Strider, released in Japan as Strider Hiryū (ストライダー飛竜) is a 1989 side-scrolling platform game released for the CP System arcade hardware by Capcom. It became one of Capcom's early hits before Street Fighter II, revered for its innovative gameplay and multilingual voice clips during cutscenes (presented in Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Russian, and English).
Strider is set in a dystopian future in the year 2048, where a mysterious dictator known only as the "Grandmaster" rules the world. Hiryu Lyons, an A-class member of a ninja-like group of futuristic assassins known as the "Striders", is hired by a rebel organization to assassinate the Grandmaster himself. Hiryu begins his mission by infiltrating the Grandmaster's capital at the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.
The controls of Strider consist of an eight-way joystick and two action buttons for attacking and jumping. The player controls Hiryu himself, whose main weapon is a tonfa-like plasma sword known as a "cipher". Hiryu can perform numerous acrobatic feats depending on the joystick/button combination used. Pressing the jump button while Hiryu is standing still will cause him to do a regular vertical jump, while pressing the jump button while pushing the joystick left or right will cause Hiryu to do a cartwheel jump kick. Hiryu can also slide by crouching and pressing the jump button. The jumps and the slide can both be used to destroy some lesser enemy characters. Hiryu can also latch onto certain platforms, as well climb across walls and ceilings using a metallic hook. Hiryu can also run while moving down a hill or hill-like structure, allowing the player to do a longer cartwheel jump than usual.
Numerous power-ups can be obtained from item capsules carried by certain enemies. These includes an extension for Hiryu's cipher that lasts for only a few attacks, two types of health recovering items (represented by the kanji used to write Hiryu's name: 飛 and 飛竜), a maximum health extension (represented by the kanji 竜, the second character in Hiryu's name), a 1up, and a power-up that allows Hiryu to create duplicates of himself for a limited period. Hiryu can also summon robotic companions known as "options" that will help Hiryu fight his enemies. These consists of a mushroom-like droid, a jaguar, and a hawk.
The game has five stages: the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic (called "St. Petersburgh" during the arcade game's attract sequence), the Siberian Wilderness, the Aerial Battleship Balrog, the Amazonian Jungle, and the Grandmaster's lair itself, the Third Moon. The player has a three-part vitality gauge (which can be increased to five part with the health extensions) that indicates how much damage Hiryu can take before losing a life. The game will be over if all of Hiryu's lives are lost, but the player can continue by inserting more coins (if necessary) and pressing START.
The arcade version of Strider was part of a three-way project conceived in a collaboration between Capcom and Hiroshi Motomiya's manga studio Moto Kikaku, which also included the Strider Hiryu manga by Moto Kikaku's Tatsumi Wada that was published in Kodansha's Comic Computique anthology in Japan, as well as the NES version of Strider. Kouichi Yotsui, director of the coin-op Strider (who is credited as Isuke in the game), was chosen for his experience with the CP System hardware while working as a background designer on Ghouls 'n Ghosts. The three projects were developed independently of each other.
Strider Hiryū has been ported to a variety of computer and console platforms following its original release. In 1989, Strider was released for various computer platforms in Europe. Versions for Commodore Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and ZX Spectrum were published by U.S. Gold and developed by Tiertex. Capcom separately produced a version for the X68000 computer in 1991, releasing it exclusively in Japan.
SEGA produced their home version of Strider for the Mega Drive/Genesis, which was released in Japan on September 29, 1990, with subsequent releases in North America and the PAL region. It was advertised one of the first 8-Megabit cartridges for the system. SEGA also released a Master System version of Strider in North America and Europe in 1992, which was separately developed by Tiertex (the developers of the U.S. Gold-published versions).
NEC Avenue produced a PC-Engine version of Strider Hiryū, which was released exclusively in Japan on September 22, 1994. The PC-Engine version was released as a CD-ROM² title which requires the Arcade Card expansion. The PC-Engine port features an all-new stage that was not in the arcade version, as well as a newly recorded cut-scenes and dialogue, with Japanese voice actor Kaneto Shiozawa as the voice of Hiryu and Kōji Totani as the Grand Master. The PC-Engine version is notable for its long development process, having been planned in various formats, including the ill-fated SuperGrafx at one point.
A PlayStation version of Strider was produced by Capcom, which was first released in 2000 as a second disc which came packaged with the PlayStation version of Strider 2. This version was reissued separately in Japan on October 24, 2006 as part of the Capcom Game Books series, which included a strategy guide for the game.
The original arcade version was also re-released in 2006 as a title included in the video game compilations Capcom Classics Collection: Remixed for the PlayStation Portable and Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox.
Strider is fondly remembered, having spawned numerous fansites and retrospectives. Upon its release, Electronic Gaming Monthly was impressed with the Genesis port, devoting portions of three separate issues to it and awarding it the Genesis Game of the Year in 1990. Brett Alan Weiss of All Media Guide called it "a nice effort and a lot of fun for someone who likes to travel through a dark future Earth killing everything in his/her path with a giant sword", while also noting that "it does get a little repetitious using the same weapon over and over. And the sound your sword makes is annoying from the start."
An NES version of Strider was released exclusively in North America a few months after the arcade version's release. This version was produced alongside the arcade game and follows the same plot as Moto Kikaku's tie-in manga. A Famicom version of the same game was planned in Japan, but canceled.
Under license from Capcom USA, U.S. Gold and Tiertex produced a Strider sequel in Europe titled Strider II (released in North America as Journey From Darkness: Strider Returns) for various computer platforms, as well as the Mega Drive, Game Gear, and Master System. This European-produced sequel was unreleased in Japan. Capcom later produced another sequel, unrelated to the Tiertex-produced Strider Returns, titled Strider 2, which was released for the arcades and the PlayStation in 2000.
The character of Strider Hiryu also appears in the 1998 fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes, which was followed by Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes in 2000. Hiryu has also made appearances in other Capcom-produced games such as SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash, Namco X Capcom and Adventure Quiz: Capcom World 2. Hiryu was also one of the characters intended to appear in the unreleased 3D fighting game Capcom Fighting All-Stars.
Strider director Kouichi Yotsui left Capcom after its release. He later designed an unofficial, coin-operated sequel for Mitchell Corporation in 1996. Yotsui considers that game, titled Cannon-Dancer in Japan and Osman in the West, a "self-parody" of his work on Strider.
The British rapper Tinchy Stryder named himself partially after Strider, which he often played as a boy.
Kouichi Yotsui found inspiration for the game when he found himself on the toproof
- ↑ Capcom. Strider 2 (in English). PlayStation. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 13.
- ↑ Capcom. Strider 2 (in English). PlayStation. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 17.
- ↑ Capcom. Strider 2 (in English). PlayStation. Level/area: Instruction manual, page 18.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Tane, Kiyofume; Gaijin Punch (translation) (February 2009). "The Father of Strider Who Made the Game World Explode: Kouichi Yotsui Discography". Gameside (16). http://www.gamengai.com/cmnt_inf.php?id=2313&type=translation&p=2. Retrieved 30 Dec 2009.
- ↑ Scion. The Rumored SuperGrafx Conversion. LSCM 4.0. Retrieved on 21 Dec 2009
- ↑ カプコン ゲームブックス ストライダー飛竜 (Japanese).
- ↑ Spencer (2009-02-01). Strider Arcade Game Swoops On To Cell Phones. Siliconera.
- ↑ Plasket, Michael. Strider. Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved on 21 Dec 2009
- ↑ Horowitz, Ken (31 May 2005). History of: The Strider Series. Sega-16.com. Retrieved on 21 Dec 2009
- ↑ Fahs, Travis (20 Aug 2008). The Shrouded Past of Strider Hiryu. IGN. Retrieved on 21 Dec 2009
- ↑ "The 1991 Video Game Buyer's Guide". Electronic Gaming Monthly (15). October 1990.
- ↑ Weiss, Brett Alan. Strider - Review. AMG. Retrieved on 21 Dec 2009
- ↑ JAMMAショーに先がけて公開!「CAPCOM新作対戦格闘(仮称)」 (Japanese).
- ↑ Retro Gamer, issue 76. The making of Strider (pages 48-53).
- Strider at MobyGames
- Strider for Genesis at GameSpot
- Strider Hiryū at Museum of the Game
- Light Sword Cypher Mainframe 4.0
- Complete Strider video (Genesis) on archive.org
- Hardcore Gaming 101: Strider