Game Gear's Journey from Darkness: Strider Returns is a port of Tiertex's Strider II for Sega's handheld console. This was the last Returns port to be released, but rather than being based off the original or the Mega Drive port, it follows closely the design of the Master System port, since the Game Gear's hardware is closer to the Master System. It does appear to have some slight tweaks done to the programming and a few minor changes as well.
Despite the apparent code improvements, the game still sports the same trial-and-error gameplay and unresponsive controls from previous versions.
Differences with the original game
As it was already mentioned, the game is pretty much identical to the Master System port, having the same graphics, soundtrack and spotty physics. Slight tweaks has been done to the coding, and now Hinjo moves and jumps faster and is slightly easier to control while jumping. All the Master System adittions are present as well: Hinjo throws shuriken if standing still or ducking (and thus, can't slash unless he's moving or hanging onto something) and gathers orbs scattered throughout the stage in order to activate the Rotun shield during boss battles. The Slide and rope/chain climbing are also possible.
Most of the differences already present in the Master System port also apply in this one: the game offers two difficulty settings (Easy and Hard) before starting, includes cutscenes (which remain an assortment of one-liners between Hinjo and his enemies), uses the same item design and the original Item Boxes and removes the lower panel from the home computer versions (with the HUD distributed around the screen).
List of Changes
- Slower gameplay and progression.
- Fewer onscreen enemies.
- Modified enemy, object, and checkpoint placement.
- Before starting, the game lets the player select between two difficulties: Easy and Hard.
- The Rotun shield and shurikens return from the Master System version, working in the same manner.
- Although stage layout and gameplay follows very closely the Master System version's changes, it alters some stages further, such as including new laser barrier obstacles in the final stage.
- A brand new wolf enemy appears in stage 1 and 4.
- Bosses are the same from the Mega Drive port with one exception: Grandmaster Meio is replaced as the boss of stage 2 by a "flying giraffe" jet. The Alien Mother's dinosaur appearance is different as well, being red and having no metallic parts.
- Inferno and The Master have brand new attack patterns and attacks, the first flying back and forth and shooting missiles and fireballs and the latter teleporting around and shooting orbs and incendiary bombs.
- Item Boxes and the same two items from the Master System version are included.
|Strider II / Returns|
|Equipment: Cypher • Climb Sickle • Gyro laser • Rotun shield • Shurikens|
Moves: Slide • Cypher Attack • Elite Mechanical Combat Unit
|Alien Terrorists • Automatons • Wall Crawler • Wolf • Aliens • Turbo Wasp|
|Helios • Energy discharging skulls • Alien Mother • Milsoma • Podulous • Inferno • Waspini • Anti-Gravity Device|
Terrorist Leader • The Master
|The Forbidden Forest • Castle Metropolis • The Hive • The Alien Depths • The Master's Prison Ship|
|Lexia • Striders|