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Strider II

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Strider II
Computercoverstr2
Cover Art
Information
Developer: Tiertex Design Studio
Publisher: U.S. Gold
Release Dates: Flag of Europe.svg November 1990[1]
Key Staff
Designer(s): Andrew Ingram
Composer(s): Mark Tait
Programmer(s): Dave Healey (Amiga)
Paul Cole (C64)[2]
Danny Whelan (Spectrum, Amstrad)[3]
Artist(s): Andrew Ingram
Blue Turtle
Wayne Billingham (C64)[2]
Other Releases
Ports: Master System
Mega Drive/Sega Genesis, Game Gear
Compilations: No Limits, Capcom Collection
Superheroes

Not to be confused with Strider 2, the official sequel made by Capcom.

Strider II is the first sequel of the original coin-op, designed by British company Tiertex simultaneously for the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum, and released in 1990. The game was later ported to the Master System, Mega Drive/Genesis and Game Gear; the latter two reaching North America under the title Journey from Darkness: Strider Returns. A version for the Amstrad GX4000[4] and a port for the Atari Lynx developed during 1991[5] were also announced but never released.

Assuming the role of a nameless Strider simply known as "The Warrior" (later identified as Hinjo[6]), the player travels through five stages (Forbidden Forest, Castle Metropolis, The Alien Depths, The Rooftops and the Master's Prison Ship), overcoming obstacles and enemies on the path to reach the stage's end boss.

Strider II and its ports are well known and despised for their poor quality, something even the creators admit: graphics are washed out and darker, a stark contrast with the colorful world of Strider; gameplay is centered around trial & error, something even the design team admitted was a mistake; and the experience is often marred by the fake difficulty, mostly from the overly aggressive hordes of enemies that crowd the areas and the non-intuitive stage design.

With the release of Capcom's own Strider 2, this game has been removed from official continuity.

StoryEdit

After returning victorious from the Soviet Bloc, The Warrior is called back to help the inhabitants of Planet Magenta. Their female leader has been kidnapped by alien terrorists, who are now holding her planet to ransom. The Warrior is given weapons by the Magentans in order to stand a chance: a high-velocity "Gyro Laser" rifle and a matter converter, which transforms him into a tank-threaded robot after being charged-up.[7] Strider then must pass through 4 areas in order to reach the terrorist's Prison Ship, where the world leader is held captive.

Worth noting that the part about the Soviet Bloc seems to be a nod to the fabricated backstory found on the home computer ports of Strider, which described its protagonist as an agent sent to infiltrate Red Square in order to procure enemy secrets.[8]

GameplayEdit

OverviewEdit

AmigaRet1

Screenshot from Stage 2.

For the most part, the game plays similar to the home computer ports of the first Strider. Much like those games, a panel covers the lower portion of the screen decorated with two artworks at each side (the Strider and the robot he turns into). The panel encases the health meter, energy meter (for the robot), lives, score and stage's timer. Unlike the original coin-op, health is represented by a grey bar, which is depleted as the player receives damage.

The Energy bar is refilled by collecting special energy items scattered throughout the game. During the stage's boss fight, Strider will transform into his robot form. The energy bar will then act as the robot's life, and if its depleted Strider will return to normal. The robot has a very limited set of moves, which makes most boss fights needlessly difficult, considering most of them are either airborne or on uneven grounds.

Stages at first are mostly linear and simple. The few alternative paths are usually dead-ends holding Energy items, and there's not much reason to deviate from the straightforward path. Later stages become maze-like, proceeding from top to bottom by choosing from various paths, many of whom lead to dead-ends. Enemies spawn continuously and attack aggressively. Flying mecha eagles are notably troublesome, as they fly around the screen before swooping down at Strider for a suicide assault, inflicting a good amount of damage.

ControlsEdit

AmigaRet2

The Hinjo-bot.

Some of the abilities from Strider are present: The Strider can jump acrobatically much like Hiryu in the original game, albeit controls aren't as tight or precise, making maneuvering during long jumps much more difficult. Strider can also attach and climb walls, ropes and chains, but he can't cling onto ceilings. Also missing from the original coin-op is the sliding kick technique.

The Cypher is used to attack up-front, though it is only activated while running or in mid-air. If one attacks while standing still, Strider will use his Gyro Laser rifle instead. It has infinite bullets and full-screen range, making it useful to clear out enemy clusters from afar.

In his robot form, the Strider is restricted to moving only forward and backwards, and shooting a laser beam straight ahead of him. He can't jump, climb or duck at all.

Power-upsEdit

All items have a big square form that makes them hard to miss. They can be found lying on the stage, often on the alternative dead-end paths.

RetItem1
Life Icon Restores some life. They come in two different sizes.
RetItem2
Energy Icon Fills up the energy bar needed for the robot mode transformation. These are usually hidden in alternative paths.
RetItem3
Orb Icon Upon getting it, an orb starts surrounding Strider, destroying anything that comes into contact with it. In a sense, seems to be the replacement for the Options in the original coin-op.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Webb, Trenton (December 1990). "Coming Attractions". Amiga Format (17): Pg. 19
  2. 2.0 2.1 Games That Weren't 64. "Creator speaks: Wayne Billingham", from the California Games 2 article. Accessed October 3, 2014.
  3. Danny Whelan reply, posted October 26, 2008. Tiertex Facebook Group. Accessed August 18, 2015
  4. Leadbetter, Richard (December 1990). "Review: Strider 2". Computer + Video Games (109). Pg. 121.
  5. Staff (July 1991). "Atari Attack". Raze (09). Pg. 20
  6. U.S. Gold (1993, Mega Drive). Journey from Darkness: Strider Returns (English). Instruction Manual, Pg. 1.
  7. U.S. Gold (1990, Amiga). Strider II (English). Instructions Manual
  8. U.S. Gold (1989, Amiga). Strider (English). Loading Instructions.

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