More of the same

Strider 1 logo

WITH a metallic ching and a sampled yell of "Paw!", an animated figure runs across a landscape, chopping in half anything that gets in its way. Kill everything that moves and do not worry why. Controlling this figure is quite exceptionally frustrating. She - yes, it is a girlie - seems to have an incredible urge in jump 20ft in the air, doing so regularly if you do not point your joystick in exactly the right direction. Making a game challenging to prolong interest is all very well, but if things get impossible, no one will want to play it in the first place. We all know that getting the balance right is tricky, but Strider is close to the edge.

Technically, what we have here is a long way from being state-of-the-art. The playing area is a small rectangle way up the screen; the scrolling is almost awful.

Diagonal movement has been achieved by first moving the screen horizontally and then vertically in quick succession, with the result that the figure flashes between these two positions as it runs - the sign of a straight ST port caught red-handed. Which is a pity because the landscapes are all very well drawn and change sufficiently between levels to add that feeling of exploration. After the initial frustration of getting acquainted with the controls, you can start to appreciate the game. Strider reminds me very much of R-Type - you battle your way through several groups of baddies, picking up extra weapons until you meet the bigger-than-average baddie who lives at the end of the screen. In time-honoured tradition, this bigger-than-average baddies needs more-than-usual hits to die. Once you have done this, unless there is an even nastier bigger-than-average baddie to dispatch, you can move on to the next level. Sometimes the baddies is just a large sprite, sometimes it is a bouncing laser beam. Always it only needs a bit of dodging and extra shooting. Not what you might call intellectually stimulating, but fun in a nihilistic kind of way.

In between each level you are given words of encouragement from your enemies, along the lines of "This is it, you're going to die". These are accompanied by some Polaroid Instamatic photographs taken with a camera one of the programmers must have got for his birthday.

A simple and annoying tune bleeps its merry way throughout, accompanied by the aforementioned metallic clang and guttural cry as you wave your sword around in a threatening manner.

The speech at the start of the game says "You dare to fight me?" soon has you shouting back some suitable responses. Come back the AY8910, all may be forgiven.

Enough. Strider has plenty of puzzles to keep you playing, all of which are of the "remember what to do here" variety. If it had some decent programming, it would have been good.


Strider 1 logo Format Gold

US GOLD £19.99 * Joystick

Russia and the Russian army are going to look very different seventy years from now; or so Capcom and US Gold would have us believe, with this conversion of the highly successful coin-op.

It's the eternal struggle of Good versus Evil again, as you take on the persona of Strider Hiryu (Hurrah!) to do battle with The Lord (Boo! Hiss!) and his wicked minions, in various parts of deepest, darkest (and sometimes coldest!) Mother Russia.

After being dropped off in Red Square, you must guide Strider across platforms destroying KGB agents with your trusty sword (which moves so fast it's just a blur) before they fire at you. As well as moving left-to-right, you also have the ability to jump straight up, leap left-right (doing a rather gymnastic somersault in mid-air), crouch and slide (which looks a lot like an American baseball player sliding for a base). Using these moves you have to jump chasms and leap from platform to platform, destroying the guards and taking out any ground-based or flying installations that happen to get in your way.

Mid- and end-of-level guardians make an appearance, and discovering how to polish them off will pose you a couple of problems. You could try to make life easier by picking up a couple of extra weapons: such as a drone, carried onto the screen by an airborne alien who releases it if you destroy him. This drone then circles round you and fires boomerang--like shots that can be used to take out hard-toreach baddies.

The drone will also run along a platform occasionally, clearing a path for you. Other extra weapons include an extended sword, which gives you a limited number of huge, far-reaching swipes.

Make it to the end of the stage and defeat the end-of-level porky big 'ard monster, and you're transported to the icy wastes of Siberia for the next round where you'll have to fight off blood-thirsty dogs and the occasional mechanical gorilla. In the second and third rounds (for the third round, you're in a jungle in the southern lowlands, which are infested with boomerang-lobbing nasties) the action is pretty much the same: leap around the platforms, select the correct routes to take and destroy the end-of-level guardian.

Should you manage all this without losing all three lives (for each life you can take three hits, but any hit causes the removal of any extra weapons previously collected), and complete each stage of every level within the time limit (well, you didn't think things were going to be easy, did you?) it's back to Moscow to face the Grand Master of the Red Army.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

One of the main attractions of a coin-op is its graphics, and obviously, home users want graphics as close to the original as possible. Thankfully, Strider comes very close. Not only does it retain the impressive coin-op background graphics and sprites, but the smooth and fast animation remains too.

Sound is also good: the standard coin-op jingles are fine and effects throughout are satisfying, although the digitised speech is not the best ever heard.

JUDGEMENT

This is good stuff. Capcom did the biz with the original and USG have done the biz with the conversion, producing an enjoyable, playable, addictive and exciting game. Arcade fans who like their games spiced with plenty of action and rushing around are certainly going to enjoy this. It's no great mental exercise, but the immerse playability is guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of every arcade action fan.
'Red Andy' Smith


Strider 1 logo

Auf die Amiga-Umsetzung des irren Capcom-Automaten wartet schon so manche Action-Freak sehnsüchtig, aber zuerst waren mal wieder die ST-User dran. Macht Euch nichts daraus, dafür ist unsere Version des Messerschwingers eine Klasse für sich!

Das umgedrehte "R" im Titelschriftzug ist (spätestens seit Tetris) ein sicheres Zeichen, da" Gorbis Heimat im Spiel ist. Und tatsächlich: Im Jahhre 2048 hat ein blutrünstiger Irrer die Macht im Kreml übernommen! "Lord" nennt sich der Finsterling, und er ist zudem ein alter Bekannter unseres Helden. Da läßt sich Strider natürlich nicht lange bitten, schultert seinen Wunder-Säbel, und auf geht's!

Bis zum Domizil des Bösewichts ist es jedoch ein weiter Weg: Steile Mauern wollen erklommen, verschiedenste Extra gefunden, und zahlreiche Feinde besiegt werden. Glücklicherweise führt Strider sein Messerchen mit soviel Elan, daß ein kurzer Druck auf den Feuerknopf genügt, um alle feindlichen Wachen oder Roboter, die sich auf Armes-länge heranwagen, vom Schirm zu fegen. Kommt es dennoch zur Feinberührung (keine Sorge, dafür sorgt schon der gepfefferte Schwierigkeitsgrad), so reduziert sich der Energiebalken in der unteren Screen-hälfte. Ist die Power schließlich aufgebraucht, verfärbt sich der Schirm blutrot, und man darf sich unter Lords Hohngelächer von einem seiner drei Leben verabschieden.

Am Ende jedes der fünf Level lauert - wie könnte es anders sein - ein besonders bösartiges Obermonster: Wie gut, wenn man sich unterwegs mit den feinen Extras ausgestattet hat, die des öfteren von Flugrobotern durch den Himmel gekarrt werden. Hier gilt es, zunächst dem Robbi eins auf die Mütze zu geben, ein weiterer Schlag auf den Behälter - dann erst dart man sich an einem besseren Messer, einem Hilfsroboter oder einem Energieriegel (Mars macht mobil...) gut tun.

Technisch ist Strider ein sauberes Stück Programmierkunst, die Hintergrundgrafiken sind allerdings manchmal etwas eintönig. Dafür entschädigen jedoch die tollen Gegner und Explosionen, sowie das gegenüber der Atari-Version erheblich verbesserte Scrolling. Auch am Sound gibt es wenig auszusetzen, er begleitet das Spiel angenehm unauffällig und sorgt sogar von Zeit zu Zeit für eine kleine Überraschung - etwa zu Beginn, wenn eine tolle Digi-Stimme ungläubig die Frage "You dare to fight me?" in den Raum stellt.

Darüber hinaus ist die Animation des Heldensprites besonders schön gelungen: Wie Strider über den Boden schlittert oder mit einem tollkühnen Salto die tiefsten Schluchten überwindet, ist schon sehenswert!

Wer auf der Suche nach einem schönen Actiongame ist und seine Künste am Stick schon in leichteren Spielen unter Beweis gestellt hat, macht mit Strider einen guten Fang. Weniger erfahrene Spieler müssen ihr Heil in einem guten Gedächtnis suchen: Die Gegner tauchen zum Glück immer an gleicher Stelle auf!


Strider 1 logo CU Screen Star

US Gold/Capcom
Price: £19.99

It wasn't that long ago that I found myself with the Ed. down at our local arcade taking screenshots of this fabulous game. After the initial frustration of trying to focus on the over-large screen, attention was turned to what is probably the most athletic character in any game.

Strider is a superbly animated coin-op with a somersaulting character who sprints down cliffs and defies gravity with the aid of a suction cup. Inconvertible, it seemed.

Hardly hyped, hardly promoted, the conversion belies all thoughts of that. The static background graphics are identical to those of the arcade. Between level sequences have been retained; there is sampled speech and, best of all, the gameplay of Strider remains. He still pulls off more bewildering flips and turns than a cat with a hot-foot, minus some frames of animation and the sacrifice of some speed. But it looks fabulous.

The Kremlin dragon, one of the original features, still appears to cause trouble with all the favourite members of the Politburo transmuting into a giant communist worm, which needs stamping on. Guy, the fifty ton steel gorilla, waltzes on screen after that to pound Strider to a pulp with tank-sized metal fists. Level two has the land mines and snow wolves to make life a misery. On top of that is a jump so immense it takes almost overly perfect timing to negotiate.

Strider's main defence, and a mean one at that, is the huge energy field he flips around his head, the size of which can be increased by collecting various human and robot leftovers. Another very useful little implement is a collectable robot satellite which orbits Strider and fires intermittently, good for long range attacks. Life is based around an energy bar which depletes every time Strider has a brush with a nasty. Too many brushes and he's swept away another of his three lives.

The next ten minutes were spent looking for the memory expansion or the elusive "second" disk. There were none. Strider is a completely self sufficient one disk product - but a good one at that. It contains all the best ingredients for an excellent game. The gameplay is wonderful, there is always a hidden trap, nasty or puzzle needed to advance a section, and it is always worthwhile as none of the sections are repetitive. The game scores full marks for presentation, with sequences, cartoon pictures between levels and digitised speech. If Strider sounds a little bit on the awkward side to control, don't fret. The slanted eight-way control method applies, with up for jump and fire to use the energy beam. All other actions are dictated by the terrain and position of Strider, and ease of control which helps add to the playability of the game. They're not programmed in for decoration either. A lot of stages require careful positioning and the right actions at the right time to leap on to a wall or avoid falling objects.

A must for all arcade fans, and already looks to challenge Forgotten Worlds and Xybots for arcade conversion of the year.


Strider 1 logo

It's 2048 AD. Mrs. Thatcher's still ruling the roost, the Queen Mum's just celebrated her 147th birthday (even if she can't blow out the candles!) and the crew of the Starship Enterprise are still 'oldly going in Star Trek XXV. In Strider, US Gold reckon old Gorby's legacy of perestroika and glasnost will be but a fart in the wind of history.

US Gold's conversion of Capcom's classic coin-op Strider has those nasty Ruskies as the baddies again, with Strider, as a kind of futuristic Rambo, waging a one-man battle against the evil Commies.

It's essentially a horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up on five levels and your task is to infiltrate the Red Army and then return its secrets back to your superiors - thus saving the western world no less. To do so, you have to slash your way through all manner of foes including a giant robot ape, a pack of vicious sabre-toothed tigers, Russian guards and some lethal boomerang-throwing rock men.

RUSSIAN AROUND
Your enemies change with each level as does the battleground which is made up of various platforms. Strider;s mission could be a bit one-sided were it not for his superhuman agility. He runs, walks, jumps, crawls and defies the laws of gravity by somersaulting like some sort of Olympic trampoline champ.

The game kicks off in Red Square where you're dropped off by a futuristic hang glider. Soon after you land, you can activate a defence droid by pressing your fire button. The R2-D2-looking droid will then circle around you, firing off killer boomerangs to help clear your path. On this level you're attacked by Russian guards - once they're killed you've got to somersault over a well nasty crevice and navigate your way up one side of a peak and down the other, without getting zapped by a series of static cannons.

MONKEY BUSINESS
Prehistoric-looking sabre-toothed tigers attack you on your way to the snow-capped peaks of Siberia in level two, where you're also confronted by an awesome metal monkey android. If you survive that icy test it's off to the lowlands where you meet the rock men warriors slinging poisoned spears and chucking deadly-poisoned boomerangs.

The fourth level swops rocks for metal and is set on what looks like the back of a battleship with vertically pumping turrets, spewing out ammo like there's no tomorrow. Finally it's off to a stark industrial complex that's a dead ringer for the Axis Chemical plant in Batman.

Amiga review

Sean: Bit athletic, this Strider chappie. There can't be that many geezers, who, rather than whip out a Magnum and blast someone in the goolies, would prefer to leap into the air, do a double back somersault and back flip before landing and slapping the assailant round the cranium with a half brick. Still, I suppose it's pretty brassy in Russia, so all this leaping about malarky keeps you warm.

The major drawing point of Strider in the arcades was the athleticism of the main character. The US Gold conversion has obviously gone for smaller sprites than the coin-op, but the range of movement of Strider and the eight way scrolling has been preserved, and the game moves very fast and fairly smoothly.

On the graphics front, Strider is more colourful than the lav after an all-night party, and the major meanies are all beautifully animated. The enemies encountered are various, and a number of ploys must be used to progress through the game. This makes a change from just lobbing the axe about slicing and dicing, and adds to Strider's appeal. Sound in the game is fairly crap, mostly limited to an annoying grunt each time Strider attacks anyone, with the odd tune and sample elsewhere.

One tiny hassle was that if I happened to move the joystick in the wrong direction, Strider would leap into the air or jump in the wrong direction, performing a doubly 'posey sod' hyperflip manoeuvre which lasted several seconds and usually occurred whilst I was in the throes of battling it out with a major assailant. I was then sent back quite a way down a level, which often meant defeating major meanies twice or three times in a game - not to put too fine a point on it, a real pain in the arse.

All minor gripes though, as this is an excellent computer game, and one which will keep the most ardent acadester glued to their computer through the Autumn evenings. Better than a slap in the face with a used codpiece (I should hope so! Ed).

Atari ST review

Matt: Wahey! Strider was the coin-op sensation that rocked the nation a mere couple of months ago, and already it's out on 16-bit! Honestly, the lead times on these things is getting just ridiculously short. But who can complain though, when Strider is such a nifty little game? The little hero sprite, Strider, is the jumpiest somersaultiest and generally bounciest in history - but he's easily controllable too! Double ber-limey! Hardly fair sending him in to take on the Red Army on his lonesome, is it? Not so, chummo! Armed with a Luke Skywalker laser sword and the bouncingest Air Ware soles in Doc Marten history, he's one of those chaps who's never content to stand still when a quadruple-reverse-spin-back-flip-withdouble-axle-and-quarter--pike will do.

What we have here is a well - but not spectacularly - executed platform beat 'em up with a suitably wide range of backdrops, problems and baddies. What's slightly disappointing is the limited way in which some of these are animated, and the general tendency for each bit to be very hard for a while then a total cinch once you've worked out how to do it. I could be wrong though, 'cos Strider does have one rather neat and nifty little ace up its sleeve - Stridey himself. If ever a sprite was worth watching, it's him. (But don't try and imitate him at home kids! You know what happened to the guy who thought he was really that superhero Spiderman!)

It looks to me like US Gold has simplified the map of the game a bit from the coin-op, which lets it get away with a more limited range of sprite animations (for instance, instead of having seven or so gradients of hill for our boy to climb there are only about four) but even so the range of movements Stridey can make are nothing short of remarkable. The ST version shares with the Amiga the fact that you can sometimes access an unwanted (and therefore occasionally fatal) move by a slight slip of the joystick, but it's not quite as tragic because everything moves a bit faster here. In other words yes, to do get the occasional back-flip you didn't ask for, but not, it's not too frustrating because it doesn't last quite so long. For those who dislike the Amiga's grunt city soundtrack (i.e. everyone in this office) your more limited ST noises are a bit more socially acceptable too.

As I see it the ST version of Strider is a smart conversion, but it's only good-to-very-good rather than blooming brilliant, like the arcade Because of the speed the ST probably has it slightly over the Amiga, and some of it plays like a dream. My only nagging doubts are that though it's undoubtedly a very clean and professional program, it also seems like a bit of a thin one. If we believed in predicted interested curves (whatever they're meant to be) instead of thinking they're a load of pseudo scientific bollocks (which we do) I'd suspect it'd go straight downwards rather sharpish. The first two weeks would be smashing fun though.


One small step for man, one giant stride forward for US Gold

Strider 1 logo Gold Medal Award

US Gold, £19.95

It's 2048 and an evil Red Lord has come to power in Eurasia, the massive European and Asian landmass. Only one man can defeat him, Strider Hiryu, a super-fit athlete who uses a blindingly fast laser-sword instead of a gun.

Strider starts his mission by hang-gliding into Red Square, Moscow. No sooner than he lands than laser spitting robot insects and Soviet troops are rushing to attack. Some of the flying insects leave containers behind when destroyed, split one open with your laser-sword and a robot will orbit around you; press fire and it throws out a deadly steel ring.

Cut your way through enemy laser cannons, yet more troops and a laser generator to burst into the Supreme Soviet conference room. Kill one man here and all the rest swarm together to form a sickle-headed monster which rapidly crawls around the room after your blood.

Strider starts off with three lives, and three units of energy, but there's a strict time limit to hurry you up. If you complete a level, pictures flash up with your enemies taunting you and the evil lord himself cackles 'You dare fight me?!'. Level two takes place on the icy Russian steppes with plenty of wolves eager to sink their fangs into you. Then there's a massive robot gorilla, a power station packed with walking laser cannons, a minefield and helicopters carrying vicious ballerinas.

The next level thankfully takes place in much warmer climes: a jungle populated by boomerang throwing Amazon women, flying piranha and massive dinosaurs. Defeat the Red Lord's forces here and he sends the battleship Ballrog against you. This huge warship is weighed down with masses of gun turrets, troops, walkers and lots more beside. But even if you polish this off the Red Lord isn't finished, he has creatures from the third moon to defend him in a futuristic fortress. With all the powers of science and military arts behind him, would you dare to pit your supreme athleticism and sweeping sword against The Master?


Phil King Strider is simply one of the most playable games I've played. It simply oozes class with its wonderful front end, intermission screens, superbly crisp samples and a superlative level of gameplay. The graphics throughout are great, not quite up to Xenon 2 standard but then these have to scroll in all directions, not just vertically. What's more, you really do believe in the character, the scenario having a great sense of purpose to it with a wonderful atmosphere as a result. Easily the best US Gold game so far and just £20, amazing!
Robin Hogg My God this is absolutely fantastic! You can't fail to be impressed by the outstanding coin-op and upon hearing that it was going to be converted my first (printable) words were 'No way!'. I now eat my words with immense satisfaction as Tiertex produce an incredibly close conversion. The freedom of movement is what the coin-op is all about and this comes across perfectly - the dexterity of the Strider leaves you breathless as he leaps and slides through five of the most graphically impressive levels you're likely to see for some time. Other than the odd graphic omission from the coin-op I simply cannot find fault in Strider. Tiertex have achieved the impossible, converting the monster coin-op and making it the best platform game to date.
Stuart Wynne Strider is one game that could never be arcade perfect, not even on the Amiga, but amazingly Tiertex have produced a game which captures the overall feel of the coin-op to a quite startling degree. The graphics are extremely impressive, and most of the arcade enemies are here, giving an astounding variety to both graphics and gameplay. But despite the quality of the presentation, gameplay is not at all sluggish with combat fast and thrilling rather than slow and boring. I must confess to being one of the few people unimpressed by Forgotten Worlds but with this one there's no doubting US Gold have got it right. Even if you're not usually an arcade fan, check this one out - the SF backgrounds and scenario add more atmosphere to this game than a couple of dozen of your more usual, fantasy coin-ops. All in all, an utterly essential purchase.