In a similar way to scrolling shooters, there's a purity to the gameplay in side-scrolling run-and-gun games, which has kept retro gamers coming back since Contra in 1987. Developed by JoyMasher and released in July 2019, Blazing Chrome's success comes from taking inspiration from the best 16-bit run-and-gun games -- with everything from the detailed pixel art, to the fierce two-player action feeling like a glorious homage to Contra III: The Alien Wars.
With four missions to start and two to unlock, the busy sprite filled gameplay encourages mastery of excellent controls as you hang from a Gunship and below platforms, learn to roll to dodge attacks, and plant your feet to aim with R1. Plus, it's especially fun to time melee attacks against closer enemies. In retro run-and-gun games like Midnight Resistance and Gunstar Heroes it's beneficial to carefully choose the most effective weapon for the threat ahead, and Blazing Chrome's tough difficulty allows strategic play by swapping between a weaker gun, allowing four slots to hold onto your best weapon for sterner challenges.
The set pieces are thrilling, and the music fits brilliantly at driving the gameplay, one example being the energetic tune for Mission 5's snow bike chase. There's even an out of the blue 3D scaling section in Mission 4, which feels like playing Space Harrier in a tunnel. The genre demands epic boss battles and Blazing Chrome delivers, as the final sixth mission stands out as one big, fantastically designed boss level.
A skilled player can complete Blazing Chrome in under an hour, so its length is comparable to a retro remake like The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors -- which was also inspired by The Terminator films just as Blazing Chrome's story has a resistance saving humankind from hostile machines. Blazing Chrome encourages repeated play as you unlock a Boss Rush and Mirror Mode, as well as new characters like the melee sword swinging Raijin who makes the gameplay comparable to Strider, and an even tougher Hardcore difficulty.
Thanks to Push Square for publishing this review as it links to my Top 5 PS4 Games of 2019 list. When Blazing Chrome released in July 2019 it was a couple of months before the disappointing Contra: Rogue Corps came out, and people responded that Blazing Chrome feels like the true spiritual continuation of the Contra series.
I'm a fan of side-scrolling run-and-gun games – I mention Midnight Resistance above, and the Amiga port cemented my appreciation of the subgenre in 1990 – so I absolutely love Blazing Chrome. The music by Dominic Ninmark and Tiago Santos is brilliant, and the vocal CD track 'The Danger' tune by Kristine is fun for the end credits. Take Mission 5's Hidden Outpost as one example, which I mention has an energetic tune, but once you ditch the bike the music makes a fantastic change to icy chimes and chugging guitar riffs in the Snow Base.
Mission 5 starts with a frantic snow hover bike opening, as you jump spikes like the horse and Jet Ski sections in Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master. The detail in the snowy backgrounds reminds me of the graphics in Irem games like GunForce II, a style that Nazca developed further with Metal Slug. The mission ends with a snaking, teeth chattering machine diving out of a toxic pool, as the level design shows how set pieces often make a great run-and-gun game.
If anyone has any Blazing Chrome questions, please let me know.
Great stuff, thanks Jamie. I did read a review on this game a few months back. I was tempted but the relative shortness of it, the potentially low playing time put me off a bit. But you've persuaded me I really do need to play this.
Definitely getting it the next time it's on sale.
Loved Midnight Resistance back in the day, thanks for another awesome review.
@JamieO. Great review playa. This game look amazing.metal slugs is still my top 10 video games franchises ever.and my favorite neo geo games franchises ever.word up son
Great review. The difference between Blazing Chrome and the avalanche of other "retro" 2D games that release every month is that this is one of the few that feels like it would have been a 'big budget' game release late in the 16-bit era.
@LieutenantFatman It's great to hear from another gamer who loved Midnight Resistance, mate. My nostalgia levels are sky high for that game after playing Special FX's quality two-player conversion on the Amiga, and then a closer graphical version, but single-player only port on the Mega Drive. I was buzzing when I got to play the novel and clever aiming system with the rotating joysticks on the coin-op version when I went to Play Blackpool years ago.
@playstation1995 Sending a shout-out to you, because you reminded me in the comments of my Top 5 PS4 Games of 2019 to check out the Contra Anniversary Collection, so I bought it today at £7.99 with 50% off in the UK PS Store's current January sale.
@Ralizah I agree, the visual effects in Blazing Chrome feel like the cutting edge of the late 16-bit era, or even like the potential of a 2D sprite run-and-gun game during the 32-bit era, for example if 3D wasn't so prevalent in run-and-gun games like Contra: Legacy of War, and C: The Contra Adventure.
@JamieO. Did you get capcom beat em up.its great.and castlevania collection also.they should put the neo geo games all in one disk for the ps4.word up son
I completely forgot about this game. I just read your review and happened to have Game Pass open on the Xbox. I’m scrolling down and there it was. Downloading right now. Thanks.
@playstation1995 Yep, I have both the Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle, and the Castlevania Anniversary Collection on PS4, and as you mention, they are both really great retro compilations. Good call about hoping for a disc collection of Neo Geo games, I would buy that on day one. I'd be chuffed even if they simply released the PS2 version of SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 on PS4, but I think that SNK views the Neo Geo Mini as a way to make more money than a collection, I'm afraid. You never know, though!
@SoulChimera Great stuff, I'm really pleased that my review inspired you to check out Blazing Chrome. I was a little apprehensive that the readers may be less interested in a Mini Review of a five month old release, but a comment like this one could open up the possibility of covering more Mini Reviews of slightly older indie and retro releases on PS4.
@JamieO. Theres a neo geo mini.when did that happen.i would buy thatcin a minute.im from new york.back in the 1990s we had a lot of neo geo arcades games.spinmaster.metal slugs.cyber lips.mutation nation.etc.word up son
@playstation1995 Here you go, mate, this is a link to Nintendo Life's feature, Hardware Review: SNK Neo Geo Mini International Edition. The Neo Geo Mini is shaped like a miniature arcade cabinet, complete with its own small screen, but it can also be connected to a TV with a HDMI cable. It has a quality list of 40 Neo Geo games.
Gunlord X came out just under a month ago on PSN. Looks like a love letter to Turrican more than anything, might be worth a look if you're currently deciding on what to review next. I get the impression it's meant to be decent.
Nice to see this get some belated coverage...whilst I usually got my butt handed to me playing Gryzor (Contra),on C64,also a fan of the Midnight Resistance C64/Amiga versions too.
Speaking of the retro collections,I wish Capcom would give the same love to the Ghosts'n'Goblins series...ps2 had the Capcom Collection with G'n'G,Ghouls'n'Ghosts & the mega hard Super G'n'G. Then there's the rare Ultimate Ghosts' n'Goblins & the G'n'G inspired Maximo games from the ps2! We know the ps4 could handle it with the little used ps2 classics & the couple of psp remastered games out there!
@LieutenantFatman Cheers for the recommendation, I remember when NG:DEV.TEAM released Gunlord on the Neo Geo and Dreamcast years ago — I can't believe that it was as far back as 2012, actually — so it's cool news that Gunlord X has arrived on PS4. I love the Euro-style design that Turrican brought to the run-and-gun sub-genre. I'm also a big fan of Super Turrican on the SNES. Chris Huelsbeck's music was so amazing, so it was a real treat to receive the Turrican CD with Chris Huelsbeck's remixes, included with Issue 200 of Retro Gamer magazine. Thanks for the heads-up!
@Robocod Spot-on, a Ghosts 'n Goblins/ Ghouls 'n Ghosts collection by Capcom that took into account both the PSP, as well as the PS2's Maximo games would be awesome. It's good to hear from another fan of the computer ports of Midnight Resistance, too.
@JamieO Yep, forgot i had a psp copy floating around (as like Ultimate GnG). Entire series is hard, but still great! Ditto Maximo,a shame we never got the final game of that triology!
Early Turrican games on C64/Amiga were amazing, dearly wish Factor 5 could get the old crew together & do something in this sort of stylings!
@JamieO the international and Japanese version is different.no spinmaster.that game is incredible.i hope capcom brings back ghost and goblins.make a new one.speaking of capcom.i was surprised they didn't have the punisher and caddilacs and dinosaurs on capcom beat em up bundle.mabe licences issues.2 great arcade games.word ☝ up son
@JamieO I say keep it up. There are a lot of good games that slip by your average gamer. Plus I enjoy reading your stuff.
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