Upon release, Strider II received mostly positive reviews, albeit it was consistently reviewed lower than its predecessor. There were some rumors circulating videogame magazines about Capcom being impressed by the game and planning on basing their own coin-op sequel off it. This was apparently first reported in the October 1990 issue of Computer & Video Game in a preview of the then-upcoming game where the author stated, in no uncertain terms, that Capcom was so impressed by the "storyboards for the computer game" they decided to use them as the basis for a coin-op sequel, and claimed it was expected to release closer to Christmas. Another magazine, YourSinclair, sent in an inqury about this rumor directly to Tiertex, with a representative simply responding "So we're told". Obviously enough, nothing about this rumor ever materialized.
In retrospective, Strider II and all its ports had been criticized and derided by critics and fans of the series for its many shortcomings and general lack of quality. Officially, the game has been removed from the Strider canon, with Andrew Szymanski (producer of the 2014 Strider) addressing it as an "illegitimate sequel".
Amiga Format gave the Amiga version a score of 77%, referring to it as a "hard core arcade action played at an exciting pace" but stating the game didn't reach classic status and fell short of its predecessor, mostly due to the main character's loss of charisma and needless inclusion of the laser gun. The Atari ST port received a 80% from Computer + Video Games magazine, referring to it as an "improvement" over the original, but lamenting the cramped playing area.
Reviewing the Amiga and Commodore 64 ports, Zzap! magazine gave them 65% and 66% respectively, both reviewers citing it as a disappointing sequel to the original and criticized the high difficulty, dull boss fights, uninspired graphics and unoriginal gameplay, with both only praising the C64's animations.
Computer + Video Games ranked the ZX Spectrum version with 80% while praising its graphics, playability and responsiveness, but considered that there were a heap of platform games better than it available for purchase. YourSinclair gave it a socre of 87%, considering the game superior to the original in most every respect, but explaining that the novelty was gone and the game felt "much more ordinary". On the other hand, Crash! magazine scored it a 78% with its two reviewers having constrasting impressions, with Nick being unimpressed and saying it was a "little better" than the original, and Mark praising most of its new features.
EGM reviewed Strider Returns for both the Mega Drive and Game Gear in their four reviewers format. The former was given an overall score of 6.75/10, praising the game's length and the digitized voices, but calling the animation choppy and the gameplay unexciting when compared with the first game; the latter was given an overall score of 7/10, with two reviewers agreeing that it was "surprisingly better" animation-wise than the Mega Drive version, and the other two considering it vastly inferior instead.
- Bielby, Mark (January 1991). "Strider 2". YourSinclair (61): Pg. 51.
- Staff (October 1990). "News - Capcom Grab US Gold's Boards". Computer & Video Games (107): Pg. 10.
- Davies, Jonathan (November 1990). "YS Megapreview: Strider II". YourSinclair (59). Pg. 15
- Yamoto, Shinichi (February 21, 2014). "out for the new Strider, the only one Strider - producer Andrew Szimansky talks about the revival after 15 years!". 4gamer.net. Retrieved 15 Aug 2015.
- Webb, Trenton (January 1991). "Screenplay: Strider II". Amiga Format (18). Pg. 38-39
- Leadbetter, Richard (December 1990). "Review: Strider 2". Computer + Video Games (109). Pg. 121.
- Phil, Stu (January 1991). "Strider 2". Zzap! (69). Pg. 87.
- Roberts, Nick. Caswell, Mark (December 1990). "Reviews: Strider 2". Crash! (83). Pg. 71.
- Staff (October 1993). "Review Crew: Strider Returns". Electronic Gaming Monthly (51). Pg. 40, 44.