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.