Strider: Same Sword, Different World

Still slashin' after all these years.

The original 1989 Capcom arcade game Strider didn't take long to complete. If you had the skills, you could leap and slice your way through it in about 20 minutes. But what a 20 minutes they were. You fought a giant mechanical gorilla; dashed down a snowy, mine-riddled mountainside; infiltrated the zero-gravity core of a giant airship; and encountered dinosaurs in the Amazon. Strider was a masterpiece of concentrated, unforgettable action.

The series reboot by Double Helix coming to current- and next-gen consoles next year takes a different approach. Strider Hiryu is still a wonderfully agile hero, and his swordlike cypher weapon is still a swift and distinctive way of dispatching enemies. But this game is a Metroidvania, aiming for a balance of action and exploration as opposed to the arcade original's nonstop barrage of amazing set-piece moments.

Tricky laser fields are jerks.

I played the PlayStation 4 version of Strider yesterday, which ran in 1080p at 60 frames per second. I was told that while the content will be the same across all versions, the PS4 and Xbox One versions will feature entirely different, more detailed character models than those in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, as well as better shadows and lighting, and that the PS3 and 360 versions will run at 30 frames per second. The animations in Strider are beautiful--Hiryu moves with remarkable grace--but the environment in which the section of the game I played was set was bland and sterile. The setting was a research and weapons development district in the city of Neo-Kazakh, where the game, taking a cue from the first stage of the arcade game, takes place. I was told that there are around five distinct districts to the city, and perhaps areas that remain unseen as of yet have more color and life. Especially considering the terrific variety of locations the arcade game managed to cram into its brief running time, it would be a shame if the world of this new Strider never broke out of the generic environments that have been shown so far.

But the gameplay feels good. The controls are responsive, so the simple act of leaping about and mowing down enemies as Hiryu is a pleasure. And Hiryu's repertoire of moves is a bit more extensive here than it has been in the past. You have a ground-pound-like attack called the downcrack that does some area-of-effect damage, a technique I employed at one point to stun a vaguely spiderlike mechanical miniboss. And you have the catapult, which factored heavily into the enjoyable traversal challenges I encountered. This move lets you shift your trajectory mid-leap or mid-fall, using the thumbstick to aim yourself in any direction and then launching yourself that way. This technique was essential for a section in which I had to plummet through gaps in deadly laser barriers, and then veer directly to one side or the other to make a safe landing on a platform below.

Behold Mechapon, the new Strider's version of the original's mechanical gorilla.

Mowing down rank-and-file enemies rarely demanded too much of me, but I still made some use of the different cyphers Hiryu has available to him. The red cypher can swat away enemy projectiles or, if your swing is timed precisely, send them flying back at enemies. The orange cypher does fire damage to enemies over time, and the blue cypher can freeze enemies, aiding with crowd control or letting you climb on flying foes.

It's clear that the new Strider is hewing a different path than the arcade game, but my time with it closed out with one clear nod to the original: a confrontation with a giant mechanical gorilla. Far more challenging than the hulking beast that inspired it, this contraption's pounce attacks proved to be too much for me to overcome. I hadn't yet developed a good enough handle on the various moves and techniques at Hiryu's disposal. But though I have some misgivings about the look of the new Strider, my time with it has me looking forward to facing off against and conquering the metal monstrosity. Capcom will be announcing more information on Strider in early 2014.

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20 comments
SecularSage
SecularSage

It looks better to me every time I see it. As much as I love Strider 2 (a fantastic sequel from the late Arcade / Playstation era), I'm glad they're eschewing the arcade-style gameplay for a Metroidvania approach... particularly since both Metroid and Castlevania are no longer producing standard-bearers for the genre.


Too bad Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 couldn't have gone that route. Having old-school characters move into large, explorable worlds with boss rooms is a pretty awesome experience when it's done right.

vic3cr3amy
vic3cr3amy

Carolyn, please consider that the contrast between the vibrant character beset to a less dynamic backdrop is an artistic technique implored by master artisans. I feel you often miss the romance of games, ironic I know, it may actually be the masculine facet of romance that I speak of, but I digress.

"Especially considering the terrific variety of locations the arcade game managed to cram into its brief running time, it would be a shame if the world of this new Strider never broke out of the generic environments that have been shown so far."

Carolyn, please consider that a more polished classic that spares artistic licence in order to remain closer to the original theme is not exactly a bad thing. Why does the game need break out of anything? And, lastly please consider that there there is a modal and aesthetic quality that underlies games that come from Japan. This one nails it.

Just a humble opinion.

Take care.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

Looks like this is coming to Steam as well.  The teaser trailer had the logo in the bottom of the screen.


Glad I won't need to pick up a PS4 or XBone to play this!

Poodlejumper
Poodlejumper

" They came from the third moon with monsters..."

pszone
pszone

well play old one and this going to be crap so pass thx crappy Capcom.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

I loved Strider back in the day, but I'm not feeling this.

Stiler
Stiler

I'll never forget the original Strider on the genesis. The sounds of the sword slashing, the music, that first mechanical giant ape boss you fought, the "russian" themed graphic area, etc. 


One of my favorite Genesis games.

KimCheeWarriorX
KimCheeWarriorX

people on my friends list kept asking me what game strider was from and when i replied "strider", they just look dumbfounded. its hard to appreciate a lot of the capcom characters in the marvel vs capcom series when most of its audience have never played the games that they originated from. characters like strider and arthur are prime examples

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

This is great news; Hiryu's been absent for too long (aside from his MvC appearances). This is long overdue for a character with massive appeal and potential. Everyone loves badass ninjas, and this guy is one of the best.

I like the Metroidvania approach as well; it hearkens back to the NES version which was also a classic I loved.

goldenagegamer
goldenagegamer

Forgot to add Dont forget to Check out MOON DIVER on the PS3 and 360

made by Original Strider Creater Itsuke

goldenagegamer
goldenagegamer

Wish they would bring back the original Creator.

We missed out on Osman Arcade game the Unofficial Strider 2 sequel

meatz666
meatz666

Hi Carolyn. Please tell me it doesn't sucks... Does it have any of the original soundtrack from Genesis? I really despise how remakes doesn't take sound in account. Did you played the Castle of Illusion remake? They had the guts to replace the original boss fight song... I died a little inside.

Riddick123
Riddick123

I could have probably purchased a Disney vacation for all the quarters I dumped into the Strider arcade game in the '80s

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

I used to love this game. I would walk 3 miles in the winter to get to the nearest QuickTrip, when I was 12. I'll probably pick up the original on the Wii, and I hope this 3D remake is as good as Ninja Gaiden's remake.

uncle5555
uncle5555

You gotta remember Capcom doesn't outright own the character, they developed the game, while the manga studio Moto Kikaku developed the character and created the backstory and the manga for it.  


So they have to get permission/license him to use him in things.  And from how many times he's been in things it seems like it costs a bit since they don't use him that often.

KimCheeWarriorX
KimCheeWarriorX

@Richardthe3rd people on my friends list kept asking me what game strider was from and when i replied "strider", they just look dumbfounded. its hard to appreciate a lot of the capcom characters in the marvel vs capcom series when most of its audience have never played the games that they originated from. characters like strider and arthur are prime examples.

uncle5555
uncle5555

Yeah but we did get the PS1 sequel (arcade also) Strider 2, so it's not all bad.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

Interesting; I wasn't aware that Capcom didn't own him outright.  That explains a lot.


You're probably right; most companies hate paying royalties even if it isn't much.  It's a direct cut to profits.

goldenagegamer
goldenagegamer

Yeah its not bad at all I do enjoy Stider 2 on the PS1


Just have to mame OSman or cannon dancer great game


KimCheeWarriorX
KimCheeWarriorX

uncle5555@Richardthe3rd i didnt either. strider was such an iconic game for me when i was a kid that i just assumed that it was just another capcom classic and that they owned all rights to the character