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Strider (NES)

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Strider
Nescover
NES Cover
Information
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Release Dates: 22px-Flag of Japan.svg Q4 1988 (Cancelled)
22px-Flag of the United States.svg July 1989[1]
Key Staff
Designer(s): Masahiko Kurokawa
Composer(s): Harumi Fujita
Artist(s): Marc Ericksen (cover art)[2]
Other Releases
Ports: Tiger Handheld
Compilations: Capcom Classics Mini Mix
(Game Boy Advanced)

Strider, developed for the Nintendo Entertainment System, is one of the main games in the series. For a long time believed to be a retooled NES "adaptation" of the Arcade game due to the technical limitations of the console, it was actually under development at the same time as the original coin-op.

The player assumes the role of Hiryu as he travels through seven different locations (Kazakh, Egypt, Japan, China, Africa, Los Angeles and Australia) eliminating hordes of enemies while seeking for clues to accomplish his objectives. This game differs from the others in the series in that, unlike the traditional action platformer, there is quite a bit of exploration and backtracking to previously visited areas. The player progresses through the game by obtaining key items, allowing access to previously-inaccessible areas or unlocking new destinations for Hiryu to visit. Due to this, stages are expansive and filled with respawning enemies, traps, and dead ends.

Text-based cutscenes advances the story in-between stages, based off the Strider Hiryu manga's plot, though with notable differences in a few of the characters' importance and fates, as well as a few extra side quests to extend game time and justify extra stages.

StoryEdit

NESLogo

In-game logo.

After having eliminated his own sister after she went mad, Hiryu decided to abandon the Striders organization and live peacefully in Mongolia. One day, Striders' Vice-Director Matic showed up, requesting that Hiryu return for one last mission. Hiryu's friend Kain had been captured by the enemy. Matic ordered Hiryu to find and eliminate him, and threatened to start slaughtering Mongolians if Hiryu refused. With no other choice, Hiryu agreed and returned to the Striders' base in the Blue Dragon space station.[3]

Hiryu agrees to find and rescue Kain, but decides against killing him. As soon as Kain is rescued, Hiryu is made aware of a dangerous brainwashing machine known as the "ZAIN Project", being under development by a corporation known as simply "The Syndicate". Realizing that both Kain and his late sister were used as testing subjects for the machine's mind control, Hiryu swears to put a stop to the project and their creators.

CastEdit


GameplayEdit

OverviewEdit

NESa

Screenshot from Stage 1.

Two numbers in the top left corner of the screen represents Hiryu's Health and Energy respectively. In most games these two terms are used interchangeably. In this one, Health is how much damage Hiryu can withstand before dying, while Energy provides power for different Tricks Hiryu learns throughout the game. After fulfilling a stage's objective, Hiryu will level up. This increases both meters' maximum total, as well as unlocking some of the many Trick abilities. Unlike an RPG, the game's leveling system is predetermined with a level 10 cap, and not determined by enemies defeated or experience.

The Blue Dragon station serves as the game's stage select screen. There are three different options to use: Transfer, which sends Hiryu to the selected location among the various on the map; Analyze, which is used to read messages on various disks found throughout the game in order to further the plot and unlock new areas; and Password, which gives the player a password for the current progression. As an interesting bonus, after giving the password, the game shows a sort of "Next On" blurb detailing the story thus far. The game splits itself into 10 different chapters or "Scenes", each with its own title and summary, much like a TV series.

Since the game is designed with exploration in mind, it features tube-like transports spread throughout each stage, helping the player move along or backtrack to previous areas easily. The player can enter from either above or below, and be transported along its length to another part of the stage (or even another stage entirely). Not all tubes allow entry from both ends, and certain tubes are strategically placed to send the player back to earlier parts of the stage, usually the very beginning.

ControlsEdit

Unlike the arcade game's acrobatics, this game's animation is much more restricted. Hiryu is only capable of walking forward or backwards, plus a basic vertical jump. Hiryu's Cypher is his main offensive weapon, being able to either strike once in front of him or raise it above his head by holding up, allowing to stab upwards at enemies on higher grounds. Other abilities in Hiryu's arsenal include:

  • Slide In - Hiryu's classic slide technique, though in this game he's unable to damage with it until he finds the Attack Boots. Hiryu learns this ability after his first level up.
  • Acceleration Jump[4] - When Hiryu runs down a slope, he speeds up. One can take advantage of this to jump farther. There are few parts on the game that allow the use of this ability.
  • Triangle Jump[4] - By jumping into a wall and then jumping in the opposite direction, Hiryu can perform a wall jump and reach places that are otherwise inaccessible. This technique is quite difficult to pull off in the game, and has become one of the game's main reasons for its infamous bad programming and unresponsive control.
  • Plasma Arrow - An ability unlocked by a Scientist during Hiryu's visit to Japan. By holding up the Cypher for 3-5 seconds, then pressing the attack button, Hiryu unleashes a plasma projectile in front of him. The technique is strong and cost no energy, but takes so long to use it becomes quite useless, as few enemies stay quiet enough to allow the hit.

TricksEdit

Tricks are special abilities Hiryu learns throughout the game, as he levels up. They are available in the menu screen upon hitting select. Each technique consumes a specific amount of energy when used.

Trick Learned Cost Use
Fire Lv.3 5 Shoots a fireball from the Cypher that travels forward in a straight line.
Medical Lv.4 10 Restores 20 points of health.
Spark Lv.5 5 Releases an electric ball that travels through the ground. It's best used in inclined ledges, where hitting enemies with the normal attack becomes troublesome.
Jump Lv.5 10 Allows Hiryu to jump higher than normal for a short time. It's relative early to obtain, allowing a quick replacement for the dreaded Triangle Jump.
Warp Lv.6 30 Allows Hiryu to warp back to the Blue Dragon from any point in the stage. Mostly useful to get out of dead ends or when lost.
Ground Lv.7 30 A quake-like attack that destroys all enemies on screen. Not really that useful considering there are few instances where enemies crowd the screen.
Medical 2[5] Lv.8 25 Restores 50 points of health.
Spark Ball[5] Lv.9 15 SP-Ball in-game. Releases a large electric ball that travels through the ground. Basically, an upgraded Spark.
Medical 3[5] Lv.10 50 Restores 150 points of health.

Power-upsEdit

Unlike the other games in the series, items in this one have a slightly more pivotal role, mostly thanks to the game's exploration nature. Backtracking onto previous stages (mostly Kazakh) in order to use a newly-found item or ability to get into new areas is common practice.

NesItem1
Energy Capsules

[6]

Usually thrown by defeated enemies, this item restores Hiryu's health points. There are two variations: smaller "pellets" restore 1 point and larger "energy balls" restore 10.
NesItem2
Attack Energy

[6]

Identical to the above, only it restores the energy points required for Tricks' usage.
NesItem3
Skull Sign A harmful item that sometimes comes out of defeated enemies or hidden areas on the walls. Once picked, Hiryu will lose 10 health points.
NesItem4
Boots Three special items that gives Hiryu different abilities: Attack Boots (yellow) gives him the ability to damage through his slide attack; Aqua Boots (blue) allows him to walk on water and Magnet Boots (red) allows him to walk up special flashing walls. They are hidden away in both the China and Egypt stages. Once obtained, these items are always active.
NesItem5
Keys Vital for progression, they are found after a boss fight or after accomplishing the stage's main objective. There are a total of 5 keys, each corresponding to numbered doors found on most stages. After getting one key, all the doors of its number are unlocked for Hiryu to progress. Once obtained, these items are always active.
NesItem6
Files Vital for progression, they are found in much the same way as the keys. They must be analyzed with the Blue Dragon's Analyze option to further the plot and unlock new locations for Hiryu to visit. They are 6 in total, each with a different character recorded within (Ryuzaki, the Commander, Kain, Director Kuramoto, Matic and Faceas Clay in that order).

CreditsEdit

Position In-Game Full Name
Game Design
PATARIRO Masahiko Kurokawa (黒川雅彦 Kurokawa Masahiko)
Advice
ALL
Character Design
VAMPIRE.M
TERUKUN
LINDA
Music Compose
MISSES TARUMI Harumi Fujita (藤田晴美 Fujita Harumi)
Sub Members
TANUKI Hitoshi Nishio (西尾仁志 Nishio Hitoshi)
MARIRINE
Programmer
ZAC
MAMIKVAN♥OTONA Masamitsu Kobayashi
BY CAPCOM

ReferencesEdit

  1. Nintendo. Complete Old Games List (Press Release). nintendo.com. Accessed from archive.org. Retrieved July 31, 2013
  2. Ericksen, Marc (November 30, 2014). "STRIDER HIRYU and his Plasma Sword FALCHION: The BLINDINGLY QUICK SWEEP of OBLIVION!!". retrogameart.com. Accessed June 29, 2015.
  3. Capcom (1989, NES). Strider (English). Instruction Manual, Pg. 4
  4. 4.0 4.1 Capcom (1989, NES). Strider (English). Instruction Manual, Pg. 10
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Capcom (1989, NES). Strider (English). Instruction Manual, Pg. 11
  6. 6.0 6.1 Capcom (1989, NES). Strider (English). Instruction Manual, Pg. 12

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