Blazing Chrome is a run ‘n gun made in collaboration by JoyMasher, The Arcade Crew, and Allone Works. The indie developer: JoyMasher, specializes in retro style games, and has a total of three games in their catalog. JoyMasher’s first game: Oniken, is an action platformer that pays homage to Ninja Gaiden. They followed up strong with Odallus: The Dark Call, a side-scrolling adventure influenced by Castlevania. Blazing Chrome is the latest game from JoyMasher, and heavily takes influence from the Contra series.
Blazing Chrome takes place in the year A.D. 21XX, 10 years after a great war. The world is overrun by cybernetic machines, which the protagonists refer to as “Toasters”. The machines have killed off majority of humanity, which is now on the brink of extinction. Forming a resistance, the remaining humans fight together to stop the toasters from completely taking over. Starting off with Mavra and Doyle, players must take the fight to the machines save the human race.
Learning From The Best
Blazing Chrome yields inspiration from run ‘n gun games of the past. It bears the greatest resemblance to Contra, and borrows a lot of it’s mechanics. The controls are extremely tight, and allow for some precision platforming. Players are also given the ability to fire in eight directions while on the move, or by standing in place. The game also borrows from Metal Slug, giving players a melee attack to deal with enemies that get too close.
Similar to Contra you’ll find yourself dealing with hordes of enemies on foot, while also taking them down on vehicles like hovercycles. In one act players get delve down a 3D tunnel, shooting enemies in a rail shooter style resembling Space Harrier. They’re even powerful( also perishable)mechs for players to ride, in the same vain as the vehicles in Metal Slug. In addition to that, Blazing Chrome features a total of 4 power ups with the ability to switch between them similar to Contra Hard Corps. JoyMasher even sprinkled in little elements from classic shoot ’em ups such as Gradius in the form of power ups called “Bots”. These bots come in three types: an attack bot, defense bot, and speed bot.
As their names imply, each bot will provide assistance in offense and defensive capabilities. The attack bot will shoot alongside the player, acting as sort of a second gunman. The defense bot will put up a defensive barrier around the player, that will disappear after two hits. Lastly, the speed bot will grant a huge boost in agility, as well as grant players the ability to double jump.
Embodying An Era
Blazing Chrome’s presentation is a near flawless embodiment of the 16-bit era. Characters have clean sprite animations, and even their idle animations exhibit a lot of charisma. For example Mavra will chew, and blow bubble gum like she came straight out of the 80’s or 90’s. The game also features some incredible looking stages, that are extremely varied and unique. Not a single stage resembles another, and JoyMasher put a lot of effort into ensuring that each one has it’s own distinct feel.
Blazing Chrome also features a superb soundtrack put together by Dominic Ninmark, and Tiago Santos. Together the two composed wonderful 16-bit tunes that are faithful to the consoles of that generation, particularly the Sega Genesis. Ninmark and Santos not only replicate this style well, they also take advantage of the modern hardware to make sound quality crisp and clear. The soundtrack has 80’s synth feel, and even features the vocal track “The Danger” from retrowave artist KRISTINE.
An Old-School Philosophy
Blazing Chrome adopts a design philosophy similar to the very games it was inspired by. It’s not one containing paid DLC or micro transactions, but instead has unlockable content. Upon beating the game once, players can unlock Hardcore mode, a Mirror mode, as well as two additional characters. These two characters: Raijin and Suhaila are two ninjas with play-styles completely different to Mavra and Doyle. Playing as these two will turn the gameplay more into the style of Strider than Contra.
The game also has a Boss Rush mode, where you go up against all the game’s bosses. There’s also Online Leaderboards where you can upload and compare your highscores from Arcade Mode, and Boss Rush Mode. For all the speed runners out there, Blazing Chrome offers a speedrun setting with a in-game timer. The game has plenty of filter adjustments as well, allowing players to capture the retro feel even further. Sadly the game lacks a sound test, which is a bummer considering how well done the music is.
Blazing Chrome validates JoyMasher’s slogan stating that “they know retro”. The takes everything great from the games that inspired it, and combine them into one. I will say that the game’s difficulty might be a bit to much for casual player’s that play on higher than the easy difficulty. The game features my favorite soundtrack of this generation, as well as being one my favorite games created this generation. Do not sleep on this title. If you’re a fan of Contra, Metal Slug, or the run ‘n gun genre in general, you owe it to yourself to play Blazing Chrome.
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