Mecha Pon (メカポン), also written Mecha Pong (メカPONG), is an enemy boss character from the original coin-op and all its ports. It appears as the sub-boss in the second stage, and once again as part of the boss rush in the fifth and final stage, likely recreated by the powers of Grandmaster Meio.
Mecha Pon is a large-scale gorilla-type robot equipped with hydraulic motor functions, which stands guard in the entrance to a mountain-side secret complex found in Siberia. It can only move in a squatting position, and its only mean of attack is by punching with its left arm.
Mecha Pon is the 4th machine developed by the Mosqueman Research Staff, built following their second banishment to Siberia after the creation of the Anti-Gravity Device. Created as an experiment after they decided to study oil-based hydraulic transmission functions again, Mecha Pon is capable of moving and imitating real animal-like expressions through its hydraulic pumps, but it's not actually well suited for combat situations.
Hiryu confronts Mecha Pon in the secret complex's entrance hall, and easily destroys it. It was later fought again on the Third Moon, as part of a group of enemies resurrected by Grandmaster Meio in an attempt to stop Hiryu in his assault.
Mecha Pon is an autonomous giant gorilla-type robot engineered by Professor Schlange. The robot combines powerful strikes that can pulverize anything with their sheer strength and notable speed in spite of its large frame. It's signature technique is the "Rocket Fist", which it can shoot forward at targets while moving at high speed across the room. Designed as the ultimate cybernetic beast combining speed and power, it's Professor Schlange's self-proclaimed masterpiece.
Mecha Pon is found inside Schlange's Research Lab within the Research Facility. After Hiryu survives Schlange's traps and destroys enough of his facility, the enraged professor sends Mecha Pon as his last resort to eliminate the Strider. In battle, however, Hiryu proves superior to the beast, reducing it to scrap. Shortly afterward, Grandmaster Meio uses its inanimate carcass to push Hiryu down into the Underground Dump.
An easy enemy, Mecha Pon has a very simple pattern: it constantly hops forward and backwards, and attempts to strike Hiryu with its punch, which can reach quite a distance when fully stretched out. Sometimes, Mecha Pon strikes its chest thrice with its fists instead of attacking Hiryu, leaving itself open for attack.
Upon its destruction, there are two final hazards to look out for: the ensuing explosion, which sets the whole floor on fire; and Mecha Pon's disembodied head, which remains a few seconds before exploding and sending small flames flying in all directions. The second battle on the Third Moon is identical, except there are no final hazards upon its demise.
The new version of Mecha Pon is larger and possesses many more abilities than its predecessor. Boosting enhanced mobility and speed, it can move across the fighting area with ease and even cling onto the ceiling like an ape. Besides its fists, it can also use electric-based attacks in the form of spread projectiles. Its signature attack, however, consists of shooting its fist forward to try to squash Hiryu. Mecha Pon's attacks gain range and strength as the battle continues.
While faster and stronger, it still has the same weakness of the original: it tends to stop attacking at times to start beating its chest like a real gorilla, leaving itself wide open to being attacked.
- Rocket Fist: Mecha Pon jumps upwards, then shoots both its fists at an angle toward Hiryu. The fists are connected to Mecha Pon by electricity, pulling the body downward once they hit the ground, generating a shockwave of electricity around Mecha Pon. The attack can be evaded by quickly sliding below the body before it lands. As the battle continues, the range of the shockwave extends to the entire screen, forcing Hiryu to cling to the walls to avoid damage.
- Fist Pounding: Mecha Pon starts pounding the ground with both palms, like a real gorilla. Since Mecha Pon doesn't stop the attack after it begins, it provides a good opportunity to attack if avoided.
- Electric Orb Barrage: Mecha Pon clings to the ceiling and punches it, releasing two electric pulses that travel the ceiling and walls. It follows by shooting six electric orbs from its free hand, which radiate outwards and turn into electric pulses upon contact with the ground and walls. If hit by the electricity, Hiryu is stunned in place momentarily. Mecha Pon does this attack several times consecutively.
- Electric Orb Beating: Done in the latter half of the battle. Mecha Pon beats its chest fast, releasing seven electric orbs in all directions. Like the attack above, the orbs split into two electric pulses which travel across the surface it touched and can momentarily stun Hiryu if they hit him.
Energy discharging skulls appear as the primary enemy in Stage 3 of Strider II. It appears to be basically a floating robot skull resembling a gorilla's head, clearly inspired on Mecha Pon. The enemy appears throrough the whole stage, flying around and damaging Hinjo through direct contact. Striking it once will send it flying away for a short time. It becomes beatable only at the top of the stage, where it is faced as a boss proper. In spite of its name, it doesn't discharge energy in any way or form.
The skull is only featured in the original versions of the game for European home computers.
Mecha Pon's name and design are a homage to Toho's movie character Mechani-Kong. For the 2014 Strider version, some of its animations and the use of electricity in its attacks may have been inspired by Spark Mandrill from Mega Man X.
- Capcom (October 2006, PlayStation). Gamebook: Strider Hiryu (Japanese). Pg. 13. ISBN 4-86233-076-2.
- Sega (September 1990, Mega Drive). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Instruction manual, Pg. 27
- Sega (September 1990, Mega Drive). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Instruction manual, Pg. 22
- Strider Development Staff (March 1989). "Strider Hiryu Characters Original Image Collection". Gamest (30). Pg. 98-99.
- Capcom (February 2014, multi). Strider Hiryu (Japanese). Character Intel #35: Mecha Pon
- U.S. Gold (1990, Amiga). Strider II (English). Instructions Manual
- Jones, Darran (April 24, 2010). "The Making of... Strider". Retro Gamer (76). Pg. 51.
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