Since we at Oddity Game Seekers are always looking to promote cool, unusual, and noteworthy games, I decided it was up to me to once again spearhead the visual novel and eroge genres (as I’ve written before, they are two different things with lots of overlap.). I originally decided to review the visual novel Dengeki Stryker ,but I change my mind after hearing that the people at MangaGamer were putting out the expanded re-release called Cho Dengeki Stryker (essentially, Super Dengeki Stryker). I felt sticking that sticking with the original Dengeki Stryker would have left my review obsolete in the wake of this expansion. Today, I bring to your attention this thrilling tale of heroism.
The original Dengeki Stryker was a visual novel developed and published by Overdrive in 2011 with Cho coming in slightly over a year later in 2012. Overdrive has also produced the game Deardrops, as well as Go! Go! Nippon! ~My First Trip to Japan~ (which I have heard is selling well on Steam). Both of which are available in English courtesy of MangaGamer. Dengeki Stryker (meaning electric striker minus stylized “y”) is the story of Yuuki Yamato, an ordinary elementary school boy who is a big fan of a certain manga bearing the same title. Yuuki wants nothing more than to become a hero of justice like his idol, the Imperial All-Terrain Strike Support Ranger Codename: Stryker Zero. A cyborg with a variety of electricity-themed powers, Stryker Zero’s mission is to protect the lands of the Japanese empire from the evil Balbora Empire. Yuuki has one big problem though when it comes to becoming like his hero Stryker Zero. Much like every other elementary school-aged kid, Yamato is a wimp. But hey, he’s got his cute childhood friend Haruna to cheer him on and odds-are-eventually-marry, right? Except Haruna is moving out the day after the story begins.
So what’s a little boy to do when the crushing weight of his shortcomings and loneliness becomes a little too much? Why, go cry to a deserted shrine, of course! Well, it seems to work out for Yamato since he gets to meet the Memory Collector, a supernatural being capable of granting any wish in exchange for a proper amount of memories. Starry-eyed, Yamato asks the Memory Collector to become Dengeki Stryker. The Memory Collector obliges, but in return for all of Yamato’s memories. Thus Yamato becomes Stryker, yet with no recollection of even his own wish.
But Yamato lives in our world, where there are no cyborgs or Balbora Empires. Having nothing to do with his new powers and identity, he will spend the next ten years filled with confusion until a submarine coming from the Balbora Empire, which should not exist heads to Japan and kick starts the plot of Dengeki Stryker. Stryker parodies a very typical superhero formula: Yamato fights the villain of the week in between his daily life, which becomes increasingly hectic as more characters enter his circle. The villains, the Balboran cyborgs, do have my respect in the fact their plans become increasingly more serious and genre savvy as time goes on. On the other hand, both sides suffer from pretty terrible Clark Kenting issues; hell, the fact that no one ever seems to recognize either side is pretty astounding in its own right. And to put the cherry of cliches on top, both have their bases on the same run-down apartment and are next-door neighbors. While I may sound a bit harsh I found it all pretty humorous, and the characters are likable enough for Stryker to get away with it in my book.
In terms of the new routes found in Cho Dengeki Stryker, we get the Love, Steel and Light sagas. Both the Steel and Light sagas occur in the aftermath of the Zero saga and deal with Yamato having to come to terms that his existence and that of most of his friends and comrades are fictional but that he is also responsible for all the violence, death, and tragedy that had occurred during the events of the Zero saga. A very wise choice in my opinion as the characters were the strongest element of Dengeki Stryker, and watching them struggle to make a new life for themselves adds a few extra laughs along with significant credibility to the story.The new heroine Clie fits in rather nicely as a female version of Yamato. Where in watching her act in-sync with or simply repeating many of the things Yamato does is fairly amusing to watch.
A big downside is having to play through the entire Zero route just to reach the content of the new Cho routes. And no, I don’t just mean clear all the previous routes first. I mean clear the routes and then play again through the entire Zero saga just to cross into the Steel saga and Light saga. Now the love saga can be accessed a little earlier, but still… it is all so inconvenient. New characters also seem to pop out of seemingly nowhere. How do you get Balborans if the landmass itself doesn’t exist? The original cast of villains gets a pass for being part of the comic everything was based on, but other characters are never stated to have truly existed beforehand, so where do they come from? Sure this is fiction, but is that an excuse to completely eschew narrative logic?
Pros: Tons of content well worth the forty-five dollar asking price. All additions mesh well and don’t feel tacked on. Easily among of the most entertaining fight scenes found in a visual novel. Sex scenes are few but they are well placed and don’t interrupt the plot. Actual animated cut scenes are a treat for the eye.
Cons: Access to new content is fairly inconvenient for those like me who already played parts of the original Dengeki Stryker. You have to again muddle through the whole Zero saga, which is easily the weakest route of the original three (it’s still good, but not worth reading twice good). New characters seem to show up when most convenient (or should I say, inconvenient?)
Compared to its predecessor, Cho Dengeki Stryker is certainly the superior version. While it still doesn’t reach the levels of say, Muv-Luv and Fate/Stay Night, it is certainly above average and deserves more attention. The additional animations and artwork make the story come alive in ways few visual novels can, within my experience it is certainly the most thrilling. As a nice bonus from Manga Gamer, you can get Cho half off if you already owned Dengeki Stryker. So I personally suggest you check it out, if you are looking for an action story with well-written characters, and getting your money’s worth of content.