Strider II (released in North America under the title Journey from Darkness: Strider Returns), is the sequel to the smash hit Strider title released by Capcom for the arcades. The game is a side scrolling action platform published by U.S. Gold (under the license of Capcom USA) and developed by Tiertex. It was originally released for various computer platforms in 1990 like the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum and later ported to several 8/16bit video game consoles like the Sega Game Gear, Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis.
STORY / GAMEPLAY You've just finished off the "Reds" from the first Strider game and now looking forward to a well earned rest! But your services are once more urgently requested by the planet Magenta. Their leader has been captured by an alien terrorist species and the Magentonians are so desperate to get her back. You are equipped with a Gyro laser and sent to fight all the enemy forces and save the woman. Your main weapon though (much like on the first title) is your sword and your quest demands to kill and cause mayhem through five different. The best feature here (as on the first game) is your ability to roll on the air, avoiding with ease hazards and enemies. The aliens vary from humanoid creatures to deadly alien robots! More on that, there is a variety of other dangers along your way such as exploding flowers, machine gun and homing missile bankers, force fields and more! As usual, there is always an end-level boss too, like the fully armed Cyborg helicopter on the first level! Your energy bar can drop easily, but fortunately there are enough energy pods to collect. Also, weapon upgrades can be found during your quest; by collecting certain bonuses you can transform into a wheeled robot when confronting the boss at the end of each level. As a robot, Strider can shoot lasers but cannot jump nor crouch. The robot energy is limited and, when lost, you turn human again and continue the fight! The gameplay is fast and frantic all the way. The character cannot slide or climb ceilings as in the original game. However, he is still able to climb walls and ropes. Strategy-wise, Strider II won't stretch your grey matter but on the action standards, U.S. Gold is surely a winner!
GRAPHICS / SOUND The ST version offers nice and colorful backdrops and the sprites look cool! Note that the visuals are identical to the Amiga version (actually the opposite stands right, since the Amiga Strider II looks like an ST port) but the game on the ST suffers from low frame rate at times (while the Amiga version runs smoothly at all times). The ST version sound has the usual grunts, bangs and whizzes, but nothing stunning (or sampled) plus some nicely done tunes during gameplay.
In-game music sample:
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CPU: Motorola 68000 16/32bit at 8mhz. 16 bit data bus/32 bit internal/24-bit address bus. MEMORY: RAM 512KB (1MB for the 1040ST models) / ROM 192KB GRAPHICS: Digital-to-Analog Converter of 3-bits, eight levels per RGB channel, featuring a 9-bit RGB palette (512 colors), 320x200 (16 color), 640x200 (4 color), 640x400 (monochrome). With special programming techniques could display 512 colors on screen in static images. SOUND: Yamaha YM2149F PSG "Programmable Sound Generator" chip provided 3-voice sound synthesis, plus 1-voice white noise mono PSG. It also has two MIDI ports, and support mixed YM2149 sfx and MIDI music in gaming (there are several games supported this).