The largest artificial lifeform created by Grandmaster Meio's powers, Caduceus is a massive and powerful bio-organic weapon. Called the Path to the Stars (星への道) by Meio, Caduceus was created to serve as a vehicle to transport the seeds of Meio's artifical lifeforms throughout the galaxy, in their search of a new planet to restart his experiments anew.
Caduceus is a giant creature with a body vaguely shaped like a marine lifeform such as a manta ray or jellyfish, with several tentacle-like appendages hanging at its sides and a "head" in the form of a circular fiery orb with two long bone-like flexible "claws" at each side. Extending from its back is a large appendage or "tail" with a total length of 72.000 km, large enough to wrap all around Earth. The tail is made out of several segmented pieces where all the various artificial lifeforms created by Meio are stored. Its two large arms are actually formed by three smaller lifeforms Meio created during his battle with Hiryu: Graveleo (shoulder), Fulmenorca (mid-section) and Ardoravis (tips).
Caduceus was created as a result of Grandmaster Meio's displeasure over the decadent state of the planet after his return. Seeing a decadent world and feeling his ambitions were crumbling away, Meio decided to directly abandon Earth and start over again in another planet somewhere else in space. He created Caduceus for this purpose, to serve as a means of transportation for all the lifeform seeds he has created. It also appears Caduceus was to destroy Earth as well, as Meio proclaims to Hiryu once he arrives at his chambers that he'd destroy the planet after dealing with him.
Caduceus is summoned as soon as Meio is defeated, using it as a last-ditch effort to eliminate Hiryu. Fighting over the damaged top of the Third Moon, in an area called "The Throne of the New God", Hiryu faces the titanic monster and eventually defeats it. Caduceus loses its arms and plummets into Earth, incinerating during atmospheric re-entry. Meio observes its remains one last time as Hiryu approaches him for the kill.
Powers and Abilities
Caduceus is a gigantic creature with a large variety of powerful elements under its control. Caduceus can create and manipulate fire, plasma, electricity and gravity at will, creating storms of projectiles or focused attacks and releasing them from either its arms or body. Caduceus' elemental control comes from the six large spheres or "cores" found in each arm, and by attacking them Hiryu can disable some of these attacks, but only temporarily as the cores regenerate after a short time. Caduceus has also access to even more powerful energy-based attacks which are trickier to dodge.
Caduceus has a large amount of health and is completely impervious to damage except for its head, where its "Life Core" (生命球) is found. The only way Hiryu has to damage it is to climb through its arms while avoiding the barrage of attacks and strike at the core. At first, Caduceus simply uses one attack at a time, but as it loses more health it starts to panic and acts faster and more aggressively by combining two or more attacks together. This makes avoiding its attacks more difficult and forces Hiryu to be in constant movement to avoid receiving damage.
- Plasma Blast: Caduceus aims one of its arms at Hiryu and shoots a large fireball at him. This attack can be temporarily disabled by hitting its generation point.
- Electric Bolt: A big lightning bolt is shoot from the middle core in Caduceus' arm, aimed at Hiryu. This attack can be temporarily disabled by hitting its generation point.
- Gravity Push: Three yellow gravity rings are generated from the core at the base of Caduceus' arm, pushing Hiryu off if he's climbing them. It will also do a non-lethal version from both arms before doing the Plasma Rain, to push Hiryu off it before flying up.
- Small Flames: Six small flames come out of Caduceus' head, three at each side, and fly upwards. This attack is only dangerous if Hiryu is close to its head.
- Plasma Shots: Eight orbs of green plasma, four at each side of the screen, are generated from Caduceus' body appendages. These orbs float in place for a second before turning into homing plasma shots aimed at Hiryu. This attack is only used after Caduceus' health is halved.
- Plasma Beam: Caduceus unleashes a massive laser beam from its mouth, straight below him, and then start slowly sweeping either right or left.
- Plasma Rain: Caduceus' strongest attack. After damaging the Life Core enough, Caduceus wriggles in pain and flies up, pushing Hiryu off its arms with gravity if necessary, and then flips in mid-air. As it does so, several plasma beams rain down on the arena. The only way to avoid this attack is to quickly move into the small openings between the beams.
Early concept art for Caduceus shows its arms were originally simpler spherical cores connected through electricity, rather than the three creatures used by Meio in his boss battle. These three orbs had the same type of attacks used by Caduceus in the final game: the first shot fire plasma blasts, the second released lightning and the third generated a gravity forcefield that pushed Hiryu back. These would later become the 3 artificial lifeforms making up Caduceus' arms, with the cores being adapted into their designs.
Most of Caduceus' body design, however, remained unchanged until its final form. Concept art also shows Meio's scrapped "Control Life Core" would have merged with Caduceus' Life Core during the final battle.
- Capcom (February 22, 2014). Strider Hiryu Visual Chronicle (Japanese). Pg. 47
- Staff (June 2000). "Strider Hiryu 2: Setting Document (Part 2)" (Japanese). Monthly Arcadia (06). Pg. 181.
- Capcom (December 1999, Arcade). Strider Hiryu 2 (Japanese). Stage 5 Epilogue