"You dare fight me?" This introductory game phrase still haunts legions of Strider 1 fans. Now the man with the bad attitude and big sword is back fighting evil for the good of mankind. You know it's going to be messy, but fun.
The plot insists that the acrobatic assault trooper is out to rescue the world's president from a band of alien rogues. These pranksters have kidnapped her and hold her in their five-level world. Strider must beat his way through forests, towers, caverns, generating stations and finally a giant space ship to rescue her. Justice must be done, besides he gets to kill thousands of slimey, bug-eyed, scuzballs into the bargain!
Strider has been in training since mission one. No longer limited to a titanium blade, he now gets a gyro-laser pistol to reap with too. When he's running, hitting the fire button sends his sword scything ahead, swathing through anything or one. If he stands still, or crouches for cover. Strider whips out his laser pistol and pumps shots at his foes. He is a more balanced hero now, able to murder either from a distance or close enough to feel their last alien breath.
The boy's made sacrifices to gain these new powers, namely the loss of his death slide - skidding in low, kicking and killing anyone who stood in the way. This close-combat flexibility has been traded-off for long-range fire power, at the cost of head-to-head thrills.
The acrobatic somersault leaps are still there, where the lad tumbles through the air, killing as he spins. Not only a vital gameplay element, but they are also what made the man famous. These spinning jumps are central to Strider's chances of success giving him the ability to leap over ground attacks with poise, ease and grace. Allowing Strider to bypass all those nasty, hard-to-kill beasties that have the nerve to sap his energy while he sticks a sword in their heads.
Transformers: Sprites in Disguise
Strider 2 is, generally speaking, a high speed, horizontal scrolling come platform battle. There's one more thing however, one little secret that only reveals itself when he picks up every power pod on a level. Then, when he goes head-to-head with the end-of-level guardian, he doesn't have to worry about his frail, physical frame getting all busted up because he turns into a robot. Then it's trashing time.
The pods are worth collecting anyway, as they give Strider extra health, drone protection, extra lives and more firepower. And although the guardians are beatable without robo-power, it makes life so much easier when he turns into tin.
Strider 1 was a steady, slashing affair because the boy's mission was simply to infiltrate - by kicking his way into - a Soviet base and then to get killing. II's rescue theme means that this one has a more frantic edge. Strider actually runs this time, which is just as well because those enemy guys come for him at a thick and fast speed, eager for his blood.
A Time to Die
With its tight time-limits Strider II stresses the importance of maps. You have to know the right route, or valuable seconds will be spent killing aliens in the wrong area. Then, even though he is still standing, Strider will die as the time limit expires. This is a factor further exasperated if you try to collect the power-ups. Pixel-perfect murder is needed if you're going to get to the guardian on time.
Strider lost some of his graphic appeal when he lost his side. Before he was silly but hard, now he's just hard. The sprite moves well, leaping and killing with clarity and precision but then so do other heroes of more mundane games. Strider's ability to do daft jumps and other unusual things set him apart from the crowd. While the other graphics have been improved for this sequel, some of the magic has been lost.
Strider II is a fast paced veteran's chop-em-up that will wear many joysticks down in the drive for completion. Yet the desire to get to the end is diminished, a fact which correlates with the main characters loss of charisma. It is an enjoyable test of joystick skill, but doesn't attain the classic status enjoyed by its forerunner. The inclusion of the gun has somehow made the guy more normal and that is just what wasn't needed.
An action game with the necessary hero, who will shoot every bad looking guy. Simple graphics, fast gameplay with many robots and other enemies.
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