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  1. #1

    [NSW, PC, PS4, XBO] Blazing Chrome

    I'm playing the Switch version.
    It's heavily influenced by Contra III and Hard Corps, leaning more towards the latter. The two selectable characters are the same, no different abilities or weapons.
    The options menu features screen filters (two CTRs with different bulge, blurriness, and scanline strenght; smooth; and none), volume, but no ability to remap controls, which right now is my biggest gripe with the game.

    Two difficulty levels available from the start, each with different lives and continue count; a third unlocks after beating normal.
    Controls are explained in a typical SNK function before starting the game proper: fire, jump, switch weapon, stationary fire. I wish I could remap switch weapons to L and R, with stationary fire on ZR or ZL, I don't particularly like having it as a face button.

    There are four weapons including the standard rapid-fire machine gun, and you lose the extra weapons if you die while using them. The extra weapons are a purple snake beam, short range but powerful and you can waggle it around. A grenade launcher, fires in a shallow arc, explodes upon impact and is not fully automatic. A blue charge laser that can fire powerful beams but locks you where you are if fully charged. There are also three support bots, attack, defence, and speed, which I've found more useful than the extra weapons; extra weapons and support bots are collected from the same canisters, which cycle through powerups until destroyed.

    I was surprised to see you can choose the level you want to tackle rather than being a straight sequence of stages. Levels are about as long as the typical Contra level, and might feature several twists, like the highway level on hoverbykes. Some levels also have robots you can ride to deliver extra mayehm to your enemies.
    Blazing Chrome plays pretty much like any 16bit Contra game. If you've played one of those, you know exactly how Blazing Chrome feels.

    Graphics kinda recreate a Megadrive palette: the colour palette is limited and up to 16 bit standards, but the MD could do just a tad more. It's not quite PC Engine too, some elements could have used a bit more shading and overall the game would have looked even more similar to a MD game. Sprites are big, the action is always solid, and the overall design recalls '80s and early '90s anime and manga, with Masamune Shirow (especially his early stuff like Black Magic and the first Appleseed volume) being the most obvious.
    The music feels right out of a MD soundchip, with electric rocking tunes accompanying the action.

    If you miss Contra, Blazing Chrome is here to fill that void.

  2. #2
    Got it yesterday from gamepass and will have a look on Sunday night. Like the look of it

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by briareos_kerensky View Post

    Graphics kinda recreate a Megadrive palette: the colour palette is limited and up to 16 bit standards, but the MD could do just a tad more.


    Looks like a Mega Drive game but with a NES-esque colour palette. But obviously, it's far more advanced in all other areas over what a NES can do.

    Seems to be inspired by Hard Corps and Contra III, which is certainly a good thing. I will definitely be buying it.
    Last edited by Leon Retro; 17-07-2019 at 04:17 PM.

  4. #4
    It's more Hard Corps than III. Maybe I'll update the thread now that I've completed the game.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by briareos_kerensky View Post
    It's more Hard Corps than III. Maybe I'll update the thread now that I've completed the game.
    I like both, so that's fine.

  6. #6
    Time for some more in-depths thoughts based on two complete runs of the game in Easy and Normal difficulty.
    Completing the game in either two unlocks two new characters that I've tried only briefly; they play very differently from the two starting characters, putting a new twist to the game while not completely changing it. If you play in Easy and Normal you get infinite continues, but these bring you back to the latest checkpoint instead of spawning you back right into the action like a lost life. Even in Easy mode Blazing Chrome offers a decent challenge, but it is diluted by the weaker enemies and higher life count: it's a good way to check out the whole game as enemy and boss patterns between the two don't change.

    Blazing Chrome, it should be obvious, is shaped after Konami's Contra, particularly Hard Corps. There's a hint of Contra III with parts of stages, but the overall level design is flatter, with only a few levels expanding vertically. If, like me, you had a SNES and therefore played Super Probotector more, you'll find the dash a bit troublesome: it's executed by down and jump, and I've lost so many lives trying to jump down from platforms only to see my character rolling into an enemy or bullet. I'd really wish there was a control remapping option, I having the dash assign to its own button while keeping the ability to jump down to platforms would be great, as it would be great to have the weapon switch button to one set of shoulder buttons rather than a face button.
    Other than that Blazing Chrome controls perfectly, with the same movement speed, jump range, and feeling of its inspirers. Graphics are always clear and no death feels unfair, no matter how many things are on screen. Blazing Chrome is capable of incredibly good visuals despite not quite reaching the Megadrive or SNES in colour depth, a strange limitation that developers imposed upon themselves, and almost every stage has an interesting twist affecting both level and graphical design.
    The game itself is not particularly long, around an hour or so if you know what you're doing, but is very replayable if you like run'n'gun platformers.
    The music is stellar, a collection of rock and techno tracks that sound straight out of a MD soundchip. There are also a few of (intentionally badly) compressed voice samples.
    On the Switch the game run without problems in both docked and handheld mode, though I stopped playing in handheld after a single session: the Joycon's d-pad is simply not good enough for the level of precision required by Blazing Chrome, and the analog stick just doesn't feel right.

    As I said in the opening post, if you miss Konami's 16-bit Contra games, Blazing Chrome is the perfect.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by briareos_kerensky View Post
    Blazing Chrome is capable of incredibly good visuals despite not quite reaching the Megadrive or SNES in colour depth, a strange limitation that developers imposed upon themselves, and almost every stage has an interesting twist affecting both level and graphical design.
    I was a bit shocked by how limited the colour palette is, but now I think the high contrast, subtle style is pretty nice. It gives the game a raw, gritty look. I'm not a fan of the 'extremely blocky' graphic style this and a lot of retro-inspired titles have, but it works quite well with this game.

    I will probably grab the PS4 version.

  8. #8
    Cheers for the impressions Luca!

  9. #9
    There's some Metal Slug in this too, with the ability to melee and more emphasis on vehicles.

    It's certainly one of the better retro inspired indie games to date, and I like the way they've rolled in the sort of sprite scaling and rotation stuff which was common in 16-bit coin-ops but was impossible on home hardware of the era. Funny how these old style games are all over the place now after a few decades of pretty much endless 3D.

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