Capcom has just revived one of their classic titles with the help from Double Helix to give us more action-packed, blade slashing game. But does Strider’s return will make a great impact to our expectation or will it jump short and will become an instant mess?
The very first Strider game was released in the arcade in 1989 which was became a fan favorite with its fast paced action with brutal difficulty that will eat up a lot of tokens. A few months later, it was then ported to the NES and changed it to a more action-adventure gameplay. A decade later a sequel was released in the arcades and a year after for the PlayStation with a much faster sword slashing beat-em-up. Now after a 15 year long absence, Strider is finally back.
The game is set in a dystopian and futuristic Kazakh City where it was ruled by the Grandmaster Meio, in order to restore peace in the city, the secret group of assassins called the Striders sent one of their best assassin; Strider Hiryo to eliminate the Grandmaster. Story wise, there isn’t any interesting plots in the game as you progress along with some cheesy lines from villains.
What makes Strider awesome on its first game was still retained in the latest release, the fast paced, sword swinging gameplay lets you wipe off any enemies blocking your path by just mashing the attack button, and you will be able to unlock new abilities, which give you new ways to eliminate any opponents faster and reach previously inaccessible areas as you progress deeper into the game. The controls are okay especially when jumping, though you might get a hard time when clinging or climbing walls and ceilings as Strider tends to become sticky at certain times. The use of the analog stick for controlling Strider’s movements could be an issue with some who prefer using the traditional directional button, and much worse, there is no option to remap the control so you can’t change the control layout which is kind of a letdown for some.
The game now has the MetroidVania type of gameplay where in a single gigantic map you will be traveling through different levels interconnecting with each other, this encourage you to explore every corners for those hidden upgrades and secret files that can unlock artworks and challenge stages, so you’ll tend to backtrack every level whenever you unlocked a new skill. Each level has a theme that tries to distinguish itself, although the design is not quite impressive. Boss battles can be hard, but just like from classic side-scrolling games, knowing their patterns can give you the edge and you will feel that great accomplishment of defeating a difficult boss once you learn the pattern.
The visuals were stunning, every special effect; from the plasma scarf around Strider to the sparks and slashes on his Cipher shows amazing lighting effects and it’s pretty eye-candy to watch while you slash your way through waves of enemies. Animation of the characters are pretty good too, from sliding through pavements to jumping around enemies, the graceful movement of Strider gives him that flair and style. Some of the classic tracks from the original were given a modern touch to give players some fast beat tunes to keep them pumped up for more action.
There are some unlockable goodies that you will be discovering in Strider, aside from the concept artworks, you can unlock different costumes for Strider Hiryu as well as some Challenge levels that offer different modes such as survival and racing where you have to race around the level by using beacons. Sadly, replay factor will be lower due to the lack of unlockable modes such as new game + or even the classic arcade or PlayStation 1 version.
The new Strider will give players a great ride with its fast gameplay, and not to mention longtime fans will be taking a trip to nostalgia lane when they play this. Despite lacking modes for replayability, Strider will still give you six to eight hours of great game time with its map exploration and unlocking all upgrades and goodies.
Game Rating: 4 out of 5
Strider was developed by Double Helix and published by Capcom