Strider

Strider

Written by Nathan Carter on 3/21/2014 for 360  

I can't remember the last time I played a 2D side-scrolling platformer where the main character moved at such breakneck speeds. I honestly think one of the original Sonic games may have been the last time I played a game where you are flying all over the screen such ridiculous speeds. From the moment you gain control of Strider, you are slicing and dicing any enemy that stands in your path.

Strider was designed for people who love speedrunning and fast gameplay. Weapon attacks can be performed with a simple button press and you will slice enemies in two before they even know what hit them. When you first start the game, you won't have much in terms of attacks, but as you progress you will learn more combos which can be used to get through certain areas and to help against more powerful enemies. Most of these attacks in the beginning are learned from beating bosses. Boss fights can be a bit easy depending on what difficulty level you are playing on because, in true arcade fashion, most of them follow a specific pattern. Learn that pattern and you are untouchable. I feel like most of these boss fights are practice runs, though some of the smaller bosses you encounter will show up as normal enemies as you progress.

The stronger you get, the stronger the enemies get. Health pick ups are plentiful at first, but you'll notice that they start spreading them out. One problem I had was that the game is so fast, and you don't really get any good notification that you are taking damage, that I found myself dying at times without even realizing it. Checkpoints are fair so you won't have to backtrack much after dying.

Strider also has plenty of ways to avoid enemies. Jumping around the screen and grabbing onto walls to get away is one of the best parts about the game. Everything Strider does just feels so smooth and so fun. There are so many ways you can chain and combo your attacks together that you start to feel unbeatable after awhile. I remember slide attacking a bunch of enemies, jumping in the air, slashing two turrets, running ahead while slashing some more enemies, jumping up to the wall and launching myself up while I slashed even more enemies above me. Right from the beginning the game is incredibly fun and just keeps getting more fun as you gain more powers and abilities. What's even better is that the game is very open allowing for a variety of ways to play. 

Strider is a 2D, side-scrolling platfomer, but what makes Strider so great is just how open the levels are. There isn't one path you need to take to get to your next goal which leaves you open to explore as you wish. Exploring does have its rewards as there are goodies hidden throughout the game. You also don't need to worry about getting lost as the HUD displays a map which is easy to read (for the most part) and points you in the direction of your next goal. If you miss a jump and fall all the way down to the bottom of the area, you won't have to spend much time making your way back up. Like I mentioned before, Strider is equiped with many ways to get around. Miss a jump and fall all the way to the bottom of the area? No need to worry as you can use your grappling hooks to grab a wall and quickly climb back up.

The world can be a bit too open at times and you may find yourself a little disoriented. The map usually helped me get back on track, but sometimes I was confused as to where I was and how I would get to the goal. Expect a lot of backtracking as well. There are some areas in the game that aren't open until you learn new skills. Luckily the game does a good job of sending you back to the area that you can pass with the new ability so you won't have to worry about running back and forth constantly. 

Another great thing about Strider is that it provides plenty of replay value as well. The game truly does have a great arcade feel to it and this is a game that I feel I could play through multiple times as I have done with many classic arcade games. There are plenty of unlockables such as costumes and other game modes to keep you coming back. This also seems like a perfect game for those who love to do speedruns. 

I played Strider on the Xbox 360. Before the game launched, I did notice some people worried about how it would hold up compared to its next gen counterparts. Thankfully I can say that the game holds up very well. The game constantly ran at a smooth frame rate and I didn't notice any frame rate drops at all. If they did happen, they were brief and unoticeable. The graphics and sound are great in the game as well and apparently include some easter eggs for fans of the original game in the form of some remixed music from the arcade original. Picking up a hidden item to hear a little tune play that made me feel like I was back in an arcade filled me with nostalgia. Those are the kinds of things that really make me enjoy games today. 

Double Helix showed everyone that they can bring a classic game to today's generation with their release of Killer Instinct last year, and they have done it once again with Strider. It's a fast-paced, action-packed 2D side scroller that I feel anyone can enjoy — even those who aren't fans of the 2D side-scrolling genre. It offers plenty of replayability and I'm very interested to see when speedrun videos will start popping up because this game was made for that. If arcade were still big today, I could easily see people gathered around a 2014 Strider cabinet waiting for their turn to play. It may be a downloadable title that you play on consoles, but it truly does feel like an arcade game, and a very good one at that. 

Double Helix has done it again. Late last year they did an amazing job of bringing back Killer Instinct, and they have done a great job of bringing another classic game onto next gen consoles for a new generation of gamers to enjoy. Strider is fast, fun, addicting and packs in a lot of content for people to enjoy. Fans of the old Strider looking for a new take on the game, or gamers looking for an exciting 2D side-scrolling platformer, really can't go wrong with this game.

Rating: 8.5 Very Good

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.

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About Author

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I have been playing video games for as long as I can remember. My earliest gaming memories come from playing Lady Bug and Snafu on my fathers Colecovision and Intellivision respectively.  It wasnt until I was 6 years old and played a Mortal Kombat 2 arcade machine in a game room at a hotel that I truly fell in love with a videogame. I have so many wonderful memories of my dad and I playing Mortal Kombat on SNES every night after dinner. Throughout my childhood NES, SNES, Gameboy and Sega Genesis were the loves of my life. Here I am 26 years old and still as much in love with videogames as I ever was. And for the record... I enjoyed the Mass Effect 3 ending... sue me  View Profile

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