If there is one developer which can remake a classic, then it's Double Helix. The talented studio has already worked its magic on Killer Instinct for Xbox One, is working on the Xbox 360 port of Titanfall and is just about to release the game we are here to talk about today, Capcom's Strider.
Strider is a game you may remember from your childhood, a side-scrolling action brawler which sees you relive the classic days of 8-bit adventure in brand spanking new high definition graphics. Capcom has tried many times before to bring this classic back, but its not until Double Helix got its hands on it that its finally succeeded.
Double Helix's Strider should not really be thought of as a remake though, rather more of a re-imagining. For instance, the same plot is here, but gone are the brief stages of the original, to be replaced by a single, massive map, which is open for you to explore.
First impressions of the new Strider will leave you pleased. Main character Hiryu glides across the floors of the levels, taking down many enemies in his wake. He can also climb walls and ceilings, shift jumps in mid-air and slide through grates, allowing him to breach walls into the next part of the level. The action is certainly enjoyable and once you get used to the open nature of the levels as well as the fast pace, then you'll have a blast. There's nothing quite like exploring all the levels and finding the hidden secrets that are dotted around, although you will eventually need to find the main bosses so that you can earn the abilities you need to explore otherwise unreachable areas.
It's fair to say that the game is quite difficult. There are constantly enemies shooting at you from all angles although they are generally easy to cut down and while mini bosses will provide you with a tougher challenge, it's not until you get to the main bosses that you'll be pulling your hair out in frustration.
Things won't always go your way when it comes to combat, as sometimes you'll comes across enemies which you are unable to take down due to them being immune to your current attacks. Much in the same way that certain areas are unlocked until you gain new skills, so is the ability to take down certain enemies. This obviously means you'll need to run and come back to these guys a bit later down the line, although that just makes it all the more fun when you do.
Once you do decided to take down the biggest of the bad guys, you'll soon discover that being based on an ageing title, Strider's bosses have specific attack patterns that you'll need to master. Not only that but they also have energy weapons which help them ward off any attacks. This obviously makes taking them down very tricky, meaning that you'll both need good timing and plenty of skill to get your through. But it wouldn't be fun without the challenge, right?
Strider is certainly a decent looking game, although it does stem from an early age of gaming. While Double Helix has done a marvellous job of bringing it up to date, it obviously pales in comparison to other titles on PS3/PS4. To be fair though, Strider is a re-imagining, a homage to a classic, so it was never mean't to set the world on fire with its graphics, instead it's a gentle reminder of how games used focus on fun rather than looks and in this respect it's a bit of a winner.
Words by Joe Anderson
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN: wotta / XBLA: wotta
(Version Tested: PS4)
+ Fast paced and fun
+ Open levels
+ Plenty of hidden secrets
- Bosses can be very tough / frustrating to defeat