Strider Hien (ストライダー飛燕), is a boss character introduced in Strider 2. He later became a playable character in the PlayStation port's exclusive "Hien Mode", and appears as one of the "Fallen Striders" costume in the 2014 Strider.
Hien was a member of the Striders and Hiryu's comrade-in-arms, having worked together in several missions. Jealous of Hiryu's strength and status, Hien abandoned the organization and resurrected the Grandmaster, allying himself with Hiryu's enemy and becoming his devoted right-hand man. He's also rumored to be responsible for the sabotage that led to the extermination of Striders.
Hien shows complete and total devotion to Grandmaster Meio, and describes him in the light of a god or deity, as the Creator of everything and everyone on Earth. He still shows genuine concern about Hiryu and tries to convince him to stop opposing Meio and to join his side, which is met with Hiryu's stern negative response. While still considering him a comrade, however, Hien will not hesitate in fighting Hiryu with all his strength when the time comes.
At Light Sword Cypher's behest, Hien sought out the tomb of Grandmaster Meio among the ancient ruins of El Dorado. Leading a survey team of soldiers, as well as a giant drill to excavate, he is able to find the burial chamber where Grandmaster Meio is sealed off, and release him. Hiryu appears just as the Grandmaster leaves the room, and engages Hien in battle. After a while Hien calls the battle off, telling Hiryu its pointless now that the Grandmaster has left the place, and then pleads with Hiryu to stop and realize the mistake of opposing Meio, the "creator of everything in the world". Hiryu ignores his words and tells him to warn Meio that he is "the hunter and [Meio] the prey", and tells Hien to fight with his full strength next time they meet.
Hien is later seen during Light Sword Cypher's Round Table meeting, following Hiryu's destruction of the Antarctica Research Lab. He mentions that Hiryu's also a survivor of the Striders like himself, but the Chairman seemingly disregards him, deciding to simply watch Hiryu "and learn" before continuing with their agenda. After the destruction of the Flying Battleship Balrog, Hien is seen looking through a window while thinking about Hiryu and how he is "just dreaming".
During Hiryu's infiltration of the Third Moon, Hien appears in front of him atop the Beraenavis, a flying segmented robot, as it ascends toward the Grandmaster's chambers. Now determined to fight seriously, the two engage in all-out battle and Hien is defeated again. Hien's whereabouts, or even survival following his defeat, are unknown.
Strider Hien was a Special-A Class Strider, an all-around fighter and expert in the use of the Geometrical Cypher. He was a kind-hearted man, a trait said to be uncommon among the Striders. Unlike the original, his emblem was the second kanji in his name, "En" (燕, swallow), instead of the first.
Out of all the Striders sent to infiltrate Kazakh City to kill Meio before Hiryu, Hien accomplished the most, having successfully infiltrated Meio's Tower and even faced the Grandmaster himself. He was, however, defeated by Meio's dreadful powers. This is so far the only instance where Hien is shown to remain loyal to the Striders.
Hien's personal uniform consists of a long-sleeved four-buttoned jacket colored white with black outlines along the shoulders and sleeves, white baggy pants and black leather gauntlets. He uses the Striders' standard loose-fitting metallic belt and leather shoulder strap-ons, and wears a white scarf much like Hiryu around his neck and face. A circular gray badge with a stylized red "S" can be seen on his chest.
In-game, Hien sports a different uniform resembling Hiryu's: an all white Special-A Class Strider outfit with brown accessories, with a brown kanji of the first character of his codename displayed on the upper left of his chest.
Skills and Abilities
As a Special-A Strider, Hien is among the strongest Striders on the group, and is likely close to be equal to Hiryu in ability. He possess similar agility and can perform most of Hiryu's acrobatic feats such as somersaults, cartwheels and sliding kicks, as well as use a Climb Sickle to move through any surface. But in where he differs greatly from Hiryu is in his weapon and style: Hien wields the Geometrical Cypher, an unique set of Cyphers which can be joined by the hilt and thrown like a boomerang to attack from long range. His mastery of the weapon allows him to join the cyphers in different forms, creating a wide variety of offensive and defensive techniques both for close and far combat. They are also seemingly stronger than Hiryu's Cypher, doing twice more damage to enemies.
When thrown, Hien's Geometrical Cypher homes-in and strikes at the closest enemy. Whether it hits or not, the Cypher will fly off-screen and then return to Hien, hitting anyone standing on its path. While stronger than Hiryu's attack, only two can be thrown at a time (three when powered-up), leaving him vulnerable until they return to him. As a playable character, Hien can use all of Hiryu's physical attacks, except for the lack of Boost mode.
Note: This lists attacks used by Hien during boss fights.
- Sliding: Hien rolls forward and performs a slide kick. Non-lethal, it is used to maneuver around Hiryu when cornered.
- Hassou Jump: Hien propels himself off a wall in a mid-air dash. Like the slide kick, used to avoid Hiryu when cornered. Only seen during the El Dorado fight, as the second battle lacks walls for Hien to cling to.
- Cypher Boomerang: Hien throws his Cypher at Hiryu. If avoided, it can still hit him when it eventually returns to Hien. Hien usually throws one, thought occasionally he's seen throwing two consecutively, and very rarely even three.
- Twin Style Cypher: An attack only used during the battle at El Dorado. Wielding his Geometrical Cypher separately, Hien swings once with each. Done only when Hiryu is in close proximity.
- One-handed Strike: Another attack used exclusively in the El Dorado battle. When close to Hiryu while clinging to the ceiling, Hien performs a quick, single Cypher swing with his free hand. This move is very rare to witness since it requires both Striders to cling to the ceiling next to each other, and Hiryu to remain still for a good moment.
- High Speed Slash: With both cyphers crossed in front of him, Hien quickly dashes forward. During the dash he clash his cyphers together, leaving behind a trail of plasma that can also damage Hiryu.
- Laser: Hien winds up, lowering his body and raising both cyphers over him. He then rises up and crosses them in front of him, releasing a large beam of plasma at Hiryu.
- Cypher Defense: Hien's defensive move. Joining the Geometrical Cypher together, Hien spins it quickly in front of him, creating an effective shield. Blocked attacks still push him back, however.
Strider 2: Designed by Sho Sakai, Hien was created after the concept of "a rival character" for Hiryu, and went by the codename "Dark Strider" (ダークストライダー) during production. Initial design proposals were quite different from his final design, ranging from a more muscular "gentlemanly design" with long hair to a feral tiger-themed beast man. Some concept art shows that Hien's gameplay was planned to be quite different from Hiryu's, including a possible stance system and an unique climbing tool called "Pendulum Anchor" closer in function to a grappling hook.
Initially, he was to be named Byakko (白虎, lit. White Tiger), based on the notion that "a tiger must always oppose a dragon", in reference to the Chinese symbolism of the tiger and the dragon as rival forces. For unknown reasons, however, the name was eventually dropped. At the time, he was also written to be Hiryu's teacher rather than a close friend.
Coverage leading up to the PlayStation port and Hien becoming playable mistakenly referred to him as a woman. Cutscene artist Harumaru takes responsability for this, believing that in trying to make Hien stand clear apart from Hiryu ended up with people mistooking him for a woman. This mistake was carried out by Western fans discussing the upcoming game as well.
Strider (2014): Hien was planned to be an unlockable character in the 2014 Strider, appearing inside the "Light Capsule" found on the Research Facility. Although fully functional, Capcom finally decided to remove him from the game late in development. Hien was intended to work as a sort of "new game+", allowing players to go through the entire game as him, and his gameplay would have been different from Hiryu: Tony Barnes explained he'd have started the game stronger, but by the end he'd not be as strong as Hiryu.
Namco x Capcom
Hien appears as one of the game's many non-playable boss characters, and as such has a limited set of techniques to use in battle. He's able to attack up-close using his Cyphers individually, or use his trademark boomerang attack from afar.
In the game's story, he serves Grandmaster Meio alongside Solo and Tong Pooh. Hien is first seen looking for a rematch against Hiryu as he's infiltrating the Third Moon, in a reenactment of the final stage of Strider 2. Even though he's later joined by his allies, he expects a chance to fight alone against Hiryu. Later chapters have Hien attempting time and time again to convince Hiryu to stop fighting and to join the Grandmaster with him, but he's always turned down and defeated in battle. He starts wondering why Hiryu keeps becoming so powerful every time they battle.
During their final encounter, Hien has decided to stop attempting to talk Hiryu out of fighting, and confronts him directly. Hiryu eliminates him during this last fight.
Street Fighter × All Capcom
Hien appears as one of the 500+ character cards found in this crossover mobile phone game. He can be found in two different cards of rarity "R" and "SR+", as well as together with Hiryu in a card of "SSR" rarity.
Marvel vs. Capcom series
In Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Hiryu's 4th alternate color is based on Hien, giving him a full white uniform with brown accessories and black hair. In the following game, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, Hien became Hiryu's Wave 1 DLC costume, faithfully recreating his original artwork design.
Namco × Capcom Comic Anthology
One of the stories featured in Namco × Capcom Comic Anthology is centered on Hien, playing up his obssession for Hiryu to comical degrees. In the story Hien is seen trying to convince Sylphie (the merchant from Forgotten Worlds) to sell Hiryu to him, and finally seems to get her to agree by offering an infinite amount of money via Grandmaster Meio's creation powers. Hien's devotion to Grandmaster Meio is also subverted, as he shows no interest in Meio's well-being over him overusing his powers.
- Hien is the first playable character whose play style differs from Hiryu's. While he does play identical to Hiryu, including the use of most of his techniques (Slide, Savage Slash), his ranged attack make for different strategies when going through stages.
- Hien is estimated to be ~160cm tall since he is half a head shorter than Hiryu who is half a head taller than Ryu (from Street Fighter) who is 175cm. He is also younger than Hiryu.
- In the PlayStation port's "Hien Mode", all Hien boss fights remain identical, with the exception of "Boss Hien" being black-colored and with a darker skin tone (pictured above). No explanation is given for this.
- Hien's original design as drawn by Sho Sakai sports a long-sleeved top and a gray badge with a red "S" on his chest, but the in-game sprite has him with a sleeveless top and a brown "Hi" kanji like Hiryu instead. This was done by the pixel artist without Sakai's knowledge. Something similar happened to the Kuniang trio, as Sakai made original unique designs for each sister but the sprites in-game are simply recolored head-swaps of Tong Pooh's design.
- As explained above, Hien is given a passing reference in the 2014 Strider as one of the many collectible Strider outfits that allow the player to change Hiryu's color scheme; applying Hien's will turn the outfit to his signature all-white look. The Japanese Intel profile for the costume implies that Hien died opposing Meio as a Strider instead of being a renegade that sided with the evil overlord, restoring his status as Hiryu's ally, albeit fallen.
- Capcom (2000). Strider Hiryu 1&2 Official Site (Japanese). Retrieved from archive.org. Accessed December 01, 2017.
- Capcom (February 2000, PlayStation). Strider Hiryû 1&2 (Japanese). Instruction Manual, Pg. 10
- Capcom (July 2000, PlayStation). Strider 2 (English). Mission 00: Investigate the Ancient Ruins; epilogue.
- Capcom (February 2014, multi). Strider Hiryu (Japanese). Character Intel #13: Strider Hien
- Harumaru (April 6, 2019). "Harumaru's twitter" (Japanese). Accessed April 19, 2019.
- Jones, Darran (March 2014). "The Story of Strider". Retro Gamer (126). Pg. 39
- Capcom (1999). Capcom Secret File #26: Strider Hiryu 2 (Japanese). Pg. 4
- Staff (April 28, 2000). "Strider Hiryu 2: Setting Document (Part 2)" (Japanese). Monthly Arcadia (06). Pg. 180.
- Capcom (February 22, 2014). Strider Hiryu Visual Chronicle (Japanese). Pg. 33
- Bueno (November 15, 1999). "Strider 2". Strider Island Moralos. Waybacked.
" Strider Hien (A new female Strider) will be a playable character and star in her own mini-game (a la "The Mercenaries" mini-game in Resident Evil 3)!"
- Hickey Jr., Patrick (January 3, 2020). The Minds Behind Adventure Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers. "Even Better Than the First Time", pg. 211. ISBN 1-4766-3847-0.
- Tony Barnes reply, posted October 12, 2017. LSCMainframe Facebook Group. Accessed August 20, 2020