Table of Contents
- Version Info
- I - Introduction
- II - Gameplay Essentials
- Game Options
- Type I And Type II Shot
- All About Weapons
- 1- Ups
- One Player VS. Two Player Mode
- Survival Tips
- III - Cast of Characters
- IV - Walkthrough
- Game Progression Diagram
- STAGE 1 (ABCD) - City Under Siege
- STAGE 2 (AB) - The Chase
- STAGE 2 (CD) - The Rescue
- STAGE 3 (ABCD) - Junkyard Tussle
- STAGE 4 (ABCD) - Welcome to the Jungle
- STAGE 5 (A) - Space Showdown
- STAGE 5 (BD) - Arena
- STAGE 5 (C) - Runaway Train
- STAGE 6 (B) - Red Falcon Redux
- STAGE 6 (C) - Area 52
- PART 3:
- STAGE 6 (D) - Ocean Pursuit
- STAGE 7 (D) - Countdown to Armageddon
- STAGE S - Hyper-Dimensional Hijinks (secret stage)
- V - The Endings
- VI - Miscellanea
- VII - Credits
Contra: Hard Corps For Sega Genesis By Chalupa Donny (AKA John Malone)
Created By : John Malone (aka Chalupa Donny)
Contact Me @: swidly -- hotmail
- Copyright Info -
The "Contra: Hard Corps FAQ for Sega Genesis" is copyrighted, as of November 2002 by the author, John Malone, under international copyright law. If you wish to reproduce, distribute, or display this FAQ or use any part of it for any reason, permission given by the author (me), is required by law. All violations will be reported.
This FAQ is, so far, only authorized to appear at the GameFAQs website (www.gamefaqs.com). If you find this anywhere else, it is an unauthorized, (probably) uncredited copy of my FAQ, and is in viololation of copyright law. Please e-mail me for permission to reprint this FAQ (unless it is for personal use, not intended to be shown to any third parties, and not used for profit).
- DISCLAIMER -
ALL of the information in this FAQ was thoroughly and painstakingly researched and written by myself, John Malone, and no part was copied from anyone else's work without permission. I took what names I could from the instruction booklet provided with the game and made up all the rest with a generous use of artistic license.
07/05/10 - Version 2.0
- Converted to formatted FAQ.
9/15/02 Version 1.2
- Clarified some boss info for Stage 6(c) the 'Spear Sphere' battle and fixed a few more things here and there. Hopefully this will be the final update. BTW, thanks for the kind e-mails all of you have sent me. Im glad some- one is enjoying this thing!
8/5/02 - Version 1.1
- I fixed some spelling errors and rewrote awkward writing wherever I could find it. I also added a new Survival Tip and movement technique (found under the GAMEPLAY BASICS: CONTROLS section) that I had previously overlooked.
7/7/02 - Version 1.0
- The FAQ is completed! If you see any errors, please e-mail me at email@example.com and let me know.
I - Introduction
Contra: Hard Corps by Konami is seriously one of the most underrated and overlooked games of all video game history. Hard Corps was the only Contra game to be published for the Genesis, and it's totally unique from any other Contra game in many respects. For one, you can save and select up to 4 different weapons. There are also four playable characters, each with unique attacks. And the most important new feature is that there are FOUR different paths to choose from, each with different endings and unique stages and battles.
Sure, the graphics and music were not as hot as the now classic Contra III for the SNES, but the Konami programmers did the best they could with Sega's limited game system. The animations, and the stage and boss ideas range from average to ingenious. Plus, throw in 6 different endings and some really challenging gameplay, and you've got some great replay value.
Perhaps it was the toughness of the game that prevented CHC from becoming a hit. Even those notorious reviewers of the EGM crew said that this game was nearly impossible. This game is hard, but it's far from impossible to beat. If I can do it (and I am far from the greatest game player to ever live), then just about anyone can. But it's going to take work, perseverance, and patience. And perhaps a few tips and strategies from my FAQ.
All of this brings me to an important question: Contra Hard Corps is very old by video game standards and the production of Genesis and its games has been discontinued. So why am I writing a FAQ for this game at all? There are several reasons. First, I like to write FAQs, and this was one of my most favorite games back in the day. I don't know what exactly I like about it, but it has captured my heart. Second, there aren't any detailed FAQs on CHC that I can find ANYWHERE. I think this game deserves one, even only if 3 people actually use it.
And finally, I'm writing for all those who still play this game but who need help. Maybe you collect old videogames. Maybe you got a Genesis all those years ago and still haven't had the will or the means to buy a new system. Or perhaps you have downloaded the ROM version (remember, ROMs are only for archival purposes and can be used only if you own the game - otherwise it is illegal!) and you're playing Contra for the same reason that I do, for nostalgia's sake. No matter what the case, I've also written this FAQ for you. I hope you enjoy it!
II - Gameplay Essentials
Included in this section are the options, game controls, as well as many other important aspects of gameplay.
On the Contra: HC title screen, there are 3 choices: 1 Player mode, 2 Player mode, and Option mode. There are a few things of interest in the Option mode:
- Players: Choose the amount of lives you start off with per continue. You can choose either 1, 2, or 3.
- Music Test: Listen to all of the background (BG) music tracks in the game. Clicking on this option will open up another screen. Move left and right to switch tracks, then press your button on Start Music to get things going. Pressing Stereo will switch your speakers to Monaural, and vice-versa. There are a total of 29 BG tracks.
- Sound Effect: Lets you listen to all of the sound effects. They're listed in hexadecimal format (A = 10, B = 11, C = 12, D = 13, E = 14, F = 15) with 0 (zero) also being a valid choice, for a total of 16 choices per slot. Doing the math, there are 200 sound effects total.
- Control: Here you can switch around the functions of the A, B, and C buttons.
- Exit: Gets you outta here.
Notice that the Options menu (above) does not have a 'Difficulty' setting that you can change. Contra: HC is just plain tough. But you can make it a little easier or harder depending on which character you choose. The characters are like the Difficulty level of the game: Browny is the easiest and Fang is the hardest (see the Characters section for more info).
After starting the game, this is how you control your character on the screen (I am assuming you left the controls on their default settings):
- Up: Aim Up
- Down: Duck
- Right: Walk Right
- Left: Walk Left
- Up + Right: Aim Diagonally Up and Right while running Right
- Down + Right: Aim Diagonally Down and Right while running Right
- Up + Left: Aim Diagonally Up and Left while running Left
- Down + Left: Aim Diagonally Down and Left while running Left
(these are the default settings but can be changed in the Option menu)
- A: Select Weapon
- B: Shoot
- C: Jump
- While standing on a floating platform, Down + Jump: Jump down through platform (does not work on every platform; generally there must be a floor below to perform this move)
- Hold B: Continuous Shooting
- Hold B, press A: Switch to Shot I / Shot II
- Down + Jump: Slide
- While Jumping, press B again: Double Jump (Browny only)
- After Double Jump, hold B: Slow Fall (Browny only)
Sliding is one of the most important techniques in the game. Performing a slide makes you temporarily invulnerable. By using this move, you can slide through projectiles and other attacks and come out unharmed! Sometimes the only way to survive an enemy attack is by sliding past it. You can also slide through enemies, damaging them in the process. Learning to use this technique wisely and well is essential to beating the game.
Type I And Type II Shot
There are 2 types of shooting controls: Shot I (or Type I), which is the default, and Shot II (or Type II), which you can switch to at any time by holding your 'shoot' button, then pressing your 'select weapon' button. Switching to Type II shooting means that whenever you hold down your 'shoot' button, pressing any of the directional pad buttons will aim your gun in that direction. Of course, this also means that you cannot move while shooting in Type II mode.
For Type I, being the default, this means that when you hold your 'shoot' button, you will also move in whatever direction you are aiming at. Whenever you have to aim at tough angles or when it's critical to stand still while shooting, you should consider switching to Type II shot. Note that it is possible to beat the game without ever switching to Type II shooting, especially if you're playing Browny.
All About Weapons
Each character has 5 slots to hold weapons, labeled A, B, C, D, and E, which are located at the top of the screen. You can choose a weapon by pressing the 'select weapon' button. This will move a red cursor to a slot that is filled with an available weapon. If you die while a weapon slot is selected, you will lose that weapon; this does not include your default machine gun or Bombs.
When playing through the game, be sure to shoot down the item capsules that occasionally fly on-screen. Item (or weapon) capsules are yellow football-shaped flying objects. Shooting the capsule will cause a weapon upgrade to drop from it. The weapon upgrades are red icons with a letter on it. Collecting this will fill the appropriate letter slot in your arsenal.
Every character also has their own unique weapons; one for each slot (except E, see the Bombs section). Everyone's default weapon is a no-frills machine gun. Collecting an A symbol will upgrade your character's regular machine gun to a more powerful one. The B, C, and D weapons are different for everyone (see the Characters section below for more).
Bombs are very helpful items indeed; using one will set off a circular explosion centered on your character. This explosion will kill all enemies on screen and moderately damage mini-bosses. Bombs will barely hurt anything more powerful than that.
The E slot is reserved for Bombs. Bombs appear from item capsules, just like weapons do. Everyone can collect bombs, and you can hold as many as you can get (although you will probably never find more than 9 in the game, even if you don't use, miss, or lose any).
You get an extra life after the first 2000 points you earn and then another one every 6000 points afterward.
If you lose all of your lives, you will have to use up a continue to keep playing. You start off with 5 continues. When you use a continue, you lose all of your saved weapons and bombs.
Your new starting location depends on how far you got in the stage before you died. If you passed the Part 2 or Part 3 marker, then you will start from that point. If not, then you start back at Part 1 (see the Stages section below for more on Parts).
One Player VS. Two Player Mode
IMPORTANT NOTE: this FAQ is written from the 'one player' perspective. Going at it one player was much easier for writing an FAQ, and I am guessing that most people play this game on 1 player mode anyway. The game is just too long and demanding for 2 players to go all the way, without a lot of difficulty.
Playing Contra with two players is fun and offers more firepower, but is actually a hindrance towards completing the game unless both of you are of equal ability. To explain: one problem is that the screen will not proceed unless both characters are moving forward. If one person is constantly lagging, he or she is bound to get both of you killed. In addition, bosses take more hits when playing with two players. If one player dies first, the other player will have to face tougher bosses by themself.
- The most helpful weapons in the game, as I'll mention over and over again in the FAQ, are the kind that can 'heat seek' or 'sweep/spread'. Having one or both of these weapons on-hand at all times makes the game twice as easy.
- When not using a valuable weapon (such as those mentioned above), switch to a less important one. That way if you die in an unforeseen accident, you won't lose something valuable. I do not recommend switching to Bombs unless you are about to use one; the danger of setting one off by accident is too much.
- Pause the game when switching weapons or switching Shot type (from I or II). This will give you a breather from the action while also not splitting up your concentration between 2 tasks.
- Learn how to slide! I cannot stress how essential sliding is to survival in this game.
- Remember the quickest and generally safest way to get down from a floating platform is by pressing Down + Jump.
- Every stage is tough, simply because you don't know what to expect. It is for this very reason that you're guaranteed to use a continue every time you get to a new level. That's the hard truth... unless you're using this FAQ! If nothing else, reading this will give you an idea of what to expect.
- Face it, this game is mainly about one thing: non-stop shooting!!! So I will assume that I don't have to tell throughout the FAQ that you should be shooting here or there. Your finger never need let go of the B button during the entire play session! Especially during boss fights, unless I specifically say not to, you should be shooting at your opponent every opportunity you get.
- Last but not least, relax and have fun. If you're all tense and/or sweaty-palmed while playing, it's going to make things all the more difficult. Losing isn't the end of the world. Just enjoy the game!
III - Cast of Characters
There are four playable characters in Contra: HC and a handful of supporting characters:
Ray is the blonde-haired dude who looks like a clone of Mad Dog and Scorpion (the 2 protagonists from the previous Contra games). Ray is a good character with solid weaponry and is recommended for intermediate-level players.
- Medium height
- Medium-length slide
- Good selection of weapons
|A||Vulcan Laser||A quick, repeating laser that replaces the default gun. Simply a more powerful version of his machine gun: nothing more. BONUS: this projectile passes through barriers.|
|B||Crash||Exploding missiles that fire in a straight line - Crush is Ray's most powerful weapon. Save it for powerful enemies and bosses.|
|C||Spread||Woohoo! Ray's got the monopoly on the classic Spread gun. Fires a spread of red bullets in a wide arc, and is very helpful for sweeping the area clean of baddies.|
|D||Homing Missiles||Pretty self-explanatory. These babies fire fast and home-in on enemies but are extremely weak.|
Sheena is the female counterpart of Ray. Physically, she's much like Ray (aside from the long hair and female genitalia, natch) but her weapons are quite different. Like Ray, Sheena's a good all-around character and suits medium-level to expert players.
- A tad bit shorter than Ray, Sheena presents a slightly smaller target
- Medium-length slide
- A solid selection of weapons
|A||Genocide Vulcan||Similar to the Machine Gun upgrade from previous Contra games, this gun fires larger caliber machine gun bullets that are a bit stronger.|
|B||Shower Crash||Like Ray's Crash, except in a downward arc. Kinda like a rapid-fire grenade launcher. Powerful, but the short range is very limiting.|
|C||Break Laser||Same as the original Laser gun upgrade from Contra games of yore. Fires a single, long laser beam in a straight line that can pass through barriers. Quite powerful, if clumsy.|
|D||Ax Laser||A cross between Ray's Spread and a laser beam- except this also has homing capabilities. It's weak but good for sweeping the area clean of scum.|
Fang is a mutant hybrid: part wolf, part man (almost a Mog!). A very eccentric fellow, he wears sunglasses and has a gun in place of a hand on his right arm. Fang is definitely suited for expert players.
- The tallest character, making him a big target
- Shortest slide
- Has the most powerful weapons, they are short-ranged and/or slow
- No homing weapon
|A||Beast Shooter||This is a neat looking weapon! This gun fires balls of flame in a stream of fire that ripples up and down. It is strong, passes through some barriers, and also works good for sweeping.|
|B||Power Punch||One of the top three most powerful weapons in the game, alongside Fang's charged Psychic Blaster and the Bomb. Fang punches forward, creating a short-ranged shockwave of fire. This can only be fired to the left or right! Beware: it's slow and the range is VERY short.|
|C||Flame Thrower||Ah yes, the beloved Flame Thrower. It's the same as in previous Contras: a short stream of continuous fire. The range is only average, but has good power, helpful sweeping properties, and can pass through barriers.|
|D||Psychic Blaster||Like the Power Punch, this move can only be fired to the left or right. Ordinarily, just pressing fire will shoot a small blue ball. Hold down the fire button and the Psychic Blaster will store energy. Wait until the energy is orange, then let go to produce a huge and devastating laser blast. Wicked! Obviously the slow rate of fire is another limitation.|
Browny is a diminutive, plucky little robot (and happens to be my favorite character). Browny is the easiest to use out of the characters and is great for beginners.
- The shortest character, making him harder to hit
- Longest slide
- Perhaps the most versatile selection of weapons
- The only character with a double jump! When jumping, press jump again to execute. Hold the jump button and he will hover slightly, slowing his descent - a huge advantage.
|A||Victory Laser||A great machine gun. This fires blue arrow-shaped projectiles in a continuous stream that is superb for sweeping the area. Plus it passes through barriers.|
|B||Gemini Scatter||This fires a stream of grenades which return back to you after a short distance, like a boomerang. If you're not there to catch them, they will fly around in random circular orbits around you, possibly hitting enemies (but preventing you from firing again). They are strong, too.|
|C||E.M. Yo Yo (or 'Electromagnetic Yo Yo')||Despite first impressions, this is arguably Browny's most useful and powerful weapon. The Yo Yo will heat-seek in the general area of an enemy and swing around, trying to hit them. All you need to do is hold down the button and forget about it as it does the dirty work. Doesn't work as well on crowds, though. As an added bonus, it passes through barriers like they were butter.|
|D||Shield Chaser||Yet another homing weapon, except this is much faster and also doubles as a shield. Hold down the fire button and five balls will surround and circle Browny. These will damage opponents and block certain projectiles (e.g. missiles). A ball will disappear after it hits something. When you let go of the button, the remaining balls will shoot off and home-in on an enemy. Not so strong, but endlessly useful.|
Once a hero during the Alien Wars, current whereabouts of the man are unknown... (can we say "foreshadowing"?)
A mercenary for hire as well as an unrepetant, relentless killer. He likes to use vehicles to get the job done and also wears a jet pack for quick escapes. He won't kill unarmed enemies, but his thirst for vengeance knows no bounds.
Supposedly "the best hacker on the Net", Noiman is a piggish lump of a man who would sell his soul to the highest bidder.
I'm not sure what his real name is (or if it's ever even given), but this guy heads the Research Center in charge of keeping an eye on the Alien Cell. He's also enjoys doing experiments, the nature of which are unknown.
The Alien Cell
Captured after the Alien Wars 5 years ago. Currently contained in the Research Center and being monitored by the government. It is extremely dangerous with unpredictable mutagenic properties.
In charge of your division at the Hard Corps, the Chief debriefs you before most missions.
Air Police Pilot
You'll run into this friendly gent a couple of times during the game, depending on which path you choose. He flies some sort of futuristic aircraft and is always happy to lend you a hand.
Normally your run-of-the-mill cannon fodder enemy drone; occasionally one will speak up during a cutscene.
You'll find this strange fellow on a secret path. He'll try to enlist you for the Interdimensional Fighting Arena, shouting profanities if you refuse.
IV - Walkthrough
My favorite aspect of Contra:HC - depending on what decisions you make during in-game cutscenes, you will go on different paths where you will encounter new levels, new enemies, and completely different endings. In fact, there 6 different endings in Contra: Hard Corps. You can read them in detail in the next section (part V).
Game Progression Diagram
What follows is a rough "map" of the game, including all of the different level-paths. There are 5 possible paths total: 4 "normal" paths that I've designated as 'A', 'B', 'C', and 'D', plus one shorter "secret" path designated 'S' (along with one "bad" ending, which is not a true ending/path... see below for more details).
You can follow this walkthrough in two ways. The first is to just play through the game and follow this guide to see what path you'd like to take and what's coming up next.
Alternately (especially if you've played this game a few times) - you can traverse this walkthrough with a specific path you want in mind. In the diagram below, notice on the right-hand side there is an "END A", "END B", and so on. These mark the endings for each of the possible paths in the game. Take note of the letter of the path you want to follow.
Next, notice on the rest of the chart that each Stage is listed as a number and one or more letters in parenthesis. To get the ending you want, trace your path on the diagram by finding the Stages that have your letter on it. All paths start on Stage 1, which is why it has "(ABCD)" as part of its name.
For example, if you want to get ending A, you can trace the necessary path by finding all the Stages that have an 'A' in parentheses. So after you beat Stage 1 (ABCD), you must choose to follow Deadeye Joe so you can play stage 2 (AB) - notice the "A". All paths must play through Stages 3 and 4; next choose "Give Up" during the cutscene after Stage 4 so you can play stage 5 (A). Beating Stage 5 (A) will reward you with Ending A. Viola!
It may sound complicated at first, but everything's pretty much self-explanatory once play the game and see for yourself.
Game Progression Diagram
- To reiterate - you can only get Endings for path A or B if you follow Deadeye Joe after the 1st Stage. Likewise, you can only follow path C or D if you choose to rescue the Research Center after the 1st stage.
- Access to Stage S - and by extension, the Secret ending - is explained in section STAGE 3 (ABCD) - Junkyard Tussle and section STAGE S - Hyper-Dimensional Hijinks (secret stage).
- To get the bad "ending", see the walkthrough for STAGE 7 (D) - Countdown to Armageddon.
STAGE 1 (ABCD) - City Under Siege
The first stage sets the intensity level for the rest of the game. The initial difficulty might turn off a lot of players, but just give it a chance! It might take a lot of tries to get used to the quick-paced action, but once you do, you'll be ready to take on anything else the game can throw at you.
Chief: Our security system has been breached by an unknown hacker. An unmanned robot is running rampant throughout the city! I want you to proceed to the area ASAP and restore order!
The stage starts off with a parade of enemies on screen doing their thing. Suddenly an ATV comes crashing through, smashing everything in it's path to bits. Finally, your character jumps out as the ATV comes to a sudden halt. That's a hard intro to live up to!
This first part is basically platforms and a whole bunch of robots coming at you from every side. It's VERY easy to die here, even for me. There are two kinds of bots: the blue robots punch at you if they get too close, and the red ones will fire single shots at you if you give them the time to. Both are equally lethal.
The horde of robots that come at you are infinite in number: in general, just keep shooting forward and backwards while slowly making your way forward. After walking a short distance, you will encounter two red sniper robots on perches above you. They take more than one hit to kill, but still should be no problem. Just before encountering them, begin shooting diagonally up while moving forward (don't stop). This should kill them both. If not, just keep going and beware their bullets.
After jumping a few barrels, two weapon capsules will appear, containing A and D upgrades, just as you hit the third sniper perch. These are important to get, so make sure the screen is as clear of enemies as possible before you try to get them. Next there will be a couple more snipers, plus a grenadier robot perched on a barrel on the path in front of you. Kill him quickly. After this is a gas truck blocking the path with a sniper bot on it. Kill the sniper first, then blast the truck while shooting behind you periodically to get rid of backstabbing enemies.
Next is the Metal Centipede you saw from the intro. His only attack is to walk forward and then shoot a stream of projectiles at a downward angle in front of him, which is easily avoided by standing right next to him. Just shoot at his head before he gets the chance.
As you proceed, the ground will shake and raise itself in broken columns, but there's nothing to fear here, just jump on through. Be sure to shoot the item capsule and get the Bomb right after this part. When you come to nondescript section of building in the background, be prepared for:
Mini Boss: Electric Babalu
Looks like a rotating metal spider with a periscope on top. Kinda like the infamous Babalu Defense Mechanism from Super C (hence my name for him). First stay on the far right side of the screen before he appears. The wall will blow up and Babalu will emerge from the hole and begin to shoot flames. Next he will slide left, then right, and he will also start to jump if you don't kill him fast enough.
Just keep your distance to avoid the flame thrower. It shouldn't be too long before he bursts into flames from your shots. At this point, Babalu will immediately move to the far left (if he's not there already), so jump or slide past him if you need to. Once he's on the left, he will pause for a moment then immediately slide to the right again and crash into a building. Just avoid him again then wait as the building falls over. Easy!
Climb the fallen building and prepare to fight boss numero dos:
Mini Boss: Cyclops
This giant one-eyed robot may look intimidating, but he's really a pushover (c'mon, it's the first level!). First he shoots a sweeping laser across the ground which causes columns of fire to explode from the ground, moving from the far left to the right. He will then dance for a few seconds and then reach down, pick up a car, and throw it at the center of the screen. After that, he'll repeat his laser attack.
As the Cyclops is jumping from the background to the foreground, stand in the middle of the screen and aim your line of fire up so that when he lands, you will be shooting right into his eye. Don't move as he shoots his beam, the fire columns should move right past you. If, for whatever reason, it seems like you're about to get hit by a fire column, you can dodge it by sliding to the left just before it reaches you.
Just keep shooting up and the Cyclops should die before his car attack. If not, just move to either side as he throws the car and you'll be safe.
Immediately after this battle, two more item capsules will appear, giving you the B and C upgrade. Next are two rotating platforms. Use well-timed jumps to maneuver to the third, stationary one. This one spins you around, flies forward, and then gets itself shot by a mysterious, off-screen assailant.
The camera pans up to the top of the building, where a robotic figure is standing.
You: That's not the unmanned robot! Somebody is inside that thing!
The robo-suit jumps down onto a parked car, smashing it to pieces.
Stage Boss: Bladebot
For the first part of the battle, this guy is carrying a gun. He jumps to various parts of the screen, including the two raised platforms, while periodically shooting at you while standing or ducking. All you have to do is stay on the ground and duck the bullets when you have to. They only fly straight, so this should be easy. After you blow away his gun, the mysterious robot will jump back up and laugh. This means he's about to switch attacks.
This is the really dangerous part. Stay on the ground, under one of the raised platforms. First, his torso detaches, sprouts blades, and then flies up and chops the skyscraper in the background in half. When the torso re-attaches itself, he'll immediately do the attack again, except he'll be aiming at you. You can avoid this attack by staying on the ground and ducking. As soon as he re-attaches again, jump onto one of the raised platforms to avoid the series of dashes that he performs next. After 2 dashes, his attack pattern is random. Keep using the tactics above and you should quickly win out.
The suit explodes, revealing the pilot.
You: What... or who are you?
Deadeye Joe: Heh heh heh. You can call me Deadeye Joe. If you want to know more than that, then come and get me!
Deadeye Joe flies off via jetpack as you suddenly receive a transmission...
The Doctor: The Research Center is under attack by an unknown group! Please, come and help!
You: Damn! What should I do?
( ? ) DECISION:
-> Go after Deadeye Joe
-> Rescue the Research Center
If you choose to go after Deadeye Joe, go to STAGE 2 (AB) - The Chase.
If instead you choose to rescue the Center, go to STAGE 2 (CD) - The Rescue.
(Isn't this awesome, just like Choose Your Own Adventure?)
STAGE 2 (AB) - The Chase
If you choose to go after Deadeye Joe, you will be taken to this stage. This level and 2 (CD) both feature your character traveling at fast speeds on vehicles, facing off against a series of enemy encounters. This stage may be a little harder than 2 (CD), if only because for a significant portion of this level, you can't slide (see below).
As the stage starts your character is riding a hover bike, riding east. It's important to note that while on your hover bike, you can jump like normal but you can NOT slide! The game just won't let you! So when it comes to dodging, you're going to have to do it the old fashioned way.
The first enemy you'll encounter is a zeppelin in the background, among the skyscrapers. The blimp isn't your main target, however, since it shoots off metal capsules into the foreground to the upper right, out of which pop out jetpacked-robots, in groups of 1 or 2 at a time.
Stay to the far left of the screen and jump up to shoot them as they emerge from the capsules. They try to fly close and shoot you with a downward angled stream of bullets. The flying robots are variously colored blue, brown, or red. Blues are weakest while the Reds take more hits. After you kill about ten or so robots, the zeppelin will crash itself into a building. Oh, the humanity!
Now immediately move to the far right and shoot behind you with your machine gun. A tiny android will come running in from the left, carrying a BIG bomb. If you don't shoot him down fast enough, he will throw it to the right and you can pretty much kiss a life goodbye. A dozen shots ought to do him in (he'll still drop the bomb, so make sure youre far away).
Mini Boss: Iron Spider
As you enter a long tunnel, a metal spider will appear from the right, clinging to the ceiling. The Spider is small, but he's surprisingly resilient and has some tough attacks. A homing weapon is recommended so that you can concentrate on dodging. First move quickly to the far right. The spider will move to the bottom left and shoot a series of single laser shots along the ground. Carefully jump over them.
When he stops, move to the far left as the wily arachnid moves back up to the ceiling. Now he will do one of two attacks. Usually he floats back to the ground on the far right and fires bouncing energy balls from his behind. Since you can't slide, try jumping over the low-bouncing ones and moving under the high ones. If you're Browny, you can double jump over groups of them.
If you've damaged him enough, he will follow his initial laser attack with the following move; he will also do this attack after the bouncing ball assault. The Spider moves back up to the middle ceiling and begins to spin his claw around in a circle. Beware: he's preparing his dreaded bouncy claw attack.
After a moment of spinning, he will drop his claw on the far right where it will bounce up and down on the ground, slowly moving to the far left. Find the timing of the bounces and then move under the claw when it's in the air.
The Spider always follows this by weaving up and down while moving back and forth in the tunnel. When the claw attack ends, stay just below his body and to the left. He will move to the right, then back to the left. Get his pattern down; when he gets close and there's adequate moving room, zoom under him. After weaving, his attack pattern becomes random, but he should be dead by now.
After dispatching the Spider, you exit the tunnel and catch up with Deadeye Joe. A blimp will swoop down from above and Joe will fly inside, then both of them take off.
Suddenly the ground falls away and you're hoverbike will sprout legs and begin to run along the ground. You still can't slide, but if you're playing as Browny, you also can't double jump! Beware, if the vehicle's legs are damaged, you will perish as well.
As you run along the ground, 2 weapon capsules will fly in from the right, containing the A and C upgrades. Stay to the far left, as the Joe's Blimp will suddenly make an appearance and move to the right.
Mini Boss: Blimp Core
While on the right, a red core will drop down from the bottom of the Blimp and shoot a series of blue beams along the ground. Shoot the core continuously until it begins to fire on you, then concentrate on dodging. The Core will randomly shoot 1 to 4 beams at you. It shoots them very fast, and it's almost impossible to jump over more than 2 without getting killed. No secrets here, just pray that you can jump really well! After it shoots, the core will retract and the Blimp will move to the left. Move quickly to the right and prepare for a repeat of the above.
After the core retracts a second time, STAY IN PLACE. The blimp will again move to the right, but it will dip down in the middle and crush you if you move too early. Wait till it starts to move back up, then move to the far left quickly. Now when the core drops it will fire gray bouncy lasers. You will probably get killed here if you let them reach you, but if you've been shooting the whole time, the core will explode before the lasers can touch you (once it's dead, the lasers will cause you no harm).
The exploding blimp bumps your vehicle, knocking you off.
Stage Boss: Spike
You suddenly find yourself running along a highway towards the screen, the scenery flashing by you, while chasing you from behind is Spike - a giant, Deadeye Joe-piloted man-bot with spiked ball-and-chains for arms (gee, isn't this game creative?). There's no way to hurt him when he's behind you; wait until he moves into the foreground (that is, the same playing field as you). This is an easy fight once you know the drill.
Spike's first action is to run into the foreground and shake his arms up and down. He will stay in his lane of the highway, so stay on the opposite side of the screen and shoot at his weak spot: the torso. Next Spike recedes into the background and starts swinging one of his arms in a circle. After a moment he flings the spike ball at you, homing in on your position. Wait until just before he lets loose then suddenly move to the side and he should miss. He does this attack twice.
See the lane Spike is running in? His next move is to jump into the foreground, landing on the opposite lane of the one he was just running in. Simply stand in the lane where he won't be (in other words, stay in the lane where he was before he jumped).
Now he'll be running close behind you. Spike will swing both of his arms out and the spikey balls will smash into the ground on either side of you and remain there a few seconds. Just stay directly in front of Spike and you'll be safe.
For his last attack, Spike launches spikey bombs into the foreground, starting from the far right and sweeping to the left. I hope you've been practicing that slide, because the only way to get past this is by sliding to the right when the explosions get close to you. Finally, Spike will run into the foreground again and shake his arms in aggravation. This is when you let him have it! After this he will repeat the exact same pattern above until he's dead.
After enough hits, you'll blow his limbs off and all that will be left is a robotic torso. But it ain't over yet. The torso will bounce around in the background and then try to jump into the foreground to land on you. As long as you keep moving, he should miss. This is your chance to shoot him. One shot will stun him (allowing you to pummel him multiple times) before he eventually jumps back. Continue this pattern until victory.
As the robot explodes, Deadeye Joe is left on the ground, injured.
You: You can't get away now! Give yourself up!
Deadeye Joe: Heh heh heh... you fool! I'm nothing more than a decoy! By this time my friends have arrived at the Research Center and have gotten their hands on the Alien Cell!
You: Alien Cell?
Deadeye Joe: Now begins the true horror! Ha ha ha ha ha!
Deadeye Joe hari-kari's himself with a sudden explosion.
You: Damn! He blew himself up!
D'oh! Go to STAGE 3 (ABCD) - Junkyard Tussle. And remember! From now on, you can only go on paths A or B since you chose to chase Deadeye Joe.
STAGE 2 (CD) - The Rescue
If you choose to rescue the Research Center, this will be your next level. It's a lot easier than The Chase, especially since you can slide. The only weapon you'll really need for this stage is a fast weapon like a machine upgrade (in slot A).
This stage starts out like 2 (AB), with you riding on a hoverbike across a highway, except this time you're moving west (to the left). Immediately there is a cutscene:
You: Damn! At this speed, we'll never get there on time!
A flying vehicle with a rail on its bottom lowers itself and hovers above you.
Pilot: Hey bro! Looks like you're having some trouble. Grab onto my machine and I'll take ya where you want to go!
You: The Air Police... you guys sure have good timing!
Your character jumps from the bike onto the railing of the vehicle.
Pilot: Look out! One of the bad guys is coming up from behind!
A tank suddenly plows through your bike, blowing it up, and then maintains a position on the far right side of the road.
The tank on the right can NOT be hurt by your weapons. You'll have to kill it indirectly. As soon as you can move, go the left side of the grab-bar and have your character face the left.
The tank will launch a missile your way, pause, launch, etc. Jump over the missile, still facing left. When the missile reaches the left side of the screen, it will break open and a guy wearing a jetpack will pop out. These guys have guns and will shoot you if you wait too long. No need to worry, though, because one shot will drop them. As you kill the jetpack soldiers, they fall onto the ground and hit the tank, damaging it. As you fire, prepare to jump over the constantly on-coming missiles. The tank launches these missiles in sets of threes and it will take six jetpack guys to kill it.
Next the jet will lift you up through the clouds, leaving the highway behind. After a few seconds a lone soldier sporting a jetpack will fly on screen. Just stay on the middle of the rail. The guy will use a grappling hook to grab onto one side of the railing and then spin around in wide circles, before letting go and re-launching his grappling hook. As long as you stay in the center and keep shooting him, you'll come out unscathed.
Next your character will jump on top of the body of the aircraft. The jetpack soldier will reappear for an encore, this time chasing the plane and shooting occasional downward angled laser beams at you. Jump whenever he shoots a laser, even you don't think you're going to get hit, because the jet sometimes suddenly moves up and down, putting you right in the path of the laser. After a barrel of shots the chump will crash and burn.
Mini Boss: Hydra Plane
This boss is a little unpredictable, so be extra careful here. The Hydra Plane is a huge blue aircraft that suddenly descends from above. It wields a flamethrower on its nose and a tri-barreled gun on each of its wings. The guns fire large fireballs in a three-way downward spread. When it first arrives it usually fires the gun on its right. You can try standing between the fireballs, though this is risky since the plane beneath you unpredictably shifts left or right. You can also slide to avoid them. The flamethrower on its nose covers much less area and moves in a slightly curved line downwards, so just stay off to the side when it fires.
This boss really has no pattern; just try to the sides of the wings and be ready for any of its various attacks. Luckily the Plane's entire body is vulnerable, so you can shoot at the rather large wings and still kill it. As the Plane is going down in flames, it smashes into your jet, bringing you down with it.
Pilot: Rats! We took one. We're going down! It'll be a rough landing!
The plane skips across the ground a few times before finally crashing and skidding to a halt, whereupon you are suddenly thrown onto the ground.
Luckily for you, the plane crash-landed right at the doorstep of the Research Center! Upon landing, two item capsules are carrying C and D weapon upgrades. Walk up to the Research Center and blow the door open for another cut scene.
Inside the Center you encounter the Doctor, surrounded by a squad of soldiers with guns. When they see you, the soldiers hesitantly run away, leaving the Doctor behind.
You: Are you okay?
Doctor: I'm fine. But you must stop them! They're after the Alien Cell!
You: Alien Cell!?
Doctor: We got it from the Mother Alien in the Alien Wars five years ago. It's very dangerous, so we are keeping a close eye on it!
You: So the rampaging robot was just a clever diversion!
Now it's time go after those soldiers. As you enter the next chamber you are swarmed by soldiers left and right, sniper soldiers on platforms are taking shots at you, and other soldiers on platforms are jumping down on you. The soldiers, except for the snipers, who take a couple of hits and are stationary, are infinite in number and are brough down by one shot. If a ground soldier gets next to you, they will pause and then slash at you with a laser sword.
This is kinda like the first part of the first level, except here a homing weapon won't help so much. The enemy is so overwhelming that you can easily be overrun if you're not very skillful. You may be better off with a spread/sweep weapon. Be sure to shoot at every angle as you make your way through. If you're too outnumbered, slide on through them!
After you get past several platforms, snipers, a grenadier soldier (just kill him fast), and tons of soldiers, you will run up against a sheer wall. Climb up the wall. After the slope changes and then straightens back to vertical again, two snipers on platforms on the left will be taking potshots at you. If you have a homing weapon, kill them quickly. If not, I suggest climbing quickly past them and just avoiding any bullets.
When you get to the top, you'll be on solid ground again and two more item capsules will appear, this time with A and B weapon upgrades. Enter the room on the right.
You enter a large chamber with a large glass containment unit in the background which has been smashed open. The remaining soldiers here escape through a door on the right. Both of the doors close, leaving one, large inescapable chamber.
You: Oh no! I'm too late!
Stage Boss: Master Builder
Another very interesting boss. Master Builder is a huge metal robot that looks like a skeleton, reminescent of the big robot boss in Contra III. He emerges from the ceiling and remains above you for the duration of the fight. Notice that his arms are transparent; this means you won't get killed by touching them. Aim for the skull during this fight.
Here's the spiel: he knocks down pieces of junk, which fall from the ceiling onto the center of the chamber. He then uses his freaky long arms to construct the blocks into something. Once he's finished, he exits the screen through the gap in the ceiling while the newly constructed 'thing' fights you. If you destroy it, the boss reappears from his hiding place, red with anger, and then builds something else.
He's really not too hard if you have some good weapons. All you have to do is hang on the bottom of the left wall and continuously shoot diagonally upwards at his head. When he disappears through the top, quickly take out his construct so that the main boss reappears, then keep shooting his head. If you have a powerful weapon, he will die after building only one or two constructs. If you dilly-dally or don't have a powerful enough weapon, the match will get a little tougher as he builds the later constructs, so kill him quick. Here's how to deal with each construct (NOTE: he always builds them in this order, repeating the cycle if necessary):
First Construct - Collapsing Column
This is just a string of blocks that will fall either to the left or the right. Equip a powerful weapon, don't move (the closer to the ground you are, the better) and just fire away.
Second Construct - Twin Crawlers
Three-piece blocks that just crawl along the ground, back and forth. Crawl about mid-way up the wall and shoot down at them. Move back down before the Master Builder returns from his hiding place so you don't accidentally touch him and die.
Third Construct - Jumping Wheel
Usually Master Builder won't get this far, and a good thing, too, because it's tougher. This circle of blocks will move either left or right and jump very high. Don't stay on the walls; get on the floor and shoot it. Keep a good distance and slide when it gets too close.
Fourth Construct - Rocket
Looks kinda like a sword. This thing flies around slowly, usually along the walls, so stay off them. The same tactics you used for the Wheel will work here.
Go to STAGE 3 (ABCD) - Junkyard Tussle. Keep in mind that from now on, you can only go on paths C or D since you chose to rescue the Research Center.
STAGE 3 (ABCD) - Junkyard Tussle
This stage is not too much tougher than the previous stages, but the meat of this level lies in the boss fight. It will give you a first taste of the numerous multi-part, epic boss battles that you'll encounter later in the game. Also, the path to the Secret level can be found in this stage (see Part 2 of this section for more).
Three Days Later.
Chief: We've indentified the hacker who breached our security. His name is Noiman Cascade. He's the best hacker on the Net! He used the panic caused by the robot as a diversion so he could steal the mother Alien Cell from the Research Center. It's very likely there is an organization working behind him. His hideout is under a garbage dump. Don't screw this one up!
The stage starts you off in a junkyard, where the sun is setting behind an enormous hill in the background. Two item capsules appear immediately from the opposite sides of the screen, so shoot them quickly to get the A and C weapon upgrades. At the same time, you will see oncoming streaks of dust coming down the hill towards the foreground. These are a bunch of guys on motorcycles (this whole scene kinda reminds me of Mad Max), and you can't proceed until you kill them all. After getting the weapons (if you need them), immediately walk to the far right and have your machine gun equipped.
All these guys do is jump up from the background, land, and then try to run over you. All you have to do is face to the left and shoot continuously. From here, you will kill all the bikers except for the last 2, which you will see coming down on your side of the screen after several seconds. You can either stay on the right and just shoot upwards as they appear (kinda risky), or, before they jump onto the screen, quickly move to the left (make sure ALL of the rest of the bikers are dead!), then face right and slaughter them.
Walk forward through the next section and you will soon encounter small jumping robots that emerge from the junk. Stop and kill them as soon as they appear! If you let them get close, they'll quickly jump over you and shoot a barrage of bullets downwards. The attack is very hard to dodge if you're surrounded... so don't let them get close.
You will also periodically encounter a junked car blocking your path. Duck as soon as you see it, because it launches frikkin rockets from its hood. Make sure there are no jumpy robots around you before you set out to destroy these cars. After the second car, the ground will slope down. Keep walking and a item capsule with a Bomb will appear. When you pass by flocks of black birds, prepare for a fight!
Mini Boss: Wrecker
Don't let his large appearance fool you; this guy's a kitten. The Wrecker has two spiked balls on his tentacle-like arms, a long tail instead of legs, and a Cyclopian head (his weak spot). First walk all the way to the right. The Wrecker will bust out of the ground from the left and stand around. Take this time to shoot him. When he makes a hissing sound and starts moving differently, duck. He will fling his snakey arm out, and it will stay there awhile, so keep ducking. When he lets up, get ready to quickly walk or slide to the far left of the screen as the Wrecker jumps to the right.
He will pause again, so shoot some more. When he starts to move differently again, he's about to sweep his tail around on the floor. This part's like jump rope: look for the timing of the swings and then jump over the tail until he stops. Next the Wrecker will dive into the floor and move to the left again, starting the cycle anew. When he's diving into the ground, wait till he's all the way in before you move to the right, as the spike balls on his protruding arms can still kill you.