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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 3rd 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 befell Strider Hiryu, the greatest agent and the youngest to achieve the group's higest 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 The Superheroes 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Animated Armor: One of the bosses in the 2nd 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.
  • Artificial Gravity: One of the most memorable moments on the first game includes having to go through areas where the gravity is inversed, courtesy of a nearby Gravity Core: in these instances, Hiryu walks across the ceiling as if he were on ground. Strider 2 includes a section just like this, and another in which gravity switches sides constantly.
    • The machines altering gravity also appear as 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:
    • Attack Drone: The Dipodal Saucer, which circles around Hiryu and shoots a ring-shaped beam at enemies.
    • Feathered Fiend: The Robot Hawk, a robot bird which swoops down on enemies.
    • Panthera Awesome: 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.
  • Battle Boomerang: The Amazons from the fourth stage use 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.
  • 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, in both games.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Bounty Hunter: Solo and the Kuniang team.
  • 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.
  • Compilation Re-release / Embedded Precursor: Strider 2 came packaged with a second CD with the first arcade game.
  • Cyborg: The very first boss of both games, Strobaya and the Chinese Terrorist (Elder Brother Honghuo).
  • 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.
    • Flunky Boss: In-game, this translates into him summoning enemies from previous stages to hunt Hiryu.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Back when Strider 2 was just announced, plenty of fans mistook Hien for a brand-new female Strider.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Evil Counterpart: Hien to Hiryu.
    • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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'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.
  • 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: Amazon in the first, the PlayStation-exclusive "Waterfall stage" in the second (mixed 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 boss Mecha Pon, a 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.
  • Large Ham: The Grandmaster in the arcade game.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: One of Solo's attacks in the first game.
  • Mechanical Horse: Metall Hengst, one of the bosses in the 2nd stage of Strider 2.
  • Moveset Clone: In Strider 2, Strider Hiryu and Strider Hien. Both use the same techniques, but Hiryu is mostly up close and personal, while Hien uses throwing weapons.
  • 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.
  • Powerup 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.
  • 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 is a recurring boss in the PS port of Strider 2, since he's 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 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 Dummied Out 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, Antarctica in the second.
  • 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, 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: 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: 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?"
  • 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.
  • Whip It Good: Beard Jr. uses a whip.

Example of: