Blazing Chrome review: Cloning a classic
(XO/PS4/PC/Sw) ★★★★★ Age: 7+
There's homage, there's plagiarism - and then there's bootlegging so blatant it amounts to worship. Such is the relationship between Blazing Chrome and Konami's venerated Contra series, which now numbers more than a dozen versions since its debut in 1987.
The side-scrolling run-and-gun classic spawned copious imitators but few have been as, um, reverent as Blazing Chrome. Just as Konami revives Contra next month in a top-down isometric style, BC reminds us of all that was great about the brutally difficult lone-soldier-against-the-masses originals.
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The devotion extends to the retro visuals, in all their 16-bit glory. The instructions get no more complicated than shoot everything that moves - how very 1980s - and it takes no more than one bullet or swipe from an enemy to kill you.
Oh, but what enemies. Giant aliens, monstrously tall mechs and swarms of annoyingly murderous cannon fodder. They're all gunning for you, all at once. Blazing Chrome appears merciless - and it will slay you at the slightest opportunity, repeatedly.
Yet veterans of the Contra era will detect concessions to the modern gamer such as generous checkpointing and extra lives - at least on the easy difficulty level. A co-op option gives even the klutziest player a fighting chance.
But masochists can dial up the challenge and relive a misspent youth replaying missions over and over until you can beat the six levels with just a handful of lives.