Total time played: 4 Hours
Short review: Strider is somehow both one of the most innovative and fun games on the system and one of the worst games on the system when it comes to controls and hit detection.
Interesting links related to Strider
I am sure I had played Strider in passing when I was younger but never really gave it a chance. As I began playing it last weekend I realized why I never played it. The game is one of the glitchiest games on the NES.
There are 5 keycards scattered across several levels that must be found in order to open doors to gain items and experience in order to open more doors. How to use the items is never explained and the special moves are never demonstrated and some of the spells I learned I never used throughout the entire game. Here are a list of things I had to rely on the internet to tell me:
- In order to return to the stage select screen I had to return to the far left of the beginning of the stage and jump.
- There is a special jump called the triangle jump that allows you to reach high places but the way it is performed makes it near impossible. Even knowing how to do the jump it sometimes took me 50 or more tries to do it successfully. I had so much trouble with the jump that I thought the manual was wrong or my copy of the game was glitchy.
- In order to perform the charged shot attack that is used at 2 critical points in the game you must hold up on the controller for 5-7 seconds and then tap B. At no time during the first 3 seconds of holding up does the game give any indication that what you are doing is doing anything at all.
- The password system is not intuitive at all. When you click the “password” tab on the stage select menu you are taken to a screen with a giant blank screen, the password appears in the bottom left corner in 3 rows of 4 letters. I actually had to call a friend who recently played the game to find out how to get a password, I assumed the password was supposed to appear on the large screen, not the small screen.
- Every time I died the game took me to the main menu where my options were “Game Start” or “Password”. Naturally I thought I had to input the password to pick up where I left off…nope, if you select “Game Start” it takes you back right where you left off. Why wasn’t there a continue button?
Password Screen: Why isn’t the password in the large center part of the screen? Why doesn’t is say “Password” anywhere?
I would say that Strider is as difficult as Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest when it comes to impossible to figure out ways to advance. However, unlike Castlevania 2, Strider has horrible controls.
The hit detection is horrendous in Strider, sometimes I would swing my weapon 2 or 3 times and watch it go through the enemy and it would not register as a hit. Hit detection also worked against me in the other direction, enemies that I clearly dodged would take health from me. Jumping is also horrible in Strider. I can’t count the number of times I landed directly on a platform and passed right through it. Sometimes the enemies would just be garbled pieces of computer code instead of a dog or a man. I asked my friend Jason if he experienced the same stuff when he played and his response was “Yes, all that happened. I thought maybe I just had a glitched copy of the game.”
Somehow the programming was so bad the game actually had load times. Every time a character you could speak with would appear on screen the game would freeze for 3-5 seconds while the character loaded. It is the only time I can remember this happening on the NES.
With all of the horrible programming and hard to figure out game mechanics the game is actually somehow still pretty fun. It is fairly fast paced and definitely beatable (with help from a walkthrough). If Capcom had spent a little more time making the controls tighter, improving the hit detection and adding some in game narrative or clues on what to do next this could be one of the best games on the system. I expected much more from a Capcom game but from what I hear the Genesis version of Strider fixed all of the gripes of the NES version and is widely considered the best game on the system.