Those pesky Russkies are at it again in US Gold's latest Capcom conversion.
The game is set in the year 2050, when the Russian army has advanced to such a degree that there is only one man who can overcome the daunting powers of evil - and his name is Strider.
Unfortunately, the good Mr. Strider is under your control, so the likelihood of good indeed winning the day seems less certain after all.
Strider is based around that eternal battle between good and evil with all the action set across the plains of Russia - from the coldest depths of Siberia to the bustling KGB zone of Red Square. The objective is to fight the Lord and all his minions across four levels of horizontally-scrolling action.
The game starts with you being dropped off in a futuristic Red Square where you use your trusty and effective sword to lay into all KGB agents who fire at you.
Strider has one speciality which makes him perfect for the job - he's an acrobat capable of some astonishing movements. He can leap unnaturally into the air, somersault, slide along the floor and jump in all directions so that - with a little skill and judgement - you can avoid attack from all your Russian enemies and leap from one platform to another with perfect ease.
The middle and end of each of the four levels has a guardian who must be defeated before you can progress any further. It takes a while to figure out the best way of polishing him off but with practice you soon learn where you need to stand and fire for the best results.
Extra weapons have been included to make these challenges a lot easier. At strategic points along the way, you can lay your hands on a super-long sword and there's even a drone to be picked up. All weapons are lost whenever you're hit, although it takes three hits before you lose one of the three lives with which you began the game.
The four levels take you through Red Square, the ice fields of Siberia and a Russian jungle, with magnificent guardians in each. These range from Strider-hungry dogs to a giant mechanised gorilla.
Surprisingly, the horizontal scrolling smooth and fast - no mean feat on an ST - and this really does enhance the gameplay. Strider's acrobatics have been done brilliantly, so that all his somersaults are perfectly smooth without any hint of jerkiness.
End of level guardians move more sluggishly than everything else so that although they're easily the most impressive-looking of all the graphics they don't have quite the same appeal.
Strider is a brilliant arcade game and US Gold's conversion has undoubtedly done it justice.
There are a lot of games appearing on the market which incorporate great visuals and a host of impressive sound effects but very few are as playable or as immensely addictive as this latest one.
With a short burst of sampled sound, loads of animation and graphics taken straight from the coin-op, Strider scores well in all departments.
If you're one of those people who enjoy a game which has lots of action and violence then Strider is definitely up there with the best of the rest of them. It might not appeal to the strategists out there but who cares - a bout of blasting is far more fun and a lot less taxing on the brain.