BLAZING CHROME / DEVELOPER: JOYMASHER / PUBLISHER: THE ARCADE CREW / PLATFORM: PC, PS4, SWITCH, XBOX ONE (REVIEWED) / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Heavily inspired by classic arcade run n' gunners of yesteryear like Contra and Metal Slug, Blazing Chrome is so authentically retro that you could be forgiven for thinking it's a revived relic from a bygone era.
The story follows the efforts of female soldier Marva and spiky mohawked robot Doyle as they fend off an attack from an invading mechanical army. Each character plays identically to the other, so the only argument you're likely to have with any potential co-op partners is over who gets to be Doyle (because he's clearly super cool and by far the better of the two). Completing the game unlocks a couple of extra ninja-themed characters who have more than a touch of Strider about them...
Much like the games it was influenced by, Blazing Chrome can be pretty tricky to get through, even on the easiest difficulty setting. There are checkpoints along the way which helps slightly, but they're spread quite thinly through each of the game's four rather long stages, so you may find yourself retreading familiar ground a little more often than you might like. Unlimited continues (on easy mode, at least) make things a bit more manageable, but good luck beating the game on. Hardcore, which asks you to go through the entire game with only three lives and no continues!
A range of weapons can be collected and swapped out at the push of a button, but you lose your currently-equipped pickup each time you die. Further Metal Slug influences appear in the pilotable mechs, automatic melee attack when enemies get too close, and throwable grenades. Combat controls are generally pretty great, but there are some issues with movement.
Crouching is often essential to avoiding enemy fire, but the slightest hint of any other button presses while crouching can lead to inadvertent dodge rolls or even running forwards while firing diagonally towards the floor. Automatically grabbing onto overhead rails during jumps is also a bit of a frustration, as there will be many times where you mean to jump over something only to find yourself sticking to something unexpectedly and usually ending up being killed. In a game as frantic as this, some slightly more refined movement would have been appreciated.
Blazing Chrome looks and sounds great, both recalling the high points of the arcade era. Beating the game unlocks an additional mode to add longevity, and playing through with the extra characters gives a little more incentive to revisit the campaign. It doesn't quite surpass any of the classics, but Blazing Chrome still provides a fun few hours worth of mindless entertainment.