The very first time I remembered seeing strider was in 1998 where he was widely used in the arcade video game Marvel vs Capcom Clash of super heroes. Oddly, he seemed like a popular character to string wicked combos in the air and had fancy finishing moves. Shortly after, Capcom released Strider 2, a 2.5D game first released in arcades late 1999 and subsequently on the PlayStation One in 2000. I remembered donating a chunk of tokens to Strider 2 which was a pretty pleasant side scrolling hack and slash. Since then, we’ve heard very little from Capcom’s under appreciated neo ninja although he makes a return to Marvel vs Capcom 2 and 3 later on. Enter Strider 2014, developed by Double Helix games and Capcom Osaka studio. First announced in 2013’s Comic Con, Capcom announced a new Strider game on windows, current generation consoles (PS3,X360) and next generation consoles (PS4, XONE).
The game now takes place in Kazakh city a fictional neo city which allows players to freely roam the area collecting upgrades, collectables, concept-art and enemy info. The ultimate goal is simple, defeat the Grandmaster Meio. The game has a nostalgic feel and does invoke memories of Strider 2 given the fact that it’s also a 2.5D sidescroller except character models and animations are a lot better polished. Running at 1080p (Full HD) and 60FPS, the game ran smoothly even with a lot going on.
If there’s a game I could compare it straight up to, it would be very much Metroid, Castlevania, or more recently shadow complex. Players would get to navigate a huge map on a 2.5 D plane. The game does an excellent job at pacing ramping up the difficulty at every given phase. Gamers looking for a challenge would be pleased to know that Strider captures the difficulty of old school games like megaman. While not as punishing, Strider’s gameplay is fluid and always has the player utilizing new power ups to overcome stronger enemies and exploring new areas.
The only complaint I had when playing it was that after a while, the dark and cold environment of Kazahk took a toll on me in contrast to neo hong kong in Strider 2 which had a variety of locales for the player to visit. The massive maps had me traversing back and forth to collect collectibles, health upgrades.
The boss fights are both interesting and challenging at the same time. You could tell that time and effort was put into designing each of the boss fights which required players to study the patterns in which the boss would move before planning a counter attack or measure. Much like megaman, players would be rewarded after each fight.
While the story is what you would normally expect from such a game, I wouldn’t really recommend playing it for the story. The sound track pays homage to the classic Strider theme song which is remixed. Fans of the Strider series would not be disappointed. Priced at a reasonable USD 14.99, I would personally recommend Strider fans and fans of side scrolling games that are up for a challenge to pick this one up. You won’t be disappointed.
Ratings 4 out of 5 stars
by Kenneth Choong
© POPCulture Online 2014, All Rights Reserved.