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Strider Review

Replay Value:
Overall Rating:
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Double Helix Games
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
February 18, 2014

There once was a game called Strider . Filled with fantastic side-scrolling action and a bad-ass hero with a singularly powerful weapon and skill set, the game gave countless hours of challenging enjoyment to kids everywhere. Yeah, don’t forget that back in the day, gaming was primarily a child’s hobby. Things may have changed on the demographic front but the fact remains: Strider is still awesome. And despite a few minor disappointments, this new effort from Double Helix Games has the old-school greatness where it counts.

Although playing the game on the PlayStation 4 is a wonderfully smooth experience, I’m not all that crazy about the visual presentation. Don’t get me wrong; the animations are superb, the special effects are top-tier, and some of the enemy designs are pretty damn slick. However, I just don’t like the environment all that much. I’m not a fan of the heavily mechanized future on display in Strider . I find it oppressive and boring. I do admit that it’s more of a subjective complaint, but I would’ve liked to see more vibrant, attractive backdrops. Still, the technical elements are a big highlight.

Your assessment of the audio will depend on your acceptance of cheesy ‘80s-like voice acting. Obviously, story doesn’t exactly play a central role in the game, but every now and then, a few voices find their way through the maelstrom of action. The cheeseball nature of the acting fits the retro style, but some might consider it a drawback. The only other issue I have involves the sound balancing, because the mixing of effects, music, and the occasional voice isn’t spot-on. That soundtrack is sweet, though, even if I did want to hear a lot more of it during my rousing adventure.

If you recall the good ol’ days of side-scrolling action/platforming with fondness, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy Strider . The developers didn’t produce the strict 2D style; this is a 2.5D structure that allows for various perspectives and innovation. This can lead to a few small problems – the camera isn’t perfect in all viewpoints, for example – but the overall dynamic nature wins out. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the atmosphere, as I wasn’t, you’re inevitably sucked into the ceaseless, challenging action. At first, it feels straightforward and even a trifle thin, but things pick up rapidly .

That’s really one of the best aspects of this retro re-imagining: The pacing. The designers capture the old-fashioned frenetic speed of the original IP, while still providing players with a steady progression. That progression reminds me of Goldilocks; it’s not too fast, it’s not too slow; it’s just right. On top of which, the game isn’t 100% linear, as you can explore a bit. There are secrets to find and a handy-dandy map makes exploration all the more attractive. Clearly, all these gameplay elements are modern gameplay implements, and they gel with the old-school formula very well.