Strider Hiryu in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
|First appearance||Strider Hiryu manga (1988)|
|First game||Strider (arcade) (1989)|
|Created by||Kouichi Yotsui, Masahiko Kurokawa and Tatsumi Wada (helped by Akio Sakai and Tokurou Fujihara)|
|Designed by||Tatsumi Wada (Strider Hiryu)
Shoei (Strider (arcade))
Bengus (Marvel vs. Capcom)
|Voiced by (English)||T.J. Storm (Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3)|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Kaneto Shiozawa (Strider (PC Engine))
Kōsuke Toriumi (Strider 2, Namco X Capcom)
Yūji Ueda (Marvel vs. Capcom, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3)
Strider Hiryu (ストライダー飛竜 sutoraidā hi ryū ) is a fictional character jointly owned by Capcom and Moto Kikaku. Although primarily known as a game character, Hiryu (飛竜, "Flying Dragon") debuted in 1988 as the protagonist of a manga Strider Hiryu, published exclusively in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten.
Hiryu made his first video game appearance in the arcade game Strider (1989) Since his debut, he has appeared in various video games produced by Capcom, notably in the Marvel vs. Capcom series. Several publications and polls have regarded him as one of the most popular Capcom characters, one of the top ninja characters in video games, or even one of the best heroes in all of gaming.
Concept and creation
In most versions of the Strider story, Hiryu is an elite-class member of a group of futuristic, high-tech ninja-like agents known as the "Striders" who specialize in various kinds of wetworks such as espionage, sabotage, and assassinations. His signature weapon is his "Cypher" (or "Falchion"), a plasma-generating blade with a tonfa-like handle, and he also has three "Options" support robots that he can call in for assistance ("Option A" is a satellite drone, "Option B" is a robotic panther, and "Option C" is a robotic hawk), as well as tools such as the "Varja" teleporting device.
According to Kouichi Yotsui, the planner of the original Strider coin-op game, the Strider Hiryu franchise was conceived as a multimedia collaboration between Capcom and Moto Kikaku, the two companies previously collaborated with each other to work on the video game versions of the manga Tenchi wo Kurau. Moto Kikaku produced the manga version, while Capcom developed two separate video game versions, a coin-operated video game and a console version for the NES. All three works share common plot elements, while featuring their differences as well. Because of Moto Kikaku's involvement in the character's creation, his name appears alongside Capcom's in the copyrights byline of the character.
Kouichi Yotsui said it was he who "pushed for a ninja concept" as they were leaning towards an action game, a ninja setting would've been convenient. "The hero would be derived from a ninja. We loosely decided on that." Regarding Hiryu's three robot helpers, he said that he was inspired by the 1960s ninja comics (the one that most influenced him was Shirato Sanpei's Kamui Gaiden), in which the ninja often had various animals to support them or attack their enemies. Speaking with Retro Gamer, Yotsui said that Strider Hiryu's climbing abilities were inspired by his personal experience when he got himself stranded on the roof of Capcom’s building; fearing freezing to death and with no way to call for help, he climbed down the side of the building to reach a nearby fire escape stairway.
Strider Hiryu manga
The manga Strider Hiryu by Tatsumi Wada and Tetsuo Shiba was serialized in the monthly magazine Comic Computique from May to October 1988, spanning six issues. During this time, there were already two Strider games in development. A single volume collection was later published on November 10, 1989. A short prequel story, titled Strider Hiryu Gaiden (ストライダー飛竜外伝), was published following the completion of the main series and is not included in the collected edition.
The manga is set in the year 2048 and centers around Hiryu, a young Special A-Class rank Strider who retired early during his career after he was forced to kill his elder sister Mariya, a Strider who went insane (as shown in the prequel story). The main series begins with Hiryu living peacefully in Mongolia when his former superior, Vice Director Matic, forces him out of retirement in order to kill his best friend Cain, who has been captured by hostiles in the Kazakh SSR and has become a liability to the rest of the Striders. With the help of Strider Sheena, Hiryu manages to rescue and extract Cain, but he attacks them after regaining consciousness. Hiryu manage to subdue Cain, but not before Sheena is mortally wounded and dies. Hiryu uncovers a small device implanted under Cain's neck and learns that he has been the subject of a mind-control weapon codenamed Zain and that Hiryu's sister Mariya was under the influence of Zain when she went rogue. After Cain regains his sense and freewill, he decides to make amends for Sheena's death by teaming up with Hiryu and stop the Zain project from reaching its completion. The two learn that an organization known simply as the "Enterprise" is behind the Zain project and that Matic himself was cooperating with the Enterprise leader Faceas Clay. With the help of Cain, Strider Chief Kuramoto, and a group of other Striders, Hiryu manages to thwart Matic and Clay, and destroy the main Zain terminal.
Strider video games
Two video game versions of Strider were produced following the publication of the manga. The NES version of Strider, released a few months after the arcade version, adapts the storyline of the Strider Hiryu manga, although a few changes were made to the presentation of the plot. However, the Strider coin-operated arcade game follows a completely different storyline, sharing only a few common elements such as Hiryu himself and the use of Kazakh SSR as the game's initial setting. In this game, Hiryu is hired by a rebel organization to assassinate the Grandmaster, an alien dictator who has gained control of all of the world's military. Hiryu's mission takes him not only to Kazakh, but also to Siberia and the Amazon, as well as the Grandmaster's flying battleship "Balrog". Eventually Hiryu travels to the Grandmaster's lair, the "Third Moon" space station, for the final battle against him.
Hiryu also stars in a second arcade game, titled Strider 2 (released in 1999, almost ten years after the first game). In it, the Grandmaster has returned to life and has reconquered the Earth, and so Hiryu must once again fight against the Grandmaster and his minions, as well as Hien, a former Strider and Hiryu's rival.
An earlier, uncanonical Strider sequel has been released by British game publisher U.S. Gold years prior to Capcom's version of Strider 2. Titled Strider II in Europe and Journey from Darkness: Strider Returns in North America, the game was released for various European home computers in 1990 and remade for Sega consoles in 1992. In Strider II, however, the main character, while implied to be the same Strider from the original game, is addressed as "Hinjo" in the instruction manual for the Sega Genesis version. In this game, Hinjo must save a young woman, the leader of planet Magenta (whose name is Lexia according to the console versions) from a terrorist group (led by the Grandmaster himself in the console versions, who originally did not appear in the game's computer versions).
Hiryu would also appear in the cancelled remake/reboot game for the Strider series that was in development circa 2009 by GRIN. A new Strider game, in development by Double Helix, was announced by Capcom in July 2013, to be released for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows in early 2014.
Hiryu is a also playable character in the tactical role-playing game Namco × Capcom (2005) and in the crossover fighting games Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes (1998), Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (2000) and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (2011), where he is one of many characters representing the Capcom universe. His ending in the first Marvel vs. Capcom game is an homage to the ending in the original Strider.
In addition, Hiryu has made multiple cameo appearances in other Capcom games, including in the Game Boy version of Hatena Hatena no Daibōken, in the arcade quiz game Capcom World 2, in Street Fighter Alpha 2 (as a spectator in Ken's home stage), in Mega Man Legends, and in various trading cards in SNK's Card Fighters series (co-produced with Capcom). An action figure of him was released by ToyBiz in 1999 and a garage kit was manufactured by Chemical Reaction in 2008.
The character has received positive reception both from critics and the general public. In 2008, GameDaily ranked Strider Hiryu as the fourth top Capcom character of all time, noting that he "has become an extremely popular character in Capcom's arsenal." That same year, IGN's Travis Fahs called him "one of Capcom's best loved characters", commenting that "there's no denying the iconic appeal, but for all of his flashy moves and fashion sense, Capcom has never really known what to do with him." Strider Hiryu was one of the 64 characters chosen for the GameSpot's 2009 poll All Time Greatest Game Hero. In 2012, GamesRadar ranked this "somewhat of an enduring classic" as the 59th "most memorable, influential, and badass" protagonist in games, commenting that his "sheer levels of badass cool have seen him endure long past his cliché’s sell-by date, making him now an archetype rather than a stereotype."
According to Complex, Strider Hiryu and Ryu Hayabusa of the Ninja Gaiden series were the "two ninjas [most] synonymous with both the NES era and enduring all the way to the current generation of consoles." Hiryu also defeated Ryu in ScrewAttack's Death Battle show, emerging superior from a comparison of strength, speed and weaponry. In 2010, Game Informer chose Strider Hiryu as one of the 20 Capcom characters they would like to see in a rumored crossover fighting game Namco Vs Capcom, his Namco side equivalent being Taki from the Soulcalibur series. In 2012, Complex included "Capcom vs. Sega" as sixth fighting game crossover they would like to see the most, imagining Strider Hiryu clashing with Sega's classic ninja Joe Musashi of the Shinobi series.
Strider Hiryu has been featured in several lists of top ten video game ninja characters. As such, he was ranked as the seventh top ninja in games by 1UP.com in 2004, even as he "loses a few points for not even trying to be stealthy," and placed fourth on a similar list by ScrewAttack in 2010. Complex also ranked Strider Hiryu as the third most acrobatic character in video games in 2011, as well as the number one swiftest ninja in games in 2012, calling him "pretty much the perfect ninja." In 2012, Cheat Code Central also ranked Strider as ninth on their list of top swordsmen in gaming. In 2013, WatchMojo.com ranked Strider as the tenth top playable game ninja, calling him an "arcade legend".
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