He slashes, springs, slides and climbs! Every single action he takes is superhuman! Here comes the super-A ranked strider called "Hiryu"!!
—Game description from the X68000 version.
Strider is a stylish 1989 action/platforming game by Capcom about a Ninja with an incredibly badass sword. The game features our hero Hiryu as he takes on the "Grandmaster", an entity from another galaxy that has decided to conquer the Earth. The arcade game was ported to many systems, including the Sega Genesis, where it was one of the system's first Killer Apps, and the first game to be released on an 8-megabit cartridge.
The arcade version of Strider was actually the product of a three-way collaboration between Capcom and manga studio Motomiya Kikaku, which also resulted in a separate NES game and a single-volume manga version. The manga and NES version follows Hiryu, as he is forced out of retirement to track down and eliminate Kain, a fellow Strider and friend who has been compromised by his capture. Hiryu must travel around the world, from enemy bases to a moving train and from New York to China. During his mission, he uncovers a conspiracy that involves the Strider organization. The NES version understandably has a much deeper story than the more-famous arcade version, but suffered from many programming and control errors. Notably, the NES version was never released for the Family Computer in Japan, in a bizarre reversal of No Export for You.
The game naturally inspired a number of imitators and similar games, such as Run Saber and Shadow of the Ninja. One of these, Osman, was created by the same designer of the original and is considered its Spiritual Successor. In 1990, the European-based company U.S. Gold produced an officially-licensed sequel titled Strider II, which was originally released for various home computer platforms in Europe (specifically the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum). The game was remade in 1992 for the Mega Drive with redesigned stages and play mechanics much closer to the original arcade game. This was that version that was released in North America under the title of Strider Returns: Journey From Darkness. An 8-bit Master System version of Strider II was also released, with a corresponding American release for the Game Gear under the Strider Returns title.
The series remained silent until 1998, where Hiryu was included as a playable character in Marvel vs. Capcom Clash of the Superheroes. Hiryu's speed, easily-chained combos, zone control, and full-screen Limit Break made him a favorite of Scrubs and "Stop Having Fun!" Guys alike. In 1999, Capcom partied with Strider 2, a Playstation follow-up to the arcade game where Hiryu once again faces the Grandmaster as well as a new foe, the renegade Strider Hien. Since then, Hiryu and his enemies have appeared in Namco X Capcom; notably, the Grandmaster gets the honor of being the last Big Bad to be confronted before the Biggest Bad herself. While not present in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 due to copyright issues, Hiryu did join the line-up of its Updated Rerelease, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
- Audible Sharpness: SWHING!!
- Bishonen: In Marvel vs. Capcom and beyond.
- Brought to You by The Letter "S": The kanji on Hiryu's outfit is the head character on his name (飛 or Hi).
- Strider Kain has a "C" (implying that his name is meant to be "Cain") and Matic has an "M".
- Cool Sword: The cypher, specially in the manga and Strider 2.
- Crossover: Hiryu appeared as a challenger in the game Adventure Quiz: Capcom World 2. He also appears as one of several guests in Ken's stage in Street Fighter Alpha 2.
- Evil Plan: The whole story of the manga is revealed to have been the work of Matic, who started it three years before its beginning as a way to get enough power and resources to Take Over the World.
- The Great Politics Mess-Up: The Soviet Union still exists in the 2040s and the country of Kazakhstan is referred by its former name of Kazakh SSR in both arcade and NES games, as well as the manga.
- Heroic Mime: In the arcade game, Hiryu says only one or two phrases: "Take me to your boss!", and calling the aerial battleship a toy.
- Job Title: English title.
- Ninja: The Striders aren't ninja per se, but they're pretty damn close.
- Ninja Run: Hiryu's dashing animation in the NES game, Strider 2 and all crossover appearances.
- Nintendo Hard: Both the NES and the original arcade games are really hard due to Hiryu's funky hitboxes. The arcade has a extra whammy of not being able to control Hiryu mid-jump. The final stage in the original arcade game is almost impossible to complete without excessive credit munching.
- One-Man Army: The Striders are billed as being as such. The lowest ranked guys in the group can fight on par with entire special force units.
- A Protagonist Is Ryu
- Reformulated Game:
- The arcade and Famicom versions were developed in tandem. Strangely, the Famicom version was canceled despite the fact that it was heavily promoted by Moto Kikaku's tie-in manga, although it eventually saw a U.S.-exclusive release on the NES.
- Strider II, the U.S. Gold-produced sequel, was remade completely when it was released for the Mega Drive and Master System.
- Scarf of Asskicking: Conspicuously absent in the original arcade game.
- Sleeves Are for Wimps: Hiryu displays his well-toned arms proudly.
- Spell My Name with an "S":
- The name of the flying airship in Stage 3 of the arcade, "Ballog", is an obvious mistranslation of "Balrog" (this was corrected in Strider 2).
- Strider Kain has an uppercase "C" on his ninja outfit (matching the "飛" (Hi) in Hiryu's and the "M" on Matic's), which seems to suggest that his name is supposed to be "Cain", not "Kain".
- Ouroboros is spelt "Urobolos" in the Genesis in-game sound test and manual.
- In the NES game, there's "Yugdesiral", which should actually be Yggdrasil.
- Spiritual Successor: Osman was directed by Isuke, the same director who worked on the arcade version of Strider. Isuke also worked on Moon Diver, essentially a remake for Play Station 3 and Xbox 360.
- Theme Naming: In Marvel vs. Capcom, Hiryu's moveset is heavily influenced by legendary swords and items (Ame no Murakumo, Excalibur, Gram, Vajra) and mythology in general (Ragnarok, Ouroboros, Legion).
- Wall Crawl/Ceiling Cling: One of the iconic elements of the series. In the main series and crossovers, Hiryu uses his Climb Sickle to climb to any surface and ceiling. In the NES game, he can move up specific glowing walls/ceilings with magnetic boots.
- Wall Jump: An ability in both the NES game and Strider 2. Much loathed in the former due to funky controls.
The arcade game and sequel.
- Adaptation Expansion:
- The Genesis port has some improvements from the arcade version, such as having a unique tune for the Stage 3 theme (some variants of the arcade version reused the Stage 1 theme) and a greatly expanded ending sequence.
- The PC Engine port has an optional stage that was not in any other port of the coin-op version.
- Advancing Wall of Doom: The third stage in the first game has a pretty frustrating one, where the slight lag in moving will end up with a crushed Strider.
- Always Someone Better: The main reason behind Hien's motivation to defeat Hiryu; he's jealous that someone so young could be talented enough to earn the highest honor bestowed to a Strider and the praise that came with it.
- Anime Chinese Girl: The Kuniang trio: Ton Pooh, Bei Pooh and Sai Pooh.
- Assist Character: The Options in the first game:
- Badass Boast: The Grandmaster in the final level of the first game:
"I shall raise the city up to the sky and rid the earth of all creatures! I will create a race to fill the new earth--all sons of old gods, die!!!"
- Bald of Evil: The Grandmaster.
- Battle Boomerang: The Amazons from the 4th stage uses either this or axes.
- Battleship Raid: The Balrog levels in both games, which both include fighting the ship's core, starting a chain reaction that brings it down, and dueling their respective captains in escape ships.
- Big Bad: The Grandmaster, in both games.
- The Dragon: Solo in both, Hien in the second.
- Bilingual Bonus: In the first game, the names of the stages are spelled in Cyrillic, Hebrew and Nordic letters. In fact, the only time the Latin alphabet is ever used is for the fourth stage's location.
- Boss Game: Strider 2. There is a wide variety of enemies but the stages are very short and the sub-levels almost always end with a Mid Boss battle.
- Boss Rush: The final stage in the first game. One of the bosses can be skipped, but the repeat of the metallic dinosaur is nearly impossible without excessive credit munching, despite a simple pattern.
- Bounty Hunter: Solo and the Kuniang team.
- Career Killer: Solo is also a hired hitman.
- Canon Discontinuity: The Capcom-developed arcade version of Strider 2 is a direct follow-up to the arcade game, and completely ignores the U.S. Gold-produced sequel, Strider II/Strider Returns, that was released for home computers during the early 90's.
- Compilation Rerelease/Embedded Precursor: Strider 2 came packaged with a second CD with the first arcade game.
- Creating Life: The Grandmaster has the ability to create any form of life at will. He created wolves, piranhas and pteranodons in his boss fight in the first game, and has created most of the Mooks found in the second game.
- Cyborg: The very first boss of both games, Strobaya and the Chinese Terrorist.
- Department of Redundancy Department: In the manual for the Genesis version, the Grandmaster is referred by the name of "Grandmaster Meio". However, "Meio" is not actually a name, but a Japanese title equivalent to "Grandmaster".
- Depopulation Bomb: The Grandmaster's plan was this, erasing all lifeforms (all the "Sons of Old Gods") off Earth so he could create his own lifeforms and thus become a god.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Hien.
- Dynamic Difficulty: Which tries to make some features less Nintendo Hard (but there's too many fun units to throw away).
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Seen in the 4th stage, courtesy of the Grandmaster.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: 2nd stage boss Mecha Pon, a mechanical gorilla.
- Evil Counterpart: Hien to Hiryu.
- Evil Laugh: The Grandmaster starts the arcade game off with one of these.
- Evil Old Folks: The Grandmaster.
- The Faceless: Solo is always seen with his mask/visor on.
- Flight: Solo uses thrusters on his back. The Grandmaster levitates.
- Gainax Ending: The ending of Strider 2. Among other things, it's implied that Strider Hiryu is the Reincarnation of the Strider who defeated Grandmaster Meio almost 2,000 years ago (i.e. the events of the original Strider). Strider Hiryu does kill Grandmaster, so it's not a matter of being a Downer Ending... it's simply that this plot element will probably remain an Aborted Arc as long as Strider 3 remains wishful thinking by the fans.
- Galactic Conqueror: The Grandmaster.
- Glorious Mother Russia: The arcade version of the game stays mostly within the Soviet Union, except for the fourth level, which takes place deep in the Amazon.
- A God Am I: The Grandmaster.
- Gravity Screw: Certain areas in both games have the gravity reversed, which forces the player to walk in the ceiling.
- Headless Horseman: Not with his horse, but a Dullahan is summoned and, after killing his summoner, engages in a boss battle in Strider 2.
- In the Hood: The Grandmaster is always wearing a black hood.
- Kick Chick: The three Kuniang are all about kicks... that can create blades of plasma.
- Macross Missile Massacre: One of Solo's attack in the first game.
- Pirate: The Balrog's captain, Beard Jr. Comes with peg leg and hook hand included!
- Power-Up Letdown: The robot panther looks awesome, but doesn't shoot and has serious problems keeping up with Hiryu and not falling off ledges. Most experienced players avoid further powerups once they have two droids.
- Powered Armor: Solo.
- Promoted to Unlockable: Hien becomes playable in the PS port of Strider 2.
- Recurring Boss: Solo is fought two or three times (depending if the player ignores the first encounter) in the first game, and twice in the second (the initial fight being now two phases). Hien is a recurring boss in the PS port of Strider 2, since he's in the PS-only bonus stage.
- Reflecting Laser: Several enemies have this ability. The 1st stage sub-boss Novo throws 4 at a time, which bounces off the walls around it.
- The Rival: Strider Hien in Strider 2. Solo believes himself to be one too.
- Secret Character: Hien in Strider 2, unlockable only after completing Mission 00 (unlocked by finishing both Strider 2 and the first Strider, which is included with its sequel). Additionally, beating the game with Hien grants the player the option to use the Boost skill an infinite amount of times.
- Segmented Serpent: Ouroboros in the first game, the Emperor Dragon in Strider 2.
- Sinister Scythe: Ouroboros, the first arcade boss, uses one, though it's more of a sinister sickle. With a hammer.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Siberia in the first, Antarctica in the second.
- Space Base: The Third Moon, the Grandmaster's moon-shaped lair.
- Spent Shells Shower: One enemy in the first arcade game with a big machinegun ejects them constantly as he (tries to) shoot Hiryu.
- Spider Tank: Enemies in the first stage.
- Sprite Polygon Mix: Strider 2.
- Surprisingly Good English:
"Hmm... it is Strider Hiryu. He will never leave Eurasia alive!" "I got you."
- Sword Beam: Hiryu can do this in the second game after activating a power up. They also home-in on enemies.
- Teleport Spam: The Grandmaster gains this tactic in Strider 2.
- This Is a Drill: The humongous drill machine used as a giant boss in Strider 2.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Hien's main method of attack. It's also his Achilles' Heel, as he's vulnerable in between each throw.
- Timed Mission: With all the slowly approaching hazards, you probably wouldn't see Time Over very often.
- Translation Convention: Averted in the original arcade game, where each character speaks in his or her own native language during voice clips (i.e. Japanese for Hiryu, English for Solo and the Grandmaster, Mandarin for Ton-Pooh). Played straight by the PC Engine version, where everyone speaks Japanese.
- Trash Talk:
"You must be joking. You're sending a toy into battle?"
- The Triads and the Tongs: Enemies belong to the Chinese mafia in the first stage of Strider 2.
- Tsurime Eyes: Almost everyone except for Hien, who is a Tareme Eyes.
- Wasted Song: Stage 3 of the first game was supposed to have its unique theme music, but some variants of the arcade version reuses the BGM from Stage 1 instead. Most of the home versions fix this however.
- Whip It Good: Beard Jr. uses a whip.
Manga and NES
- Badass Grandpa: Striders' director Kuramoto, in the manga. Not for nothing he's known as the "God of Death".
- Big Bad: Faceas Clay, with Matic as the true mastermind.
- The Dragon: Manga-exclusive character Yuri.
- Boss Rush: The NES game has a Mini Boss Rush, pitting the player against previous stage sub-bosses before facing Matic and the Zain machine.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Kain. Hiryu's sister is revealed to be one as well.
- Continuity Cameo: Both manga-exclusive enemies Arana and Kubira appear as enemy grunts in some stages of the NES game.
- Contract on the Hitman: Both stories start out with Matic forcing Hiryu out of retirement to kill Kain, who was captured by the enemy.
- Corridor Cubbyhole Run: Areas in the China and Los Angeles stages have small openings in the ground, where one hides as spiked walls pass by.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Faceas Clay.
- Dead Little Sister: Hiryu was forced to kill his sister Mariya as part of a mission, which led into he retiring from the Striders. Later he discovers she was under a brainwash courtesy of Enterprise.
- Sheena becomes one for Kain, and the main motivation for him joining Hiryu.
- Death by Adaptation: Strider Kain in the NES game just before the final stage (he survives in the manga).
- Determinator: Hiryu. Specially near the end of the manga.
- Evil Brit: Matic.
- Evilutionary Biologist: Faceas Clay's motivation in the manga is to force humanity to evolve through mind control, as he believes all humans to be flawed since inception with malice.
- A God Am I: He actually says he wants to "take the seat of God" and finish his work.
- The Gunslinger: Sheena.
- Healing Hands: Hiryu gains three healing skills as he levels up in the game.
- Jungle Japes: Africa in the NES game.
- Locomotive Level: The first area in the Egypt stage is set atop a moving train known as the "Phantom Train" as it travels into the Egypt stage proper.
- Traintop Battle: The entire area happens on top of it.
- Mad Scientist: The manga has one, working for Enterprise.
- Man Behind the Man: Matic is revealed at the end of the manga as this.
- Meaningful Name: One of the manga's enemies is Arana, which is Spanish for spider, and he uses web-like threads to ensnare his targets.
- Mega Corp: Enterprise in both.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Kain really freaks out after finding out he killed Sheena while under mind control in the manga.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Kain and Kuramoto in the manga.
- Obvious Beta: The NES game.
- "On the Next...": The NES game has short "episode previews" when you leave the game after requesting a password.
- Orcus on His Throne: Faceas Clay is calmly awaiting for Hiryu while sitting in one, in both versions.
- Playing with Fire: Hiryu gains several fire-based attacks as he levels up.
- Shock and Awe: In the manga, Hiryu's cypher makes use of electricity.
- Posthumous Character: Hiryu's sister, Mariya.
- Razor Floss: The Weapon of Choice of Strider Arana in the manga.
- Retired Badass: Hiryu starts as one in both.
- Samurai: One of the bosses in the NES game.
- Schrödinger's Cast: Kain dies at the end of the NES game, but survives in the manga.
- Secret Police: Kazakh has one, and its not very nice.
- Judge, Jury, and Executioner: They kill off captured rebels just to save off court fees.
- Smug Snake: Matic in the manga, full stop.
- Space Station: The Striders' main base, the Blue Dragon, in the game. Matic has a Space Base that's his personal copy of it, named the Red Dragon.
- Sword Beam: An unlockable ability for him in the game, known as Plasma Arrow.
- Temple of Doom: The Egypt stage from the NES game.
- Treacherous Advisor: Matic.
- True Companions: Hiryu, Cain and Sheena.
- Tube Travel: Found in the NES game.
- Wall Jump: The dreaded Triangle Jump, which lets Hiryu jump off a wall into the opposite direction... or would do that, if not for the horrible collision detection missing more than half the time one tries to.
- Warp Whistle: The game's apptly-named "Warp" ability.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Some of the early enemies in the manga, mostly secret police officers, pretty much vanish once the story starts focusing on Enterprise.