Contra - Shattered Soldier
Review of Contra - Shattered Soldier
The intro to Contra: Shattered Soldier is pretty cool. It shows a decorated Bill Rizer before he was condemned to 10,000 years in prison. Funny since living to be 10,000 years old would be quite some feat even in the future, but to accomplish this, he was placed in a cryogenic chamber. The graphics are pretty awesome here….. but this is really one of the few places the graphics excel.
When the game starts you are given 3 choices, 1Player, 2Player or Options. Under the options tab, you will find a few useful choices. You can game as either Bill or his cyborg partner Lucia. Choose some sound options and finally the difficulty level. As with most games, it is easy to navigate through the menus. To get out of the Options menu, you need to depress the circle. Now on to the game.
Right from the start, there are 4 missions to choose from, so logically we chose Mission 1. You begin by being thrown out of your planes cockpit window onto the city streets where, yes, you guessed it, the carnage begins and the blood flows. You are armed with 3 weapons that you can cycle through as you just obliterate the Bosses underlings. As with all of the games in the Contra Series, the goal in each scene is to defeat a “Boss”. Some tougher than others, but that’s the point.
There is a lot going on in each scene. Enemies from all sides, machinery and robots firing at you, bombs being dropped, so stay on your toes and you may just live long enough to fight another day. This game is not for the meek and timid. Game play is fast-paced, but the graphics seem to be lacking in some scenes considering the power and capability of the PS2. It is described as 3D compared to previous versions that were 2D. The game still played as a side-scrolling game and once you moved right, there was no going back to the left to the previous scene. When in 2-Player mode, both characters play on the same screen and need to move in tandem to progress. When in 2-Player mode, if one of you is on the left, the one on the right must wait for you to catch up.
The sound of the game is pretty intense with all of the weapons and explosions and you can faintly hear some music in the background, but that is not why you are playing the game. Along with some of the explosions, the controller will vibrate giving you a little taste of reality.
Graphically, the games characters are small and grainy with stiff movement, but we assume this was done as to not deviate far from the previous incarnations of the Contra series. There are scenes where the graphics do excel, but they are few and far between.
The backgrounds are nicely detailed and varied throughout the game. Where the graphics really come out swinging though are in the depiction of the boss characters and the slew of particle effects that are being thrown around on screen. Some of the boss’ are absolutely enormous, often taking up multiple screens in this side-scrolling adventure.
Explosions, weapon fire and other special effects are of course done in abundance here…and they are done well. During some of the more hectic moments of gameplay, the screen was often full of glorious fires, destruction, various lighting effects, etc…and I never witnessed any slowdown.
The point of the game is to achieve a ranking of “S”. When you complete a particular mission, a formula is used which contains Hit Rate, Continue and Lost Remaining Life, which will give you a grade of C (lowest), B, A or S (highest). After you complete a few missions, this score will be calculated along with all of the others and you will receive a Total Ranking score based on the same 4 grades (C, B, A or S).
Fans of the series have been waiting a long time for a new Contra game to hit a console again, and to be sure they won’t be disappointed. Shattered Soldier is loyal to the series in both gameplay and difficulty. The graphics have definitely been given a face-lift, but not so much so as to detract from the overall look and feel of the series.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Contra - Shattered Soldier' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Bill Gibbs © Absolute PlayStation
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