A while ago a user on the KLOV forums called willkaotix created a set of replacement graphics ROMs for Strider which remove the censorship added for the final game (the leaf on the Amazons) as well as a couple of annoying pixel errors in frames.
The link for these is long dead but they got rolled into a ROM set you can still find called “stridergh”, however the changes are laid out for US boards which use 8 large mask ROMs for graphics data while the old Japanese version uses lots of 27C1000 chips.
I wanted to run this set on my JP PCB, and at the same time also wanted to fix the audio – all early releases of Strider have several tunes missing but you can update older ones by changing the sound ROM. I’ve gone through and split / deinterleaved all the images and narrowed it down to 10+1 chips you’ll need to change – or you could copy them into the MAME set if you want to play JP + fixes under emulation.
It’s actually very subtle and hard to notice, I’m not sure why they saw the need to add the censorship to be honest. Music fix makes a world of difference though.