Here’s how Blazing Chrome designed its awesome retro boss battles

3 min read
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Blazing Chrome (Which totally isn’t a new strain of skunk in Cape Town) arrived last week, and while I don’t want to make any predictions, I can say that a retro-style run ‘n gunner in the same vein as Contra that allows me to commandeer mech suits while punching stupid alien skulls back into orbit may be the best thing ever. Like any game that harkens back to an older era, Blazing Chrome’s big appeal lies not just in tense fights that throw mobs of enemies at you but also its classic boss fights.

Battles against hulking bruisers and swift mechanised menaces that task you with using everything you’ve learnt so that you don’t get riddled with all manner of shiny lethal orbs in the process. So how did developer Joymasher come up with these armpit-moistening boss fights while still throwing a few new ideas into the mix? With a little bit of coding magic, inspiration and some help from a previous game.

“Designing our bosses wasn’t an easy task — we had some issues making their patterns good and also keeping them looking cool. Most of the bosses are huge, towering robots and during the development, our programmer, Iuri Nery, had to develop an internal animation system based on rotation sprites that support multiple engine animations just for these big guys,” Joymasher art director Danilo Dias explained on the PS Blog.

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It was no easy task. To simulate the old rotation and scaling effects of the Mega Drive, Iuri had to make everything using only math, no bones or fancy modern things.

We also had to make every boss encounter super different from the rest. Sometimes I got ahead during development because Iuri had to program difficult things, and I would start designing a new boss without playing the game. That was a problem — sadly, we had to scrap an entire boss because it was too similar to the boss in stage 1! In the end, we still used the main idea for this boss, or at least some design lines, to create stage 4’s fake-3D boss.

We also reused some ideas from our previous game, Oniken. For example, there’s a boss battle where you’re on a hoverbike and have to fight a robotic polar bear. We sort of remade that boss in 16-bit and added more craziness during the battle. It was super fun to see that old boss getting a robotic facelift!

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The end result looks amazing, to say the least. The first big boss you’ll fight in Blazing Chrome is a titanic alien skeleton monster who swipes at the screen, vomits missiles at you and also fires laser orbs towards your face. Attacks that all require quick thumbs, decent memory and a reaction speed on par with Superman to scrape through those fights. Blazing Chrome is out right now on console and PC, and it’s a charming slice of nostalgia that’ll reawaken the thumb blisters you earned from all those nights hammering away on ye olde teevee games.

Last Updated: July 18, 2019

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