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This article lists all known conceptual and prerelease content related to the Arcade version of Strider.

Concept phaseEdit

Strider hiryuu design document cover

The design document's first page

Isuke's original vision for Strider was of a much grander scale than the final product, with Yotsui stating that he only got "halfway" through of everything he envisioned for the game. According to him, his ambitious ideas were limited by the technology he had at his disposal, which nearly always felt short of reproducing the scenes and ideas he had in mind. One example he provided of an unused setpiece would have seen the player having to outrun incoming missiles.[1]

As seen on the first page of Isuke's hand-written setting document, the game's title was initially written as "STRIDER 飛竜", with the first word in English rather than katakana. One of the earliest pieces of artwork created for the game bears a logo with a similar concept.

EnemiesEdit

There were originally more enemies planned to be included in the game, among them a specific group of robot enemies wearing stylish clothes, in contrast with the other, military-themed enemies. In the end, however, the enemy count was reduced to the bare minimum and all clothed robots were scrapped, with the fur hat-wearing Rascal being the only surviving element of the original intention.[2]

Hiryu's sprite was originally much bigger than in the final version, but since enemy sprites were drawn smaller in comparison, Hiryu's sprite was adapted so he wouldn't stand out.[3]

Stage orderEdit

According to early magazine previews, the game featured a "selection system" (選択制) meant to determine which stage would continue after the second between the "Amazon" and "Flying Battleship" stages[4]. While no specifics were provided, it's possible it was dependent on the player's skills and the game's Dynamic Difficulty. This feature appears to have been scrapped by the game's presentation in the 1988 AM Show, where previews noted the Amazon stage as the 3rd stage[5]. The idea would, however, be revisited in Strider 2, where the player can choose the playing order of the first 3 stages.

The Balrog and Amazon stages were also initially swapped around, with the former being the 4th stage and the latter the 3rd. Prototype Arcade builds featuring the Amazon as the 3rd stage were displayed during the AM Show event and other location tests. Although the reasons behind the switch are unknown, Project X Zone 2 Capcom supervisor Kazuhiro Tsuchiya mentioned in an interview he remembers having played the game during a location test with the stages swapped, and comments that difficulty rose considerably after the switch, thinking it may have been due to people like him and his friends who sped through the game/stage.[6]

Leftovers of the whole switcheroo still remain in both the game's internal stage ID list, with Amazon under ID 02, right after Siberia (ID 01) and before the Balrog (ID 03); and the internal list of music, as all the names of music related to the Amazon are preceded by "3ST", while names of music from the Balrog are preceded by "4ST". The incorrect stage order is also displayed in all the European computer ports made by Tiertex.

Prerelease contentEdit

Before August/September 1988Edit

Screenshots distributed as part of the press kit provided to game magazines such as Gamest were taken from what appears to be an early build of the Arcade. These screenshots were published around the end of August/beginning of September 1988 in Gamest's 25th issue, shortly before the game's reveal at the AM Show. Some of these screenshots were also printed in Arcade flyers, and years later reutilized in previews of the PC Engine port, for a long time confusing fans about whether they were early screens from the purpoted port of Strider to the SuperGrafx that never materialized.

These screenshots cover the first three stages only (St. Petersburg, Siberia and the Amazon), showing a number of notable differences from the final release.

Strider arc early stage1 01 Hiryu at the beginning of the first stage. The screenshot displays a very different and much darker color palette applied on the stage, and Hiryu's health bar is different, displayed with a red gradient instead of the solid green color used in the final release. The backgrounds also lack the starfield layer seen in the released game. These changes are visible in all screenshots from this period/batch.

Flying Mosqueman don't appear this early in the stage in the final release.

Strider arc early stage1 02 Gamest25 Hiryu slightly ahead in the first stage, with an Option B active. In the final release it is impossible to acquire Option B this early in the stage, and the panther uses a different coloration with several orange parts. The health bar doesn't appear to change colors when Option B is active either.

The Russian Infantryman's idle sprite is different from the final one, looking slightly smaller and more subdued.

Strider arc early stage1 dpce Hiryu facing a group of Rascals in front of the large half-star marked building. No Mosqueman is found in this area in the final release.
Strider arc early stage1 03 PCEngineFan Hiryu jumping on top of the Grand Mosque at the end part of the stage. Hiryu's Cypher Attack arc is slightly different, with both ends curving inwards around Hiryu's sprite. The palette of the Grand Mosque appears darker than in the final release. The yellow pole seen on the left side is thinner than in the final release.

Hiryu's jumping sprite as seen here appears in a slightly different pose than in the final version, and one can spot what appears to be the end of his red sash peeking from behind the plasma arc. Hiryu's sash in the final has no waving parts during this jump and stays tied around his waist in every sprite of its animation.

Strider arc early stage1 04 pcenginefan Hiryu stands on the Grand Mosque as several Flying Mosqueman and a Mosqueman approach him.
Strider arc early stage1 05 PCEngineFan Hiryu inside the Grand Mosque, facing a Shadow Tag Bullets Soldier. Colors in this area are also different from the released version. The plasma arc and Hiryu's jump is the same one as the previous screenshot.
Strider arc early stage2 01 flyer The beginning of the 2nd stage, Siberia. The timer at the top of the screen is disabled and displays nothing, a detail visible in all screenshots of this build.
Strider arc early stage2 02 pcenginefan91 Hiryu faces Mecha Pon alongside an Option A.
Strider arc early stage2 03 gamest25 Hiryu at the "Big Run" section.
Strider arc early stage2 04 gamest25 Hiryu standing in the abandoned power plant.
Strider arc early stage2 05 flyer The Flying Tortoise section. In the final release, it's impossible for this many airships to clutter the screen, as they come one at a time with a limit of two possible airships shown on-screen at once at any one time.
Strider arc early stage3 01 gamest25 Cutscene preceding the Amazon stage. Text and character portraits are already implemented, but the screenshot shows the portraits didn't leave the screen and piled up one after another.
Amazoness prerelease Hiryu in the 3rd stage, Amazon. The Amazoness sprite sports an exposed breast in accordance with representation of Amazons in Ancient Greek art. In the final game this nudity was covered with a separate leaf sprite overlayed onto the enemy sprite.

AM Show 1988Edit

Playable prototype cabinets of Strider were setup at the Amusement Machine Show event held in September 1988. This prototype version is closer to the final release and has most of the differences from the preview screenshots already altered or removed. As stated above, the reported "selection system" was not featured by this point in development.[5]

Gamest27 0788 council early Hiryu in front of the Kazakh Federation's council. The officer's sprites are lined up according to their posture, with the top row joining their hands, the middle row rubbing their chins and the bottom row standing idle. Their positions were reorganized by the released game so officers with different poses were together.
Strider AM Show stage2 The fire hazard during Mecha Pon's destruction is different: the sprites are simpler and duller than in the released game, and the fire didn't extend across the entire floor, only covering a small area around Mecha Pon's head.
Amazoness dec 88 Hiryu in the Amazon. As stated, the stage was still the 3rd stage in order and the Amazoness sprite still retained her exposed breast.[5]

It is possible Arcade cabinets with the early localized title "The Falcon" existed as well at the convention, as English magazines covering the event referred to the game by that title[7], and unused sprites for a title screen of "The Falcon" can be found in the released game.

By the beginning of 1989 the English title was reverted back to Strider.[8]

December 1988Edit

Screenshots from a preview article in the December 1988 issue of Gamest shows the first known appearance of the leaf sprite used to cover the Amazoness enemy's exposed chest, a fact the article's writer points out[9]. The article also reveals the Balrog stage now listed under its final position as the game's 3rd stage.

This article is a preview of the game's upcoming appearance in the AOU Show held the following February, so these screenshots are likely from a playable build closer to the one seen there.

Capcom Game Syndrome buildEdit

Strider game syndrome stage2

The Arcade build used to film the Capcom Game Syndrome VHS walkthrough has the tilting platform from the Sky Thunder Mk-II colored gold instead of silver. This version also includes music not featured in any known build of the game.

Misc screenshotsEdit

Gamest81 1192 skythunder early
A screenshot from Gamest' issue 81 "All Capcom" feature covering Strider. This screenshot appears to display the Sky Thunder Mk-II sporting a different metallic gray palette instead of the final's orange one.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Robson, Daniel (October 2014). "The Making of...Strider". Edge (271). Pg. 96-99.
  2. Scion; Dire 51 (April 24, 2010). "Interview with Kouichi "Isuke" Yotsui". LSCM 4.0. Translated by Gaijin Punch. Accessed October 19, 2018.
  3. Capcom (March 10, 2014). "Capcom Legends Chapter 3: The Running Ninja from the Future, Hiryu!" (Japanese). Capcom's official site. Accessed October 19, 2018
  4. Zuru (August 30, 1988). "Preview: Strider Hiryû". Gamest (25). Pg. 5
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Zatsu-kun (October 29, 1988). "'88 AM Show Report: Strider Hiryû". Gamest (27). Pg. 5
  6. Staff (November 4, 2015). "Project X Zone 2: Brave New World Cross-talk interview with Developers going beyond the boundaries of the manufacturer (Part 2) (Japanese). famitsu.com. Accessed October 19, 2018
  7. Hogg, Robin (December 1988). "Confrontation: Coin-op". The Games Machine (13). Pg. 28-29
  8. Hogg, Robin (March 1989). "Confrontation: Coin-op". The Games Machine (16). Pg. 69.
  9. Zatsu-kun Hofu (December 27, 1989). "Preview: Strider Hiryu". Gamest (29). Pg. 4
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