Platform: PC (Steam and Non-Steam)
Price: $34.99 USD
Release Date: September 19th, 2014(Steam – English), July 27th, 2012(Japan)
Cho Dengeki Stryker is an action and story driven tale, with choices and multiple endings, featuring quite an interesting plot proposal: What if Shonen-manga characters existed in the real world?
Yuuki Yamato is a normal Japanese boy, with a huge passion for action manga. His favorite series, Dengeki Stryker, features a world in which Japan is at war against a fictional nation called the Balboran Empire. Stryker Zero, the protagonist, fights on the front lines against the Balboran cyborgs.
One day, Yamato meets an old man that offers him any one wish, at the price of his own memories. The young boy then wishes to become Stryker Zero, and has all of his previous memories striped from him and replaced by the fictional hero’s.
Stryker Zero, brought from his manga’s universe, finds himself in modern Japan, without enemies or knowledge of his surroundings. Years later, Yuuki Yamato continues his vigil for the Balboran Empire’s cyborg, when he finally meets them.
The game’s story revolves around the combat Cyborgs from a fictional Shonen-manga battle universe meeting up in modern Japan, fighting one other. That’s mostly the plot for the early part of the game, which could be aptly described as the character introduction chapters of the story. Beyond that point, Cho Dengeki Stryker becomes a character focused story, in which the relationship between the several characters are explored, while the protagonist tries to figure out the secrets behind the phenomenon that brought them to this universe.
Cho Dengeki Stryker is, in fact, a sequel. The original game, named Dengeki Stryker, featured the first 3 routes of the game. The Cho release contains the previous game plus new routes, with added graphical improvements from the first game. There is no need to play the old Dengeki Stryker, for all the content in that game is present on the Cho release. Furthermore, the non-steam versions of the game have adult-content, which is not present in the all-ages version.
Each of the game’s 6 routes, referred to as Sagas, is focused on a different female heroine. They are unlocked in sequence, which requires you to play them in a specific order. Throughout each consecutive playthrough, specific events happen in slightly different ways, leading to vastly different endings. Each ending allows you to grasp new pieces of information about the characters and the setting. Those events are branches of the same timeline, constantly approaching a resolution that resembles a true ending for the story.
The game’s writing and execution is great, and the battles are very well carried out. However, what really makes Cho Dengeki Stryker such a great and memorable game is the character interaction. Yuuki’s relationship with his enemies and allies is both interesting and funny, greatly because the characters have multi-dimensional personalities. The antagonists, the Cyborgs from the Balboran Empire, are not generic villains. They also have personalities, relationships among themselves, and to some length, even backstories.
Stryker Zero’s and the Balboran’s identities are hidden, and thus they do not know each other unless they’re in their battle forms. Because of this, the protagonist hero and the antagonists meet casually, talk, and even become friends to each other during the game. The fact that they are neighbours allows for much of the comedy and character development in the story to take place.
It’s absolutely hysterical the way Yuuki will sometimes remark on how his rowdy neighbours are such nice hardworking people, meanwhile they’re having a meeting next door regarding how to defeat Stryker Zero.
Cho Dengeki Stryker has a very classical Visual Novel system. 2D Sprites against backgrounds, with fully drawn CG scenes at the most important scenes. No fancy animations or effects outside a very few number of scenes. The menu interface is well designed and responsive, as you’d expect from a large studio such as OVERDRIVE. For those who have already played the first Dengeki Stryker, there is an option on the menu to install save data as if you’ve already completed the first 3 routes of the game.
Unfortunately, the game runs natively at 4:3 resolution. You have the option to stretch the image, though I personally wouldn’t recommend that. There is no option for setting the game’s resolution.
The Audio in this game, along with the writing, are the main selling points. During relaxing scenes, it really helps set the mood, and during battle sequences, the action themes support the story as they change along with the flow of battle.
Even better than the background music are the sound effects. Stryker Zero’s skills are mostly electrical attacks, and every time he makes a move or changes modules, the electric crackling and sparking sounds give life to each and every thrust and shot he takes.
Cho Dengeki Stryker has a normal, anime art style. However, the art really stands out due to the color palettes used on the game. The environment has mostly mild colors. The only things portrayed with vivid colors are certain details on the character’s uniforms, along with their power auras. This particular choice of colors make the Cyborgs really stand out on their combat forms. It fits very well with the over all superhero theme of the game.
The characterization and world setting in Cho Dengenki Stryker are excellent. However, some characters were really left out. While Kazami, Roches, and Phoenix were really well developed, the rest of the Balborans didn’t get nearly as much attention. Daniel, Murray, and Duran don’t have nearly as much screentime, Orson and Joseph are pretty much left out of the story.
While it’s understandable that not all characters can get the same level of development, it feels like they almost could be writen off the story entirely without much consequence. The game could have better benefited from its great chemistry between characters had it been longer.
Cho Dengeki Stryker is certainly not a great story by itself, but the characters, setting, and ambience make it into a really interesting read. Highly recommended for those who enjoy epic fights and superhero themes.
– Great characters and character interaction
– Excellent music and sound effects
– Interesting art
– Certain characters are neglected in favor of others
– A bit expensive
The Reviewer has given this game a Final Grade of 7/10.