Play as the ultimate ninja in the Strider HD reboot.

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by TRACY-MARK GORGAS / Special contributor to NWCN.com

NWCN.com

Posted on April 4, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 4 at 6:51 PM

Strider, an arcade classic, is now an HD reboot.  Developer Double Helix looks to bring the Capcom classic back for a new era of side-scrolling ninjas.  Is the HD reboot of Strider up to the task?  Will I go through all my quarters again?  Grab your red silk scarf and let's go.

Story

A dystopian future sets the stage for the tale of Strider, where the ninja assassin, Strider Hiryu, is sent by the Strider organization to assassinate the evil leader of Kazakh City.  The simple story that launched the original arcade game doesn’t get any added filler in the reboot.  Nor does it need it. 

Controls and Gameplay

The arcade classic was simple; move quickly, attack with your sword often, and occasionally defend or jump.  The reboot keeps that classic don't slow down, side scrolling, beat 'em up style of play.  Double Helix did add a "Metrovania" like element to the game, with locked rooms that you have no access to until you learn how to unlock them further along in the game.  This is a great addition to Strider giving it a slight adventure feel to the formula.  The cyber panther, eagle, and protection droid all make comebacks along with Hiryu’s classic powers.  An added touch is the new sword enhancements you can earn as you play.

Going through the foot soldiers you feel like an unstoppable ninja.  Boss battles on the other hand? Not so much.  Granted they are boss battles, so they shouldn't be easy.  I did find myself dying a lot more with the bosses than with the foot soldiers.  Bosses required you to learn their moves and patterns, no button mashing your way through these guys.  Even so, the balance between average bad guy and the bosses felt a bit off, like the latter might have been a tad overpowered.  Not unbeatable, but powerful enough I felt like I saw the fade to black a bit more than I should have.

Graphics and Audio

The HD makeover for Strider is gorgeous.  It’s a 2D plane, with 3D depth.  It gives Strider a look that harkens to Shadow Complex.  Even though it is great visually, the environment really doesn't change much.  It's all the same grey future-industrial look, thankfully Hiryu, his powers, and some of the enemies are colorful enough to break up the monotony. 

The voice acting isn't great, but it is full of fun cheesiness.  The actors seem to delight in overacting their sparse and simple dialog.  A nice treat here is the soundtrack.  Michael John Mollo took songs from the original soundtrack and made them modern.  He kept the 80's synth base and built in layers of sound to give it the feel it needs to keep up with a cyber fast ninja.

Overall

Strider is an awesome blast from the past.  Double Helix tapped into all the right elements of the classic Strider and built on it with new elements to please any twitch style, beat 'em up player.  For most of the game I felt like an unstoppable ninja.  Seriously how can you not have fun fighting on top of a flying dragon?  The overall balance of the average attacker and the boss battles felt off enough that had this been an arcade machine, I probably would have blown through my allowance and lunch money in no time.  Even so, it was fun.  I would have liked to have seen more than just the city background too, considering the classic did have jungle and arctic areas, it would have been sweet to see those locals updated. 

A great reboot of a classic from Double Helix!  I hope Strider does well enough that they will get a chance to dive into retro reboots again.  Fast classic action adventure, mostly great visuals, great music, with some in game balance issues, Strider earns a strong 3.75 out of 5.

Strider is rated E10+ for everyone 10 and older for Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, and Mild Language by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).

For more information see the Strider web site.

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