Praising Blazing Chrome

JoyMasher's latest takes Contra's brazen throne

I'd been looking forward to JoyMasher's Blazing Chrome since I learned of its existence in 'aught 'teen (What? - Ed). You see - if I may issue another of my "hot takes" - I think Contra is good. I enjoy its running, and I'm even partial to its gunning. Also, JoyMasher's previous titles Oniken and Odallus were variously “neato”. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t with any hesitation that I open-palm slammed Blazing Chrome’s Squander Finances button the very instant it became available on the eShop.

It’s a rather deft melding of Contra III with Contra Hard Corps, marrying the piecemeal platforming sections of the SNES classic with the complex, multi-phase boss battles of its Sega cousin. And it’s hard. Really, really, really hard. I mean, of course it is. It’s taking cues from Contra. But I never barked foul language at Konami’s blasting franchise the way I do Blazing Chrome.

The game allows you to choose the order in which you tackle missions, and rates their difficulty on the map screen from which this decision is made. After clearing Mission 1, the screen informed me that Mission 3 was the next step up in challenge, so I duly passed over Mission 2 and jumped in. I was instantly, repeatedly subjugated by swarms of charging monsters. They move fast and low, so many shots harmlessly pass over their heads. They move in swarms, leaping from ceiling to floor. They’re relatively robust, taking multiple shots to kill and often being on top of you before they’re even close to dying. And, worst of all, they’re unpredictable, sometimes electing to take a flying leap over your head – usually when you’ve got it into your brain that you’ll be able to jump over them. Then when you finally make it, when you finally reach the boss without exhausting your five lives – it stomps you with reflecting eye beams, extending tentacles, globules of acid and A MUCH HARDER SECOND FORM. Die? Back to the crawlers, stupid!

On this basis, I decided that Blazing Chrome was a fudge. I hated it. I was so angry, Nauties. Apoplectic. You should have seen my ruddy face. But I took a breath and booted up the supposedly-harder Mission 2. And I breezed through it. Sure, I game over’d a couple of times but compared to my Mission 3 debacle, it may as well have been a Rainbow Viewtiful run. I then decided that the game was, in fact, Quite Good.

Blazing Chrome. It’s available now on everything. It’s very difficult but very precisely designed, and if you like Contra you will enjoy it.