Strider 2 (U. S. Gold) Review | ST Format - Everygamegoing

ST Format


Strider 2
By U. S. Gold
Atari ST

 
Published in ST Format #17

Strider II

Though coin-op conversions for the ST are commonplace, the deal has never worked the other way round. But now Strider 2 comes bursting with so much potential that arcade giants Capcom just couldn't turn their backs on it. The arcade game has still to be written, but for anyone who can't resist this classic acrobatic hero, here's your chance to play the game first - on your own ST.

If you never played Strider 1, boy have you missed out. The beauty of the game was theway the hero bounced and danced around, waving his giant sabre around like a Saddam possessed. And this same unhinged hero is your play character in Strider 2.

But instead of just another straightforward scrolling shoot-'em-up (yawn), this time round we get a novel exploration element. And the action scrolls according to your speed and direction, enabling you to explore the entire playing scenario at will. Thus part of the challenge lies in finding a route through the game and exploring tall towers or enemy installations to locate essential pickups.

Although Strider makes an extremely competent and fearsome enemy, his sabre is only capable of short-distance hits. If you stand still your sabre is replaced by a valuable gun, which can fire bullets horizontally across the screen.

Another useful weapon is your ability to transform into a robot. If you succeed in collecting enough bonus pods, you can transform yourself by hitting the Spacebar. When you're playing the robot you can only move horizontally and can't leap. But since the robot offers protection, if somewhat limited protection, from enemy bullets and destructive firepower, he's well worth the effort. With enough pods collected you can remain in the shell of the robot for an age before you're forcibly changed back again.

Effects

If you're looking for gigantic, state-of-the-art sprites, Strider is not the game for you. The main playing sprite is smaller than the one used in the original game, mainly in an attempt to increase memory space to accommodate the robot sprites. Animation is excellent. Climbing ropes, trotting along the ground and leaping into the air with sabre flashing are all done very smoothly.

The complementing soundtrack features the original Strider sound chip music, as well as accompanying in-action spot effects.

Verdict

Although Strider 2 is certainly a better game than the prequel - praise indeed - it just doesn't offer quite enough that's different or special. Animation is smooth, certainly, the range of bad guys is exciting, definitely, and the action is absorbing, beyond a doubt. Yet there's nothing to make Strider 2 really leap out at you.

After a summer of original releases like Vaxine, E-Motion and Resolution 101 we've come to expect something new and exciting in every game. In this respect, Strider 2 fails to deliver.

If you're still enjoying the first Strider, you'll go a bundle on Strider 2. But if you're after more than just another shoot-'em-up you're not in for a very messy Christmas - it's the time of year when original concepts are inevitably abandoned in favour of big-name licences and arcade games. In this respect, Strider 2 is the first of many.

Mark Higham

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