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Strider (Sega Master System) artwork

Strider (Sega Master System) review

"When you do a number 2, do you ever look down?"

How to write 400 words about this mess? We know that at the time of this game's release the Genesis was going full steam ahead and Sega had resigned their archaic Master System to a slow, lonely death. In order to squeeze a few final dollars out of die-hard 8-bit gamers, or those who couldn't afford to upgrade to a 16-bit 'powerhouse', Sega ported over some of their more popular and successful Genesis offerings (themselves, ports of arcade hits) to the Master System even while it coughed up dirt. I don't know that any of these translations were even decent in their fall to the forgotten 8-bitter. What I know for sure is that Strider fell the furthest.

Strider was a stylish, slick arcade side-scroller featuring sublime hack and slash action, and one of Capcom's coolest characters ever: the futuristic ninja (sort of), Hiryu. It was a landmark Genesis game (the first 8-meg cartridge! Genesis does what Nintendon't!), which finally dispelled the idea that you had to compromise presentation dearly in order to bring coin-op experiences home. And it's also probably the worst Master System game that I've played.

God, this is difficult. First, the basic things that made it intact: Hiryu is still on a mission to destroy The Master (not Masters, baha.) with his laser sword Cyper, and he is still able to 'summon' aid in the form of little robots and a mechanical panther and eagle. Everything else is... different.

Do you remember Strider's amazing, distinctive score? Reduced to horridly discordant, high-pitched noise. The beautiful backgrounds? Gone are the detailed pseudo-Moscow backdrops and lush mountain panoramas, replaced by flatness, blackness, vapidness. The character design? Wow. Strider Hiryu was known for his fluid movement. Watching him run down mine-covered hills--or cartwheel from scaffoldings to ledges--was sweet and scrumptious for hungry eyes. Not here. In this version, Hiryu is small and horribly, horribly animated. His movements are missing all kinds of frames and with every movement, an inordinate amount of flicker follows.

Excessive flicker.

Gameplay-crippling flicker.

'Is this a joke, I mean did they even playtest this game' flicker.

Quite often, you won't be able to see what's going on. When you face the first boss, Urobolos, you won't be able to tell what to hit with your sword. You won't be able to tell if you're hitting him. You won't be able to tell if you're getting hit. Your once clean and clear segmented power bar has been replaced by a small number in the corner of the screen. ''3'' it says, by default. When you get hit, it will become ''2'', and so on. In no time, you'll be dead, and you'll get angry.

I guarantee it: ''What the ****. I can't even see what the **** is going on. This is Strider? Good lord, what did they do to this game? Wasn't this game good?'' And then you'll toss your Master System across the room, and get your Genesis hooked up, or your PlayStation hooked up, to play Strider--you know, the real Strider. The one you know, and everyone knows. The good one.

Masters's avatar
Staff review by Marc Golding (November 15, 2003)

There was a bio here once. It's gone now.

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