In the 1980s, ninja fever swept through America. There were a few origin points for this. One was Bruce Lee: although he dîed in 1973, his legend was gaining steam. Black Belt magazine, to which Lee had contributed several articles, began in the late-’70s promoting . Based on the manga as well as popular shooters of the time, they’re stylish enough to be the game’s calling card, even though they don’t always last long.

“After becoming bored from talks at the hotel in Shinjuku, I escaped to the hallway,” Yotsui says elsewhere in the 2010 interview. Leaving the crowd behind, he “sat on the sofa out there, and comfortably took some notes.” He was trying to figure out “how far could I take an action game with 1 lever and 2 buttons?” Strider is the answer.

This game isn’t afraid to go ape.

While it won’t overwhelm any player today, Strider remains a gorgeous game, cutting-edge for its time. It has an epic feel to it, even if the gameplay beyond the Options can feel a little repetitive. It’s a welcome blast from the past, a vision of a future that was radically different than any throwaway ninja craze. It was built with a vision, and that’s why it’s worth playing today.

Strider is available now for Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack.

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