Strider: Option Zero

When MUGEN came out in 2001, it caused a bit of a stir in the Strider web community, as elsewhere. While Strider 2 was still fresh in everyone's memory, Bueno (webmaster of Strider Island Moralos) saw an opportunity and gathered K3nShiN, Samanosuke, ShinDIOBrando, Infiinma, and several others as a devteam for an unnamed project. Together they began work on the Option Zero fangame, planning on using MUGEN for its engine. While it was heavily influenced by the look of Capcom's Vs. series, Option Zero was to focus more on the Striders, and the story itself revolved around a threat to the Striders' hidden island, Moralos:

Incoming message...

From: Strider Ryuzaki

>>>begin scripture

Intruder Alert. North, East, West and South defense lines breached. Code red. Requesting backup. All Striders on duty return to Moralos immediately. Repeat, all Striders on duty return to Moralos immediately. You are to carry out the following prime objectives given by the Vice Director.

>>>loading prime objectives...

1. Protect Moralos
2. Take out all intruders
3. Ensure Moralos' location is kept under wraps

That is all. To all of you, good luck.

>>>end scripture

Despite focusing on the Striders, Option Zero boasted an eclectic roster, including the following playable characters:


Calm, cool, and collected, Hiryu is a machine whenever in the heat of battle. His body itself is a weapon with his Cypher as an extension. Hiryu's mission is to defend Moralos from all infiltrating enemies and make sure that Moralos' location does not get out.

Street Fighter Alpha

As an agent of the international crime organization known as Shadowloo, Cammy is sent out to find the uncharted island of Moralos in order to retrieve its location coordinates for her lord and master, M. Bison. Shadowloo desires Moralos for its new base of operations and cloak itself from any outside interference. Fused with Psycho Power, Cammy is an unstoppable foe and will be more than an obstacle for Hiryu's mission.

Kabuki Klash

A Japanese robot sent out to find Moralos and once found, must kill all Striders. His motives are unknown and the reason why his creator wants all Striders dead remains a mystery...

Hol Horse
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure

Wandering all over the world with his "Stand" known as "Emperor", Hol Horse is a gunslinger with no one left to gunsling against. He's retained the title as the quickest draw in the world and has never found a new challenge... until now. Recently, Hol Horse has heard about the legendary Striders. He especially hears a lot about their Cyphers, their weapon of choice and has always pondered the thought "Can the bullet of a gun beat the quick blade of a Cypher?" Determined to find out, Hol Horse seeks out the island of Moralos to get the answer to his question...

Saki Shinjo
Advance Variable Geo 2

A female fighter whose thirst for power has led her to Moralos. Feared for her cool yet threatening attitude during battle and has even gone as far as killing people during her fights. Wanting to become a Strider out of her own personal ambition, Saki challenges anyone in her way, Strider or no.

Jack Mantis
Metal and Lace 2

A mantis-like humanoid from the far reaches of the galaxy. His race, low on energy resources, has sent him to Moralos to seize the use of its energy reactor. Although a fast and agile fighter, Mantis tends to be rather annoying to his colleagues as well as egotistical. His goal for going to Moralos is not only to get to the energy reactor, but to gain credibility from all of his homeworld.

Heinrich Sieger
Samurai Shodown

Coming from a long bloodline of the family known as the Siegers, Heinrich Sieger the 3rd follows the same sense of chivalry as that of his great ancestor, Neinhalt Sieger. He even leads the most powerful group of knights in the world, The Knights of the Red Lion, as did Neinhalt. Hearing the news about his uncle Herzog Schlange's death, Heinrich sets out to get revenge by killing his uncle's assassin, Strider Hiryu. However, Sieger knows not of his uncle's former status with the now-slain Grandmaster Meio...

Strider 2

A Strider with promise. However, due to his ambition to become the most powerful Strider in the world, Hien released Grandmaster Meio from his coffin and betrayed the Striders in order to gain capabilities that even Hiryu never thought possible for a man Hien's age. Frustrated by being defeated by Strider Hiryu, Hien returns to Moralos to show Hiryu who the most powerful Strider in the galaxy is...

It was the final entry that got everyone's attention. While the others required a lot of work to rip and program, they were pre-existing characters. Hien had to be modified and adapted from other characters' sprites and movesets. Fortunately, K3nShiN had done most of the heavy lifting on that end. Bueno's devteam was up to the task for the rest, even creating original moves, new Striders, and just plain cool stuff like this:

Option Zero's final boss was initially slated to be Magnum, a character of Bueno's invention who traversed the galaxy, defeating armed opponents and collecting their weapons. Magnum had mastered every weapon ever made and went to Moralos to collect Hiryu's cypher, Falchion. As the project evolved, Soryu from Metal and Lace 2 took Magnum's place, having come to Moralos for the same reasons. Or maybe it was the other way around, and Soryu was OZ's first endboss. It's difficult to say.

Bueno's team began by modifying Street Fighter Alpha 3's GUI template, using its health meters, super gauges, and guard crush bars as starting points. As the project continued it replaced these, refining them into its own unique approach and increasing the Strider atmosphere tenfold:

Hiryu himself was upgraded beyond his Marvel vs. Capcom powers and given some of the abilities he'd acquired in Strider 2. He was to have two distinct fighting styles. Boost had been implemented (possibly as a super move), and Midare-Giri was planned on being incorporated as well.

Unfortunately the promising project couldn't maintain momentum. Strider: Option Zero gradually ground to a halt due to its contributors' utter boredom from doing the same thing over and over (sprite ripping is among the more tedious tasks invented by the human race), and because there were too many people with too many ideas that no one fully followed up on. At one point, it was decided that the best way to clear away the cruft was to cut the project back to the bone. All of the characters-in-progress other than Hiryu and Hien were scrapped, replaced by two Guilty Gear staples:

Guilty Gear

Free from slavery and safe with his family, Potemkin temporarily lived a happy life. One day, he gets a note from his country giving him new orders to find and destroy the black ops organization known as the Striders or they will arrest his family. Potemkin's sense of chivalry makes wonder if the Striders are really the enemy or not, but it seems he has no choice. Although his country betrayed him before, Potemkin goes to Moralos in search of the truth and possibly a way to get his family back...

Sol Badguy
Guilty Gear

The guilty gear known as Sol Badguy wanders the Earth. Without much purpose in life, he helps out those in need, but also picks fights with people for the fun of it with his intimidating atttude towards humans. One day, he hears about a group known as the Striders and about the possible coordinates to find their secret base, Moralos. Sol sets off to challenge who is rumored to be the most strongest Strider in the world. Strider Hiryu.

At this point, anyone who had been following the project threw up their hands in despair, as it seemed that any forward momentum was now lost. In time, even these radical changes proved fruitless and Option Zero ground to a halt for good. Some of the assets were later reused in Body Weapon, albeit in altered form. Though Option Zero was never completed, its devteam's lasting contribution to the MUGEN community lies in the playable character of Strider Hien. Were it not for this game, that character arguably would not exist. Even if it did, Hien would not be nearly as ubiquitous. Anyone who has played a MUGEN round with Hien or seen a YouTube video with the character has witnessed how complete the character is, and that is a testament to the dedication and talent that had pooled together for this project.