Developer(s) – Double Helix Games & Capcom Osaka Studios
Publisher(s) – Capcom
Director – Koji Oda
Producer(s) – Andrew Szymansky & James Vance
PEGI – 12
A re-vamp of the classic arcade series, Strider incorporates elements from the first two games, the Marvel Vs Capcom series, and the original manga, and delivers a pretty intense and enjoyable gaming experience worthy of the eighth generation. Though it has its flaws, Strider has been met with overwhelmingly positive reviews and acclaim, and I also enjoyed it for a number of different reasons.
Graphics – 7/10
To me, the visuals have somewhat of a Street Fighter IV feel to them, in some of the character’s exaggerated features and many of the futuristic settings. But for me, the elements that stood out the most were a lot of the boss fights, such as The Armoured Dragon and the Mutant Millipede. I think the bosses also give the game a Metroid feel to it, which is always a plus. The main issue I had with the visuals was that the scenery and style seemed to get a little bit repetitive; especially towards the end. But on the other hand, it’s also interesting to see how true the developers have stayed to the original source material and by the same token, true to fans of the original series.
Gameplay – 8/10
I can safely say that Strider is unlike any other side scroller I’ve played. The gameplay is exhilarating as well as being incredibly fast-paced. I never used to think that overwhelming speed could work in side scrollers after playing Sonic the Hedgehog (Which I will be talking extensively about next week), but after playing this, I think I’ve been proven thoroughly wrong. On top of that, I found that the game also provides a very legitimate level of challenge; on the level that I would like to have seen the original Mega Man and Castlevania games provide, as opposed to them being so overly hard that it would deter people from playing them through word of mouth alone. Furthermore, unlike many other side-scrolling games, there is also a fair bit of exploration involved in order to unlock such things as enemy info and concept art.
Controls – 10/10
Although it would have been expected that there wouldn’t be any problems with the game’s control scheme, the 2D side-scrolling formula having been long since perfected, this game also had certain mechanics that I hadn’t ever seen in the genre or mechanics I hadn’t seen in later-generation games in the genre prior to Strider, such as the ability to climb up walls or across ceilings. So in that respect at least, the game is also made to seem fairly unique too.
Lifespan – 7/10
At 6 hours, Strider does last much longer than the average side scroller and as I mentioned before, there are a fair few side quests to undertake whilst playing through it, but it did seem to me like somewhat of a fleeting experience just for how fast-paced the game is, and by that token, it did leave me wanting more at the end of it all. I would like to have seen more content, or perhaps more content in a sequel, which I think could happen given how much interest has been taken in this game.
Storyline – 5/10
In what is essentially a re-telling of the events of the first game, Strider Hiryu, the best assassins of the Strider organization, is dispatched to defeat the game’s villain, Grandmaster Meio in Kazakh City. To me, it’s all pretty bog-standard and typical of a 2D side-scrolling game, but the worst thing is that because the gameplay is so fast and engrossing, not much time is given to gamers to actually think about what’s happening; everything just seems to happen in the background. But of course, I’d rather a game have more focus on gameplay than the story, which is why Strider doesn’t suffer too much because of it.
Originality – 6/10
For a game that stayed true to the source material as much as this, I’d also say that there is a fair bit in it to differentiate it from others. There is, as I said before, the unique side-scrolling control mechanics as well as a lot of the boss designs. But what I approve of most is the fact that the developers have perpetuated the trend that gameplay should come before all else. Though the conceptual design is largely based on the original games and not much new has been brought to the table in that respect, it certainly stands out among many other games on the market today.
To summarize, Strider as fast, intense and enjoyable, and I would recommend it to anyone who owns any of the consoles the game is tailored for. With satisfying gameplay and very decent and challenging boss fights, it’s worth one playthrough at the very least.