Retro Coin Op Synopsis

Notice to all governments spending trillions on armies, navies and other national defense projects: stop wasting your money. Invest in ninjas. If there’s one thing that video games have proven again and again, it’s that one ninja, properly trained, can do more to overthrow an evil regime than all the Marines in Camp Lejeune. Need proof? Play a few rounds of Strider, Capcom’s 1989 “futuristic ninja” action platform game.

Set in the year 2048, the game starred Strider Hiryu, a metal-clad ninja on a mission to save the planet from Grand Master Meio. Equipped with nothing but a long sword and a sliding attack, Hiryu had to make his way through five platform-style stages, ranging from Siberia to the Amazon jungle to outer space. Along the way, the intrepid Strider had to battle regular and boss enemies, including soldiers, wolves, dinosaurs, a giant mechanical ape and a centipede-like creature formed by an assembly of shadowy Russian ministers (you had to see it to understand), along with Grand Master Meio himself.

Strider had a bit of an adventure element, as Hiryu tried to find the least painful way through the elaborate levels, but the emphasis was on fast, frantic action. The control panel housed only a joystick and two buttons—jump and attack—making the game easy enough to understand for even the least experienced player. Not that Strider was an amateur’s game… The enemies often attacked in packs, and no matter how well-trained your ninja was, he was still only one man.

Along with its hack and slash gameplay, Strider drew in crowds with its stunning animation. Strider Hiryu didn’t just jump; he flipped, he soared, he climbed along overhangs, etc. The enemies were designed with the same attention to detail, as were Hiryu’s robotic buddies—a saucer, panther and hawk that would occasionally appear as power-ups.

Strider was a moderate hit in arcades, but its biggest success came in home conversions, where it helped launch the then-new Sega Genesis. Capcom released a few home system sequels, but no further arcade versions. You can’t keep a good ninja down, however (are you paying attention yet, military-industrial complex?). Strider Hiryu finally made an arcade comeback in 1999, joining the lineup of the one-on-one fighting game Marvel Vs. Capcom.

Arcade Machine Release History

1989 - Strider

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