Strider (NES)

Strider Box Art


System: NES

Release Date: July 1989

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Genre: Action

Capcom is back with their follow up release to Mega Man 2, Strider! This is one of those games I had as a kid and couldn’t find my way through it. I pick it up as an adult and beat it in seventy five minutes! You are Hiryu, a member of the Strider organization, basically modern-day ninjas. Hiryu is called out of retirement to kill his fellow Strider, Kain, who has been kidnapped.

The game picks up on the Blue Dragon, which is like a satellite base, orbiting Earth. Here you transfer to Kazakhstan to start your search. Hiryu slices through enemies with his weapon, the Cipher, with the B Button. Holding up will attack enemies above you. He can also jump with the A Button. If your timing is good, you can also pull off a wall jump. The jumping is super janky, though and I had to use a turbo setting in order to get lucky enough to get the wall jump when I needed it. Sliding is also a necessity by pressing down and left or right and the A Button. Occasionally, there are hidden health and poison capsules that you can unlock with a well placed Cipher slash.

The levels are linear, but there are gated off areas that you need to remember so you can come back when you get the proper key or the magnetic boots. In order to unlock more levels, you need to find people to talk to and floppy disks to analyze back on the Blue Dragon. Your progress is gated by the need for keys. There are five that you find across the levels. Your journey takes you from Kazakhstan to Egypt, China, Japan, Africa, Los Angeles, Australia, and the Red Dragon, owned by the traitorous Matic.

You’ll back track to different levels in early Metroidvania style. You’ll need aqua boots to walk on water and Magnetic boots to walk on glowing walls. Hiryu learns Power Tricks as he levels up. You have a limited amount of energy used to activate the tricks. There are a mixture of attack and utility tricks that can be used. I found that you don’t really NEED any of them and tried fire, spark, and spark ball, as well as the medical tricks, which heal double the energy spent to cast them.

Enemies are all pretty easy to kill, taking one or two hits most of the time. There are boss enemies, as well, that require you to figure out how to hurt them. You need to get behind the shield wielding boss. The samurai looking boss requires you to slash away. The purple boss that jumps over you must be hit with the Cipher as you jump multiple times to force him into a spinning top. The penultimate battle can be a struggle until you remember you can shoot a plasma wave by holding up for several seconds and then pressing the attack button. The final boss is just like a number of other enemies that you defeat at the end of levels. I was able to finish it off with one hit point left!

Graphics: 2.5

The graphics are that of a nicer Bionic Commando. They aren’t really that clean, but they get the point across.

Sound: 3.0

I hear a lot of proto-Mega Man in the songs. The sound effects are also fine.

Gameplay: 2.0

The controls are very clunky. Capcom seems to have wanted to do a lot, but didn’t fully succeed.

Difficulty: 3.0

The levels are fair, you have unlimited continues as far as I can tell. You can get a password when you’re on the Blue Dragon.

Fun Factor: 2.5

It’s a good time, but it’s certainly not the best game Capcom put out up until this point.

Overall Grade: 2.6

Strider earns a B-. The game is perfectly fine for what it is, a quick globe-trotting action adventure. Prepare yourself for annoying jumping and then give it a play.

Strider (NES) Video Review on YouTube