Capcom's highly anticipated sequel to Strider will be hitting stores later this week in Japan, but we've gotten our hands on an early demo to deliver some new media and impressions.
First off, the game has been much improved since we first took a look at it at E3 last year - it's solid graphically, and it plays nicely. While we're not sure exactly how long the game will be, or how the original Strider has made the transition to the PlayStation (Strider 2 is actually called Strider 1 & 2 and includes a remake of the original), what we've played so far is enough to make us pretty excited about the full version.
Graphically, the game is a bit strange - it uses 2D sprites in 3D environments. A great idea, but Strider doesn't pull it off without some hitches. The most apparent is that the sprites seem to lack some animation. You look at the game in action, and you just beg for more frames. But overall it looks pretty nice - the game has a distinct look of its own. Even though the graphics are a tad flawed, they're not a big turnoff. Strider isn't about graphics; it's about gameplay.
And in the gameplay department, Strider is pretty cool. It plays like the original, except that you can swing your blade much faster, and the blade has a wider reach. The jumping and climbing action is flawless - in fact, Capcom has added in a cool double jump (hit the jump button in midair for a second boost). There are plenty of areas that offer the same classic climbing and jumping action that the original game offered; fans will be pleased. We've also come across some of the original enemies redone for the sequel - remember that long segmented snake-dragon boss with the claws? He's back, but this time with a lot more attacks.
In terms of music, Strider 2 features typical Capcom background music. Most of the tunes we've heard so far sound similar to 16-bit Capcom music, and we've noticed some of the original Strider songs have been redone for the sequel. Not only that, some of the original game's sound effects are present in the sequel as well.
From what we've played of the demo so far, Strider 1 & 2 should please fans of the original. It looks to be a great 2D action game, which is such a rarity these days. We'll deliver more impressions once we get our hands on the full version.