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 Sega 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. 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 × 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 Re-release, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.The series received a new sequel in the form of a open-world Metroidvania-style game in 2014 by Double Helix Games, and was overseen by the original developers.Not to be confused with the Beverly Cleary book with the same name, the alias of Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings, or Dave.
Capcom vs. Whatever: As already said, Hiryu is a playable character in Marvel vs. Capcom 1, 2 and Ultimate, as well as Namco × Capcom. Ton Pooh appears in the first MvC as an Assist Character, and she along with the Grandmaster, Solo, Hien and two mooks are A.I.-only characters in NxC.
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.
Ninja: The Striders aren't ninja per se, but they're pretty damn close.
Highly-Visible Ninja: Well, look at him. The blue, close-fitting outfit was a step in the right direction, the red scarf and glowing sword were not. The action is great, but doesn't involve a lot of stealth.
Rank Inflation: The Striders go from C to A, and then Special (or Super) A.
Ninja Run: Hiryu's dashing animation in the NES game, Strider 2 and all crossover appearances.
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.
Palette Swap: Hinjo from Strider Returns is a white and neon green swap of Hiryu's Genesis sprite. Hien is a black and white head swap of Hiryu.
The Kuniang are Color-Coded for Your Convenience identical sprites in the first game (Ton Pooh = green, Sai Pooh = blue, Bei Pooh = red). Averted in the second game and beyond, where they have personalized hairstyles in addition to the color-coding (with Bei/Pei's coloring additionally becoming a lighter shade in the 2014 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.
The Rival: Solo, a cyborg bounty hunter that Hiryu faces at least once per game, often multiple times.
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.
The Kuniang sisters are specially prone to this, thanks to their Chinese names being filtered through Japanese spelling and then localized, resulting in Ton Pooh/Tong Poo, Bei/Pei Pooh and Nam/Nang Pooh.
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 PS3 and Xbox 360.
Super Soldier: The Striders are super mercenaries, and Hiryu's the top elite among them.
Super Speed: A constant in all his appearances: he's fast. Really fast.
The Ton Pooh sisters are named for three of the four winds: Ton, Sai, and Bei are respectively the eastern, western, and northern winds. (Ton Pooh also doubles as a musical Shout-Out to the first track of the second side of a self-titled album by the Yellow Magic Orchestra.) In the 2014 game, Sai is replaced by a different sister named Nang Pooh (the southern wind), as in this continuity, the trio was trained by a master martial artist named Xi Wang Mu.
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 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, improved and more detailed cutscenes and an extra set of dialogues for most bosses.
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.
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.
Blackout Basement: One part in the Siberia stage is set in an abandoned power plant, where the lights go off constantly when electricity is discharged everywhere.
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-Only Level: Several of the smaller areas in each stage are just a boss battle, even.
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 memorization, despite a simple pattern.
Cyborg: The very first boss of both games, Strobaya and the Chinese Terrorist (Elder Brother Honghuo).
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.
Flight: Solo uses thrusters on his back. The Grandmaster levitates.
Fragile Speedster: Solo moves really fast and has a lot of firepower... but dies in 3 hits.
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. Now it's a matter of seeing if the new "retelling"/reboot will try to address this.
Gravity Screw: Certain areas in both games have the gravity reversed, which forces the player to walk in the ceiling.
Gratuitous Russian: While the first Strider contains some Russian, it's not always the case it's fairly accurate. Just as a little example, the subtitles at the end of stage one don't even remotely point at what the USSR leader is saying. And thanks to the horrible accent acting and the fact that Meio interrupts his speech out of nowhere, the supposed phrase "Никто не уйдёт живым!"note Nikto ne ooydjot zhivim - No one will leave alive has turned into "Никто не идиот!"note Nikto ne idiot - No one is an idiot
This trope follows straight after that cutscene: the location name of stage 2, "Сибирь", is actually spelt correctly, but it's obvious that Capcom didn't used the English-Russian dictionary the right way... They forgot to remove the stress mark.
Long Song, Short Scene: 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.
Mad Scientist: Grandmaster Meio appears to mix some of it along his Sorcery. Strider 2 introduced the German Herzog Schlange as well.
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 power-ups once they have two droids.
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 first 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.
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.
Adapted Out: Some secondary characters didn't survive the transition from manga to NES game. The two most notable are Yuri (a secretary of the Mega Corp. and Matic's ally in the whole Evil Plan) and the Director of the Kazakh laboratory (responsible for the very Mind-Control Device the whole story circles around).
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Zain computer goes batshit crazy after all the human baddies are killed.
But Not Too Foreign: Little is known of Hiryu's past other than that he's an orphan of Asian descent (likely Japanese), but when you consider that his sister has blond hair and a Russian/Ukrainian first name, it's possible the manga/NES continuity meant for Hiryu to be Eurasian.
Interestingly enough, an old Capcom source lists Hiryu as being born in a region of Siberia. Although this would apply to the coin-op, since both it and the manga were done concurrently, is quite possible this backstory is also true for the manga.
Continuity Cameo: Both manga-exclusive enemies Arana and Kubira appear as enemy grunts in some stages of the NES game.
A weapon from the manga, the "Shadowtag Bullets", appears to be used by a Russian soldier in the first arcade game (according to the manual).
Contract on the Hitman: Both stories start out with Matic forcing Hiryu out of retirement to kill Kain, who was captured by the enemy. After Hiryu discovers the truth and turns on Matic, he becomes the one hunted down by Matic's men.
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.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Most enemies Hiryu faces in the manga can't even lay a finger on him.
Death by Adaptation: Strider Kain in the NES game just before the final stage (he survives in the manga).
Death Seeker: Hiryu during the Gaiden extra chapter of the manga, where the guilt over his sister's murder has made him act reckless and suicidal during missions because he's looking to die during an assignment.
Dodge the Bullet: An awesome display of this in the manga. note The aforementioned Shadowtag Bullets are able to perfectly track the movements of any target, to the point that they could be considered anti-Strider weaponry. Hiryu dodges them effortlessly.
Kill the Ones You Love: Hiryu is tasked with killing his sister Mariya, an A-Class Strider (and the first woman to obtain the rank), after she went mad and slaughtered ten trainees for the organization. At the end of a fierce battle, Hiryu manages to impale her with Cypher, and a crying Mariya, the shock rousing her out of the brainwashing, asks her brother what happened as she dies. The ordeal affected Hiryu so deeply that he retired from the Striders and spent two years living in Mongolia with a young girl named Rin who reminded him of his sister.
Long Song, Short Scene: There's an unique music theme for the two machines Hiryu needs to destroy in order to access the game's final area. Thing is, those machines do nothing and can be destroyed in seconds, so the theme goes to waste unless the player stands idly and listen to it.
Kain really freaks out after finding out he killed Sheena while under mind control in the manga.
Hiryu was forced to kill his sister Mariya as part of a mission, which led to him retiring from the Striders. Later he discovers she was brainwashed courtesy of Enterprise.
No Name Given: A good number of manga-exclusive characters are only known by their profession.
Obfuscating Disability: Director Kuramoto from the manga suffers from senility, appearing very dispersed and oblivious about what's going on around him. Then, when a group of Matic's men show up with orders to kill him, Kuramoto suddenly stands up and kills them instantly, revealing his condition to be faked as he awaited for Matic to show his true colors.
Back from the Brink: Supplemental material (and the "fallen Striders" you can find) make it clear that many Striders were sent to kill Meio as he gained power, and all were spectacularly unsuccessful. Hiryu is considered humanity's last chance to stop Meio.
Battle Aura: Hiryu's Scarf of Asskicking in this game is actually a trail of plasma that is beyond his body's ability to channel into his Cypher (as his body is producing so much that it's above his ability to use it all). Despite not covering his body, for all intents and purposes it fits the trope.
Bilingual Bonus: A lot of Russian can be found in posters, signs or written in walls, plus most Russian-made Mecha-Mooks are named after Russian words, like "Vityaz" (Knight) and "Bulava" (Mace).
Boss Subtitles: All bosses and sub-bosses have one in their introduction.
Brain in a Jar: A giant brain in a container can be seen in one of the rooms in the Research Facility. Schlange can't help himself but proudly point it out to Hiryu, too.
Canned Orders Over Loudspeaker: The player gets to hear General Mikiel encourage the people of Kazakh City to be good and obedient citizens this way, as they make their way through the slums of the Historic Sector.
Charged Attack: Hiryu quickly gets an upgrade that lets him extend his attack range and punch through (most) shields and blocks.
City of Adventure: The game happens entirely in an homage-filled Russian location known as "Kazakh City."
Code Name: The mention in the profile of Strider Rouga (one of the fallen Striders whose mark/clothing you can obtain) that "only Striders of A Rank or greater are allowed an animal name" suggests this of Hiryu (and all other Striders), as opposed to the original continuity.
Continuity Nod/Mythology Gag: The Ouroboros here is the Ouroboros Mk.III, presumably alluding to the original Ouroboros model and its successor from Strider 2, the Emperor Dragon.
One of the unlockable costumes gives Hiryu the color scheme of Strider 2's Hien.
Combat Stilettos: The Kuniang sisters all sport heeled shoes with blades extending from the back/soles. (Bei/Pei did wear stilettos in Strider 2 instead of slippers, but they were normal pumps, not blades.)
Cool Tank: General Mikiel's MechTank, the Tornado.
Degraded Boss: Several of the mid-bosses become common mooks following their introductory boss fight.
Diving Kick: A favored move of the Kuniang sisters (though originally exclusive to missing sister Sai in previous games), and one of the few moves they all share. Things can get a bit hairy when Tong, Pei, and Nang decide to start synchronizing their attacks due to the limited space of their boss arena.
Double Weapon: The first boss (Vityaz-1) is seen with a two-sided laser spear.
Dual Boss: The sisters Pei and Nang fight together the second time they fight Hiryu, then all three fight together the third time.
Elevator Action Sequence: "The Ascent" sees Hiryu facing a long gauntlet of enemies as he's on an elevator up to Meio's throne room.
Epic Flail: The Heavy Trooper robot has two instead of hands.
Fragile Speedster: On Hard this is basically your lot. Taking everyone head on is usually trouble because they can chew up your health very fast but Strider Hiryu is nimble as a cat and can easily jump and dodge his enemies to confuse their line of fire whilst attacking from all sides. On lower difficulties you can tank hits better but on Hard it's best to hit and run as much as possible.
Gravity Screw: In the proud tradition of the series, there are gravity-inverted halls. There are also sections with small floating cores with their own gravity, letting Hiryu run around them.
Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Shield Troopers carry a huge shield around, which repels normal attacks and can only be destroyed with a charged strike. Later in the game, energy shields based off Hiryu's plasma upgrades start appearing, which can only be destroyed by the corresponding plasma Cypher.
Point of No Return: Right before you enter Meio's Tower. The game outright warns you that if you decide to proceed, you won't be able to go back into the city to pick up any other items.
Professional Killer: The Kuniang sisters are subordinates of Grandmaster Meio who are specifically tasked with assassination missions.
Hiryu is, of course, also one, as his whole purpose for being in Kazakh City is to kill Grandmaster Meio. Solo is more of a Hired Guns.
Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Brainwalkers Schlange is so proud of? They work by installing brains harvested from citizens who failed to escape Kazakh City. Even worse, the robot overworks the installed brain so heavily, it must be disposed and replaced constantly.
Purely Aesthetic Era: The game is set in Meio 0048, a dystopian alternate era ruled by the iron fist of the Grandmaster.
Shock and Awe: Mecha Pon's extended skillset now includes plenty of electricity.
Meio shoots pink lightning bolts.
Shout-Out: The enemy at the end of the gameplay video is one to the Segmented Serpents of the past: Ouroboros and the Emperor Dragon. It's even called the Ouroboros Mk.III.
Several of Hiryu's animations are drawn in reference to his previous games as well as the Marvel vs. Capcom entries.
The game's intro (as seen in the preview gameplay video) is one to the original game's, even throwing in the Grandmaster's old Evil Laugh straight out of the arcade title.
Mecha Pon's strategy appears to draw inspiration from that of Spark Mandrill, another electric robo-ape from Capcom.
Hidden deep within the Research area is one to Mega Man X: it's an X capsule!
Tong Pooh believes the Grandmaster owns Hiryu, but Hiryu knows that she is the one who is a slave to her master. Mikiel would also like Hiryu to know that he'll never leave Eurasia alive. Both are shout-outs to the dialogue of the Arcade originals.
Meio Prime is designed after Caduceus, the Final Boss in Strider 2.
Smug Snake: Special mention goes to General Mikiel, who mocks Hiryu for only having a "knife" — despite the fact that Hiryu just completely destroyed Mikiel's gigantic tank with that knife — and shoots Hiryu. Unsurprisingly, Hiryu just reflects the bullet, killing Mikiel with it.
The Stoic: Strider Hiryu does not emote often. Whether confronting hordes of cyborg troopers, a corrupt general, mutant abominations, or the equivalent of a Physical God, Hiryu's usual reaction is one of calm, focused determination.
Sword Beam: The Magnetic Cypher upgrade gives Hiryu one of these. It isn't as rapid-fire as Hiryu's other plasma types, however, so beware.
Videogame Dashing: Hiryu's "Plasma Catapult" technique allows him to perform blinding-fast air dashes at any direction the player wants. It later becomes a Dash Attack as well when the elemental upgrades are obtained, allowing the trail of plasma from the dash to reflect bullets and to stun, freeze or burn enemies.