Capcom has always had a reputation for releasing quality side scrollers.
Early gems like Ghosts 'N Goblins, Trojan, and Mega Man helped make the NES
the powerhouse system that it was, and later releases like Bionic Commando,
Duck Tales, and the rest of the Mega Man games helped strengthen their rep.
It's true that later on, during the age of the Super NES, Capcom focused
more on fighting games (after all, they revolutionized the fighting game
scene with Street Fighter II), but they would stay true to their platform
roots (look at the Mega Man X series and Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts). Before
the 16-bit revolution kicked in, though, Capcom released one of the coolest
NES games of all: Strider.
Loosely based on the arcade game of the same name (which was later released
as the first 8-meg game for the Sega Genesis (and it was a hell of a
translation, too!)), Strider placed the player into the boots of Hiryu, the
Grade-A Strider (one of the all-time coolest characters ever created).
Once again, Hiryu must save the world from evil. Capcom changed the format
of the game from a level-based adventure like the arcade game to a more
quest-type of game. The level setup remained, but now you could go back
into levels if you needed to (it turned out to be necessary to go back into
the other levels, as there were items and places that you couldn't get to
the first time around). It was more along the lines of Rygar (the NES
version) or Castlevania II: Simon's Quest.
The game begins with Hiryu being summoned to the Blue Dragon, headquarters
of the Striders. Apparently his friend Kain has been taken prisoner by
terrorists. Matic, vice-director of the Striders, orders Hiryu to find Kain
and kill him, since the enemy already knows who he is. Hiryu accepts the
mission, but he can't bring himself to kill Kain. He vows to find Kain and
bring him back alive. His first destination is a city in Russia: Kazakh.
From here, Hiryu eventually finds and rescues Kain, but uncovers an
insidious plot that goes a lot deeper than he imagined. Of course, it's up
to Hiryu to uncover the mastermind of the plot and put an end to it.
Graphically, the game is nicely detailed, but has a very sparse look to it.
The enemies look similiar to the ones that inhabit the arcade Strider, plus
there are a host of new ones. Hiryu's sword (the Cipher) is basically the
same as it was in the arcade version, although now it's not a clean looking
golden blade, but a blue and white one. The music is decent, but there's
nothing too memorable about it (with the exception of the title screen
music - that's cool!). The password feature is a big help, since the game
is very large. The game controls very well - the only problem is some of
the jumping you must do. Hiryu can't find his jumping legs sometimes. And
then there's the blasted Triangle Jump, a special move that you MUST learn.
It is essential to know in some areas, but it's VERY tough to pull off
There are a lot of secrets to uncover, and a lot of special items to find.
Disks, special boots, new weapons and powers are all kept track of in a
subscreen. Of course, you need certain disks and items to reach other
Strider is definetly a class act. Some purists would argue that it's not
enough like the arcade game (which it isn't), but that doesn't detract from
what is a classic NES game.
It seems that Capcom had forgotten all about Hiryu after the U.S. Gold
attempt at a sequel (Journey Into Darkness: Strider Returns for the Sega
Genesis, which SUCKED!), but recently Hiryu resurfaced in the arcade game
Marvel Vs. Capcom. Perhaps this will mark the coming of a truly worthy
32-bit Strider sequel. . .