I was never meant to be playing Strider, that was a job that had initially be given to Steph, our resident retro-gaming expert. However, it turns out that Strider is one of an increasing number of games that requires a DirectX 11 capable graphics card, and sadly Steph was unable to get the game working. Unaware of what I was getting myself into, I stepped up to fill the breach as any good Editor would.
As I hadn’t played the 1989 retro version of Strider, I wasn’t aware of the dangers of diving in at the Normal difficultly level. It was a devastating mistake to try and play without prior experience at that level, while I slashed my way through the first few areas of normal bad guys, as soon as I came upon the first boss, I was toast. There was no way I was getting past this guy without knowing more of the ins and outs of the game. I didn’t give up though, not one bit. I returned to the main menu, selected New Game and started once more on Easy. Without that easier difficulty mode I might have thrown my controller through my monitor due to the frustration.
Fortunately, at a more sane difficulty level, I was able to appreciate this fast paced action game for what it is: a damn good, fast paced, full-on action game that is a steal of a deal at just £11.99. You take control of Strider Hiryu in his quest to defeat Grand Master Meio, the ruler of Kazakh City. Action takes place in the gorgeous side-scrolling Communist-styled city, as you are splitting foes in half while sprinting around the levels, you really should take a moment to take in the world you are exploring. For such a fast paced game where scenes can flash-by in moments, the details that Capcom have crammed into the game are wonderful.
I mentioned exploring in the previous paragraph, that is another part of the game which you might not initially appreciate, certainly I didn’t. The game is split into zones of Kazakh City, but while you are in a zone, you have pretty much free rein to explore to your hearts content. Exploration is handled via some nifty grappling claws that allows Strider to climb pretty much any surface that doesn’t have an energy field or spinning razor blade on. As you explore each zone you will come across numerous items with health packs to more permanent health boosts along with secrets to be located. The secrets either unlock concept art, intelligence files or extra challenge modes which you can compete in away from the story if you want to get your hands dirty with more combat.
At first, combat relies on a healthy hammering of X on a 360 controller with A to jump and later, double-jump. Further components to your offensive and defensive arsenal are unlocked after defeating a boss at the end of a zone. I nearly got stuck on Solo, a bounty hunter who lurks around during cut-scenes in the early part of the game, but after patiently learning his attacks, I was able to pick him off. I might have died about a dozen times on the way, but I got there in the end.
The map screen tells me that I am about 20% through the game as I move through the Underground section, and based on the achievements list, I have about seven more bosses to battle before I finish the game. Based on my performance so far against the tougher bosses, that is going to take me a while to get through. While I might not have finished the game quite yet, looking at the price and the enjoyment (the frustration is outweighed by the joy at victory) I’ve had so far, I feel quite comfortable with this Verdict.
Verdict – Headshot
Platforms Available – PC, Xbox 360 and One, PlayStation 3 and 4.
Platform Reviewed – PC
Please read this post for more on our scoring policy. Review copy supplied by Capcom.