Strider and I have a bit of a history. My seven-year-old self spent a fair amount of time, and even more of my mom's money at the arcade trying to beat the original. That never happened. When my eight-year-old self beat the Genesis version I imagined I'd want to go back and beat it over and over again. That never happened, either. When I beat Double Helix's Strider, my 31-year-old self couldn't wait to get back into it and do it again.
Playing through Strider is just a blast. Hiryu moves and slashes with all the speed you'd expect of Capcom's favorite ninja, and has an arsenal of dashes called plasma catapults— which doesn't really make sense to me, but never mind that—that make you feel like an unstoppable force ripping through enemy hordes.
Strider's background music is just amazing. If you're a fan of the older games, you'll love hearing the old tunes remixed. If you aren't, they'll still feel like music befitting a badass ninja tearing through an army of pseudo-communist robo soldiers.
It's rare that a reboot transcends the original. Normally these types of games rely on nostalgia.Strider successfully captures that nostalgic feeling while improving over the original in every way. Strider takes the hack-and-slash fun of the arcade and Sega Genesis versions and the Metroidvania elements of the NES version and successfully combines them into a game that's ultimately more fun and satisfying than either of its predecessors. No small feat.
Throughout the course of the game, you'll find three options familiar to fans of the series. These options allow Hiryu to summon a set of two projectile-firing bots, a panther bot and an eagle bot all of which have unique skills and abilities. They'll all help you dispatch your foes a bit more quickly, but ultimately they don't feel like they're quite necessary strategically, save for a few spots that specifically require their use.
Strider isn't a hard game. I wouldn't say it's an easy game, either. The problem is the massive gulf in difficulty between bosses and the rest of the bad guys. Enemies come in large groups throughout the entire game and are put down with little to no effort. The bosses however, can sometimes be downright frustrating in the early going, as you'll expect them to require no more thought than the enemies that precede them.
My ears. They hurt. Strider is a modern remake of a classic in all ways except this one. These voice are so bad you'll swear someone's about to spit out a line about "The Master of Unlocking". Hiryu sounds absolutely terrible, with a voice that sounds like they got an intern to do his best ninja impression. If the music weren't so awesome, I'd recommend playing with the sound off.
Kazakh City is a pretty big place, and it can be daunting to get around. Double Helix wisely implemented fast travel, but they did so in the worst way possible. There are a few fast travel locations, called Panther Runs, dotted around the map, but you can't choose where you're going, and they don't show you. You just kind of need to remember how all these points map out to one another, and it's awful. You're usually better off just not using them.
Strider does something few games can; it successfully blends nostalgia and modern design to create something truly fun to play. Action feels fast and fun, there's plenty to see, do, unlock and collect. Despite terrible voice acting and a frustrating fast travel system, Strider manages to be an immensely fun game. It's one of those games action fans will come back to over the years to run through again and again.