The Elite Mechanical Combat Unit is a tank-threaded robot form Hinjo assumes thanks to a matter converter given to him by the Magentans, which cybernetically mutates him after it is sufficiently charged. During stages the player needs to fill up an energy bar (found in the panel HUD, opposite the health bar) by picking up "power-up" items scattered over each stage, usually in dead end areas outside the main path. This energy bar serves as the robot's health during boss battles, and once depleted Hinjo returns to normal.
The Combat Unit automatically activates once the player reaches a stage's boss area. The robot has very limited mobility being only capable of slowly moving forward and backwards, being incapable of jumping or crouching like its human counterpart. Its only method of attack is to shoot laser shots from a machine gun held in its hands. While its shot is stronger than the basic attack or the Gyro laser, it only travels in a straight line and can't be aimed at any other direction. Since most bosses encountered are flying most of the time and usually faced in rooms with uneven floor, the robot actually makes boss battles needlesly difficult when compared to the more agile human form.
The Elite Mechanical Combat Unit is exclusive of the original five home computer versions of Strider II. In all ports following the Master System one it is replaced by the Rotun shield, a set of spinning orbs which surrounds Hinjo during boss battles.
This gameplay mechanic is possibly related to the initial concept for the game, back when it was known as T.O.R. (Transforming Overland Robot). The original concept was that of a human character with the ability to transform into a robot, which was required to get through ambush areas found in stages both due to its higher endurance and its ability to interface with defenses in order to look ahead and preemptively disable threats. Strider II only retained the idea of the main character turning into a robot, with it merely serving as a (pretty much worthless) power-up mode for boss battles.
Prerelease screenshots published in magazines display a very different artwork of the robot in the panel HUD, showing it was originally slender, more humanoid in shape and carried a smaller gun in one hand instead of the machine gun he wields with both hands.
- U.S. Gold (1990, Amiga). Strider II (English). Instructions Manual
|Strider II / Returns|
|Equipment: Cypher • Climb Sickle • Gyro laser • Rotun shield • Shurikens|
Moves: Slide • Cypher Attack • Elite Mechanical Combat Unit
|Alien Terrorists • Automatons • Wall Crawler • Wolf • Aliens • Turbo Wasp|
|Helios • Energy discharging skulls • Alien Mother • Milsoma • Podulous • Inferno • Waspini • Anti-Gravity Device • Laser wall panel|
Terrorist Leader • The Master
|The Forbidden Forest • Castle Metropolis • The Hive • The Alien Depths • The Master's Prison Ship|
|Lexia • Striders|