I’ve had the pleasure of growing up with classics such as Contra, Metal Slug and various other 2D Run N’ Gun Arcade Shooters. Sadly, something happened since then to now and those glorious games of the past just aren’t made anymore. Thankfully, there are indie devs such as JoyMasher who have poured their blood, sweat, and passion into games such as Blazing Chrome. A game that makes feels like I stepped into a time machine and arrived back during the heydays of the forgotten genre.
Man, I’ve missed those days.
Game Name: Blazing Chrome
Platform(s): PC (reviewed), PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): The Arcade Crew
Release Date: July 11, 2019
Right off the bat, Blazing Chrome tells the story of a post-apocalyptic future that’s being all messed up due to a robot, or toasters as they’re called, uprising. They’re killing off mankind and it’s up to pockets of resistance left to try and take them out. Stop me if you’re heard of this story before. Once you’re told the tale of impossible odds, you’re able to pick from two characters; a Sarah Conner wannabe, while the other is a former killer enemy bot. Your job is simple, get rid of those robots!
Four starting stages are available and you’re able to jump into any stage of your choice. As you battle your way through the stages, you’ll encounter several items to help, in addition to your default weapon and knife. Weapons such as portable laser cannon, grenade launcher, and a plasma flame thrower round out the weapons. As well as shields, a speed booster and a little bot that lays down some extra firepower and mechs. In addition to this, you also have the ability that lets you roll into a ball and scoot past impending death. Well, sometimes it does.
Along the way, there are several checkpoints which are a saving grace as the levels are pretty long. So should you happen to die before you get the stage boss and are forced to continue, you’ll restart from the checkpoint. Which is great if you’ve finally made it past a section that you consider hellish or if you made it to the boss with zero lives. This way you won’t have to run through the entire level again. Bonus points to Joy Masher for adding that. The downside is once you beat a level, you aren’t able to go back and try to see if you can beat the previous run’s score.
I consider myself to be pretty damned good when it comes to Run N’ Gun Arcade Shooters. Even still, Blazing Chrome caused a few moments where I was ready to toss my controller at the screen. The game is challenging, however, it’s also full of moments where you’re just overrun or you get clipped from a direction that you’re screaming “foul” or something else. Don’t get me started where there are suddenly several enemies that came out of nowhere and are locked on to you. Despite that, I couldn’t stop playing until I saw the “Thank You for Playing” screen. It also gave me a sense of satisfaction once I saw the credits start to roll. Blazing Chrome rekindled my love for this genre, hugged me and promptly kicked my teeth in. And I loved every bit of it.
While many have likened the game as being a spiritual successor to the SNES’s Contra III, this reminds me more of another Contra game. Specifically, Contra: Hardcorps that debuted on the Sega Genesis. It looks like it, it sounds like it with the muffled sounds and even borrows many elements from that game. Such as the ability to swap between four different weapons, as well as the hoverbike and the first person perspective segments. If Blazing Chrome is a spiritual successor to any game, then it’s for Contra: Hardcorps. Though, the hoverbike section in the later stage of the game also pulls from another hard as nails game; Battletoads.
Can we also talk about how much this game pays homage to the games of the past? This looks like it was ripped from a Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis. The pixelated graphics look amazing while in action, which is beyond anything either of these two systems could likely produce. Just wait until you see the Mode 7 moments happen, you’re going to geek out. Ther’s also several filters that recreate the CRT experience, complete with scanlines. I didn’t bother with them as I felt the original look worked well. Plus I didn’t like how the CRT filters curved the edges of the screen. Not every CRT was curved, dang it! The tunes were also recent and helped me get into the mood for killing off those savage robots. While the controls were responsive, thankfully. Bad controls can ruin a game such as this.
However, as much as I’ve enjoyed Blazing Chrome, I have a major gripe with it. While the game released nearly a week ago and I’ve beaten it several times since I’ve had access to the game. I held off writing this review as there’s a huge bug in the Steam version. If you beat the game on normal, you’re supposed to unlock the hardcore mode, the two additional characters, and several other game modes. That doesn’t happen on the PC version. Sure, you’re told that all the stuff is now available to you at the end of the game, but it’s not there. Not to mention that your original game save was overwritten by this. This also hasn’t been isolated to me as there many people complaining about the same issue on the Steam Community forum. Which is bothering me as I desperately want to try out the hardcode mode.
Update: JoyMasher has stated they have a fix for the bug. However, this won’t be addressed until their patch and you’ll have to beat the game again. Which is a bit depressing for me as I have little drive to beat the game again.
There’s also no online co-op. I knew this going in and while it doesn’t bother me, it would have been nice if it was implemented. There’s no one in my household who likes a good gaming session and an online mode would have helped with that.
In the end, Blazing Chrome is a blast from the past and shows that this genre is far from dead. I hope this serves as a wake-up call to other developers in hopes that we see more excellent games like this being worked on. Or better yet, maybe even have Konami reach out to Joy Masher to work on a new entry in the Contra series.
Review Disclosure Statement: Blazing Chrome was provided to us by The Arcade Crew for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
Blazing Chrome is a game that makes feels like I stepped into a time machine and arrived back during the heydays of the forgotten Run N’ Gun arcade shooter genre. Challenging, fun and one of the best games 2D shooters I’ve played in quite some time.
- Amazing homage to 2D Run N’ Gun Arcade Games
- Tight controls
- Loving the look and tunes
- Just the right amount of challenge
- Might be a bit too challenging for some
- PC version bug that won’t let you access any of the unlockable content