Resurrecting a treasured franchise is a delicate undertaking. Some revel in the idea of video game reboots. For those, seeing the future of a beloved series unfold conjures wild nostalgia. These gamers have the likes of the new Tomb Raider and Fallout 3 to support their case. Yet others aren’t so keen on the topic… Duke Nukem..nuff said. The biggest challenge with revamps and revivals is that no one can really anticipate whether they will experience the joy of reliving some fond memories, or have those memories dulled by a game which fails to embody what it was that made the original great.
Double Helix rose to the occasion with Strider, a reboot of Capcom’s arcade game from 1989 that was popular enough to warrant release on virtually every imaginable platform over the years. Strider is set in a dystopian future, where a mysterious dictator known as the “Grandmaster” rules. You play asHiryu, a member of an organization of high-tech ninja-like agents known as the “Striders”. Hiryu’s objective is to assassinate the Grandmaster. It was an innovative, side-scrolling, action platformer.
From the moment you hang-glide into Kazakh City in the new Strider, you know you’re in for something more familiar than not. The core of the gameplay is largely unchanged. You move quickly while jumping, flipping, latching onto walls and platforms, and slashing away with your fancy plasma sword. The core gameplay is refined in its simplicity, paying homage to an era of only a d-pad or joystick and two action buttons.
The world map is a segmented view of Kazakh City. You will travel through each section as you progress through the game. Diligence pays off while exploring the map. Keeping a watchful eye will ensure you discover all hidden passages and secret rooms. You acquire basic abilities, such asHiryu’s signature slide and Double Jump, early in the game. Gradually you will have other abilities at your disposal, such as being able to reflect weapon fire back on the shooter with a swing of your Cypher blade… lightsaber-style..heck yeah! You will get health and energy upgrades along the way. Eventually you will gain the ability to use energy to unleash a flaming bird of destruction upon your enemies.
Both the gameplay and enemy variation are delightfully old-school.Enemies consist of a few different robo-esque soldiers,who are color-coded based on difficulty, another throwback to the time-honored design. The more difficult enemies are the bosses and mini-bosses, which display more flavor as you progress through the game. The mini-boss fights basically serve as tutorials, introducing and training you in defeatinga new enemy type. The boss fights are a different story altogether. You’ll encounter other ninjas, just as dexterous and deadly as yourself, which you’ll have to race around the screen and outmaneuver to take out. Ultimately, Strider is an unpretentious action platformer. The challenge lies mostly in the combat, and not the platforming.
- The ultimate ninja returns – Strider Hiryu, the original assassin that inspired many third person action titles returns in a completely new game for a new generation of gamers as he takes on the Grand Master Meio
- Lightning fast combat – Use an arsenal of moves and weapons against your enemies whilst slicing your way through a massive interconnected game world
- Plasma Cyphers – From scorching enemies to freezing them in their tracks or deflecting a host of bullets, the indestructible plasma charged cypher offers a range of action tactics for players to use against their foes
- Seamless Traversal – Jump, climb and run through the expansive game world with the speed and agility of a ninja whilst climbing surfaces to gain that extra height and engaging the enemy from virtually any direction
- Varied enemy design – From cybernetic soldiers to immense bio-mechanical creatures the enemy types in Strider guarantee engaging and unique combat challenges
- Call on your allies – Hiryu’s robot allies the Eagle and Satellite Bots return, providing additional support and access to out of reach areas
For those that have been anticipating Strider, you will not be disappointed. Strider features the retro feel of gameplay, enemies, and mapping along with modern staples such as striking visuals and an updated soundtrack. Strider is a prime example of how a classic should be revived. It holds true to the original in all the right places, yet features a contemporary facelift effectively bringing it into this gen.
Genre: Side-scrolling Action Platformer
Platforms: XBLA, PSN, PC
Release Date: Feb 18 (PS3, PS4) Feb 19 (X360, Xbox One, PC)
Developer: Double Helix