Strider
Box Shot
Strider
Platform: NES
Publisher: Capcom
Designer: Capcom
Genre: Action/Adventure
Players: 1
Published Date 1989
Reviewed by: Rob Strangman

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 sometimes.

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 places.

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. . .