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Strider II (Master System)

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Strider II
St2mastercover

Developer

Tiertex Design Studio

Publisher

U.S. Gold

Release Date

1991 (EU)

Not to be confused with Capcom's official sequel, Strider 2.

Master System's Strider II is a port of Tiertex's Strider II for the aforementioned 8-Bit Sega console. This game was the first of three ports released on Sega's consoles, soon followed by the Mega Drive and Game Gear ones. The game keeps some remnants of the home computer games it was ported from (like the "Press Fire" on the title screen) but it includes a few upgrades as well, mostly on Strider's abilities and the level design. Unfortunately, it also retains the trial and error gameplay, overly aggressive AI enemies and buggy progamming, making it as hated by fans as all its predecessors (and successors).

Story-wise, this port is the last one to share the home computer's story, centered on a mission to rescue the Leader of Planet Magenta. While in-game cutscenes are added for the first time, they don't follow any continuity at all, being simply one-liners thrown back and forth between characters. Grandmaster Meio's mugshot appears in the cutscenes as he threatens Strider, but he's still missing from the game as an actual boss fight.

Differences with the original gameEdit

St2master1

Screenshot from Stage 1

Several features from the original coin-op game were reintroduced in this one. Strider recovers the ability to cling onto walls (as he could only climb walls and ropes/chains in the original) and his sliding attack technique. Both the laser rifle and robot transformation are replaced: pressing attack while standing makes Strider throw shurikens. These shurikens are infinite, but can only be two on-screen at the same time. The robot was replaced by a set of orbs Strider gathers throughout the stage, which activate during the boss fight by circling around him and damaging upon contact. Up to 4 can be found in each stage, and they are destroyed after inflicting enough damage to a boss.

Graphics-wise, the game looks much darker than the Amiga original, probably due to the limitations of the 8-bit console. It does use better sprites however, specially the one for Strider. In terms of gameplay, the port suffers from most of the same problems that made the Returns games infamous; buggy programming makes jumping and maneuvering over long gaps a difficult action, which coupled with the aggressive enemies rushing from both sides of the screen attacking non-stop, makes for an overall frustating experience.

Some of the most notable changes include:

  • Before starting, the game lets the player select between two difficulties: Easy and Hard.
  • The panel screen from all home computer versions is removed. At the top of the screen one can see, from left to right: Hiryu's lifebar, continues counter, timer for the stage and orb counter (each time the player finds an orb, a small gray circle appears there).
  • Items have new, simpler designs: life energy is now a red heart, for example. The Item Boxes from the original coin-op are reintroduced, found scattered all over the stages and containing the items just like before.
  • Some of the generic bosses from the home computers are replaced: Stage 04's flying head is replaced by the Wasp Robot, and Stage 03's Mother Alien is replaced by the mecha Dinosaur with a gun. Meio remains nowhere to be seen and the final boss is the jetpack-bound terrorist leader, albeit with a completely different sprite.
  • Stages are redesigned, and some even feature exclusive hazards: Stage 04, for example, includes diagonal descending ropes and areas where debris rains down on Strider.

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