C&VG1st September 1989
Published in Computer & Video Games #94
One of the hot coin-ops of the moment is Capcom's Strider, a highly original action adventure in which the player takes the role of Strider, an athetic commando of the future who is on a solo mission to infiltrate all five levels of Eurasia and destroy the evil tyrant who resides at the end of the last level.
The coin-op features marvellous gameplay and wonderful gameplay and wonderful graphics, which have been captured perfectly in US Gold's timely computer conversions.
At the start of the game Strider flies into Eurasia on a hang glider, drops to the ground and from then on is on his own. The terrain is hazard-packed, and Strider has to climb gantries by leaping up and swinging over scaffolding, ascend walls and run up very steep hills.
As you can imagine, invading an enemy country of the future is no piece of cake, and there's an army of security droids, guards and automatic defence systems primed to destroy any intruder. If Strider is shot or touched by an enemy, a chunk is knocked off his energy bar, which strinks towards a fatal zero - so repeated hacking with his mega laser sword is the order of the day.
To help out, friendly robots can be collected by slicing open the supply packs that are dropped in at regular intervals during the mission - these mimic Strider's movements and shoot out deadly laser bolts. The only problem is that they have a limited charge, and they disappear after a short space of time. Extra sword power can also be picked up, as well as extra energy.
As Strider progresses through the game, hazards become more frequent and the enemy more aggressive. On the first level - the city - Strider encounters a muscle-bound champion who leaps and bounds around - destroy him and it rains fire, forcing Strider to run for cover before he's burned alive. Next comes a reactor which has to be blasted to open a trapdoor to an underground complex. Laser beams bounce out of the centre - you've got to find a safe place quickly and smash the core. More hazards are dodged, and Strider enters a conference room, only to find that all the officials present combine and turn into a giant mechanical snake with a deadly sickle for a head. And this is just the first level!
Level two is a snowy landscape and later levels have plenty of surprises in score, including boomerang-wielding Amazon women, a pair of ferocious dinosaures and a giant machine that shoots laser bolts everywhere. The player's reflexes are certainly tested to their utmost. But even though the game is hard, it's highly addictive too, and you repeatedly return to see whether you can get just a little bit further.
Quite frankly, I'm amazed that the programmers have been able to cram so many of the original machine's features into this ST conversion - even down to the title screen and between-level intermissions. Just about everything from the arcade game is there, and, more importantly, the "feel" of the coin-op has been faithfully reproduced: Strider slides, climbs, leaps and cartwheels across the landscape just as he does in the arcades.
The graphics are simply stunning, with beautifully drawn sprites and backdrops, and although the scrolling is slightly jerky, you don't really notice during the game because there's so much going on - the action is fast and frenetic. The sound's good too, and there's also speech, with extra speech and digitised sound effects for those with a double-sided drive!
The Amstrad version is also excellent, and although the slide option has been excluded due to memory restrictions, it's an extremely fast-action game that deserves a place in every Amstrad owner's collection.
Fast action, great graphics and addictive and challenging gameplay make Strider the best Amstrad game around.
The best conversion from US Gold to date, and an utterly brilliant game in its own right. Whether you've seen the coin-op or not, check this baby out.