PLATFORM: PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, PC (Reviewed)
ESRB RATING: Teen
DEVELOPER: Double Helix Games
BUY IT FROM STEAM: Here!
For our latest review I’m handing over to Team MCP’s R. Cummings, who’s tackling Double Helix’s excellent reboot of Capcom’s classic Strider. Sit tight, ladies and gentlemen, as the good Mr. Cummings takes us through a story of cyber-ninjas and dystopian future-Commies…
I’m an old fart. I was 22 during the Great Videogame Crash of ’83, though I was more into PC than your NESs and Segas. My first PC was a Texas Instruments TI-99/4A. followed by the Commodore 64, then moving on to PCs as we know them today. I liked simulations and adventure games more than arcade action games, and was weaned on a keyboard and mouse, not a controller.
This is a long way of saying that I’m slightly shite at Metroidvania-style games. I like playing them. I love watching people who are good at them play them, but I never got the knack. Still, this reboot of Capcom mainstay Strider seemed intriguing enough for me to hitch up my old man pants and give it the ol’ college try. The original Strider was released in 1989 by Capcom, and the property still has a large fanbase. Y0u play as Hiryu, a futuristic ninja/assassin and member of the elite Strider corps, fighting the forces of Grandmaster Meio in the Socialist dystopia Kazakh City, a premise this new game reprises.
But it’s not the story that’s appealing here: it’s the action. The game wastes absolutely no time getting to the goods, dropping you into the fray from the very start. Armed with only a sword and the ability to jump, you’ll find yourself slicing and dicing your way through robotic enemies the second you land in Kazakh. This time, however, you have to earn your abilities. The first one is very easy, the ability to slide unlocked by beating a minor trap, which can be used against enemies and allowing you access to the low vents dotted around the place (Apparently Kazakhi interior decorators have some kind of fetish). Later abilities, however, are harder to get and often involve tackling the game’s various bosses.
The boss battles are something else. They’re difficult and sometimes frustrating, but fans will relish taking on the robotic gorillas and dragons from the original. Some can be beaten with mad button-mashing, but some require pattern-watching, a bit of problem solving, and judicious use of your most recently acquired powerups. All the bosses are nicely animated, as befits a gorgeous-looking game. The city looks amazing, swarming with activity and background animations that match the game’s breakneck pace. Hiryu is a blast to play as your new powers and abilities come to life with bursts of colourful mayhem.
While there are criticisms, they are fairly minor on the scale of things. I’ve never been a fan of checkpoints, and while Strider is generous with the health power-ups the odd checkpoint layout often leads to you having to replay large sections of a level. The maps can be confusing and unintuitive, leading to instances where long sections merely reward you with a collectible when they look like they should further your progress. The voice acting also could’ve definitely used some tuning up.
However, these are minor complaints. Strider is a fine resurrection of a beloved classic, and an unapologetic, action-packed throwback to the side-scrollers of yore.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars