Grand Master Meio: Never my friend...Tomorrow is the day you die.
According to their creator, the game started out as a small project by some employees at Tiertex which used placeholder assets from the Strider Amiga port. This caught the attention of the higher-ups, who increasingly demanded the game to resemble ''Strider'' more and more, until they directly decided it'd be better if it was an ''actual'' sequel to it. But the game's gameplay hardly resembled (and was ill-fitted to) the high-speed action of Strider, so the developers complained and eventually walked out of the company. Tiertex salvaged what could of the project and released it as Strider II. Then they ported and released it on North America for the Sega Genesis and Game Gear under the full title Journey from Darkness: Strider Returns, with similar results.
In Strider II, the player controls a white-uniform Strider only known as "The Warrior" on a mission to save the Female Leader of the alien planet Magenta from terrorists. Besides using the same Cypher sword as before, the Strider is also provided with a rifle for long-range shooting (which unfortunately prevents him from using the sword while standing still) and a gizmo that lets him transform into a tank-threaded robot for boss battles. The player goes through five stages as in the original, but other than the familiar sprite used by "The Warrior", no enemy or environment even comes close to resemble the colorful world of the original.
Strider Returns made a number of alterations: The main character is now Hinjo and the Damsel in Distress is Lexia, his beloved captured by Grandmaster Meio in a bid to get revenge for his previous defeat. Hinjo drops the rifle and robot form for the ability to throw shuriken and a set of silver orbs which activate during boss battles and spin around him causing contact damage. Now some more enemies from the previous game make their appearance, including Solo and the Final Boss being finally the Grandmaster, who before was only a feature of the title screen. Still, the game's slow movement, cheap deaths and aggravating stage layout didnt' earned it any favors, and has since been dismissed by both fans and Capcom themselves.
This work provides examples of:
- Bridal Carry: The ending of the game has Hinjo carrying Lexia/the female leader this way to a escape ship before the final stage explodes.
- The Cameo: The Genesis version includes Tong Pooh and the Amazoness girl speaking to Hinjo during cutscenes, but neither character appears anywhere else nor Hinjo ever visits the Amazon.
- Canon Discontinuity: None of the sequels take this game into account. Considering the original development team wasn't involved, it makes sense.
- Canon Foreigner: Hinjo & Lexia are the most notable, but every enemy and boss outside of Grandmaster Meio and Solo are also this.
- Captain Ersatz: Hinjo, a quick color-edited Hiryu, at that. Apparently a necessity due to Hiryu's complex dual ownership barring Tiertex from legally using him.
- Clothing Damage: Lexia's white dress is ripped off at the base in her in-game artwork and sprite. The original sprite also features what seems to be a ripped white shirt...and almost no other piece of clothing.
- Cyborg: The Final Boss in the European home computer ports is a large bald man with a fully-mechanical lower body and a BFG.
- Damsel in Distress: Lexia's only reason to exist is to be saved by the player.
- Demoted to Extra: In one bizarre case of this trope, the Big Bad Grandmaster Meio gets demoted...to appearing in the title screen logo. He's nowhere to be seen in the actual game, and the final boss is some random cyborg man with a gun. Reverted for the Genesis and Game Gear ports, which restored his position as the Final Boss.
- Dolled-Up Installment: Strider II started out as an unrelated game begin developed by Tiertex employees under the codename T.O.R.(Transforming Overland Robot), and it dealt with a guy who turned into a robot to bypass security and scout ahead in stages. Since they used Hiryus sprite from the previous games ports as placeholders for the human character, the higher-ups at the company started nagging them to make the game more Strider-like, until they finally just told them to do a Strider sequel directly. As a result, very little resembles the original Strider.
- Dub Name Change: The Bounty Hunter Solo comes back for the Genesis and Game Gear ports, but is called "Inferno" in the manual.
- The stage called The Alien Depths features enemies and a boss that are very obvious Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise.
- Hinjo can be considered one of Hiryu, using the exact same sprite only colored white and neon green, and being billed as a top-rank Strider.
- Load-Bearing Boss: Defeating the final boss sets the entire station into self-destruct.
- The Maze: The 4th stage, "The Alien Depths", is set in an underground labyrinthine alien nest.
- Miss Fanservice: Lexia's original sprite has her doing some odd hip dancing while wearing only a ripped white shirt and panties.
- No Name Given: No character is ever given a name in the original version of the game, not even the main characters (who is called The Warrior in the manual, and just Strider anywhere else).
- Non-Indicative Name: The 2nd stage is called "Castle Metropolis"...but it is set inside two towers, far from being a metropolis and hardly a full castle.
- Our Presidents Are Different: Lexia's original character in the European originals is that of the female leader of the alien planet Magenta.
- Post-Final Boss: The Genesis version includes an extra "boss" after Grandmaster Meio: Hinjo has to destroy the hovering platform Lexia is chained to before escaping, while it pelts him with bullets. But hitting it at the wrong time electrocutes the poor damsel, costing Hinjo one point of life.
- Power Up Let Down: Hinjo transforms into a robot to fight the bosses in the home computer versions of Strider II, but this robot can't duck or jump, moves very slowly and can only attack by shooting straight ahead, making fighting most bosses (who are flying and usually found in uneven ground) much harder than simply fighting them as the human Hinjo.
- Recurring Boss: The Genesis version of Returns is the only one who features this, with Solo appearing twice, Grandmaster Meio being fought in the 2nd stage for some reason and the final stage including a Boss Rush of most mini-bosses from the 1st stage.
- Reformulated Game: The ports for the Sega consoles pretty much are entirely different games from the originals, sharing a common setting and aesthetic, but having different gameplay elements, stage layouts and even bosses.
- Stock Ninja Weaponry: From the Master System port onwards Hinjo's gun gets replaced by a set of typical ninja shuriken.
- Scary Black Man: The Final Boss in the original version is a very tall, bald black man with robot legs.
- Space Station: The final stage is set in "The Master's Prison Ship", a large spaceship hovering over Magenta/Earth.
- Stock Subtitle: For the American ports, which added Journey from Darkness as a subtitle.
- The Lost Woods: The first stage is set in the "Forbidden Forest", a rather simple forest area next to a warehouse.
- Totally Radical: The way Hinjo's described in the game's manual fits this so much it hurts. For one, he is called the "Strider Dude". Seriously.
- Transforming Mecha: In the original European versions Hinjo transforms into a tank-threaded robot when its time to fight the bosses. This ability was removed in the ports for the Sega consoles.
- Tyrannosaurus rex: The boss known as "Mother Alien" looks like a second-hand discount Xenomorph in the original computer games, but in the Genesis and Game Gear versions, it was redesigned into a zombie robot T.Rex holding a flamethrower gun for...who knows what reason.