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Retro Review: Strider

On 04/06/2020 at 10:32 AM by The Last Ninja

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This Genesis port was widely successful, but is it still good? 

In 1989, Capcom released Strider in arcades, a stylized action game in which the protagonist can run, jump, wall cling, and slash his way to victory. It was such a big success that it was ported to just about every home console and computer. The Genesis version (released in 1990) was the closest to the arcade version, and is hands-down the best. But the big question is, Does this game still hold up after all these years? Well, the answer is Yes.....and No. 

pic 1

Strider instantly looks and plays like nothig else. The hero swoops in on a paraglider and can slash enemies with a huge blade. It feels good. However, his movement is a little weird. He can jump straight up or far to the side, and similar to Castlevania, you have to commit to the jump. This can take some getting used to. Strider can also climb walls and hook onto ledges (he's a ninja after all). Enemies are constantly popping in or flying in, so you have to be quick on that attack. Most enemies will die with just one hit. 

Level design is pretty good. Levels are broken into small sections. For some reason, the developers really like ramps (both up and down) as you will see a lot of them. Each level is distinct in its look and feel. However, certain platforming sections can be a nightmare due to Strider's difficult jumps. Enemy placement can be a huge pain as well, causing you to fall or keeping you from progressing. Because of this, many times the game becomes trial and error as you attempt to see what works best to get past a particular spot. One level has the gravity change so that you're grappling to the floor--this section was especially frustrating as drills would pop out of the walls just to knock you down (I mean up). Save states make this managable, but you'll find yourself playing the same section over and over as you try to figure out the best way to get through. 

pic 2

The story is typical. The year is 2048 and Strider has to stop this evil empire from destroying the world, or something like that. Little cutscenes will play out between the levels, but they're not interesting. What IS interesting is seeing what the game will throw at you next. You see, this game is weird. One moment you're fighting through an enemy base in the snowy mountains, the next you're in a jungle full of dinosaurs fighting half-naked natives. The game emphasizes technology as most levels are very base-like with you fighting machines and robots. Bosses are laughably easy; the actual levels, not so much. 

The graphics here were very good for their time, and they hold up pretty well. There's always something to look at in the background, and all those explosions are great. The game is very colorful too. The music is pretty forgettable, though. Also, the game can be a bit glitchy as you'll notice every now and then the game will freeze for just a split second in certain spots. No doubt this is due to the fact that the game was pushing the Genesis to its limits (or perhaps they just forgot to fix those bugs). 

pic 3

Final Verdict--4 Stars: Recommended

In the end, Strider is a good game, although it's hampered by some frustrating controls and difficult design. Strider's weird jump can be a problem, and the trial and error sections of some levels can be aggravating. So guys, I'm afraid this is another game that I think you should try but not finish. Again, save states make it more managable, but even so, this one will try your patience. Still, it deserves some recognition for what it did for its time. 



Cary Woodham

04/06/2020 at 08:18 PM

I remember when this came out.  They made such a big deal about it then, being an 8 MEG cartriridge and all.  I was never very good at this game.  I did review the PSOne remake which was pretty good.  I wish I could've reviewed the more recent games.

The Last Ninja

04/07/2020 at 12:52 AM

I would love to get the PS1 game. I saw it once at a store and it was going for a hundred bucks! 


04/06/2020 at 09:59 PM

I'm sure I've played it on a collection sometime, and I'm sure I found it too difficult. I'd play it again though and see how far I can get. 

The Last Ninja

04/07/2020 at 12:53 AM

Yeah, it's tough. But it's also strangely interesting. 

Matt Snee Staff Writer

04/07/2020 at 11:05 PM

I loved this game SO much as a kid. I played it and beat it over and over. I especially like the antigravity boss. Brilliant. I could probably beat this with my eyes closed, ha ha. Laughing

The Last Ninja

04/08/2020 at 06:23 PM

That's great, Matt. I think everyone has that game, that "I loved this game as a kid and beat it a ton" game. Nostalgia's a wonderful thing. 

Matt Snee Staff Writer

04/08/2020 at 08:29 PM

I did the same with Bionic Commando on the nes. Some games you just love no matter their flaws. 

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