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It’s January, which means it’s time for XBLA Fans to take a look back at the best and brightest games of the last year.
2014 was a transitional year for the Xbox brand. It was Xbox One’s first full year on the market, and it bore witness to Microsoft going all-in on its complete reversal of the console’s strategy and public image. Redmond distanced its next-gen console from being some sort of multimedia wonderbox as much as possible and did its best to focus on the games. Despite a litany of exciting ID@Xbox game announcements, the program got off to a bit of a slow start, though. Ports and re-releases dominated much of 2014’s ID@Xbox release calendar, and last-gen Xbox Live Arcade releases on Xbox 360 were used to buoy Microsoft’s greater indie library.
If you paid as much attention to ID@Xbox as as XBLA Fans did, though, then you know there were some standout stars even if there was not a terribly high quantity of them. We’ve played the games and cast our votes, and how we present you with our 2014 Game of the Year awards. Don’t like our picks? Fair enough. Head to the comments and make your case for why yours are better.
Strider was developed by Double Helix Games and published by Capcom. It was released on February 19, 2014 on Xbox Live Arcade and Xbox One for $14.99. An Xbox 360 copy was provided for review purposes.
Strider has had a long history in gaming, despite not having too many games. First arriving in arcades in 1989, Strider‘s fast-paced ninja gameplay spawned an NES port and numerous knock-offs. Despite being well-received, the game didn’t get a true sequel until 1999’s Strider II. Outside of being a playable fighter in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, protagonist Strider Hiryu hasn’t been in a game for over 10 years.
Now the franchise has finally been awoken from its slumber with Strider, a reboot that re-tells the original game’s story. Taking place in the year 2048, the game opens with an organization of high-tech ninjas known as Striders sending their best agent, Hiryu, on a deadly mission. Armed with his deadly plasma Cypher and loads of ninja skills, Hiryu is tasked with assassinating the the city of Kazahk’s evil dictator, Grandmaster Meio. The adventure is great at delivering fast-paced action, at least when there aren’t too many speed bumps in the way.
Last week, you may have caught our five-part feature looking ahead at as many XBLA games and their Xbox One brethren as we could possibly cram into one week’s worth of articles. If you missed it, go ahead and check it out right now. Start here.
All done with that? Great. Now you know what’s coming. What you may not know, however, is which of those games you should be looking forward to the most. Don’t worry — XBLA Fans has you covered. Read on to find out what upcoming XBLA and Xbox One games select members of our team are most looking forward to getting their hands on. Once you’re done, let us know which ones you’re most excited for in the comments section. We’re asking you to read through our many thoughts on the big releases ahead, so we figure the least we can do in return is to read yours as well.
Ryan Thompson, Contributor — When Capcom first announced that it was releasing a modern Strider title, my first thought was to listen to a track by game composer Jake Kaufman entitled “Dracula Man X2 Alpha Turbo.” Kaufman was clearly having fun when he created the track, giving one potential answer to what the Castlevania franchise’s music would sound like if Capcom had developed it instead of Konami. With the imminent release of Strider on the 18th of February, Capcom is poised to give something of an official answer to the same question Kaufman must have asked himself — what would Castlevania be like if Capcom released it instead?
First of all, it would have the same level of polish as the best of Capcom’s 2D games, with controls that never fail, leaving players without excuses for failure in the tradition of both the original Strider for NES and the more famous Mega Man games. Second, it appears that, judging by the trailer, there would be more emphasis on combat and slightly less on exploration, though that might be just the frantic flow of activity in a short video speaking. Finally, as Kaufman hints in his tribute, this game would come with a soundtrack worthy of the rest of Capcom’s 2D oeuvre.
We’re late, and it seems that’s become somewhat of a trend for us lately. Our Game of the Year awards weren’t doled out until January, and now our look forward at the XBLA and Xbox One XBLA-type games of 2014 is just making its way to you in February. You were on your own when it came to planning out January’s releases, but now it’s time for our annual look ahead at the top downloadable games likely to arrive on an Xbox platform during the (remainder of) the year ahead. Read on to find out what you can expect out of Xbox over the next (not quite) 365.
Capcom’s Strider, today most commonly known for the main character’s appearances in the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise, will be the star of his own game next week on February 19 for the first time in more than 20 years. This particular entry appears to draw more from his NES game than any of his other appearances, mixing the exploration of Metroid with the visceral combat of Ninja Gaiden. As a result, comparisons to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night are inevitable and likely warranted. If any company can follow in the footsteps of these giants, it’s Capcom — seeing what it does in a two-dimensional environment given the horsepower of the Xbox One will be a treat.
Capcom has announced that Strider, a reboot of the side-scrolling action title originally released on the NES in 1989, will be available on February 19 on both Xbox One …
Capcom took a brief moment today during San Diego Comic Con to blow a few minds and announce a new Strider game headed to current and next-gen consoles early next year.
The techno ninja who first made his debut more than twenty years ago is getting a 2.5D graphical overhaul, some slick new toys and a seamlessly connected environment through which he’ll hack, slash, flip and generally just go about being a ninja. The revival has a distinct Shadow Complex vibe, and is being helmed by none other than Double Helix Games, the studio currently developing the long-awaited Killer Instinct remake.
Though information released indicates the title will be developed for all the usual suspects, including Xbox One and Xbox 360, there’s no official word yet as to whether or not Strider will hoist the orange banner of Arcade as previously rumored. Considering the release window falls well into the next generation of hardware, it could be that Xbox Live Arcade will have already been phased out, as we learned earlier this year.
In any case, look for Strider to bring a little more ninja to your X-marked console of choice. You can check out the official announcement trailer after the jump, and if you’re still hungry for more, kick back and take in seven minutes of gameplay footage immediately following.
The crafty members of NeoGAF‘s forums have discovered yet another possible unannounced XBLA game, Strider. Box art (found after the jump) was found on xbox.com some time in January, but was promptly removed from the site. The discovery went largely unnoticed until Polygon reported just days ago that a Steam achievement was also found for the game.
According to Eurogamer, a reboot of the series was in development at Bionic Commando Rearmed developer GRIN before the company went belly up in 2009. Capcom is expected to announce new games at PAX East this weekend. Could Strider be getting the remake treatment? Is it a new installment? Is it a re-release as part of the Capcom Arcade Cabinet? Possibly. The original release was in 1989, and thus far we’ve only received the 1985 and 1986 game packs. Either way, more of Strider Hiryu could never be a bad thing.