Back in the old days of the arcades and the NES, one genre in particular stood out from the rest, the side scrolling shooter. This was either in the form of a space shooter, or something a lot more hardcore such as Battletoads. One series that has stood out from the rest though is Contra.
Fast forward to 2019 and we have Blazing Chrome. If there was ever a spiritual successor to Contra, it’s this! Interestingly, Blazing Chrome was actually built in GameMaker Studio, which is becoming increasingly popular amongst indie developers.
Of course, just because a game looks like Contra, it doesn’t necessarily mean it plays like it…
In short, it’s bloody over the top and it’s a non stop run and gun shooter. The best way to describe it is to liken it to Contra and also Metal Slug, with the caveat that it isn’t as difficult as those two. To be fair, the original Metal Slug had its difficulty amped up to swallow your coins in the arcade. Likewise, Contra has never been an easy franchise to complete, even when using the fabled Konami code when playing.
A big bonus with Blazing Chrome is the fact there are checkpoints scattered throughout the level. This is of particular use when playing the Switch version in handheld mode whereby starting from the start of the level again may result in the Switch being thrown halfway across the room.
For the hardcore purists though, the checkpoint option can of course be turned off. Aptly named as Hardcore mode, it really ups the carnage, as well as the fact that you only get three lives and no checkpoints. Once you lose all three lives, it’s back to the start of the level. All in, there are 6 stages to the game. Whilst it certainly isn’t the longest game out there, the fact that you can perfect your skills as you go through the difficulty levels is a great bonus.
As you would expect, there are a myriad of weapon pickups on each level. Picking up a new gun really does change how well you can progress through the level. The flamethrower in particular is pretty badass, and it is great for causing all out carnage.
In a bold move, Blazing Chrome only supports local multiplayer. However, I don’t think this a detrimental move, far from it. Run and gun games like Blazing Chrome benefits from local co-op. A big part of the fun that comes from co-op games such as this is that you and your friend are working as hard as possible together to get through the level, whilst also chastising each other for doing something wrong. This is something that would be lost had the option been there to take it online instead. Plus, it also stops random matchmaking online with some pre-teen dropping more F bombs at you than Duke Nukem would after a downing a 24 pack of beer.
Graphics and sound
When it comes to the graphics and sound for Blazing Chrome, it feels as though it was built on the Super Nintendo. This is by no means a bad thing, far from it. The 16 bit sound and art style fits perfectly for this game, and had it been the case that it was given modern sound and visuals, it certainly wouldn’t feel the same. There is the old argument that the graphics don’t make the game, but in this case, they really do. The sprites are vibrant, and the explosions really do pop. Likewise, each weapon has its own unique sound, and the soundtrack is nothing short of exceptional. It is quintessentially 90s and pretty radical!
As an added bonus, there is also the option to turn on a CRT filter so it really does feel as though you’re playing on a TV lifted straight out of the 90s. This effect does work surprisingly well, especially when playing the game on a 50inch 4K TV. It was weird to see this effect work so well on a modern TV but great none the less.
Blazing Chrome is available now on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
Blazing Chrome is a really special game. It brings back the fun of the most hard core side scrollers to the modern era, with the addition of having checkpoints as well. Highly recommended.