Knight Leader and Steed Metall Hengst (騎士団長＆愛馬メタルヘンゲスト) is an enemy character from Strider 2, acting as a mid-boss in the second stage, Fortress Wahnen. His name means "Metal Stallion" in German.
Metall Hengst is a mechanical horse, seemingly part of a line of powerful and fast horse-like machines developed in Fortress Wahnen. The metallic steed is ridden by a man only known as the "Knight Leader", the head of the personal soldier unit working directly under the castle's master, Herzog Schlange. This blond man clad in a red military uniform and a eye-concealling helmet is a trained soldier with an apparent arrogant and self-righteous attitude, referring to Hiryu as a ruffian or villain (kusemono). In battle, he employs a special lance that emits a pinkish aura of plasma when swung, and fights using a style similar to the jousting of old times.
The Knight Leader and its metal steed confront Hiryu early during his infiltration of Fortress Wahnen, approaching him within the weapon's armory in the outer area of the fortress. The Knight Leader adresses Hiryu, calling him a villain/ruffian and proclaiming he'll take care of him. Metall Hengst engages in battle, but despite its speed of movement, it proves insufficient to defeat Hiryu.
The Knight Leader resorts to summoning soldiers to support him in battle, but they make no difference. In the end, Metall Hengst finds its demise, the robotic horse exploding and taking the Knight Leader out with it.
Metall Hengst's best asset is its speed. The robot horse can move very fast, either doing short leaps or blinding-fast dashes to move across the room. During battle, Metall Hengst pursues Hiryu constantly, forcing him to be always moving to avoid him. He only stops to perform an attack, an action which leaves him vulnerable, specially with his slower thrusting attacks. He's also very durable and with a sizeable amount of health, though he lacks a defensive move.
As there's no contact damage when touching him, Hiryu can easily maneuver around the horse as it attacks, as well.
- Lance Thrust: Standing next to Hiryu, the rider performs a slow thrust forward with his lance. He can also aim the strike downwards and upwards, to hit Hiryu if he's crouching or clinging to the ceiling.
- Charge Attack: With a quick sprint, Metall Hengst dashes forward with the lance held in front of it. The lance can be held at an upwards angle if Hiryu stands at the ceiling as well.
- Missile Barrage: Metall Hengst stands on its hind legs and shoots several missiles in front of it. Each missile explodes into a pillar of fire when it hits the ground, creating a wave of explosions going forward.
- Mad Dash: A rarely used technique, Metall Hengst appears to lose its calm as it rushes from one end of the room to another three times. Each time it hits either wall, the whole room shakes briefly.
- Backup: When reduced to half health, Fortress Guards are summoned into the room. Two green-clothed soldiers are active at all times, spawning whenever they are killed. In very rare ocassions, a red-clothed guard can appear as well.
- Quick Step: An evasive attack used when cornered. Metall Hengst dashes very fast, turning transparent and leaving after-images. During this move, he can't be struck or damaged.
There's also a concept sketch of the Knight Leader alone, which may imply he was planned to fight on his own at some point in development. He's seen wielding a thin sword with electricity running through the blade known as an "Electric Saber" (電機サーベル), standing in contrast to the big lance he uses when riding Metall Hengst.
One prerelease screenshot shows Hiryu striking Metall Hengst and only the horse turns red from the impact. This may mean that at one point the player could destroy the horse separate from its rider, further supporting the idea of fighting the rider on its own.
- MVP (February 04, 2000). "Strider Hiryu 2" (Japanese). Arcadia (Vol. 2). Pg. 96.
- Capcom (February 22, 2014). Strider Hiryu Visual Chronicle (Japanese). Pg. 42
- Capcom (February 22, 2014). Strider Hiryu Visual Chronicle (Japanese). Pg. 41