The ultimate ninja warrior
Strider Hiryu. Best known for his appearances in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, he has been considered a top-tier character by players and is consistently popular. Strider also appeared in a standalone game in 2014 for various consoles at the time. However, Strider was already established, starting in 1989 with his original arcade release that was ported to the NES and to the Genesis in 1990 via Sega. It was titled, yep, you guessed it, “Strider.”
In the year 1998, after a series of disasters fell upon Earth, people across the globe realized their situation and began to work together to rebuild. Four years later, in an Eastern European nation called Kazafu several red dots appeared as the advance guard of the evil space being Meio. They caused immediate destruction of Kafazu, Europe, and North and South America, resulting in 80 percent of Earth’s population being wiped out. However, on a small South Seas Island called Moralos, a secret organization known as “Striders” began to move to stop Meio’s reign of terror. They sent their best agent, Hiryu, forward with the task of stopping Meio and his plans for world domination.
Control of Hiryu is simple, allowing him to attack in either direction, duck when fighting, and climb to reach higher areas. Hiryu also has use of his plasma sword, Falchion, to assist in removing enemies from any direction on the screen. I also found that Hiryu has two reliable techniques that are game-changers: a sliding move that gets him in tight areas, and a cartwheel move that allows you to glide from surface to surface while in a spinning wheel, making Hiryu unpredictable when he lands. Hiryu also can perform a vertical jump, hanging and squatting attacks with Falchion. Hiryu will also get some mission support from three battle robots: Dipodal Saucer, which fires lighting bolts wherever Hiryu swings Falchion; RoboPanther, which covers Hiryu from frontal attacks; and, Robot Hawk, which assists Hiryu by severely attacking airborne enemies. Apart from the usual powerups in hack-and-slash games, there’s also a powerup that increases Falchion’s power.
The music is acceptable for each stage, matching its theme with a few standout tracks for the levels.
As much as I love Strider, there are a few flaws. The challenge is on full display from the moment you hit start. In the options screen, you can add up to five lives for Hiryu, but you must frustratingly hunt down extra lives and score points to acquire the rest. You also have an obnoxious time limit for each stage; if you don’t clear a level in time, you’ll lose a life. I also found it frustrating that Hiryu can gain up to five life bars, but if he has a support partner, that can be taken away if he suffers too much damage. That makes his mission much more difficult unnecessarily at times.
Strider is perfect for anyone who wants to act out their post-dystopian hero fantasies without fear of possible legal retribution. It’s an enduring classic that has transcended the hack-and-slash genre and made a name for itself in the fighting game community via the MvC series. If there was ever a time that I wish that Strider Hiryu was real and ready to kick a certain villainous country’s ass, that time is now. Hail, Hiryu-sama.