Monday, February 24, 2014

Strider Review

I like ninjas. I like future sci-fi cyber punk settings. I like Metroid. I like giant robot gorillas. So naturally I loved Strider.

Strider is a 2D side scrolling action game were you play as a Strider named Hiryu, an assassin hired to take out the evil dictator of Kazakh City.

Strider Hiryu has some great moves and weapons at his disposal. His main attack is his cypher (plasma sword) which can be upgraded to use different properties. I won't go into detail because unlocking and figuring out what the new abilities do is one of the best parts of the game. Strider also unlocks other weapons, health, energy, and ability upgrades much like Metroid. Very much like Metroid. Exactly like Metroid. You search the map and reveal new rooms and pathways as you go. Also much like Metroid you'll be backtracking over your map as you unlock new ways to go through locked doors you couldn't pass before.

Where it differs from Metroid is the way you fight and this is key. Metroid and the more recent Shadow Complex are much more ranged weapon based, Strider is not. You will want to sprint up to your enemies as fast as you can and commence slicing and dicing. Lots of corridors have five to ten enemies in a row and instead of standing back and shooting at them you'll be running through them as fast as you can mashing your attacks ripping them apart before they start shooting you. Also every time you slash an enemy you fill a meter that allows you to unleash a bullet time like state where all enemies glow red and move very slowly while your attacks become much stronger and you pretty much rip everything to shreds instantly. Now if you get hit or go more then a couple seconds without hitting an enemy you'll lose meter so you'll want to mow down enemies quickly and avoid getting hit.

Strider has some awesome boss fights which include giant mecha dragons, giant mecha gorillas, female ninjas, crazy jet pack wearing bounty hunters ala Boba Fett and a bunch of other over the top awesome ideas ripped right from the early 90s arcades. One thing for sure is I had a hell of a lot a fun with the bosses and it made me realise how much I miss games like this.

The best part of the game though is the flow. Strider is fast. He wants to go fast and he has the skills to do it. The way he jumps, double jumps, dashes, and slides feels like it's ripped right from an anime. He also climbs. You can cling to any surface in the game allowing you to crawl up walls or along ceilings which is really cool especially when you enter rooms where gravity is reversed. The only problem is I wish he felt faster when he was climbing like he needs a dash move when he climbs. Sure pressing the jump button lets you do a small hop up the wall but climbing still feels slow compared to how well Strider moves when he's on his feet and it kind of kills the flow of the game a bit.

Strider has lots of replayabilty which is a good thing since it's a pretty short game. It took me about 6 hours to get through it on my first play and I screwed around quite a bit back tracking to explore and just have fun cutting dudes up. There is even an achievement to beat the game in under 4 hours. Still this is par for the course when it comes to Metroid style games and it ends up being longer then Shadow Complex or Super Metroid.

So all in all I loved Strider. I'm pissed I missed out on earlier incarnations of the game but really glad I got to enjoy this remake. It brought me some bad ass ninja action and for that I'm in it's debt. Also it made me realize Nintendo needs to hurry up and release a new 2D Metroid, none of this Other M crap either.