When Strider was relesed on the Genesis in 1990, the critics hailed it as being an arcade-perfect port, as well as being one of the best Genesis games out there at the time. It was also a bestseller, and a technological powehouse, being the first game to use 8 meg memory. In 1997, EGM magazine listed it as the 42th best game of all time, ahead of Herzog Zwei, a much better game. The reason I am bringing all this praise to your attention is because this game is overrated. Maybe it just hasn't aged well, but this game is far from classic.
The story in this game is not great, but then again for this type of game it relly doen't need to be that great. You a a ninja, Srider Hiyru, armed with a plasma sword, and your mission is to stop an evil alien conquor from taking over Earth. The gameplay, not the story, is the main focus of this game. The gameplay involves going through five simple levels involving minimal platforming and mass bad guy slaughter.
The first thing about the game that doesn't live up to the prase is the graphics. They are good for the time, but upon closer examination these graphics are not even close to the arcade version. There is also a large amount of slowdown, which is something that the arcade version did not have.
The music is just plain horrid. The music tracks are not the high-energy tracks that make you want to move like you would expect. They really are just there just for filler. The second stage's music sounds more like a dirge (a piece of music designed for a somber experince, like a funeral) than something that would be appropreate for a video game. The sound effects are good and do their job, so I won't complain about that aspect of the sound.
Unlike some other Genesis platformers, such as Revenge of Shinobi and Sonic 2, Strider's controls are poor. Attacking with your sword is easy, but jumping isn't. When you jump to either side, you do a full somersault instead of a regular leap. This sounds and looks cool, but it gets really hard, especially if you overdo your jump and end up in a bottomless pit instead of near the ledge were you wanted to land. Sliding is also an option, but it rarely gets you anywhere.
The gameplay is only ok. The stages, until stage five, are easy and straightforward. Not challenging, not exciting, but OK. They gradually gain in difficulty until level five, which is an insanely difficult level and is almost impossible to defeat. I know that the final level is supposed to be harder than the other levels, but the amount of difficulty on this level is insane.
In conclusion, Strider is a fun, yet overrated game. If you have not played it, and you are considering it, I would suggest getting Strider 2 for the Playstation. It includes the orginal Strider in an arcade-perfect port.