I am almost ready to do a “Top 10 Sega Mega/Genesis Games” list. I have picked out the first 9 choices but i am having trouble finding a game worthy of the 10th spot. In my search i have played multiple games who all somehow fail to meet my standards of being on a list like this. People told me that this 10th or above game should be Strider, an arcade original action platforming game by Capcom that i had never played before. Strider was ported to many system like The Master System and PC Engine but the Sega Mega/Genesis version is supposed to be the best of the bunch but while i think Strider had its fun moments there are just so many things about the gameplay and presentation that is off-putting making it fall way short of making my Mega Drive top 10 list.
You play Strider Hiryu and your mission is to stop some evil space wizard called “The Master” from eliminating all live on earth an create a new superior live forms to habit the earth instead. Strider Hiryu lands somewhere in the Soviet Union which has become a puppet state of Master and he just starts slicing and dicing!
My first reaction?….”This sucks!”. The music is kinda awkward, you attack is like this crescent shaped white stuff or is it maybe a visual effect for swinging a sword? I don’t know, but then the jumping animation then comes along… Strider Hiryu jumps in a somersault almost every time he jumps, even for jumps where he doesn’t have time to do the whole somersault so it looks like he falls on his head but still he ends right into the standing animation. The game tries so hard to be cool with the “white stuff” attack and somersaults but it kinda fails and ends up as just bad feel.
Still, Strider is not all bad. After a while you get used to the games’ weird presentation and game feel. The controls are pretty tight and the game plays a lot like Castlevania, at least your jumping does since just like in Castlevania as you cannot change your jumping direction mid-air. The game is fast paced and you will be having fun slicing up hordes of weak bad guys. You can hang in ceilings and climb on walls which is very cool and fun but it felt clunky at times but overall the gameplay gets good once you get used to it. Strider has a sliding mechanic which is pretty cool and very useful if you get good at it which is a big plus.
The boss battles are kinda lackluster though and the level design for me is pretty weak. A big part of that are weird glitchy transitions like for when you enter an exploding building for a mini boss who you just have to spam to win without moving just as an example.
There are multiple difficulty setting in the game making it good for those just looking for a fun experience and those looking for a tough sadist time but to be honest, if you are looking for a difficult game you should maybe look elsewhere but if you really like the game then this is of course a big plus giving it plenty of lasting appeal.
Big sprites is something that was bragged over in the console wars of yore. In Strider they look good, but im just not a fan of the big character sprites. In an action game like this big characters just take up space on screen making you feel like the game is zoomed in. For me at least i wanted to zoom out at times to be able to see more of the environment around me to be able to react better.
Other than that the game has fine looking backgrounds and animations especially for a game made in 1990.
The music in Strider is pretty average. There are a few very cool tunes but sometimes the music changes mid level when some event takes place like i said with the entering of the exploding building but like i said it comes out as glitchy and seems unfinished. Not good enough.
Another problem are the sound effects. Some enemies produce sound while others don’t. For example you have 2 silent soldiers and some flying robot that also makes no sound but then another robots’ footsteps completely overwhelms everything else happening in the game and that noisy robot might not even be on the zoomed in screen yet. Kind of annoying
Overall Strider just lacks fun gameplay and its presentation in awfully average. The game tries super hard to be stylish and cool but i feel like the Mega Drive/Genesis was not quite there yet in 1990 compared to games like Comix Zone who was released in 1995 so i realize that i might be being unfair but still i have to rate it as it is…
As an early Mega Drive/Genesis title i can see that many people loved this game since the SNES was not even out yet and Strider looks so much better than NES games but i honestly cannot recommend Strider over many other games in the genre. Still you should give it a try if you love the genre and maybe you should revisit the game if it is a nostalgic title for you.
Music and Sound 6
Lasting appeal 7
Is it fun? 6,5
Overall 6,5 a ok game
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