- This article is about the 1999 sequel. For the "unofficial" 1990 sequel, see here.
First released in 1999 for the ZN-2 arcade board, Strider 2 is a side-scrolling action platformer with polygonal 3D environments, the player once again controls Hiryu as he travels through five different stages destroying any obstacle and enemy in order to reach the stage's end boss.
Strider 2 saw a later port for the PlayStation released internationally in 2000, in a 2-CD package which included a port of the original Strider. Due to this, the port is known as Strider Hiryû 1&2 (ストライダー飛竜1&2, Sutoraidā Hiryû Wan to Tsū) in Japan. Strider 2 was in essence developed as a remake of the original game both in story and gameplay, employing similar settings and situations, and pitting Hiryu against conceptually similar enemies. The story follows the same basic structure, with a different modern setting and the inclusion of a rival character in the form of rogue Strider Hien.
While the graphics now consist of 2D animated sprites in 3D backgrounds, the gameplay remains similar to it´s predecessor. While Hiryu and the humanoid characters are sprites, stages are fully rendered in 3D, panning and rotating around Hiryu as he moves through them. Hiryu's health is represented as a five-unit lifebar positioned at the top left of the screen, with each unit absorbing one instance of damage. The stage's timer and score are marked at the right side of the screen opposite the lifebar.
Control layout consists of an eight-way joystick and 3 buttons, for attacking, jumping and activating the "Boost" mode. Much like the original game, the player is given complete freedom of movement, allowing one to jump at any angle and direction. Controls feel smooth and very responsive at all times, and greatly upgrade Hiryu's mobility options: Hiryu now can dash, crouch, double jump and control direction in mid-air, in addition to his acrobatic jumps and slide. Hiryu's wall-climbing has also been improved, and now Hiryu can move faster through walls and ceilings as well as perform a thrust jump off walls, which can help reach places even faster.
Hiryu's primary way to attack remains the Cypher, which creates a plasma energy wave when swung. Unlike the original game, however, Hiryu now swings it at different angles and generates a smaller plasma edge. Otherwise, it functions exactly like in the original game, being usable from any position (climbing, while sliding) and continuously by rapidly pressing the attack button.
While the Options from the first game have been removed, Hiryu has been provided with an extended set of techniques:
- Double Jump - After jumping, Hiryu can perform a second jump in mid-air, used to reach higher or change the direction of his jump.
- Slide - By holding the stick down and pressing jump, the player can make Hiryu perform a quick sliding attack. A fast move that can go under certain hazards like projectiles.
- Hassou Jump - Also known as the Thrust Jump. While climbing a wall, by pressing the stick against it and jump, Hiryu will propel himself off it and perform a mid-air dash. A fast maneuver that allows for quick wall-switching.
- Backward Somersault - Also known as Back Flip. During a slide, by pressing at the opposite direction and jump, Hiryu performs a quick reverse somersault from the slide position. A fast evasion technique that allows for quick hit-and-run tactics.
- Savage Slash - Also known by its Japanese name, Midare-Giri. By pressing down, up and attack in mid-air, Hiryu performs several quick slashes that surround his whole body. Besides being stronger than the basic attack, it provides more points if used to kill enemies.
- Boost - Used by pressing the "Boost" button. This power-up allows Hiryu to launch homing plasma waves with each swing of the Cypher for a period of time until the boost gauge runs out. It needs a "Boost" stock to be activated (small "B" icons under the lifebar), which can be found as items in every stage.
There are a total of 5 stages, plus an extra stage included in the PlayStation port, unlocked after completing the original Strider. The player can freely choose the order to play through the first three missions, with the 4th unlocked after beating any one stage and the 5th and final mission unlocked after beating the 4th. Each stage is subdivided into six self-contained sections. These sections are small parts of the greater stage, and often end in a boss fight. Several items can be found during gameplay, either inside Item Boxes spread throughout the stage or in "hidden" spots, only revealing themselves after striking the area. Besides normal Power-Up items for Hiryu, there are also Score items that increase the player's game score. These are discussed in the next section.
Strider 2 uses a ranking system for grading the player's performance in each stage, from a total of eight letter-based "Strider Ranks" (lowest to highest): E, D, C, B, A, S, SS and Star. The grade is determined by two factors: the final score at the end of the stage, and amount of lost lives (all life units) during the stage. Total score determines the rank, which is decreased by one for each lost life. For example: a score of 4.000.000 PTS or more is required for the highest star rank, but if one life was lost it would be decreased into SS Rank.
Score is determined by several factors, which are shown in the results screen at the end of the stage:
- Score: The score the player accumulates throughout the stage.
- Time Bonus: How long it takes to finish the stage. If the timer reaches 10 minutes, the bonus is dropped to zero.
- Life Bonus: It grants a score bonus based on the lifebar: 100.000 PTS for each life unit, or 10.000 PTS per life unit if the player was hit during the stage.
- Item Bonus: A bonus score that increase for every picked blue Zenny and every unused Boost stock.
- Special Bonus: A single 300.000 PTS bonus if the player hasn't died (lost all life units) during the stage. Increased to 1.500.000 PTS in the PlayStation port.
All the Score Up items found in Strider 2 are homages to items that had appeared in older games from Capcom. Here is a list for them, including their origin. Besides items, the player also receives points depending on the attack used to kill an enemy, to note: 100 PTS for a Cypher slash, 200 PTS for a Power-Up Cypher projectile, 300 PTS for the Savage Slash and 500 PTS for one of the Boosts' plasma waves.
"In the future, one man controls the world. Calling himself the Grand Master, he rules with an iron fist of tyranny. Plagued by his insane dictatorship, the world spirals toward cataclysmic annihilation, but somewhere within the insidious corruption, a hero rises from the shadows. With the fate of the entire planet in his hands, he strives to complete his mission of destroying the Grand Master!"
Despite employing similar story settings and situations, Strider 2 is set 2000 years after Hiryu's victory over Grandmaster Meio in the original game (one line in the ending sequence also implies this). Despite his defeat, however, Meio's plans for Earth would still come to fruition: an "Unified Earth" populated by a human race of his design, who worships him as their Creator. During this period of time the world has been managed from the shadows by a secret organization under his name, until Meio's resting place is eventually found by Hien and he returns to reclaim his world.
In this decadent future, humanity is on the verge of extinction, rotting away like an overripe fruit. An increase in its population has led into massive wars and starvation, and the destruction of the environment has led to the generation of chronic diseases and genetic mutations. The world governments are corrupt to the core, and conspire together with large-scale crime syndicates. Crimes and suicide rates skyrocket, and anyone asking for peace and justice is dealt the exact opposite, ruin and incarceration. Cybernetic implants, human experimentation and powerful drugs run rampant. Right after the order to exterminate the Grandmaster is issued, however, the Striders are eliminated, sabotaged by Hien's rebellion. Hiryu is now left alone to oppose Meio and his men, and even the entire world, in order to fulfill his mission.
- Kuniang M.A. Team - A trio of work-for-hire skilled martial artists, who possess incredible physical strength. They can create blades of plasma (as strong as Hiryu's Cypher) out of their kicks. The trio is conformed by leader and middle sister Tong Pooh, elder sister Pei Pooh and younger sister Sai Pooh. They work with the Chinese Mafia in their attempt to stop Hiryu, but are defeated.
- Herzog Schlange - A german mad scientist and the lord of Fortress Wahnen. A loyal follower, he devises twisted machines for Grandmaster Meio. He's not a fighter, instead commanding a giant mechanical Hydra to fight Hiryu in his place.
- Admiral Wilhelm - High-ranking officer from Grandmaster Meio's army and the captain of the Flying Battleship Balrog. An expert swordsman, he fights Hiryu with a plasma sword, employing similar tactics to him.
Strider 2 started development following Hiryu's renewed popularity in the crossover fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes in which he was one of the playable fighters. Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the first game, the project was developed by Capcom's Production Studio 1 and designed primarily by Atsushi Tomita, who previously worked as the main designer in X-Men vs Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes and was the one responsible for bringing Hiryu back for the roster in Marvel vs. Capcom.
Resurrecting the Strider series was made possible due to Hiryu's increased popularity and recognition after his playable appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom. Tomita presumes there were some calculations internally which yielded good enough results to attempt an "experimental work". Strider 2 went through a particularly troubled development cycle, suffering from numerous problems such as a lack of personnel, staff dropouts, and heated arguments during meetings, among others. Tomita himself states he joined the project midway through production due to "some circumstances". and mentions that him joining as "assistant designer" was traditionally done when a game line was in trouble.
At one point, as the project showed little signs of progress, Tomita was called in by the Junior Producer. He warned him that the project could be cancelled, but wanted to know from him if it could reach completion. Tomita was reluctant to see Strider 2 cancelled, and he eagerly told the producer they "can do it". Working side-by-side with his staff, Tomita was able to complete a playable demo of the game in time for the 1999 E3 Show. Reactions from the public at the convention were lukewarm at best, noting it still required a lot of work and polish. Tomita felt he couldn't argue against the criticism since the prototype wasn't ready, and his team was "depressed" while working on it. In spite of this, Tomita soldiered on intent on seeing the game completed. From this point forward, there's little known about the game's development, though it can be inferred to have been just as difficult. Tomita has claimed several times that he has forgotten everything up until the game's release, and that his brain "rejects him" when he tries to remember.
Rumored to exist since at least December 1998, Strider 2 was publicly revealed in February 1999 at the Japanese AOU Show in the form of a 20-second teaser video. A second in-progress teaser was included in the VHS "Capcom Friendly Club Video vol. 10", released in the Capcom-produced official magazine CFC_Style_Fan-Book_CAP!. In both instances, the game used a placeholder "Strider Hiryu" tentative title and logo.
The first public playable demo of Strider 2 was made available during the May E3 Show. The demo covered only the entirety of the game's 2nd stage, Fortress Wahnen. Later in September, Strider 2 appeared during the Japanese JAMMA AM Show, in the form of a playable demo reportedly in a 50% completion state. During the event, Capcom employees dressed as Hiryu and Tong Pooh were seen around the stage floor promoting the game.
The game was finally released in December 1999, despite rumors it would not see release until 2000.
When designing Strider 2, Tomita sought to maintain the feeling from old-school arcade games, and aimed to create an interesting arcade title by combining elements from the first Strider in a way more suitable to contemporary times. He considered it important to have the ambition to challenge the previous game's limits, as otherwise the project would risk becoming an entirely different game. This thinking led to the choice of incorporating 2D sprites with 3D polygonal models and movement, going beyond the limits of the previous game's action.
While Hiryu's overall look and movement seem inspired by his Marvel vs. Capcom design, the game's main illustrator Harumaru was not inspired by this portrayal, instead drawing him based on advice given by Shoei Okano, who described Hiryu as a "crazy-style" protagonist who will carry out any mission he's given "mechanically". As a result of this, Harumaru considers the Hiryu from Strider 2 different in his expressions and feelings to his Vs. portryal.
Several of the character designs became important in portraying the game's worldview; with the enemies that formed the Superhuman Army being one of the major factors in representing the game's world. Several of the side characters were created seemingly to fill similar roles to characters from the first game, such as a patriotic madman (General Mikiel/Schlange), a ruthless captain of a flying fortress (Captain Beard Jr./Admiral Wilhelm), etc.
The design of the game's robot and machine enemies sought to surpass the unique robot designs of the original, albeit the artists were well aware this time most of these characters would need to be recreated as polygonal 3D models as well.
The dystopian world of Strider 2 has been described as combining the catchy quirkiness known of Capcom characters with hard tones reminiscent of American comic books. Having been told to draw "a new approach, never before seen from Capcom", artist Harumaru struggled to find the direction for the game's world view, and finally settled on incorporating a new style while trying to inherit the elegance of the previous game's design. When drawing the game's set pieces, Harumaru was inspired by several American comic books found in the design office, naming specifically works from DC Comics, Mike Mignola, Simon Bisley and Todd McFarlane's Spawn.
Strider 2 was developed under the mindset that it was a remake of the original Strider rather than a direct sequel, although the decision to add "2" to its title made having to fit everything consistently a difficult task. The main planner worked under the hypothesis that, in action games like this one, elements such as the world or its narrative are forged between the player and the game.
When talking about the game's score, Yamamoto said that, while he was well aware of the original score, he didn't felt necessary to draw too much toward it, prefering to create compositions with his own personal approach. Due to the original music's reputation, he felt it became more of a burden as well. He was also requested by the planners to make more "movie-like" music for some of his themes, which despite going against the flow of a side-scrolling action game he enjoyed composing.
The core concept behind the composition was Hiryu's personality, something he believed would give his work a "different flavor" from that of the original score. The game's opening song, "THEME", was specially difficult because it'd determine the score's overall direction, and so took a long time to compose. The music identifies Hiryu less as a hero and more as an "assassin living only to fulfill his assignment". Other themes were inspired by Hiryu's feelings or specific moments: the first Balrog theme was inspired by Hiryu's determination and resolution to face his enemies, while the boss themes for stages 3 and 5 were based on Hiryu's bravery when facing huge, mysterious creatures like the Kraken and Caduceus.
Early reports about the game running on Sega's Naomi board circulated gaming websites before its official reveal at the AOU Show, seemingly claimed by a Japanese listing of upcoming arcade games. As the Naomi board was based off the Dreamcast's architecture, most websites eagerly concluded that a Dreamcast port was "guaranteed". Capcom never confirmed these rumors in any official matter, and they were eventually disproven during the game's AM Show appearance. In the end, Strider 2 was developed for Sony's ZN-2 board, which was based off the PlayStation, making it the platform of choice for porting. Hinted at from a an early date, the PlayStation port of Strider 2 was released two months after the arcade game in February 2000. It included a second disc with a port of the first Strider and several bonus features, such as a playable Hien and an extra "Mission 00", a stage which was worked on for the arcade but ultimately cut.
The game's English version was announced shortly afterwards, planned for a May 2000 release. It was ultimately delayed, attributed to being caught up in "shipping and distribution channels" according to Capcom, and finally released two months later, in July. There are no major differences with the original version, and the only notable change is the removal of the Japanese voices during cutscenes, leaving the characters silent.
The English release also suffered from a printing oversight in which both disc labels were reversed: the disc labeled "Strider" is actually Strider 2 and vice versa. This compilation port was included as a download code in Japanese PlayStation 3 copies of the 2014 Strider game and later made available for purchase through PlayStation Network in both Japan and America.
Unlike its unofficial predecessor, Strider 2 was much better received by critics and fans. It has been often praised as a fun, solid platformer and a great throwback to the Arcade platformers of the 80's. It was however criticized for its short length, rough mixture of 2D sprites and 3D polygonal backgrounds, very little to no innovation on its formula and the use of "zero-punishment" infinite continues in its PlayStation port.
The PlayStation version of Strider 2 received "average" reviews according to the review aggregation website Metacritic. James Mielke, writing for GameSpot, called it "a deliberate throwback to the arcade-dominant '80s" and "an excellent starter kit for the uninitiated, but for veterans of the series, it's like dinner without the dessert." David Zydrko of IGN described it as "a must-have package for fans of arcade-style action games", adding, "if you don't mind the fact that it's a very short game, you owe it to yourself to add this game to your collection." In Japan, Famitsu gave it a score of 30 out of 40.
In Japan, Strider 2 enjoyed a rather moderate success, its PlayStation port ranking 11th in gaming magazine Famitsu's top selling games from March, a month after release. Famitsu also reviewed this version, giving the game a 30/40 score. Unfortunately, despite its initial brisk sales reported in Famitsu, Strider 2 ultimately only sold 80,000 copies worldwide at retail.
While generally not as well-regarded as the original arcade game, Strider 2 still appears to have had an indirect influence on its genre, and games such as Overworks' 2002 PlayStation 2 installment of Shinobi and Krome Studios' 2010 adaptation of Blade Kitten bear more than a passing resemblance to Strider 2's gameplay.
Planner: Atsushi Tomita, Yo Td Fukuda, Masahiro Nakano, Nuki
Programmer: Tutomu Urago, Kazuhiko Komori, Kiyoko Arikichi, Shigeru Kato, Hero Hero, Kazuo Yamawaki, Meijin, Y.Shindome
Scroll Design: Yasuto Takahashi, Takako Nakamura, Yasuhiro Yamamoto, Tanopu (TT), Akiko Hongo
Object Design: Hiroaki Minobe, Naoki Fukushima, G.Kamina, Miwa♥Sakaguchi, T, SHinya Miyamoto, Masanori Kondo, Y・Yamamoto, Masayuki Maeda 04, Hiro, Kaeru♪Nagashima, Akita, Tomomall.S, Toshihiro Suzuki, Narancia, r., Masaru_N, Kikutani, T.Ohsumi, Michiru, Kitasan
Design: Shoei (logo designer), Nezumi Otoko (sub charactor & enemy designer), Harumaru (main visual illustrator)
Music Compose: Setsuo, Etsuko
Sound Effect: Ryoji, Sandou
Voice Actor: Kousuke Toriumi, Kan Tokumaru, Toshihide Tsuchiya, Hozumi Tokuda
Special Thanks: Sakomizu, and Capcom All Staff
Producer: Noritaka Funamizu
General Producer: Yoshiki Okamoto
Presented by: Capcom
Merchandise and Advertisement
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<ref>tag; name "arcadia" defined multiple times with different content
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- Official site (Japanese - Archived)
- Official site -PlayStation Port- (Japanese - Archived)
- Capcom Online Games official page (Japanese)