Michael Leparc On February 26, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Strider - Citygate_01When reviewing a remake of a classic, it definitely helps to have a familiarity with the source material. Unfortunately I can’t claim much of a stake to that when it comes to Strider, and that’s probably criminal in some folks’ books, but at the same time it lends a different perspective to the proceedings. That is, whether the game is good enough to stand on its own merit without catching any breaks merely for nostalgia’s sake. I can remember seeing the original 1989 Capcom classic in the arcade but if I ever played it, it might not have been more than a couple of times. However, Double Helix has seriously piqued my interest in the original if it’s truly anything like what they’ve put together here.

The premise is dripping with the typical 80’s cold war milieu, as it centers around the actions of the secret high tech ninja organization known as the “Striders” and their quest to bring down the evil worldwide soviet dictatorship of Grandmaster Meio. You play as the iconic Hiryu, of course, and the game takes place in Kazakh City as you attempt to infiltrate the defenses and ultimately assassinate the grandmaster.

Kazakh City itself is laid out into several different stages, but with enough openness and exploratory options to give it a Metroidvania feel, unlike the linear jaunts of yesteryear’s versions. Also adding to that style of play is the unlocking of new abilities along the way that give you reasons to backtrack to areas previously inaccessible. Aiding your exploration is the ability to claw along walls and ceilings, which often leads to hidden collectibles like concept art and lore. The combat itself is slick and quickly paced, as Hiryu’s ability to slice and dice on the go makes quick work of most grunts (and the ability to slash in specific directions even in midair is a great help), but you’ll also gain the ability to use charged attacks, slides, and other abilities to counter what each new enemy type and boss has to offer. The latter is where the real difficulty of the game resides, though if you stick to the easier settings it’s quite fair and manageable for the most part. These encounters also provide most of the game’s variety as they range from epically sized to mano a mano fights between equals and even incorporate elements of other genres within them.

On the other hand, being limited to Kazakh City kind of reduces the visual variety you’ll face, though to be fair they mix in different locales like military bases, palaces, and subways. Overall the style is coherent and cool, even Hiryu looks especially badass with his glowing scarf. The music is sufficiently retro as well, and the voice actors seemed to enjoy delivering their corny lines, really giving it that 80’s feel. I would say they nailed the presentation here.

The new Strider is fairly short in the end, clocking in at around a handful of hours, depending how diligent you are in pursuing all the secrets, but I have to imagine that’s longer than what the original arcade game would have given you provided you fed it enough quarters. For a download price it’s hard to complain too much, and this remake will go down next to Bionic Commando Rearmed as an unequivocal success. Whether or not you remember the original, it’s just a fun little platform action romp that I recommend to everyone!


Another tight controlling 2.5D game with a fast paced combat system, exploratory elements and fun boss fights.


Nothing mind blowing, but fits the theme, looks cool, and runs a smooth 60fps.


Nifty soundtrack and appropriate level of voice acting.


Worth the trip down memory lane, even for those who haven’t been before.

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