Way back in 1989, Capcom released a little arcade game called Strider. Created by Koichi Yotsui, Strider would go on to become a true classic of its generation both in the arcades and on the home consoles. Revered for its fast paced action and insane acrobatics, the title set a standard that few other games within the genre have ever managed to meet, let alone exceed. Surprisingly, for a game as revered and successful as the original, sequels to Strider have been surrounded by controversy as numerous titles and spinoffs have arisen from various developers, all claiming to continue the Strider legacy. The only “official” sequel that is acknowledged by Capcom is 1999’s Strider 2 for the original PlayStation (and an arcade port) though other titles have been released referencing and “honoring” the Strider-name including Strider for the NES, Strider II from US Gold, and Osman from the Mitchell Corporation. Diehard fans of the series and its main character have been craving a new chapter of the series for years; unfortunately, thanks to licensing issues / disputes, that sequel is likely never coming. Perhaps the best alternative that we are going to get is Square Enix’s Moon Diver.
Gamers can pretty much think of Moon Diver as the spiritual successor to the Strider franchise. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of the original game will immediately notice its influence upon seeing this game in action. Moon Diver is the brainchild of Koichi Yotsui, the creator of the original arcade classic. The new game paints a bleak image of the future. Set in the 22nd century, on the third planet from the sun, mankind stands on the edge of extinction. A young boy by the name of Faust is “blessed” with the power to breathe life into inanimate objects, including machines. Using his unique power, Faust creates a deadly army of machines and sets out a quest to completely destroy mankind and claim the world as his own. After centuries of war and devastation, Faust’s mission is quickly approaching completion. In a last ditch effort to save humanity from being completely wiped out, a group of specially trained ninjas emerged with instructions to launch an attack against Faust and save humanity. These ninjas, known as Moon Divers, are both the last and best chance for mankind to overcome the oppressive machine force that had nearly destroyed them.
There are four Moon Divers for players to choose from: Seyfert, Hitori, Tolby, and Ourion. Each player has access to the same moves and abilities but may differ slightly in the distribution of their skill points. There are three categories for skills amongst the playable characters, those being HP (health), MP (magic), and POW (strength). As you progress through the game and defeat enemies, your character(s) will earn experience points which will build your chosen ninja up over time. In addition to the natural progression of stats given as you gain each level, players are also awarded creation points which can be distributed as they see fit to further strengthen your character. The natural leveling of the character abilities differs for each one. Tolby for example is nearly perfect well rounded and will gain stats evenly while Hitori’s progression will focus more on strengthening his magical abilities. This gives players a slightly altered experience when playing as each one and the ability to mold a character to their personal liking.
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