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Video Game / Strider (2014)

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Heroes never die. They are reborn.

"Strider returns in a brand new adventure, complete with incredible side-scrolling action, and lightning fast combat all in a massive interconnected world!"
Official Steam Page

The fourth main entry (or fifth... if you wanna count that one) in the Strider franchise, this game mixes the fast-paced 2D action platforming the series is known for with open-ended, exploration-based level design. It was developed by Double Helix Games, which worked closely with the Capcom team in Osaka, including Koji Oda and Sho Sakai, of Super Ghouls and Ghosts and Strider 2 fame, respectively.

It was released via digital download in February 2014 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and on PC via Steam.

A retelling of the same basic plot, it deals with Strider Hiryu as he infiltrates Grandmaster Meio's base of operations to depose and exterminate the oppressive tyrant. With all other members of the Strider program already slain before the story properly starts, Hiryu is left as mankind's last hope against Meio's regime.

This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: The first half of the Underground area is a rather massive sewer.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Hien, Hiryu's jealous rival who was responsible for resurrecting the Grandmaster in Strider 2, never betrays the organization in this game and dies fighting against Meio.
  • The Alcatraz: The Military Prison is where Meio opposers and civilians trying to escape Kazakh City get sent to, often to become guinea pigs in experiments. The place is a highly-secure location counting with patrolling sentries, machines and guns, as well as alarm systems and security locks. Hiryu goes in and out of this place twice to meet a former-scientist prisoner in order to progress forward.
  • Ambiguously Human: Hiryu's eyes are now blood red and have lines in them. Artwork depicts them glowing, so he may be a cyborg. There's also his ability to internally generate plasma to such a point where the excess can be mistaken for a scarf.
  • An Ice Person: The "Ultra-Cold" Cypher upgrade can turn enemies into climbable chunks of ice.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If a Mutual Kill occurs during a boss fight, retrying will take you straight to the cutscene following the boss' defeat.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Xi Wang Mu can use all the powers of the Kuniang sisters and has some tricks of her own.
  • Assist Character: The Options make a glorious return, now Energy Beings instead of robots.
  • Attack Reflector: The aptly-named Reflect Cypher lets Hiryu deflect shots with his swings. Hitting them at a very last moment deflects them back at the enemy that shot them for major damage, while hitting them too early deflects them in a random direction.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Hiryu can find and wear the outfits of other fallen Striders across the city. Collecting all of them allows you to customize his outfit colors manually.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Hiryu's idle stance, specially notable in most cutscenes, has him standing in place with his arms crossed.
  • 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.
  • Big Bad: Unsurprisingly, Grandmaster Meio is back at it, playing the exact same role as in the previous two games.
  • 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). Some of the enemy mooks also speak Russian if you listen closely.
  • 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.
  • Bullet Hell: One of Xi Wang Mu's attacks covers the scream with energy balls while she summons strong gusts of wind to hinder Hiryu's mobility. You need to hit the bright red projectiles back at her to make her stop.
  • 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.
  • Canon Immigrant: This game's version of the Kuniang M.A. Team is known as the Four Winds. Their line-up consists of the returning Ton Pooh and Bei Pooh, as well as newcomer Nang Pooh. Nang, who has assimilated most of the traits of the Sai Pooh (such as being the youngest sister of the trio and wearing a blue outfit), is based on a minor enemy of the same name from Namco Capcom who was a grey Palette Swap of Ton and noted to be a clone of her. That Nang was in turn a nod to an optional rematch against the trio in the original game, where all three sisters wore black-and-grey outfits.
  • 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.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Certain enemies (shielded ones in special) are color-coded with the Cypher upgrade required to destroy them.
  • 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. It's a Hover Tank as well.
  • Creepy Centipedes: The Millipede is a massive mutated bug that preys on the citizens living in the refugee camps. Later in the game there is also a fire variant known as the Magmapede.
  • Company Cross References: Hidden deep within the Research Facility is one to Mega Man X: it's an X capsule!
  • Death from Above: Hiryu's Down Strike has him dropping at breaking speed with his sword pointing downward. Works as a Shockwave Stomp/Sword Plant as well, as the impact generates a large shockwave around him.
  • 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.
  • Down the Drain: The first half of the Processing area is set in the city's underground, and it goes through part of the city's sewers, down water drains and into a water treatment plant where Hiryu has to go around to unlock three water valves in order to proceed further down.
  • The Dragon: New character Juroung is the self-proclaimed true disciple of Grandmaster Meio. A religious fanatic, he worships his master and follows his instructions blindly and regardless of any risks, even to the extent of willingly dying for him.
  • 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.
  • Elite Mook: Vityaz-1, the first boss in the game, is referred to as "Meio's Elite Guard."
  • Epic Flail: The Heavy Trooper robot has two instead of hands.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Hiryu is a Special A Rank Strider by the time the story begins.
  • Flechette Storm: In the vein of the Shinobi series, Hiryu can now use kunai for ranged attacks. They double as your means for toggling switches in later segments of the game. Collecting upgrades for them allows you to throw up to 7 of them at the same time and collecting elemental upgrades turns them into bouncing, exploding, freezing or homing kunai.
  • 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 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.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Subverted with General Mikiel. As soon as the fight with him starts, he begins running away from you, but you're given nowhere near enough time to deplete his health bar before he leads you to his Humongous Mecha.
  • Gravity Screw: In the proud tradition of the series, there are gravity-inverted halls and boss battles against giant gravity-controlling cores. There are also sections with small floating cores with their own gravity, letting Hiryu run around them.
  • Gusty Glade: The first half of the Balrog has Hiryu jumping through flying platforms while facing strong wind currents that push him back and compromise his movements.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: Meio's Tower, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, consists of Hiryu climbing his way from the ground level up to the Grandmaster's throne room in space.
  • Killer Gorilla: Mecha Pon returns in this game, bigger and badder than before.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The second trip into the Buried Temple is marked by being completely overflown with lava in most of its rooms, having both hazards in the form of lava pools and fire-themed enemies.
  • Life Energy: Hiryu's plasma is now generated by himself and channeled by the Cypher. His scarf is now a flow of red energy, as he generates so much plasma it leaks out of his body. It's explained this was done to serve as a visual cue of the mode/type of energy the player is using.
  • 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.
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Schlange is one nutty case. He performs horrific experiments on the captured civilians merely For Science! and has a grandiose and overblown ego, seeing everything he has built as beautiful and perfect. He's also basically mutilated himself with robotic parts because he doesn't think of the body as anything but a vessel to work with. As Hiryu enters his Research area, he mocks and derides him at every point, but starts losing his calm and demeaning attitude the more Hiryu breaks down his place and creations, eventually leading into a full-on raging rant over this, asking aloud just who Hiryu thinks he is to defy and destroy HIS creations.
  • Making a Splash: Juroung can manipulate water into several shapes to attack.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Russian mooks are now robots. Which in later stages can be infected with mutant bugs to become robozombies.
  • Metroidvania: The game was developed as a much faster-paced style of game than the common Metroidvania, and the staff didn't adhere to its formula strictly, wanting to strike a balance between the exploration and the series' fast-paced action and combat.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Hiryu's new design grabs some pointers from the manga incarnation of Hiryu, like the single shoulderpad and the mechanical gauntlet, as well as the use of Kunai as a weapon.
    • One of the unlockable costumes gives Hiryu the color scheme of Strider 2's Hien, while another gives him the colors Hiryu wore in the first Arcade game.
    • The first boss character is one to the Segmented Serpents of the past: Ouroboros and the Emperor Dragon. The Mk.III is presumably alluding to the original Ouroboros model and its successor from Strider 2, the Emperor Dragon.
    • Several of Hiryu's animations are drawn in reference to his previous games as well as the Marvel vs. Capcom entries, specifically his Launcher Move and Charged Attack animations when used normally or when running for the latter, as well as his death (either normal or a temporary one caused by an obstacle) animation which is taken from the original game.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The Brainwalker's subtitle is "ZAIN Project v2", a nod to the ZAIN Project from the manga and its NES adaptation.
    • Solo ZN-2's subtitle is "Inferno revived" which is a nod to his name in Strider Returns.
  • One-Time Dungeon: The Balrog can never be revisited once it goes boom. Luckily, there are no missable upgrades aboard.
  • One-Winged Angel: Grandmaster Meio turns into a humongous Caduceus-like creature named Meio Prime after the first battle.
  • Parrying Bullets: Hiryu can do this to laser blasts thanks to his Cypher's new "Reflect" upgrade that lets him return shots back at enemies.
  • Playing with Fire: The "Explosive Cypher" upgrade deals extra damage and can set enemies on fire.
  • 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 gun.
  • 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.
  • Rocket Punch: One of Mecha Pon's new attacks is throwing his fist in this fashion.
  • Royal "We": Meio uses it inconsistently during the final battle, alternating between singular and plural pronouns to refer to himself as he taunts Hiryu.
  • Sinister Subway: The Transit Station is set in Kazakh City's subway area. Hiryu goes from the entrance and the working section of the subway where he has to avoid passing trains, to the lower areas that are fully abandoned and in increasing signs of disrepair and decay.
  • Shock and Awe:
    • Mecha Pon's extended skillset now includes plenty of electricity.
    • Meio shoots purple lightning bolts.
  • Shout-Out: The trophy/achievement names reference a bunch of stuff, like That's No Moon, Master of Unlocking, and You Must Defeat Sheng Long.
  • Slide Attack: Hiryu starts with one, but you can't break through grates or damage enemies with it until you get an early upgrade for it.
  • 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.
  • Spider Tank: The Brainwalker is a four-legged walking laser tank created by Professor Schlange, probably inspired by the first game's Mosqueman walker.
  • Temple of Doom: The Buried Temple, an area within the Underground section, is an ancient temple-like building of unknown origin or purpose. The stone walls are filled with strange markings and symbols, with one half flooded with water and the other with lava. There are no ancient traps, however, as Meio's Army has taken over the place and fitted it with Light Troopers and modern weapons.
  • The Stoic: Hiryu does not emote often. Whether confronting hordes of cyborg troopers, a corrupt general, mutant abominations, or an alien that is the equivalent of a Physical God, Hiryu's usual reaction is one of calm, focused determination.
  • Super Mode: Slashing enemies in rapid succession without getting hit yourself fills up the circle next to your life and energy bar: once it's full, you glow red, do more damage and the range of your Cypher slashes is doubled. However, if you take too long between attacks or run out of enemies to kill the circle drains completely, meaning you rarely see it in action outside of bossfights or long stretches with a large number of enemies thanks to the game's Metroidvania motif.
  • 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.
  • Tube Travel: As a nod to the NES game's Transport Tubes, there are Pneumatic Tubes found in the Research area that let Hiryu travel across sections of the laboratory.
  • Underground Level: The Processing and Underground sections of Kazakh City are set underground, and have Hiryu going through barely-lit caverns leading into the sewers, then through a sewage treatment facility further down and finally a hidden refugee camp and black market located within a large cavernous area. Then even further down the line there's the Buried Temple.
  • Videogame Dashing: Hiryu's "Plasma Catapult" technique allows him to perform blinding-fast air dashes in 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.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization:
    • Alongside their new repertoire of Combination Attacks, the Kuniang sisters each sport one in this game: Ton wields a dao, Nang uses a spear, and Bei brandishes twin hook swords built into submachine guns.
    • Although not seen in-game, each Fallen Strider has a different listed weapon in their profile information.
  • We Can Rule Together: Meio offers this to Hiryu. He doesn't bite.
  • You Have Failed Me: Meio does this to Professor Schlange after he completely fails to defeat Hiryu.