Contra: Hard Corps looks and feels exactly like a Treasure game, before Treasure was born. A great solo or two player co-operative experience, hyperquick pace, relentless action, boss fights galore, kaleidoscopic visuals, wacky and inventive designs – these are the hallmarks of Treasure game design. These qualities shine so brightly in Treasure games like Gunstar Heroes and Alien Soldier, and it turns out these are all are present in the Megadrive/Genesis’s sole entry in the Contra series, Contra: Hard Corps. Continue reading
Cuphead has inspired me to reflect on my personal history with this wonderful genre. We’ll be covering heavyhitters like Contra, Gunstar Heroes, Metal Slug, as well as some more obscure entries. Introducing the classic sidescrolling run ‘n’ gun:
I grew up in the 32-bit era with only limited exposure to the 16- and 8-bit systems. As a result my first encounters with traditional run ‘n’ gun games were via the Wii’s Virtual Console. Here, I played two of the most iconic run ‘n’ guns ever made – Contra III and Gunstar Heroes. Let’s kick off this trip down memory lane with a by now classic debate, a mainstay of 16-bit console warring. Contra III vs Gunstar Heroes: which is better? Continue reading
It seems one of the MegaDrive’s defining games and Treasure’s first title, Gunstar Heroes, was almost never released. You have to wonder whether Sega producer Mac Senour isn’t tooting his own horn a bit, since he is basically taking sole credit for the game’s arrival on shelves. Regardless, it was released, and a few hidden gems later (Dynamite Headdy and Alien Soldier – both good and quirky) Treasure revealed Guardian Heroes, their first game on a 32-bit console, in a generation that would see them rotate between Sega’s, Nintendo’s and Sony’s consoles.
I’ve been holding off on writing these impressions because I found that Guardian Heroes took some time to get used to. I was expecting a traditional style beat ’em up, likely in Treasure fashion one with tons of enemies, and I knew from videos to expect some basic RPG elements such as levelling up. All of these elements were ready and present, but what surprised me was the depth and character of the fighting system. This is a fast paced fighter alright, with blocking, double jumping, combos and magic. This isn’t your slow and clunky Streets of Rage or Final Fight (both of which I hold huge amounts of clunky and slow affection for), instead Guardian Heroes is much closer in feel to Street Fighter, by which I definitely don’t mean the original. Continue reading