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Video Game / Strider (Arcade)

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Strider 1
Strider 2

"Outside the underbelly of a dark and dangerous future, emerges an elusive hero who wages war for peace and justice."
— Text from the box for the PS1 version of Strider 2.

This page covers the two Strider Arcade games.

Strider was released on March 1989, being the third game in Capcom's CPS-1 Arcade board, following Forgotten Worlds and Ghouls 'n Ghosts. Set in the "distant" year of 2048, the game presents a bleak cyber-future in which the Soviet Union still exists and conflicts are the order of the day. In such a situation, a mysterious being calling himself Grandmaster Meio appears on Earth and takes over the Eastern Bloc, then starts war in order to conquest the rest of the Earth, which he accomplishes after 5 years of conflict. A group of rebels from the Kazakh Federation, the Grandmaster's seat of power, seek out the assistance of the Striders, a mercenary group with ninja stylings. The mission to eliminate the Grandmaster fell to Strider Hiryu, the greatest agent and the youngest to achieve the group's highest rank, Special-A Class. Playing as Hiryu, the player has to deal with everything and everyone ranging from Russian soldiers, animal-themed machines, acrobatic Chinese assassins, dinosaurs, Amazones and gravity-altering machines in an epic quest to stop Grandmaster Meio with nothing but a nigh-unstoppable Hot Blade made of plasma on hand.


The game was ported to every known console of the time, but following a Western-made sequel most people prefer not to talk about, the series remained in hibernation until Hiryu's surprise popularity boost in Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes opened the gates for a proper sequel. And so, Strider 2 came out at the tail end of 1999 for the ZN-2 Arcade board, to later be ported to the PlayStation. A 2D platformer using sprites on 3D backgrounds, it follows roughly the same plot, albeit set 2000 years after the first game: Grandmaster Meio was defeated, but his plans still were carried out, and now he rules over an Earth populated by his own creations, a society wrecked by conflicts, genetic diseases and corruption. Just as Hiryu receives the order to eliminate Meio, the group is exterminated by Meio's followers with the assistance of Strider Hien, a former comrade of Hiryu who has betrayed them to join Grandmaster Meio. As the Sole Survivor of the organization, Hiryu puts everything aside and decides to carry out the Striders' last mission: to eliminate Grandmaster Meio. Just as before, Hiryu will have to deal with a colorful cast of enemies in order to finish this mission once and for all.


A third game, set in yet another Alternate Continuity, was released on February 2014 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, but it differs from the previous ones in that it blends the classic Strider mechanics with Metroidvania elements.

These two works provide examples of:

  • 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, improved and more detailed cutscenes and an extra set of dialogues for most bosses.
    • The PlayStation port of Strider 2 included an exclusive extra "Stage 0" and made Strider Hien playable.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: El Dorado in Strider 2 starts out as a typical Ruins for Ruins' Sake, but the deeper Hiryu gets the more it starts to look like some sort of alien-techno lair. Then the last area is Meio's resting place, with what appears to be a hibernation machine in the middle.
  • 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.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Battleship Balrog is a flying-capable aircraft carrier in the first game, and a Super-Dreadnought class warship in the second.
  • 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.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The Mega Drive/Genesis box art for the first arcade game. In Japan, Strider Hiryu is a young man in his late teens or early twenties. In America, he's in his forties and really digs the color purple.
  • Anachronism Stew: The second stage in Strider 2, Fortress Wahnen, is an ancient medieval castle with its very own set of armor-wielding medieval knights, an unit of soldiers straight out of World War I and a slew of modern and advanced machines including a bipedal Walking Tank and a huge mechanical hydra.
  • Animated Armor: One of the bosses in the second stage of Strider 2 is the Dullahan, a ghostly apparition in the form of a headless armor.
  • Anime Chinese Girl: The Kuniang trio (Ton Pooh, Bei Pooh and Sai Pooh) are stereotypical Dragon Ladies, portrayed as strong, vicious and cunning young women who are blindly loyal to their master.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Strider 2 has a number that make it easier compared to the original game.
    • There is an option to turn off the timer, though this will limit your scoring and rank potential.
    • Pits will not kill you instantly but rather cost you a block of life.
    • Continuing will respawn you in the same general area without resetting progress though it will penalize your end of level bonuses harshly.
  • Artificial Gravity:
    • All games feature areas where the gravity is reversed, courtesy of a nearby Gravity Core: in these instances, Hiryu walks across the ceiling as if he were on ground. Strider 2 also includes a section in which gravity switches sides constantly.
    • The machines altering gravity themselves are bosses which can capture Hiryu in their gravity field and throw him against the walls for damage.
  • Assist Character: The Options in the first game. There is the Dipodal Saucer, which circles around Hiryu and shoots a ring-shaped beam at enemies; the Robot Hawk, which swoops down on enemies; and the Terapodal Robo-Panther, a mechanical tiger which lunges at enemies.
  • 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!!!"
    • Hiryu gets one in as well, doubling as an insult towards the Balrog battleship.
    "You must be joking! You're sending a toy into battle?"
  • Bald of Evil: The Grandmaster has one bald head under his hood.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: The Kuniang are the only enemies in the first two games to fight Hiryu with only their martial arts mastery and no actual weapon or technological upgrade to boost them.
  • Battle Boomerang:
    • The Amazons from the fourth stage use either this or axes.
    • Hien's Weapon of Choice are two cross-shaped boomerangs which home in on enemies.
  • 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.
  • BFG: Solo favors a flamethrower with a mounted missile launcher as his main weapon, and he later replaces it in Strider 2 with a plasma cannon of similar length.
  • BFS: Strider 2 has the Dullahan and his big-ass sword made of chainsaws.
  • Big Bad: The Grandmaster is the source of all evil in both games, invading Earth and infesting it with his corrupted lifeforms.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Herzog Schlange's Fortress Wahnen from Strider 2, mixing an ancient German castle with Those Wacky Nazis technology.
  • 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. Several of the smaller areas in each stage are just a boss battle, even.
  • Boss Rush: The final stage in the first game ends with one. The player must face the Gravity Core, Novo, Solo, the Mechanical Gorilla, Lago and the Ouroboros before facing the final boss himself.
  • Bounty Hunter: Solo and the Kuniang team were hired by the Grandmaster, though the former is just a hired hitman, whereas the latter are blindly devoted to the villain.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Initial areas in the waterfall stage from Strider 2 are set in a swamp.
  • Canon Foreigner: The PC-Engine version of the first arcade game gives us the nameless navigator for the Striders' side, and the nameless desert commander and tank pilot for the Grand Master's side.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: The mythical ruins of El Dorado (Stage 00 in 'Strider 2'') are hidden away behind (and under) a large set of waterfalls.
  • Clone Army: In Strider 2 there an enemy known as the "Solo Mass-produced model", watered-down copy drones of Solo. He's accompanied by a small team of them for his last boss fight in the final stage.
  • Compilation Rerelease: 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. In-game, this translates into him summoning enemies from previous stages to hunt Hiryu. He creates wolves, piranhas and pteranodons in his boss fight in the first game, and creatures that make up Caduceus in the second game.
  • Dada Ad: The commercial for the Japanese Mega Drive port is...something to behold. The game's planner has said the company in charge literally told them they'd ignore the source material, and the entire staf was justifiable flabbergasted when they saw the end result.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: In the second game, dying causes your rank to plummet, but that's about it. You respawn wherever you were killed, the boss' health is not restored and you are granted a free Boost, so deliberately getting a Game Over is actually advantageous to players who are just speeding through the game.
  • 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.
  • The Dragon: Hien is the Grandmaster's highest ranking follower in the second game, due to being the reason why he was brought back to life in the first place.
  • Domesticated Dinosaurs: In the first game, the Amazon has domesticated Triceratops and use them as steads in the latter half of the stage. Hiryu can fetch a ride if he eliminates the rider first.
  • Dumb Muscle: Strobaya, the Russian not-Ivan Drago. All he does is scream his lungs out as he constantly throws himself at Hiryu. Even in-canon he's noted to have a very one-tracked mind and as such, easy to predict strategies.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Both games ramp up difficulty the less the player dies, which tries to make some features less Nintendo Hard (but there's too many fun units to throw away).
  • Eerie Arctic Research Station: In the third level of Strider 2, Strider Hiryu explores a hidden research station in Antarctica. Aside from soldiers, it contains a cyborg mammoth as its guardian, anti-gravity sections, lab scientists that turn into beasts, and the boss, a giant squid-like monster that's presumably part of the research project.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Seen in the fourth stage, courtesy of the Grandmaster. Triceratops, Brontosaurus, T-Rex and Pteranodon appear, though only the latter two are enemies.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Strider 2 features robot penguin bombs which throw themselves at Hiryu. At the end of the 1st area in the Antarctic stage, Hiryu gets a small following of real ones too.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Hien spins his dual-bladed cypher to parry your attacks, throw his blades like boomerangs, and fire a beam of concentrated lightning at you.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Hien to Hiryu. Both are Striders, but the first is consumed by jealousy and revives the Grandmaster in an attempt to supress his own insecurities, whereas the later is heroic and confident.
    • There could be a case for the fourth stage boss Admiral Wilhelm, who uses similar techniques to Hiryu and even wields a curved sword that's more like a counterfeit cypher.
  • Evil Laugh: The Grandmaster's catchphrase, to the point he starts the arcade game off with one of these.
  • Evil Old Folks: The Grandmaster. He's already pretty old-looking, and then he adds +2000 years to his age in Strider 2.
  • The Faceless: Solo is always seen with his mask / visor on.
  • Fake Difficulty: The original game has a metric ton of this, with an abundance of traps requiring players to be clairvoyant to avoid, combined with Hiryu being unable to be controlled while jumping and his propensity to fall off anything he's clinging onto if he isn't controlled just right.
  • Fallen Hero: According to All There in the Manual, Captain Beard Jr. used to be a good guy right before he lost his limbs in a fight against the Grandmaster and decided to switch allegiances.
  • Fat Bastard: The Chinese Terrorist (named Honghuo) in Strider 2, though he is actually a Cyborg and most of his weight can be attributed to mechanical appendages.
  • Flight: A big number of enemies can fly. Most notables include Solo (who flights through thrusters on his armor's back) and Grandmaster Meio (who levitates).
  • Fragile Speedster: Solo moves really fast and has a lot of firepower... But dies in 3 hits. Averted in Strider 2, where he has a boss-worthy health bar.
  • 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.
  • Galactic Conqueror: The Grandmaster, having come to Earth in order to rule it as a God. In Strider 2, he's so disappointed in how how his created humanity has corrupted itself that he plans on destroying Earth and leaving to find a new planet where to start from scratch.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Caduceus, the Final Boss of the second game. There's a bit of foreshadowing in that Meio creates pieces of it in the previous boss fight, though.
  • Glorious Mother Russia: The first level in the first game takes place in the Soviet Union.
  • Godhood Seeker: The Grandmaster's main obssession is to attain godhood. Failing on forcing the entire planet on worshipping him as one, he resorts to killing all life and recreating it, so that he'd become their one and only Creator God.
  • 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  has turned into "Никто не идиот!" note 
    • 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.
  • Happy Ending Override: Strider ends with Hiryu stopping the Grandmaster's plans, eliminating him and returning safely to Earth... then Strider 2 starts in a Crapsack World that's been under the rule of Meio's self-made humans for over 2000 years, and Meio not only survived his clash with Hiryu but is so disappointed by his creation's mishandling of Earth that he's about to destroy everything and leave for another planet to start the process again.
  • Headless Horseman: Not with his horse, but a Dullahan is summoned and, after killing his summoner, engages in a boss battle in Strider 2.
  • Husky Russkie: Strobaya, the first boss in the original game. He's a hulk of muscles that can only grunt and shout. The expanded PC-Engine game apparently paints him as a Blood Knight.
  • In the Hood: The Grandmaster is always wearing a black hood.
  • Indy Escape: The first stage has a quick sequence like this in its 4th stage, Amazon: as soon as Hiryu sets foot on a descending incline a large, round boulder falls from above, forcing him to outrun it until he's able to jump away into a nearby vine. Strider 2 replicates a similar feeling in its 3rd stage, where Hiryu has to outrun a chain of explosions.
  • Jungle Japes:
    • The Amazon stage in the first game takes place on a lush jungle that has been overrun by dinosaurs.
    • The PlayStation-exclusive "Waterfall stage" in the second mixes a tropical jungle theme with Temple of Doom.
  • Kick Chick: The three Kuniang are all about kicks... That can create blades of plasma.
  • Killer Gorilla: The first game's second stage has a miniboss called Mecha Pon, which is a giant mechanical gorilla.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The latter half of the 2nd stage in Strider 2 features a group of armored knights as regular enemies.
  • Lady Land: In the first game, the Amazon is this. There's a tribe of female-only Amazons living in seclusion in an undiscovered area within the rainforest.
  • Legacy Character:
    • Strider 2 takes place over two thousand years after the rest of the series, leaving it unclear whether Hiryu had actually survived those two millennia or if another Strider had come along to take his place. Word of God eventually confirmed the latter.
    • As part of the Canon Welding with Street Fighter, Zeku is explicity referred to as the "1st generation Strider Hiryu" in his character setting, and it also says he will be succeeded by the original scarf-less Hiryu from the original Strider and by "a 3rd generation", which more than likely refers to the Hiryu from Strider 2.
  • Levels Take Flight: The Balrog in both games, as it is set entirely within said flying airship. Siberia in Strider ends on a section where Hiryu has to jump across flying platforms in order to reach a larger airship.
  • Living Dinosaurs: At first glance, the Amazon stage seems to play this straight: a Lost World deep beneath the Amazon jungle housing not only an isolated female-only tribe, but living dinosaurs. At the end of the stage, the Amazons tell Hiryu the truth: they were brought to this place by Grandmaster Meio himself.
  • 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.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: One of Solo's attacks in the first game is a barrage of homing missiles that will relentlessly pursue Hiryu.
  • Mechanical Horse: Metall Hengst, one of the bosses in the 2nd stage of Strider 2, is a metallic steed ridden by a man only known as the "Knight Leader", the head of the personal soldier unit working directly under the castle's master.
  • Pirate: The Balrog's captain, Beard Jr. Comes with peg leg and hook hand included!
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: General Mikiel is a thinly-veiled Gorbachov caricature.
  • Nostalgia Level: The final two stages in Strider 2 are recreations of the 3rd and 5th stages in the original, albeit with their own twists added here and there.
  • Nubile Savage: The Amazons from the eponymous stage look quite good for being an isolated woman-only community dealing with ressurected dinosaurs.
  • Powered Armor: Solo's primary element is his "Fighting Suit", a technological armor that grants him flight capabilities and a number of extra weapons.
  • 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.
  • Production Throwback: Captain Beard Jr. is one to one of Capcom's oldest games, Pirate Ship Higemaru. He's known as Captain Higemaru Jr. in Japan, and his design is very evocative of an enemy character in the game's sequel Higemaru Makaijima, which happens to be the "Captain" of the Higemaru Corps.
  • Promoted to Playable: 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 becomes a recurring boss in the PS port of Strider 2 since he's the Final Boss in the PS-only bonus stage.
  • Recurring Location: The Balrog and the Third Moon appear in both games, although in both cases they are reconstructions of the originals.
  • 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 Omniscient Council of Vagueness: One such council is presented in Strider 2 and have been ruling the world in Meio's name during his 2000-years absence, awaiting for the time of his return. The council is formed by the heads of several countries and corrupt organizations, and they stand behind the enemy forces in each stage.
  • 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.
  • Secret Level: By clearing the original game in the PlayStation port of Strider 2 and saving to a Memory Card, a new "stage 00" is unlocked in the latter. This stage was actually planned for the Arcade version, but was scrapped and left unused in the end.
  • Segmented Serpent: Ouroboros in the first game and the Emperor Dragon in Strider 2 are long multi-segmented machines resembling a centipede and an Eastern dragon respectively.
  • 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 game and Antarctica in the second take place in laboratories hidden in the snowy mountains.
  • Skyscraper City: Later areas of Neo Hong Kong City in Strider 2 are set on the upper layers of the city where the rich and powerful live.
  • Space Base: The Third Moon is the Grandmaster's moon-shaped lair.
  • Speaking Simlish: The Amazon gals in Strider speak what amounts to gibberish sounds that vaguely resemble speech. This was forced upon by Capcom, as they were originally going to speak in Swahili.
  • 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: The "Mosqueman" enemies in the first game are walking, four-legged, laser-spewing tanks.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: Strider 2 mixes sprites for characters, items and enemies with fully polygonal backgrounds and certain bosses (usually the large, mechanical ones).
  • Surprisingly Good English: Any characters of English or otherwise unspecified nationality (in this case, Meio and Solo) speak perfectly legible 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:
    • There are moving drill traps in Strider, most memorably in the last stage, where Hiryu has to maneuver around them while gravity is reversed.
    • The Drill Cruiser, a humongous drilling 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 and he can only two before having to wait for one to come back.
  • 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.
  • Translation Train Wreck: A subtle example: In Hebrew, a language read from right to left, the correct spelling for "Balrog" is "באלרוג". It's written as "געלראב" at the start of Stage 3, which would be pronounced as "Gelrab" when read correctly.
  • Tree Top Town: The middle area in the Amazon stage of the original game features Hiryu jumping across swinging vines, avoiding poisonous mushrooms and thorned walls and reaching the village of the Amazoness on top of the trees.
  • 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.
  • Virtual Training Simulation: Home computer ports only. The home computer versions appear to follow the arcade version story (aside from a stage swap), revealing only after destroying Mecha Pon in the fifth stage that it is a training simulation to prepare when the real invasion begins.
  • War Elephants: The Frozen Mammoth in Strider 2 is this taken to the extreme: bring back a fossilized mammoth from perma-frost, change the parts that are unusable with mechanical ones and give it laser beams, and you got a very terrifying bioweapon.
  • Whip It Good: Beard Jr. uses a whip.