The Backlog Episode 2 (Day 10): Contra and… Blaster Master?!?!?

Well it’s Friday, and in addition to being a good reason to get some whiskey (or whatever you choose), to cap off the night, it also means tonight the game for the 100 Days of Gaming would be a new-comer to try to finish. Since Last week came from my collection of physical media, tonight would come from the digital realms of the Wii and WiiU… and I will admit, I was excited to see Contra: Rebirth selected. After all, it was supposedly modeled after Contra III: The Alien Wars which was one of the games that sold me on getting an SNES back in the 1990s.

But it didn’t take long for something to show itself to be amiss… starting with the ability to use both weapons at once when flipping. I tried various ways to dual wield, but could find nothing. And then I started to play and the game was ridiculously hard. I mean, yeah, Contra is known as a challenging series of games, but it’s also a generally clean series that allows you to see what’s going on. I could not claim that in this case, as my first death came hidden behind enough explosions to hide entire enemies as well as the bullet they shot. LIterally, I only saw the enemy on my second try.

Figuring I just sucked at the game for not having played a shoot’em-up of this type for many years, I turned down the difficulty after a few more failures to get through the first level, which did help, but level two would only enforce the game’s reliance on cheap deaths by spawning enemies inches in front of your character’s face and shooting, all but ensuring anyone who didnt know in advance that enemy would be there to lose a life in classic Contra one-hit kill style. This is annoying but not as damning as the boss to complete this level, as it has an NRG pattern that can force you to die by punch to the face (it is a 2 story tall robot).

Now I won’t say I was very good at the game by any means, but I’m not sure it’s worth the time to get good either. Comparing it to my memories of the original trilogy, it felt cluttered and like it was only half-way implementing everything what features were available, all the while trying to use those games (especially the third one) to remind you of how awesome they were and ride on that rather then just being another great game in the series itself. It’s available on the WIi store (yeah, the original, but you CAN access it on the WIiU), but I don’t think I would recommend it based on this introduction.

Still, the introduction was only half-an-hour, so I owed you guys a little more. I had the WiiU running so.. screw it! Let the dice roll for the next game on it! And… the dice punished me… hard. The next game was one I knew sucked already as I had tried to play it long ago…. Blaster Master Overdrive. Like Contra Rebirth, I picked this one up immediately wanting more of the awesome I remembered from the NES original…. this one was the game that finally taught me better.

RIght off the bat, the game hints at how bad it’s going to be by requiring you to use the Wiimote only. The lack of support for even the classic controller just shows the level of care that went into this “sequel/reboot.” Once you actually start playing the tank feels slow and clunky, even compared to the original game. And it does not help that the camera lets you get close enough to the edge of the screen you are going to that you can easily run into any enemy if you dont take your time.  But the ground at least feels better and more like the original game, but it cant save this title.

But at least tonight was entertaining as we broke the game by dying and reloading, causing weapon upgrades to re appear and build all my weapons to max power, seeing this for the first time

As with Contra, this game is simply not worth your money. Although in this case, you have a much better remake available if the itch for new Blaster Master hits you… Blaster Master Zero. Go play that one.

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