The Hive, also known as the "roof-top battle", The Rooftops and the Hive Level, is the fourth stage in Strider II and all its ports except the Mega Drive one, where it is switched around with the third stage.
Unlike other stages in the game, there's no actual explanation about what The Rooftops is supposed to be or represent, being simply described as a "roof-top battle" out in the open where the Warrior's agility, speed and skill are critical to succeed. The stage itself consists of a set of metal platforms floating in open sky, connected together by several chains. Besides odd pipes and round pod-like machines in the background, there's nothing else of note in this stage. Despite being called The Rooftops, there are actually no rooftops of any kind to be found either.
The original stage is a set of metallic platforms floating in the middle of the sky, and the player must ascend them by climbing chains until reaching the top platform. There's no set path to follow and the stage is somewhat free to roam. There are also no particular obstacles or hazards to be found. The player is constantly pestered by the Energy discharging skull over the course of the stage, although it can be forced away temporarily with a single strike. The skull becomes the boss once the top platform is reached, with its defeat ending the stage.
The Master System port altered the stage's layout to make a more straight-forward path to follow. The player now starts on a single platform with a descending rope that leads to the stage proper, and there are sections which include a new hazard in the form of falling debris. The last boss area is accessed by a descending rope as well.
The Mega Drive version made further alterations to the layout and included moving lifts for a more platform-oriented challenge with more tricky jumps. The round pod-like objects in the background are finally given a purpose: they are hives housing Turbo Wasps, releasing them against Hinjo when he comes close to one of them. In the Mega Drive port the wasps come in a large group a single time, while the Game Gear port has a single wasp coming out constantly. The falling debris is removed from the Mega Drive version and turned into falling fireballs (adapted from the fireballs used after Strobaya's death in the original game) for the Game Gear port.
Enemies present since the home computer originals include:
- Mutant Soldier HCO
- Automated Sentry AM, AT, C64, MS
- Missiles HCO, MS
- Mecho Bird HCO, MS
- Boss: Energy discharging skulls
Enemies introduced in the ports include:
- U.S. Gold (1991, Master System). Strider II (English). Instruction Manual, Pg. 4.
- U.S. Gold (1993, Mega Drive). Journey from Darkness: Strider Returns. Stage 4 introduction card.
- U.S. Gold (1993, Mega Drive). Journey from Darkness: Strider Returns (English). Instruction Manual, Pg. 6.
- U.S. Gold (1994, Game Gear). Journey from Darkness: Strider Returns. Stage 3 introduction card.
- U.S. Gold (1990, Amiga). Strider II (English). Instructions Manual
|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|