingers can press buttons (the faster the better ; check out TAS videos to see how crazy it can get). If you have WepC (which you should never have) or the Bomb (you need it at times), you will have to switch 4 or 5 times. Make sure to practice CSG until you are able to move around, jump and shoot with it without difficulty.
Shotslide (SS): the act of inputting one shot (usually with WepA) right before sliding so that you hit an enemy in front of you. This is done to prevent unfortunate deaths in the recovery frames of your slide. This technique is predominantly used in stages where most enemies on your way die in one shot (notably the City and Lab stages).
Ledgeslide (LS): the act of sliding on a superposed surface such as a car or a ledge. Doing so lets you keep the momentum from the slide and land on the ground without any lag, from which you can perform any other action (including another slide).
The two above can be combined to perform a Ledge Shotslide (LSS).
Basic rules of thumb
1. Sliding repeatedly is faster than running.
2. Do NOT pick WepC (flame), as you will never use it and it only makes CSG harder to perform. If you accidentally pick WepC, use the quad-switch CSG until you find a way to kill yourself on an enemy without costing you time.
3. Pick the bomb if it can save you time on a boss fight, but remember it's one extra input for CSG (recommended bomb uses are covered in the walkthrough).
4. Don't kill low health enemies with CSG, you might as well just use WepA there.
5. Proper text scrolling during cutscenes can save you good chunks of time. Mashing the B button is a bad idea. To optimize it, you want to fast forward the text by holding the B button. Once the sentence is displayed in its entirety and the enter symbol shows up, you press and hold B again to get to the next sentence and fast forward it. Knowing the cutscenes well is very useful.
My definition of time for each stage is that it stops whenever the next stage begins (after the briefing phases).
Stage 1 (City)
Average recommended time: 1:55
>As you land on the ground, start SS'ing. Never shoot enemies behind or above you as it's a waste of time. The slower you are, the more enemies will bunch up from behind.
>When you reach the first blue car, jump on it, LSS from it then continue SS'ing.
>Jump on the barrels then jump again to shoot the WepD capsule and the enemy on the platform. Firing diagonal shots downwards as you do that can save you from falling right into an enemy.
>Run and pick up WepD and immediately switch back to WepA.
>Kill the enemy on the next barrels, jump on it then LSS into another SS then get to the van.
>As you run up to the van, WepA will be coming from behind. Keep running into WepA is right above your head then jump and shoot to pick it up. Doing so will fire shots at the enemy on top of the van.
>Proceed to destroy the van but make sure to dodge occasional bullets that can come from behind.
>Slide once then jump and gun down the centipede robot.
>A landslide will form in front of you. This is RNG-based, as sometimes the formation of the ledges allows you to do many slides in a row while other times it just straight up blocks your path. Reset if it slows you down too much.
>Catch the Bomb capsule, switch to and start charging WepD and slide.
>The spider robot miniboss will appear from the wall in the middle. Stand next to him on the right side then wait a little bit after he appears for his hitbox to fully form before you release the charge shot. After shooting with WepD, switch to WepA and finish him off. If done correctly, he will die before his flame attack can even hit you.
>Prepare to go up the collapsed building with three slides. From there you can jump to the roof and slide into the next miniboss (big unmanned robot).
>As you wait for the big robot to come down to you, charge WepD. Wait until a tiny bit after he's fully risen up, then do a jumping charge shot and immediately switch to and detonate your bomb, this should kill him instantly.
>After the big robot miniboss explodes and falls, the screen will finally scroll and WepC and WepB will come up instantly above your head. Catch WepB. The absolute optimal strategy is to time jumping shots as the screen starts to scroll to catch WepB only. You can also play it safe and wait for it from the ground. You can now perform CSG's.
>Jump on the rotating bars. They are RNG based and sometimes don't have the optimal pattern. The best thing that can happen is that the tip of the 2nd bar is right in front of you as you jump from the first one.
>See the cute as hell 3rd bar come to life and conveniently bring you to the location of the miniboss where he gets heartlessly murdered. When the screen starts scrolling, slide twice and position yourself to the right of the blue car.
>When the boss lands on the ground on top of the blue car, CSG him twice. He will jump to the right side. Turn around and do 4 or 5 crouching CSG's as fast as possible and he should die. Don't let him survive past that because if he manages to jump to the center again, your next shot won't destroy him but bring him to his next phase which will waste you at least 10 seconds (and you'll have to reset).
>Textscroll through the cutscene and choose your path (refer to 2-1 for Chase Joe and 2-2 for Rescue the Lab).
Stage 2-1 (High Speed Chase)
>Do whatever you want to kill the enemies, though it's nice to let them bunch up and take them out in groups of 2-3 with jumping CSG's.
>Go to the left, stand as close as possible to the crazy running man and take him out with one CSG.
>In the tunnel, stand in the middle and start shooting jumping CSG's before the tunnel spider miniboss spawns. Shoot him 2-3 times before he reaches the middle, and stand to the right of him and shoot point blank jumping CSG's for max damage. As he swoops down to the bottom left, run him down with a few more CSG's and kill him as fast as possible. You've done a decent job if he dies before getting to shoot.
>After killing the miniboss, position yourself in the center of the tunnel (a tiny bit to the left) to minimize the distance the game has to move your character for the cutscene.
>In the alley as your bike starts running, stand under the airship so that you can shoot 1-2 point blank CGS's at the gun to get to the last boss.
>Stand to the left as the running robot boss comes next to you. Two jumping CSG's should kill off his suit. As the head starts bouncing around and comes back, shoot it with 2-3 more CSG's (jumping helps as he will be airborne when he's targetable) and he will die.
-to be continued-