When most people think Strider Hiryu, they think Marvel vs. Capcom, but they don’t often know what Strider is besides just “that one ninja looking guy.” Fortunately, I’m here to provide you my robust, yet still limited knowledge. What I will say is, regardless of whether or not Wiki can corroborate what I’m saying, is that effectively Strider is a futuristic space ninja complete with all kinds of cool gymnastic flippy jumps, an awesome sword, robot familiars, and has the ability to basically scale any surface.
Of course, this also depends on what game you’re playing. This is where you learn what some devleopers used to do back in the day. For example, two entirely different versions of Aladdin were made…one for the Super Nintendo by Capcom and one for the Sega Genesis by Virgin. Both were good games in their own right, but clearly the absolute victor in terms of environments, graphics, and music was Virgin.
So you have the Genesis version (which is a direct port from the arcade with a few minor alterations) and the NES version. Furthermore, there are two Strider 2s. Why? Well, there was a really shitty one that was made for the Sega Genesis by U.S. Gold, then years later Capcom made an official Strider 2 for the arcade that was later ported to the PS1…and it’s fucking badass.
And of course, as a cameo in various Capcom fighting games. Now again, without directly referencing Wiki, these games were all based off of a Strider Hiryu manga, but I’m not going to explicitly talk about that because I know shit all about manga. So what’s the point of this article? Well, more or less it’s to outline Strider in all its greatness…or at least as great as I can make it, again, with limited knowledge of the actual subject matter and concentrating more on the games.
First let’s talk about the arcade/Genesis version. In this version, you move forward, slashing the hell out of anything that moves, have fancy flips, and the ability to scale virtually any surface. It’s essentially an arcade platformer with hack n slash elements. Pretty standard stuff, but it’s very fun and they play with all kinds of elements like the gravity, different enemy types, traps, and pits.
It can be very hard, especially with the wide variety of bosses available, but overall it’s a very fun and rewarding experience. It doesn’t really get any more brilliant than that, so I’ll move on to the NES version. Up front I’m going to tell you that if you don’t like hard games, avoid this one entirely. More than likely you will need a walkthrough, there are many cheap deaths, it’s incredibly easy to die, and this is oldschool Capcom…so if you really need a reference point, play the original Bionic Commando for the NES and you’ll get the general idea.
You get a number of powerups, there are very mild RPG elements, there’s an interesting story with some decent twists, you get to travel all over the world, there are tough ass boss fights, and yes, the patented Capcom gauntlet of previous bosses leading up to the final boss toward the end of the game. Overall, it’s a classic and while very tough, definitely fun, especially if you’re looking for a solid challenge.
Now Strider 2 for the Genesis…well, it’s crap. It’s slightly more graphically impressive than its predecessor, but it’s clear from the get go that U.S. Gold had no idea what the fuck they were doing. The environments are boring, there’s less emphasis on hack n slash, the music is ehh, and it’s simply not fun to play. Thankfully, this is the only Strider game I can clearly say you should totally avoid.
Strider 2 for the arcade/PS1, however, is nothing short of brilliance. Now if you really loved the NES Strider, then you may not enjoy this one as much, but for me, I enjoyed them all up to this point, so I felt this was a step in the right direction. Firstly, it feels very much like the original Strider for the arcade, but it’s 2.5D, has great graphics and animation, the music is spot on, there’s lots of hack n slash goodness, and it has an adjustable difficulty with the ability to resume right where you got killed.
In fact, it’s almost too easy at times, which could rub fans of the series the wrong way, but I feel it’s a step in the right direction. Fun, crazy, and over the top, this is a raw arcade experience that there is simply no excuse to pass up. So where is Strider now? Well, there haven’t been talks, at least that I know of, for him to star in his own game, so mostly he’s used as a cameo appearance in Capcom fighting games.
Normally this would depress me, but I implore you to check out Moon Diver. It’s not Strider, but in name only. Made by the original creator of Strider, Moon Diver is an action/RPG that can be played multiplayer over X-Box Live Arcade and the Playstation Network. It’s an incredible game that feels a lot like the original Strider, but better in many ways.
So the good news is Strider lives on after all and surely with enough interest, Strider Hiryu will again be in his own game soon. Also, I may not have mentioned it earlier, but you can click on the game pics to get either a demo of the game in motion or an entire playthrough. Check them out!