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Blazing Chrome is a 16bit nostalgia trip into the past, seemingly taking inspiration from titles like Contra, Metal Slug and Alien Storm set to an artistically striking backdrop with an aesthetic that wouldn’t look out of place in a Terminator movie. JoyMasher has really done their homework with this one making it look and feel just like game from the era, it’s almost as if by playing it you’re going back in time.
Check out the trailer below;
Blazing Chrome is one of those games that’s easy to pick up but hard to master. Thankfully, depending on the difficulty you’ve selected you can have unlimited continues and that goes a long way towards helping those who might not be as good at the game still be able to get quite far and not let their lack of skill get in the way of enjoying the game.
The game also has a level select feature so that you can still sample most of what the game has to offer even if you don’t happen to be skilled enough to actually complete any of the levels. Blazing Chrome seems to be more about learning the game than just being plainly difficult since the enemies always come from the same places on the screen and follow the same attack patterns so if you have no trouble learning how a game works then this shouldn’t cause any trouble for you. Personally I find the bosses to be an easier task than actually getting to them since they’re only one enemy that I have to focus on and I can concentrate only on learning what they do.
There is an option to play in couch co-op, or online if you want to share play it with a friend on the PlayStation 4, which is a nice addition but seems like it might make it a little harder. The difficulty doesn’t come from having another player there, in fact the extra fire is welcome because it allows you to sweep your way through the screens of enemies. What does make it a bit harder is that you have to make sure to co-ordinate your movements at certain sections or you risk having one of the players left behind and it can cause them to lose a life. If one player runs out of lives then they can continually steal them from the player who still has some to return, this is good to keep the playing going but it does mean that if one of you isn’t as good at the game, you might find that you don’t get as far as you might alone.
The controls are really tight, allowing your character to shoot in multiple directions when moving or when standing still by holding R1. When you die in the game it’s because you would have made a mistake or gotten blindsided by some enemy and not because of the controls. I would have preferred more range in the angles that you can shoot but since the enemies share the same restrictions it means you can take advantage of the blind spots.
As well as a short range melee attack you use when enemies are up close, there are also a few weapons to chose from. You start off with a traditional machine gun and you can find three others, one that behaves like an energy whip which you can swing around and catch enemies in its deadly grasp. Number two is grenade launcher that’s good for getting multiple foes and travels in an arc, handy for defeating those above or below. The problem with these two weapons is that they have a fairly short range, meaning that you have to get a bit closer than you might like. The grenade launcher is the more powerful of these two but it has a slow fire rate that can lead to getting killed, the whip weapon on the other hand, is more of a plasma shooter but its fire rate is so high that it appears like a whip but it takes a bit more to defeat enemies with it.
The third weapon to find is a laser weapon that can be fired like the machine gun but can also be charged up to unleash a devastating beam that can cause massive damage, I find this one to be the best one to use because of its high fire rate and high damage output. The problem with these additional weapons is that if you die while using them, you will lose the one you have equipped when you respawn, you can switch between the weapons using the triggers which comes in handy. I mainly use it to switch out of one of my additional weapons so I have it for when I need it, since I die a lot.
As well as the weapons you can get support items that come in three varieties, one gives you a little robot that shoots where and when you do and basically lets you double up on the firepower. One of the support items is a shield robot that floats around you and protects you from a couple of hits, this one is really handy to have in the event you get swarmed by a lot of enemies on the screen and happen to let an attack slip by. The last support item is a speed up which also grants the ability to double jump, the only use I’ve found for this one is to use it to reach the extra lives that are just a little beyond your character’s normal jump height.
As well as these, some levels have mech robots which are entered and exited Metal Slug style, they’re very high powered and can take a lot of hits so you can plough through hordes of enemies with ease. These can also be used to gain access to some extra lives if you can manage to keep it long enough, I personally was lucky to keep one for more than a few minutes.
On completing the game you’re treated to some unlockables for your troubles, a boss rush mode, two additional characters and a mirror mode. This adds a great deal of replayability to a fairly short game. The boss rush mode is exactly what it sounds like, all of the game’s bosses in a row in order served up for you to defeat with a limited number of continues and lives. Most of the game already felt like a boss rush mode to me, especially at the end when it seemed like most of the level was one boss after another. The two characters you get are melee only, they seem to have had a power boost to make up for their short range and have a bit of a higher jump height than the two standard choices.
This is about as authentic a retro style game you could probably get in 2019, it wouldn’t look at all out of place sitting shoulder to shoulder next to some of the MegaDrive’s greatest hits. It has everything you would expect from a title of that time complete with a difficulty that can be overcome with practice. It takes some getting used to and quite a bit of skill to master, if not for the unlimited continues granted from normal and easy mode and the checkpoint system after you get past an area, it probably would have taken me a lot more practice to be able to finish this game. It was an enjoyable window into the past nonetheless but if you’re not a fan of retro styled games, this one may not be for you though it would be a shame to miss out on it.