Major Stryker for DOS

Major Stryker

Major Stryker

Major Stryker was released by Apogee back in 1993 and is one of the very few shoot-em-ups released by them. Like many other Apogee games it uses EGA graphics and was one of the last to do so. The story of the game is like many other shooters, after a large world conflict the Earth was left with little ability to defend itself. Along come the Kretons from a nearby worm hole bent on taking over the world. You, Major Stryker, a hero of the previous war are called in to defend the Earth and take the battle to the Kretons.

Admiral Yoshira

Admiral Yoshira

The EGA graphics are quite good and impressively scrolls quite nicely with 3 different layers. The foreground where all the action is, the middle which just has scenery and some enemies approaching, and the backgrounds which is static. EGA cards typically were not as capable as the later VGA cards so it’s quite an achievement to get that many layers going at once. I’m also very impressed with the quality of the artwork, although in my opinion Overkill is drawn better, a game which was often compared to Major Stryker unfavourably.

Space Station

Space Station

Something that does annoy me about the graphics is how busy they can get in some levels. Each planet you have to assault has 3 different areas with 3 bosses at the end of each. Some of the areas have a background similar not only to the enemies but also some projectiles making it difficult to see many of them in the middle of the action. It also doesn’t help that many enemies and projectiles move down the screen nearly the same speed as the background moves reducing the appearance of movemt and decreasing their visibility!

High Speed Corridor

High Speed Corridor

Sound in game is quite good although some of the sound effects are a bit strange, as if someone had made the sound with their mouth! Given they also support Adlib and PC speaker for the sound effects this is forgivable as it is difficult to achieve consistency between the devices. The music however is very good, mostly because it was written by Bobby Prince, a legend in music for DOS games. It fits the different aspects of the game very well and there is a good variety never making you hear a song until you’re sick of it.

High in the sky

High in the sky

I found Major Stryker was pretty fun to play, but is very very difficult. The difficulty curve turned out a little strange, some of the earlier levels turned out to be harder for me than some later on. I think thats because of the graphics for those particular stages. I found the best way to succeed was to concentrate more on dodging enemy fire than on shooting down badies. Until you have the power ups for your ships guns it can be very difficult to shoot something without having to dodge the numerous bullets flying around.

I'll sink your Battleship

I’ll sink your Battleship

At fixed time intervals a pod comes around with a weapon upgrade in it requiring you to shoot it open and pick up the contents. The weapon upgrades basically add more projectiles for press of the fire key, eventually upgrading to a spread shot that shoots in many directions. The fully upgraded weapon is quite deadly and will quickly carve its way through the coming enemies. However it doesn’t make you invinsible and the minute you are hit you lose all your upgrades, which can make the game suddenly much more difficult. If you are hit with no weapon upgrades you lose a life.

Fighting a Boss

Fighting a Boss

One of the more annoying enemies for me was the ship that brings in the shield upgrades. It seems to come at fixed points in the levels and shoots many projectiles that can be very hard to dogde. It combined with the normal enemies is usually very dangerous.

She needs a cold shower

She needs a cold shower

Whilst I had fun with Major Stryker I’m not really quite sure what to think of it yet. I enjoyed the game play for the most part, but found some aspects of the game frustrating. I thought losing all your upgrades when hit was too punishing, and often resulted in making a difficult section even harder than it needed to be. On the other hand once you get a good run going it’s quite fun and a challenge to shoot the enemies, rescue humans and dodge enemy fire. I guess given that it’s now freeware you should give it a go if you like shooters, but it won’t be to everyones taste.

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5 Responses to “Major Stryker for DOS”

  1. May 1, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I have this shareware CD with Hugos house of horror as well as a few other hugo games and what not. one of the games was Major Stryker. I had never heard of it prior and never got around to installing the cd and trying the games, now I know.

  2. October 8, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    I finally got around to playing the shareware version. interesting thing I found since I used this game for general testing on a few PC’s today. on my 386 with a sound blaster pro 2.0 I get music but no sound effects (unless I choose speaker for sound effects). this is odd because the card works just find with other games, Wolfenstein 3d for example. now in my 286 with a regular sound blaster 2.0 music and sound effects worked fine.

    • October 8, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      That’s interesting as you’d expect the same type of card to have the same result regardless of machine. Is it perhaps an IO address or IRQ conflict? Perhaps the game doesn’t like the settings one of the cards has even though there is no conflict. I remember a few DOS games had a restriction on the IRQ, IO and DMA ports that they could use even though the cards may support more.

      How did you find the game?


  3. October 9, 2014 at 5:20 am

    The SB 2.0 uses the line SET BLASTER=A220 I7 D1 T3 while the SB Pro 2.0 uses SET BLASTER=A220 I7 D1 T4. So there using the same IRQ and address only the T variable is different which stands for “Type” though honestly I’m not %100 sure what that designates. I suspected that Major Stryker was one of the few games that required the old SB driver/mixer but its not on the list of games that require it.

    I got the game as a bonus for something I bought on a PC forum awhile back. I don’t remember what it was I bought but they seller threw this game in as a bonus. its a jewel case compilation CD from “Imagitec Multimedia Corp.” It features many games including Hugo’s House of Horrors as well as Hugo 2 & 3. I’m assuming there just the shareware versions but not sure. Must be Canadian since the instructions are in English and French.

    • October 9, 2014 at 8:55 am

      That’s interesting, must be some subtle difference between the hardware in the cards. I think you’re right, T does stand for type as far as I know.

      I’ve always meant to try out the Hugo games, I remember them being talked about back in the day, but I never saw anything specifically about them.


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