The Playstation 1 is a home for many great games and even to this day I think this is my favorite console. Gamers across the world were introduced to gaming icons such as Crash, Spyro, Solid Snake, Rayman and plenty more. The Playstation 1 also carries an assortment of hidden gems that are just as enjoyable as any AAA title. However for some reason these games are underrated. In my home town I made a small experiment and asked teenagers about different video games from the this particular console that are not so popular as much, and that are among my favorite. For some reason nobody remembers this great title on the PS1 – so today I have decided to shed light on this forgotten game, Strider 2.
The story of Strider is the first thing that got me interested into the entire gaming series, and I consider its main character to be a true bad-ass. In this game you take on the role of Strider Hiryu, a high-tech ninja/mercenary, who is asked to come out of retirement to eliminate a terrorist group. However he soon finds out that another Strider and his friend, Strider Hien, disappeared while on a mission. After returning to his former Strider unit, Hiryu goes after the Kuniang Team, highly trained assassins that is consisted of three sisters, Tong, Sai and Pei Pooh. After tracking them down he discovers that the three sisters work for the terrorist organization led by Grandmaster Meio, Hiryu’s arch nemesis and the villain in the first game, while also learning that his friend has sided with the Grandmaster and betrayed his unit. Hiryu then decides to fully commit himself to stoping his nemesis’ evil plan as well as find out why his friend betrayed him.
My copy of the game came with two special features along side the game, the first game in the series and a small manga created by Tatsumi Wada and Tetsuo Shiba. The manga was being made along side the first game so the story would piece together a lot of details, such as what is the Stride unit, certain information’s on Hiryu and other things. In the manga the story of our protagonist expands from his early days as a normal cadet to a skilled ninja/mercenary. The story starts with a small project called Strider being created, which involved specialized training in order to create perfect mercenaries. Hiryu at a very young age applies to the program after learning that his sister was one of them and that she disappeared. As the years past Hiryu became the best in his unit earning the title of great A Class Strider, which is capable of killing an entire battalion, not to mention he was the youngest to ever earn this title at the age of 19. After proving his skills, he was eventually given a task to hunt down and eliminate a rogue Strider. When he finale confronted his target he finds out that the rogue Strider is his sister and is forced to kill her. After this, Hiryu, angered by his subordinates leaves his unit and goes to retirement, however Grandmaster Meio soon shows up and he is pulled back into action. After defeating him, he leaves again and somehow, maybe due to advanced medicine, survives over 2000 years only to go once again after his nemesis in this game.
Now that the story, which is already great, is out-of-the-way time to look at some other aspects of the game, most notable the game play, which improved much more than its previous title. The game is considered a single-player platformer and in terms of that it’s not so much different from the original. However this time around the game play is much faster and the main premise is for the players to experience the main characters power and skill. Hiryu controls much better then in Strider 1, for instance the players can more accurately control his jumping and attacks. The protagonist famous weapon, cypher sword, is once again back along with new abilities. When maxed out the sword can project special beams that can act as a range attack, which is mostly helpful when facing bosses. On top of all of that, Hiryu, can also summon certain types of drones at his disposal, there is a satellite drone, a robotic panther and a robotic hawk. The replayability is also worth mentioning since in the second play through, the player can choose to play as Hiryu’s friend, Strider Hien.
If you thought I was gonna leave out the boss battles in this game you thought wrong, since this game has one of the best action packed bosses in the entire series. On his mission, Stirder, would face many members of the terrorist organization, with one of the first bosses being the three sisters mentioned earlier. In every level there are multiple sub-bosses and the final boss, with one of the most notable battles being with Strider Hien. In this fight two equal Strider’s face off in order to prove which one is better, this is one of the reasons why the fight is so epic. Hien, in terms of skills, is like Hiryu so the fight essentially looks like the main protagonist is fighting a copy of himself, which is both challenging and enjoyable to watch. The final boss of the game is the Grandmaster Meio, who I have to say was a bit disappointing, since the fight is almost identical to the fight in the first game. I would have been happy to see some new elements to this boss battle, the build up to it is great, but the final encounter should have been more exciting, I mean you’re facing a overpowered being. Even though this flaw exists, I can definitely say that I enjoyed every fight and never felt bored at any time.
The first game was created mainly for the arcade, so in terms of visuals it has that old beat ’em up graphics such as in Final Fight, Streets of Rage and so on. However this sequel completely throws that out the window and breaths new life into the series. The game only has 5 missions, plus one extra when the game is beaten, and yes the game can be completed in a few hours, but even though these missions may seem small, they aren’t and you should check them out yourself. All of the characters were hand drawn to have that anime-styled look, while the background was rendered in 3D. We have Sho Sakai to thanks for this new feature, while we also have to thank Setsuo Yamamoto and Etsuko Yoneda for bringing one kick-ass soundtrack, with the “Defeat the Terrorists in the Occupied City” song becoming a main theme for the main character. Strider was one of the earliest game series that Capcom has made, and its main character made multiple appearances in other crossover games, most iconic Marvel vs Capcom 2 New Age of Heroes. The developers have a soft spot for their high-tech ninja and haven’t forgotten about him, since in 2014 a new sequel/reboot simply called Strider was release. It retained a lot of elements from this game and only enhanced the experience with better graphics, new options and better missions.
Overview: Strider 2 is one of my favorite games on the Playstation 1, and I consider it to be the best in the series. It’s such a shame that a good game as this one is so underrated, even though it is an amazing experience. There is nothing better than slashing enemies in an amazing speed as a literal bad-ass than this. Even though the game did garner positive reviews and even garnered followers, it was still considered a hidden gem on the PS1 in comparison to other titles. That is way I will tell you that this game is definitely worth your time and you will most likely like the game and it’s fast paced action. I strongly advise for you to pick this game up and to give it a go, it’s maybe not as good as Crash Bandicoot, Metal Gear Solid or other titles, but it is without a doubt a tone of fun.