I played through the brief demo level of Hard Corps: Uprising during E3 and ... it was definitely a Contra game. (Well, apart from being able to take more than one hit before dying.) The game, which is a pseudo-sequel to Contra: Hard Corps, looked gorgeous, and, once I'd gotten used to the new dash mechanic, went from feeling a little too slow to blisteringly fast and stylish.

There were countless nods to Contras past, such as flying weapon-upgrade pods, laying prone to duck under enemy fire and an end-of-level fortress spewing scatter shots and unleashing a massive energy blast to repel attackers. I only caught bits of the soundtrack on the show floor, but the iconic "level complete" tune was definitely in there. The kiosk noted that Hard Corps: Uprising is a "working title," so I really hope Konami works the Contra name in there before the game's expected launch on XBLA and PSN later this year -- so far, the game certainly seems deserving of it.

Check out the first screenshots in the gallery below.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.