Strider HD: Original Game Soundtrack composed by Michael John Mollo (album review).

The 80s was a crucial decade for many elements of popular culture. It was the first decade that someone could actually be accused of wearing horrendous clothes, music was revolutionised through the commercial release of the compact disc and video games became available to the masses.


One of the games launched in the 80s was ‘Strider’, a side-scrolling platform game involving futuristic ninjas and conspiracy plots. The game was well-received on its launch, so perhaps it was inevitable in this remake-friendly world that it would be given a 2014 makeover for the PSN, Xbox Live and PC.

This retro platform game has a soundtrack to match with opener ‘Raid’ being given a slight modernisation by composer Michael John Mollo. It takes a serious turn with ‘Kazakh City’, where the composer’s drum and synth systems come into play.

We’re back with the 80s synth in ‘Coup’ which despite being similar to the opening track is rousing and gets the pulse racing.

This drifts nicely into ‘The Mechanical Dragon’, probably a little too well and it can be tough to distinguish when one track ends and the other begins.

The combination of modern and 80s synth merges well in this soundtrack although there are some tracks in the middle that could do with some mixing up and adding of different elements but then if it fits in with the game, there’s no point in messing with what works.

The drum synth style continues until track 10 ‘The Armed Fortress’, where it goes slightly electro-pop, perfectly keeping in with the 80s style. Some of the tracks on this album are from the original ‘Strider’ game with some new offerings by Mollo mixed in. It is quite easy to discern which are which and the remixed tracks do break up the album more.

Of the new tracks, ‘Techno Mage’ is a highlight, invoking memories of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ theme with drumbeats like a quickening heartbeat. The original ‘Kazakh Theme’ is a fast-paced track which is a proper end-of-level boss fight and I can imagine getting quite frustrated while listening to this as I repeatedly fail to clear the level.

This feeling is repeated in ‘Grandmaster Meio,’ the final track which is even faster and features more drums.

When reviewing this soundtrack I played the first few levels of the new ‘Strider’ game and while I’m more of a fan of third-person shooters, the side-scrolling screen and easy-to-dispatch faceless baddies were a delightful throwback to my youth as a gamer. I’m not sure if the full game would hold my attention but I enjoyed what I played and the same goes for the soundtrack. Some parts are excellent, some parts are too repetitive. It’s still a nice trip down memory lane though.

Aidan Fortune

May 2014

(pub: Capcom. 20 tracks, 46 minutes. Digital: $14.99 (US))

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