This handle I use on the Internet for nearly two decades? Most people assume it comes from a character from famous manga / anime Saint Seiya. They are correct. But very few if any realize that SHiryu is formed by Strider Hiryu. Now that we have established I'm a Strider nut-case, let's move on.
Capcom has been in my good graces for decades. Big reason for this was 1989 revolutionary Strider arcade game. There was nothing like it! It blew my mind and even today, it amazes how much Capcom managed to squeeze out of that CPS1 board. Most of the appeal was the way Strider himself tackled navigation and enemies. The ability to latch on and traverse any surface, regardless of position offered unprecedented freedom for a player to tackle the levels. And his cypher sword was but a flash on screen that diced anything it touched in half. Had some epic music, brutal difficulty made to take your coins and Capcom was sitting on a gold mine.
Back with another one of those block rockin' beats!
Speaking of gold , it was thanks to U.S Gold's home conversions I got my first taste on the game. First on the humble ZX Spectrum and later on Commodore Amiga 500 which had rather impressive arcade quality graphics. Let us not speak of their own sequel of the game... At this time, I didn't know the Megadrive had such an amazing conversion, but nowadays I own both European and Japanese carts. I often wonder how amazing a Strider would look on Super Nintendo. If Capcom managed to make such an amazing job with Super Ghouls'n'Ghost, how awesome Super Strider would be? Run Saber is the closest thing we got. At least Capcom more than made up with Strider 2 on arcade and Playstation.
A severe case of split personality.
After that and a cameo in Marvel vs Capcom, Strider became legend, fondly remembered but rarely surpassed in its genre. But hope remained that one day Capcom would re-unleash this cyber ninja back to his platforming roots. That is exactly what happened earlier this year with Capcom working alongside Double Helix Games on a current gen reboot of the franchise. Just after the first reveal trailer came out, I anxiously went to check out which platforms it was coming out on. Of course, disappointment followed. Wii U was nowhere in sight (I will write about that recurring pain one day in the future). So it was either my dad's Playstation 3 or my PC to get this. This summer I decided it was finally time: PC it was.
That's right, ladies! I'm single.
I was actually excited when the game ran for the first time. Right from the get go as Hiryu glided down onto the outskirts of Kazakh, it was obvious that Double Helix had done the original game justice. Oh yes, I stayed away from videos and reviews of the game all this time. I went into this blindly if you will. This was all new to me. And once Strider was under my control, that first jump is something you don't forget. Oh, and you can now change direction mid jump? You can thrust the Cypher in all directions? Brilliant! Even the music is a tribute to the original soundtrack. This is how you make a reboot: You play the original game like religion and then update everything with the dial up to 11.
"At last we meet again, Hiryu! Prepare to die!"
"No, you foul mechanical beast, I WILL leave Eurasia alive."
Like the original, boss battle remains impressive and challenging. I have to say Capcom found the right people to pull this off, it's clear they are fans of Strider as much as me. 1989 sure is a long way behind us, so it's nice there are reboot of this calibre to "teach" younger games what it was all about. Who knows, they might even go dig deep into the past and try to figure out what the fuss was all about. Oh, here is a video of the first level. Apologies for the underwater like slow motion at times, it only happens when I try to record the video. Make sure you have a powerful machine, this baby run natively in Direct X11, I think it's the first game I have that does so. Enjoy!
Would I buy today on Wii U?
Just writing that made me throw money at my screen. Of course I would in a heartbeat. I would pay double for a retail copy (hey, it happened with Duck Tales) . Lucky Japanese PlayStation 3 gamers can actually buy this game at retail and thanks to Sony's region free policy, I suspect most Strider fans will import this version.
That is all for today. Catch you on the bounce! ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ
Previously on Games of Summer 2014: Of Plumbers and Stats!
Next time on Games of Summer 2014: You Died. You Died. You Died.