Strider is a side-scrolling action-adventure game released by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America in 1989. While the development of the NES version of Strider was produced in tandem with the arcade version, the Japanese version for the Famicom was never released. The NES version of Strider is included in the 2006 Game Boy Advance compilation Capcom Classics Mini-Mix.
Set in a dystopian future during the year 2048, the game centers around a secret organization of hi-tech ninja-like operatives known as 'Striders', who specializes in various kinds of wetworks such as smuggling, kidnapping, demolitions, and disruption. The player takes control of Hiryu, the youngest ever elite-class Strider in the organization. Hiryu is summoned by the organization's second-in-command, Vice Director Matic, to assassinate his friend Kain, who has been captured by hostile forces and has become a liability to the Striders. Instead of killing him, Hiryu decides to rescue Kain from his captors; he is successful, and also recovers a recording from Kain concerning a suspected criminal plot. With the help of his fellow Strider Sheena, Hiryu uncovers a conspiracy between a certain faction of the Strider organization and an unknown organization known simply as the 'Enterprise' (headed by a man named Faceas Clay) which involves the development of a mind-control weapon codenamed 'Zain'. In the course of finding and destroying these Zain units, Hiryu learns that the faction of conspirators is headed by Vice Director Matic himself. Hiryu eventually tracks Matic to an orbiting space station where the two Striders face off; after a brief battle Hiryu bests Matic and kills him. Afterwards Hiryu locates and destroys the last of the Zain units.
In the epilogue, it is revealed that though Hiryu was asked to return to the Strider organization he instead opted to retire. The final credits show him discarding his weapon and walking away.
This iteration of Strider differs from the arcade version in that the player must find clues and items to progress. The game opens on the Striders' base of operations, the Blue Dragon, which transports Hiryu to various areas across the world. At the beginning of the game only Kazakh is available, but eventually the player unlocks Egypt, China and Africa, among others, by collecting disks. These disks contain information pertinent to the plot, provided by several characters who often also grant Hiryu new abilities. New abilities unlock previously impassable areas, forcing the player to backtrack to obtain new items and disks. To return to the Blue Dragon, the player must return to the beginning of the area and jump against the uppermost left edge of the screen.
All the areas in Strider feature elevator-like transport tubes which the player can enter from below (by jumping) or above (by crouching). The player will then be moved along the path of the tube until reaching its exit. Tubes may or may not allow the player to enter from both ends; it is possible for a tube to send the player back to a much earlier part of the level, or even a different level entirely, with no convenient way to return.
Hiryu's main weapon is his Cypher, a plasma-generating blade with a tonfa-like handle known as the Falchion which he uses to slash enemies or stab them from below by raising it into the air. In some areas of the game, it is necessary to leap off walls ('Triangle Jump') in order to access areas otherwise impossible to reach. Hiryu's strength level will increase after he accomplishes certain mission objectives (such as capturing enemy officers), which extends his health and energy meters, the latter of which enables him to use acquired skills. These skills include attacks, health recovery, or the ability to warp back instantly to the Blue Dragon. Another technique available is the possibility to fire a 'Plasma Arrow' (a type of projectile attack) by raising his sword, known as 'The Cipher', and keeping it upraised until it flashes; at that point the bolt can be shot with the attack button.
The player can use passwords to keep track of their progress. Of particular note, each time the player requests a password, the game ends with a brief description of the game's progress so far (which depends of Hiryu's current level) and gives a title for Hiryu's next adventure, similar to a television series or anime.
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