You immediately get Super Time Force as soon as you see it. Those ganglia in the back of your noggin screams only one thing – it’s Contra! You run, jump, shoot and do whatever you need to do in order to survive which mostly includes not getting it with any insta-kill shots whizzing by your head. The pixel art takes you back to a time where the Konami code was the only thing keeping you alive for so long. But just play it, and you know that this is a completely different game.
Here, it’s okay to die.
And die you will, over and over again. That Contra difficulty remains intact as you face every monstrous boss and flying missiles you’ll need to hang from in order to get to the next ledge. Take a dirt nap and you got back to the start. But instead of going in alone, you get to play along side a replay of yourself. That’s double the firepower with only one life. Die again and you get a second clone. Die a third time and, well… you get the idea.
Difficult sections become a breeze when you find a dozen other soldiers by your side trying to get through. With every death, you get to pick a new profession. From bazooka to sniper, each class plays similar but bring something very different to the table. While the fire power might be too much for a slow shooting sniper, you can send out a guy with a shield. Once he dies, you can follow behind your protective shadow with a second character. They showed off four classes at the booth, but the good gents at Capybara Studios plan on adding even more.
Save points are just that, places where you save yourself – or past self in this case. As you journey through the stage with your past warriors, you’ll be able to wipe out bigger enemies with little ease. If you happen to kill someone before they kill a past life, you cause a time paradox. By touching your out of time self, you gain a save point.
Since you will be dying a lot, the team put some effort into making your death spectacular. Watch your little body fly through the air and you’ll be able to see each limb react on it’s own. Pixel ragdoll physics may be going beyond the call of duty, it’s the little touches that mean so much in a game like this.
With the release date of “it’s done when it’s done,” the developers at Capybara Games seem to be having way too much fun making the game. They talked about creating levels that give nods to great scenes in movies as well as other games. I asked if Hitler would ever be a target of the time traveling crew, but they decline to say. They mentioned possible scenarios of trying to kill the very first boy band and somehow reconstructing that awkward scene where you date your mom. They even put one of their youngest developers, a 7-year old, on creating the most amazing level that ever existed – ever.
Super Time Force does the impossible by remaking a classic and rewarding you for sucking. With XBLA players itching to get their hands on the title, be prepared to constantly die whenever it hits the virtual shelves.