2019 will be a year of gun competitions and shootings! Previously, there was Konami’s Contra Anniversary collection, which brought together a number of great 2D games into one package. We’re getting a brand new sequel called Contra Rogue Corps in September, but it looked tough at E3 and nothing in that trailer tickled my bones with nostalgia like JoyMasher and The Arcade Crew’s new game, Blazing Chrome. If you’re not tired of action races and 2D shooters, this game will definitely help you fill the void.
Everything about the Blazing Chrome video game screams ’90s. From the pixelated title screen with zoom effects to the story of the Terminator scam (robots standing up to humanity) to the graphics and gameplay. The developers clearly researched what brought the games back to the Super NES and Genesis era, and did a great job of creating a whole new experience that seemed to warp time into the future. There are so many similarities to Contra III: Alien Wars that you would be forgiven for thinking is what is on TV if you catch your friend playing this game. Still, it contains a lot of original content and it looks like it could be the official sequel to this classic, developed by Konami right after.
Once the game starts, you can select one or two players and then choose the difficulty settings from easy to normal (Hardcore opens after you play the game in normal mode). Easy Mode gives you 7 lives instead of 5 and supports pods that can help with repairs, but you can’t compete on the leaderboard, a feature promised for a later date. When you play the game for the first time, you can choose between two characters: The Moor: a soldier with a big gun, or Doyle: a spear-throwing robot with a red mohawk who joined the human revolution. Two more characters are unlocked. From there, we get a short tutorial to go through that shows a few different moves. The game is done with the usual tricks like running and shooting, but you can also dodge, roll, and if you hold down the R shoulder button, you can hit the ground and shoot in any direction. There are places on the stages where you can hang from metal bars, and there are special robot mechanics that you can jump into, giving you even more firepower.
Speaking of guns: You have your main machine gun that fires automatically, and three others that you can get by blowing up small boxes. There is a laser beam that lasts longer and is more powerful if you hold down the ignition button and then release it. There’s a purple energy cannon that fires a series of eleven bullets in a row, which you can then rotate 360 degrees like a whip to hit enemies coming at you from all directions. You can switch from one button to another at any time, but if you die with the gun in your hand, it disappears. There are also defensive options (shields and boosters) and offensive options (think Gradius options that add firepower) that help you out by providing you with boosters like shields or boosters. It’s funny to see that the characters are fighting machines on one hand, and on the other are very comfortable with using other robotic technologies in combat. I’m not sure I feel safe!
One big difference from Blazing Chrome is that you can choose from four levels right from the start. Every time you completely destroy or reach a scene, you come back to the scene selection screen, which is really amazing in a game like this where sometimes you just can’t get past a scene completely. That way, you can take a break and move on to try to deal with the situation. Everyone has a different difficulty level, but sometimes I find that the higher ones were easier for me than the easier ones, and that may be the case for you too, so if you get stuck, don’t be afraid to move to another level. You will not have access to level 5 until you have completed everything else.
Certain modern sensibilities have been implemented in Blazing Chrome, which I appreciate. Perhaps most importantly, the game automatically records your level progress. So, if you have already completed a level and leave the game when you return, you will be asked if you want to continue. It’s especially fun when we play in portable mode, like I did, and people came and we wanted to play another game. I immediately thought I had to start over, but when I reloaded the game, I was able to pick up where I left off. Other options, such as disabling the automatic weapon exchange when picking up a new weapon and disabling the rumble, are also very useful.
As I mentioned before, this game seems to belong to the Super Nintendo, with beautifully detailed and animated sprites. I love that some of the enemies on the screen are zoomed in using the 16-bit scaling technology that was common at the time. The game runs much faster and easier than it could at the time, and there are no signs of flickering or slowing down. The color scheme seems a bit more discreet than some SNES games at the time, which is why I often chose Contra: The vibrations of the case (Genesis). There are tons of parallax scrolling and other graphical tricks that really seal the deal. The explosions flash louder, the blood flows more abundantly and the action is smooth as butter. They have huge patterns and memorable settings. In other words, I wouldn’t change anything, except maybe add a little more color in a few places.
Even the sound is from that era, with distorted voices and synthesized music. The game has some short memorable clips, like when you go on stage, which reminded me of Contra, and the actual background music is pretty good. It sounds more like something you might have heard in arcades at the time, not necessarily something from the Super Nintendo. There’s good music here, but it’s not something you keep in your head for weeks.
Like many games, Blazing Chrome is not easy to beat. Without a code of 30 (at least none that I know of), it may take some time to go through all the steps. The levels are decently long and thankfully you have some challenges in the beginning. Saving the game after each step definitely helps, and adding a second player to the mix makes the game much more accessible. Look, I know a lot of independent tossups come out every week that look good, but can never play on base. It’s rare that a new game matches and even surpasses the original, which isn’t easy! I had a great time playing Blazing Chrome and those of you who have a soft spot for the Contra games of the past should have fun too!
Transparent Chrome Overview
- Charts – 9/10
- Sound – 9/10
- Gameplay – 9.5/10
- Late Call – 7.5/10
Final thoughts : EXAMPLES
It’s rare for a current independent game to match or even surpass the inspiration of intellectual property, but Blazing Chrome somehow manages to capture the essence of Contra III perfectly, with a touch of modernity. If you like cooperative racing and shooting with two players, this game should be on your Switch now.
Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published in various media. He is currently an editor and contributor to Age of Games.
How to load…
blazing chrome metacritic, blazing chrome wiki, blazing chrome switch, blazing chrome release, blazing chrome cheats, blazing chrome (ps4), blazing chrome switch patch, blazing chrome xbox one