My obsession with Capcom’s Play System (CPS-1) arcade hardware has taken me from Nemo to Strider and with it a lot of research about my new favourite game. Something that stood out very quickly to me whilst browsing various artwork for the game was the character art for the hero of the game, Strider Hiryu.
Looking at the flyers and promotional art for the arcade game, Strider has a style that is exactly what I would expect for him. You can see above and below that he holds his plasma cypher correctly, wears his blue and red action-ninja costume like only a true 80’s hero can, and he has that cool hair that the Japanese do so well.
By the time the game reaches Sega’s Genesis, the character finds himself with a dual personality. His American persona is very much the 80’s action hero, one who has apparently forgotten that he isn’t meant to use a sword! This seems strange as the logo has the proper weapon within in! Fortunately, the Japanese boxart leaves the character, and his weapon, mostly unchanged.
Things get stranger still with the NES/Famicom boxart. This American Strider is a little goofier than the last, but at least he no longer fights with a regular sword. The Japanese Famicom art has also re-styled the hero, creating a more ninja-like character.
The arcade flyer and the artwork used by US Gold for home computer releases really highlights the stark differences that the character suffered during his original game. The CPS art keeps to a generic blue-suited American but for his C64 appearance he changes in to someone who looks a lot like Van Damme in a red and gold lighting costume and, again, forgets to bring his cypher to the party! Even the tagline for this new Strider is unaware that the weapon is plasma based – not titanium!
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what our hero looks like in the promo posters and on the box, as long as it represents the game inside. I doubt that many home users spotted that the sprites were drawn with a tonfa grip instead of a standard hilt – in fact, I suspect some of the home conversions failed to even implement this change in the artwork. All that really matters is that arcade Strider is a truly memorable game.