Strider has remained a popular game among fans even today, this has led to the reboot of the game on the consoles of today. In 2009 a studio called Grin had the game in development for a reboot, but unfortunately the company went bankrupt and it never materialised. Double Helix Games and Capcom however have successfully revived the arcade classic, and released on last gen and current gen consoles, for us all to enjoy all over again. What the studios wanted to achieve with the new Strider was a less linear experience, as well as a longer lasting game to satisfy today’s demanding players. Kouichi Yotsui, also known as “Isuke” and original designer of the first arcade version of Strider, was not actively involved in the development of the 2014 game, but was said to be happy with the game’s faithful interpretation of the original.

Players control the series’ main character, Strider Hiryu, who fights in the metropolis of Kazakh City to defeat the game’s main villain, Grandmaster Meio. The player can freely explore Kazakh in search for weapons and items. Strider Hiryu’s main weapon is his Cypher, a plasma weapon that can take several properties.Upgrades for the Cypher along with health increases can be obtained by exploring Kazakh. From the start of the game you will notice how frail the Strider character actually is, even taking shots from the measly machine guns at the start of the game can lead to massive health haemorrhage. Double Helix has tried to combat this by having health packages scattered everywhere about the maps, you will need to avail of these every chance you get. Throughout the game you are probably no further than a half an hour away from some sort of boss battle resulting in a power upgrade, such as charging up your sword to deal with the shield carrying soldiers. Most of the boss battles are short lived affairs that demand no less than perseverance and a small measure of patience, especially if you are playing through the game on the higher difficulty settings. Strider seems to have a strange hold of me during these battles, and to be honest at any time I found myself repeating a section due to loss of life. I simply could not put the controller down until I had either slashed that boss to pieces, or completed the level.

Strider has a few concerns that are highly frustrating for the player, no recharging health bar, checkpoints are clumsily placed resulting in frustrating do-overs and finally the bosses are so unbalanced that you could kill one by hitting it with a roll of andrex, and the very next one you encounter leaves you feeling like ten Strider clones could not defeat it. Don’t get me wrong I have enjoyed playing through the game, but it needs some work to truly attract new fans. Environmentally I remember a snow covered level being showed off in development, that has not appeared in the final release. This was definitely a let down as Strider struggles on location variety throughout the game, which becomes boring after a short time. I know that many of you will say that they were trying to stay faithful to the original and that is fair, but when it comes to games today surely you want your game to appeal to a wider audience and not just a die hard fan base. I did find a few sections that showed promise in the game and added that little bit of excitement,  the zero-gravity areas in the research facility, the sky-high assault on the aerial battleship Balrog, and the series of warp gates that are my personal favourite. Also along the way you will have collectables to find that will enhance Strider somewhat, in the form of different modes.

Strider has been a difficult one for me because I love the style of the character himself, and the simplistic pick up and play controls that it has, coupled with the fast addictive gameplay. Sadly I was let down by the lack of location variety, major boss unbalance and the highly frustrating checkpoint issues. Double Helix could have easily included more substance to Strider and still remained just a faithful to the original, which would have allowed them to gain more fans to the series, thus growing it’s viability in the demanding marketplace today. Is Strider worth a go?, simple answer is yes, I think it is, just keep you expectations low and focus on how entertaining the gameplay is and you will get what you paid for.