All signs point to déjà vu. There runs a strange, blue-clad muscleman over roofs and scramblng along the walls. The hallmark of this agile fighter is his red, three meter long scarf, trailing in the wind behind him. He is also armed with a sword and dominates opponents with the deadliest combat tactics. I must admit, at first I thought of a futuristic take of the 2008 Prince of Persia and hoped for a new journey into the universe of warring gods Ormazd and Ahriman. But I have probably wandered. Because even though the heroes resemble each other so strongly, the Persian thief and Cyber-Ninja Hiryu have little in common. But that does not always mean it's a bad thing .
Strider is a HD remake of the classic arcade game of the same name from 1989. If you know it from the old games, the story is easy to digest. Hiryu is the youngest graduates of the Strider organisation, and the only hope that remains in the world. Our assassination target is well secured in the capital city of Kazakhstan. The Dark Grand Master Meio, who is worshiped like a God by his followers, is to fall under our cyber blade. And of course along with him any of his followers who stand in our merciless ninja's way.
So in the best side scrolling tradition we travel through the different areas of the 2D stronghold, always heading in the direction of the next waypoint. But Strider does not live in an entirely linear story. In the hope of finding different improvements, we find ourselves regularly wandering off the designated path and exploring the diverse possibilities of moving the ninja in new ways.
As we are used to from arcade games, a lot of the skills unlock only in over the course of the game. Hiryu later has the opportunity to develop his sword skills with one of four special abilities. You can deflect enemy fire, equip the sword with explosion or ice damage, or simply throw the magnetic blades, because they come back to Hiryu time and time again. And that's not all. Technical achievements give us the gift of magic, and as befits a ninja, we are able to throw Kunai. But technically speaking movement has changed a lot. Actually, during the near five-hour adventure we learn pretty much everything except how to fly. But we need this repertoire, in order to stop Meios and his lackeys.
Among the opponents there are countless variations of foot soldiers and hordes of battle robots. Naturally each of these enemies has weak points, but most of the time you have to be far enough in the story before you can defeat them effectively. It's particularly difficult in those places where Hiryu is under constant bombardment. Some hostile hits break the basic posture of the Assassin, whereupon he collapses briefly. Mostly these deafening attacks are so stupid and timed that we can't escape the enemy attacks easily and suffer pointless loss of life, unless of course a miracle happens. Equally dangerous are the numerous environmental hazards such as acid or lava, which we meet in the lower lying areas of the city. If not well equipped, every failed attempt in depths means certain death.
This all sounds very diabolical, but the difficulty level is shallow, despite the game's history. During the entire course of the game there is no unfair moments. In addition, the waves of enemies spawn randomly and that is not a guarantee of difficulty. Normally Hiryu deals with the evil minions pretty quickly. The nasty bosses, however, are of a quite different caliber. With many of these beasts we must learn the attack patterns by heart and be proactive. After an attack comes the inevitable recovery phase of the opponent and the time for revenge has come. Here we regularly use the different attack variations of our blade. By charging a standard attack, when you release the button you unleash a devastating sword strike. This breaks most of an opponent's defenses, dealing massive damage .
If we control the young Strider assuredly, then we're rewarded in the game with a lot of great moments. And if, in the end, the villain Meio lies before us and the theme song is playing at the end, there is the feeling that we've saved the world. Strider is a nice game to play occasionally, an we appreciate the level of detail. The new graphics are fine and the gameplay is timeless. Only the soundtrack is somewhat lacking, as you can clearly notice the short duration of the melody. But maybe that's just a matter of taste.