Blazing Chrome review | a hard corps 2D run-and-gun

Blazing Chrome

A modern 2D run-and-gun with more than a touch of Contra’s hardcore spirit. It’s Blazing Chrome…


Back in my day, we didn’t have fancy pants things like unlimited continues – no, we just grit our teeth and got through things one failure at a time. None of this snowflake nonsense like Blazing Chrome throws at you, no siree. Well, unless you were playing the Japanese version of Contra Hard Corps – but who of us were actually playing that all those years ago? Only the rich kids, and they can do one.

I mean, this is balderdash, Blazing Chrome does offer unlimited continues (and a limited save function allowing you to pick up where you left off, though only from the very beginning of a level), but in no way does that make it a breeze or a Friend To The Millennial. By the way, if you were born around 1982-ish to around 1999-2000, you’re a millennial, but that’s by the by. Blazing Chrome. What is it? It’s a side-scrolling shooter that apes Contra so much it would be contra-rian to mention anything else, really.

There’s some Metal Slug in there, sure, and probably the odd bit of a thousand other arcade shooters from the 80s and 90s, before everything Went Bad – but the main influence slathered all over this delectable little morsel is Contra. It’s Hard Corps without the wolf man. Alien Wars without those dogs eating from bins. The original Contra without the significantly better home conversion on NES. If we weren’t getting a new Contra soon from Nobuya Nakazato – he of Contra 3 and Hard Corps fame – I’d be hailing this as the best and only chance of playing a good Contra game we’ll likely see for a long time.

Genre: Arcade shooter | Format: Switch (reviewed), PS4, XBO, PC | Developer: JoyMasher | Publisher: The Arcade Crew | Price: £15.29|  Release date: Out now
Blazing Chrome

Elevator action: could this be JoyMasher’s tribute to a similar level in Konami’s Aliens coin-op? Credit: JoyMasher.


Not to reveal how shallow I really am, but visually Blazing Chrome is an absolute delight. It’s closer to Metal Slug than Contra in motion, but either way that fabulous 90s-style pixellated look does wonders for the whole experience – it offers a real sense of place and you genuinely can, sometimes, forget you’re playing something released in 2019.

And to think I promised myself I wouldn’t mention Contra too much. So Blazing Chrome: it’s a handful of levels, each one being significantly different from the other and presenting the sort of lengthy ‘oh crap I thought that was the end of it’ challenge you genuinely don’t see much of these days. Even the git gud crowd tends to know when it’s approaching an end point, and I have to say that obfuscation – is this the final boss? – does wonders for the tension of each playthrough. Tension? In a mindless shooter? Well of course – it’s hard. Very hard. One-hit-kill hard, and lose all your lives you’re back to the beginning of the entire level hard. The weapon you have equipped (apart from the default potato gun) is lost when you die hard. Hard-hard.

Sometimes it feels a bit much, and more than once the Switch risked being flung through the nearest window. There are times when balance feels a bit skewed; as though enemies shouldn’t be able to shoot as quickly as they do, or fire at that particular angle, but really it’s just frustration borne of another failure. Blazing Chrome is great fun. A really surprisingly fantastic riff on Contra and arcade shooters of days gone. Its length is inflated artificially because of the difficulty so your mileage may vary, but for me it’s a solid recommendation.



A new Contra in all but name – great fun, though admittedly rock hard.


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