Video Game / No More Heroes

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"I wanna be number one. How's that? Short and simple enough for ya? It's gonna to be a long, hard road. But who knows? Could kick ass. Could be dangerous. Could totally suck. Whaddaya say bro, join me: let's see how far we can take this. And for you out there holding the Wii Remote right now? Just press the A button... Let the bloodshed begin!"
Travis Touchdown

No More Heroes is the story of Travis Touchdown, a perennially-broke Occidental Otaku who wins a beam katana off of "an Internet auction site" and becomes a part-time assassin to pay for his otaku lifestyle. After taking a job from the mysterious Sylvia Christel, Travis unwittingly becomes the 11th-best assassin in the United States and decides to climb the ranks of the United Assassin's Association the hard way: challenging the ten assassins ranked higher than him, and taking them out one-by-one.

From Suda51, the mastermind behind the divisive Killer7, No More Heroes is simultaneously a celebration, parody and deconstruction of sandbox games, American geek culture, and the concept of an Anti-Hero. It juxtaposes the glamorous and high-octane battles of an assassin's lifestyle with the grim reality of a main character who lives in a motel room, roots through dumpsters for collectibles and needs to do menial labour to pay his U.A.A. fees. It gives you a Wide Open Sandbox and a kickass motorcycle, but also the stark realization that the world Travis lives in is mostly empty and devoid of things he can actually affect; even running down pedestrians is completely ineffective. All that Travis has going for him is his delusional grandeur and self-image as a cool protagonist, and even that is slowly stripped away as the game presents him with the harsh truths of a professional killer, and the fact that his murderous rampage is fueled by nothing more than a shallow need for self-gratification.

That said, no game lets you rain down on Mooks like some sort of angry nerd god quite like No More Heroes.

It was given a remake (No More Heroes: Red Zone Edition/Heroes' Paradise) for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, based on the belief that its poor sales were due to the Wii being unreceptive to this kind of game. This belief got a dose of reality when the game opened only a little better than the first game (on both systems), and sales legs dropped off even more quickly. Nevertheless, the game is an incremental step up from the original, featuring oodles of bonus content (including Bonus Bosses from No More Heroes 2) and gameplay tweaks (like allowing you to "stock" your special moves, which addressed the primary criticism of the original's semi-randomized Super Mode feature).

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is the sequel, also for the Wii. It was released outside of Japan first, and was released in Japan in October 2010.

An Android OS (and soon to be iOS) social-game entry in the series, titled No More Heroes: World Ranker, was released in Japan at the end of August 2012. This entry allows players to create their own beam-katana-wielding assassin and rise through the UAA ranks via missions, including fights with some of the notable bosses of both the main games. Depending on how well it does, World Ranker may also get a worldwide release.


This game has examples of:

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    A-F 
  • Action Commands: You use these to perform wrestling moves, get out of traps, and recharge your katana.
  • Affably Evil: Death Metal, Dr. Peace, Harvey Moiseiwitsch Volodarskii and Henry.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Jeane. It's one of the few kills Travis isn't proud of.
    • Holly Summers, made worse because Travis was willing to let her live but she committed suicide instead because as she states, "Assassins must die when they lose". Her last request is that Travis never forget her and Travis states that he had loved her soul before burying her. The last seconds of her life has her smiling while she puts a grenade in her mouth, while Travis is screaming for her not to go through with this.
  • Alliterative Name: Travis Touchdown.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • Literally, when you need info about Travis's Dark Side moves.
    • On a New Game+, you can find design art cards. They contain many facts about the characters in the game, including the real names of most of the assassins. And the breed of Travis's cat (Scottish Fold).
    • Also subverted, as the instruction manual states that Naomi has a mysterious secret about her. All she does in the game is upgrade Travis' beam katana. Either this idea was dropped or Suda 51 loves messing with ya. This could also be a possible Metal Gear shout out. Rumors have it that Naomi is in her 60's, which would probably be the secret.
  • Already Done for You: The game begins with Travis going after Death Metal, the 10th ranked assassin. Originally, Travis was going to fight the 11th rank, Helter Skelter, first. Instead, the fight was cut, moved to the opening cutscene, and Travis starts out as the 11th rank.
  • American Kirby is Hardcore: The American box art of the first game has Travis Touchdown holding his beam katana with an aggressive look. The European and Japanese box art has Travis standing in the streets of Santa Destroy with a cocky smile on his face and an arm around Sylvia's waist.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Which you have to pay for.
    • Or dig out of the dumpster.
  • Animal Motifs: Travis is associated with tigers in a number of ways: many of his optional clothing items have tiger designs; the meter for his Dark Side mode is a tiger walking across the screen; his bike is named the "Schpeltiger"; the guard of the Tsubaki Mk III is a stylized Japanese "tiger" kanji; and his ultimate wrestling move is the Tiger Suplex. One of the obtainable shirts explains this: It has Travis' name transliterated in katakana ("TORABISU") and has a tiger ("tora") design on it. In Desperate Struggle Travis can even transform into a tiger as one of his Dark Side modes.
  • Anti-Hero: Travis Touchdown seems to be an experiment as to how far you can push the "anti" of Anti-Hero before he lapses into Villain Protagonist. Also, he is a Type I and a Type V anti-hero.
  • Ascended Fanboy: The Anarchy in the Galaxy attack is the same attack used by the Glastonbury in the Pure White Giant Glastonbury game. It's also implied that his other Dark Side attacks are from Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly. The characters are Strawberry, Blueberry, and Cranberry. The attacks are Strawberry on the Shortcake, Blueberry Cheese Brownie, and Cranberry Chocolate Sundae.
  • Automatic New Game: The game does this, only pausing to let you choose your difficulty level and then throwing you in. After you save, it takes this trope further, automatically loading the most recent file whenever you turn on your Wii. To get to another save, you have to wait for the recent one to load, then go to the pause menu to access the load screen.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Charging the katana hits tons of enemies—while leaving you extremely open to attack and only dealing about as much damage as two or three quick regular attacks and it uses a lot of energy before the katana is upgraded. Once you get the unlimited energy upgrade though, it becomes much more useful to spam. In the "impractical weapon" department, the way Travis' beam katana is built means it should actually be pretty fragile.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Word of God claims Travis Touchdown was used because it sounds cool in Japan. Yet there's more to it than that; see Deliberate Values Dissonance below (which Suda is known to do in his games). There's Letz Shake, Helter Skelter (though that's probably not his real name), and Henry Cooldown. Even Sylvia Christel counts.
  • Awesomeness Meter: Depending on how awesome you were during the stage, you'll get bonus points at the end of a stage.
  • Ax-Crazy: Beating blindfolded men to death with a baseball bat is Bad Girl's idea of a fine time. While she is not the only psycho Travis ends up fighting, she's by far the craziest.
  • Badass Biker: Travis' bicycle is impressively tricked out, and intentionally designed to look like an X-Wing Starfighter.
  • Badass Creed: Travis has far too many to tell.
  • Badass Family: Although they don't fit the trope perfectly, Travis, Henry and Jeane: long lost siblings who all ended up as assassins
  • Badass Normal:
    • While not normal mentally, Bad Girl is the only assassin who doesn't use crazy tricks (apart from the gimps used as projectiles). The only things she has are a baseball bat and a serious problem. Well, she does also have her flask and lighter...
    • Travis himself also qualifies, given that he's just an ordinary guy with a Laser Blade who manages to take down high-ranking assassins.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Dark Star. As soon as he finishes talking to Travis to start the battle, he's backstabbed by Jeane, Travis' former fiancée and sister.
  • Batter Up: Bad Girl's Weapon of Choice and apparently, one of her combos. Travis is also occasionally seen using his beam katana as a bat "substitute").
  • Big Damn Heroes: Shinobu in the 1st rank fight, and later Henry during the True Ending.
  • BFS: Death Metal's Orange MK II, and Travis' most impressive Tsubaki MK-II, comprised of five beams at Buster Sword length; consequentially, it looks more like a club than a sword.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Travis has shades of this after killing Jeane.
  • Blade Lock: Whenever you and an enemy try to attack each other at the same time. Winning the ensuing struggle gets you a free death blow. Also happens during the cutscene following the Henry boss fight.
  • Blood Knight: Travis Touchdown. Most of the assassins probably qualify to some degree.
  • Bowdlerise: Spain's translation removes a lot of the swearwords, even though the game is rated 16+ and Spain makes no fuss over swearing, plus since the voices are still in English, anyone can hear and clearly tell all the times a character says "fucking" or something, yet the subtitles omit them.
  • Bond One-Liner: Precedes every ranked battle, and sometimes right after them, too. "It's open mic night in Hell, old man."
  • Bonus Boss:
    • Henry, Travis' twin brother, can only be fought after defeating the Final Boss and having bought all beam katanas and their upgrades from Naomi.
    • In the remake Heroes Paradise at least five of the bosses from the sequel appear as optional fights namely Skelter Helter, Nathan Copeland, Kimmy Howell, Matt Helms, Alice Twilight though the fights happen as dreams.
  • Boss Game: While there's plenty of Mooks to hack and slash, the bosses are the real stars of the show.
  • Bowdlerise: Though not how you might expect.
    • The original intent for the game had tons of gore and left the bodies of ranked fight opponents after they die. This was how the American version of the game was released. The Japanese version removed all the blood, replacing it with smoke, and removed the bodies. This was apparently intentional, as excessive violence is less acceptable in mainstream Japanese games. To the consternation of many European fans, the PAL version is taken from the Japanese cut, as Red Star games decided this version would appeal to a wider audience and improve sales. It had also just released after the classification controversy over Manhunt 2, and Red Star may have been attempting to avoid a similar problem. They have promised the sequel will not be censored, and it wasn't. The Japanese sequel is still censored. The PS3 and Xbox 360 remake No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise is uncensored.
    • One bit of censorship created a bit of discussion: in the American version, Shinobu loses a hand at the end of her fight with Travis (he can't bring himself to kill her, but needs to incapacitate her to win the fight). This doesn't happen in the Japanese version, and so fans debated whether her losing her hand was canonical. The sequel finally confirmed it was, as Shinobu now has an Artificial Limb.
  • Braggart Boss: Destroyman. As a regular person, he's not too remarkable, but as soon as he puts the "superhero" clothes, he prepares a triumphant presentation of himself for the battle. He calls his attacks by name, and overall pretends to be more than he actually is (note that he's only ranked 7th in the UAA).
  • Brain in a Jar: Letz Shake's machine, Dr. Shake, who later ascends to assassin level.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The final ranked battle does this impressively, with characters discussing changing the rating of the game and possibly delaying it, including a Take That against Duke Nukem Forever. The following scene is then literally fast forwarded to avoid that. If you slow down the speed, you can get more detail. The True Ending is even more crazy: Henry comes to Travis and not only reveals that he is Travis's twin brother, but that he's been married to Sylvia for ten years. The revelations are so unbelievable that Travis actually says "That's the craziest shit I ever heard! Why would you bring up something like that at the very last minute of the game?!", to which Henry replies "I would've thought you and the player would at least expect a twist of fate of some kind!" They then proceed to discuss Video Game Tropes and the impossibility of escaping from this particular game for the next few minutes. It's even implied that they both kill each other in battle just to escape the video game they're in, complete with Sylvia joking about how disappointing it is that there won't be a sequel.
  • Bullet Hell: During a dream sequence before the fight with Harvey, you play a top-down, vertical-scrolling space shooter of the mech Glastonbury based on the Bizarre Jelly franchise, with very simple graphics. Afterwards, you can play it some more at Travis' apartment.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Travis and Jeane, though the former was unaware of their blood relationship at the time.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Half the assassins of the UAA easily fall into this category to varying degrees, including, arguably Travis himself. Not to mention half of the business owners in Santa Destroy.
  • Call Back: During the fight against Death Metal, Travis muses on how having a life like Death Metal would've been, noting several times that he should try and find the exit to Paradise, as it could end up being too much for him. During the real ending, Travis realizes that his life has become too much to handle (at least in tying up the loose ends Henry dropped on him), and laments that he can't find that exit to Paradise.
  • Calling Your Attacks Travis, Shinobu and Destroyman do this. It's played with by Destroyman, whose calling of attacks makes his SFX Converter perform them.
  • Car Fu: The Rank 2 level starts with Travis on the Schpeltiger, which he can use to mow down a bunch of mooks.
  • Carnival of Killers: The premise of the UAA rankings. The only way to move up is kill the other assassins.
  • Cat and Mouse Boss: Harvey Moiseiwitsch Volodarskii is vulnerable in the brief periods when he's not doing a magic attack (i.e. is only attacking with his beam katanas), so Travis has to go after him to hurt him. But when he is doing a magic attack, it's Travis who has to keep distance to avoid it.
  • Catch Phrase: Sylvia would very much like you to trust your Force, and head for the Garden of Madness. Whatever that means.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Travis get ambushed while using the restroom, caught literally with his pants down.
  • Chiaroscuro: To the point where you wonder if everyone has their own personal spotlight.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: During the fight with Bad Girl, getting close to her when she's crying if she has her hand on her bat results in her repeatedly beating your head with her bat until you're dead, no matter how much life you had before. A couple of other bosses have instant-kill attacks as well; Henry's is particularly impressive.
  • Cleanup Crew: Nice men show up to clean up the chunks of whatever is left of the assassin you just killed.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: All over the place. You can force Travis to say it by charging a high attack.
  • Code Name: Nearly everybody; in the original, Holly, Harvey, and Travis are the only ranked assassins without one, and even then Harvey's could be a stage name for all we're shown.
  • Compensating for Something: These games take "sword = penis" and roll with it, and then keep rolling and rolling and...
  • Console Cameo: Travis has a Nintendo 64 sitting on his shelf in the first game.
  • Contract on the Hitman: By signing the contract, you get pay and your next assassin's location. Also an example of But Thou Must!, as you don't have the option NOT to sign it. The game forces you to do so in order to continue playing. The contract will stay on screen until you sign it, and there's no other way to make it go away.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: Speed Buster's battle.
  • Critical Existence Failure
  • Cute Kitten: Playing with Travis' kitten Jeane doesn't actually do anything... but who could resist playing with such a cute little kitty? Also one of the part-time jobs.
  • Cutscene Boss: Helter Skelter is fought briefly in a cutscene at the beginning of the game. You get to see more of it if you watch the game trailer on Travis' TV.
  • Damage-Proof Vehicle: You can crash Travis motorcycle all you want, but it will always stay in perfect condition. At least until the endgame.
  • Dark Action Girl: Nearly every female character, Speed Buster being an elderly example.
  • David vs. Goliath: Usually, you're fighting someone with far more experience and better weapons than you, on their own turf, on their own terms. Especially true with Letz Shake or it would have been if you actually got to fight him, and Speed Buster. Inverted rather unsettlingly with the Final Boss, where Travis faces off with a completely unarmored and unarmed opponent.
  • Deconstruction: The game plays out as a mockery of the Excuse Plot and how messed up (an assassin) and simple ("I just wanna be #1") someone would have to be to go through with the kind of violence found in video games. It gets to the point where Travis fights his brother Henry while Henry openly mocks how Travis doesn't even know why they're fighting.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Everything about the game, right down to the name "Travis Touchdown," is meant to evoke different emotions from Japanese and American gamers. It is supposed to be a linear, pseudo-sandbox game in part because of how differently Japanese and American gamers react to the concept. As for the name "Travis Touchdown," Suda 51 has explicitly said the name was chosen because it sounds like an over-the-top action hero to Japanese audiences but positively goofy to American ones.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: Travis' shirts.
  • Disappearing Box: Harvey's instant kill move, which succeeds if you fail the QTE.
  • Distant Finale: The jazz album The Outer Rim features drama segments starring Travis and Sylvia. Turns out they're immortal. And on the moon.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • If the Beam Katana runs out of power, then in order to recharge it, Travis has to furiously shake the handle. And he does this while holding it directly in front of him and gyrating his crotch, grunting if you have to do it long enough. It, of course, requires shaking the Wiimote in a similar fashion. Destroyman also fires giants lasers out of his crotch.
    • Speed Buster's weapon, the Buster Launcher, has a barrel extending from its shopping cart base that's maybe fifty feet long—a barrel she shoots particle beams from. As in, a giant phallic objected aimed at the player. Doubles as a stealth pun, as in the Design Materials you can see art of the various phases of her weapon's transformation, from an Egg Mart shopping cart, to the shape of a baby chick's head, to a completed form resembling a mechanical rooster's head with the barrel extending from the beak.
  • Downer Ending: The first, obviously false ending: if Travis Touchdown doesn't get all the beam katana upgrades, he will end the game with Ermen Palmer (a Captain Ersatz to Emir Parkreiner aka Garcian Smith) ready to murder him in his own apartment while he's on the toilet, which immediately cuts to the closing credits.
  • The Driver: Bishop Shidux.
  • Drunken Master: Randall Lovikov is the town lush. He's also implied to be way beyond Travis in ability, and his advice to "keep practicing" might as well be continued with "and you'll be almost as cool as me one day."
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Travis gets strung along by Sylvia and tricked a lot.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: The UAA being a scam and Travis fighting for the purpose of getting revenge on Jeane.
  • Enormous Engine: Travis's scooter, the Schpeltiger, which is painted to look like an X-Wing fighter.
  • Environmental Symbolism: Throughout the game, but most notably in the Final Boss fight with Jeane, where both you and your opponent are motivated by revenge and Travis' unusually eloquent last words before the fight starts are "Vengeance begets vengeance." Appropriately, you and your enemy are in a ring made from an energy-dragon-sword-thing that looks like a representation of the Ouroborus and shrinks as the fight progresses.
  • Everyone Is Related: Played for laughs most of the time.
  • Evil Albino: Helter Skelter.
  • Expository Gameplay Limitation: Whenever Sylvia calls Travis on the phone, the game restricts his movement to just walking.
  • Expy: Ermin Palmer, the man who attacks Travis at the end of the game, is based off of Emir Parkreiner... aka Garcian Smith. They also share a basic MO of attacking assassins in apartments while their guards are down.
    • Helter Skelter is an expy of Dante from Devil May Cry, though with some hints of Sephiroth thrown in - an idea which they ran with for the sequel, where his brother Skelter Helter is a more obvious expy of Cloud.
    • Speed Buster is a pretty sadistic Marisa expy. Complete with Nuclear Master Spark.
  • The Faceless: The taller of Sylvia's cleaners never has his face shown on-camera. Even happens when she tosses him Speed Buster's severed head and he grabs it and holds it in front of his face for way longer than necessary.
  • Fake Weakness: Bad Girl: hit her when she's faking it and it's an instant KO for you.
  • Fanservice: The 360/PS3 versions have a mode that ups the sexy for the already provocative female outfits (see through shirts, cheerleader outfits, bikinis etc)
  • Fast-Forward Gag: One late game conversation is fast forwarded; slowed down it reveals father-daughter incest. The game hints ("It's impossible, it'll only jack up the age rating of this game even further") that the conversation was fast-forwarded to avoid a higher rating, but this isn't actually the case: Suda 51 states that it was actually sped up due to Rule of Funny...that, and the dialogue is a fairly lengthy Infodump. Travis' shocked reactions are priceless. (Of course, whether the ESRB ever listened to a slowed-down version, and how they would have reacted to it if they didn't, is a mystery for the ages.)
  • Faux Affably Evil: Destroyman, Bad Girl
  • Fixed Floor Fighting: There's no way you can move out of the boss arenas or the enemy rushes.
  • Finishing Move: Travis rakes his beam saber across the chest of an enemy after suplexing them.
  • Floral Theme Naming: Aside from the Blood Berry, all of Travis's beam katanas are named for flowers; the Tsubaki Mk. I, II, and III in the first game, and the Camellia, Peony, and Rose Nasty in Desperate Struggle.
  • Flunky Boss: Bad Girl. At one point of the battle, she brings up several tied men to the battlefield to bat them at Travis.
  • Flushing Edge Interactivity: Subverted. Every save point is some kind of toilet, and your file data is on toilet paper.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Going through the game a second time around reveals hints about Jeane, and Travis becoming an assassin in order to kill her, such as the "promise" Travis mentions after killing Death Metal, the remarks about Travis' parents just before he fights Harvey and the song Dr. Peace sings, "The Virgin Child Makes Her Wish Without Feeling Anything", echoes Jeane's backstory.
    • Sylvia on the entry fee to the UAA. Turns out that she is ripping Travis off with his money.
  • Fragile Speedster: Jeane can dodge most of your attacks, but can take only a few of them.
  • Freudian Threat: Sylvia says to Travis: "If I ever hear you mumble another woman's name in your sleep, you'll wake up the next morning with your joystick missing."
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Destroyman and Speed Buster have this, and they're both an instant game over.
  • Funny Background Event: In the bedroom of Travis's apartment, a cat toy is hanging from the ceiling fan. Occasionally, Travis's cat Jeane can be seen swinging around in a circle, hanging from the cat toy.

    G-L 
  • Gainax Ending: It's played for laughs, but that doesn't make it any less gainaxy. Travis starts learning of his family history and real reasons for fighting right about when the fourth wall disappears for good. He goes home and gets attacked by somebody who looks suspiciously like Garcian Smith while on the toilet, when Henry shows up, kills Not-Garcian and fights Travis for no real reason. After the boss battle, they run down the street talking about how they can't escape from the game, before clashing blades again. Meanwhile, Sylvia and her daughter, who is the third character in the game named Jeane, are admiring a painting of said event. Most of the plot is still vague at this point, and Sylvia taunts the player about how there won't be a sequel to clear it up, before the words "TO BE CONTINUED" appear a few screens later.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: If you load a saved game right before the True Final Boss, the Dark Step ability can end up disabled. On Mild this is only a minor inconvenience, but on Bitter...
  • Gang of Hats: Played straight by the early bosses and their mooks.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Travis acknowledges he's in a video game at one point or another, but Henry flat-out calls him on it:
    Henry: Lemme ask ya... how do you plan to put an end to all of this?
    Travis: Wait a sec... you want me to tie up all these loose ends? I don't think so!
    Henry: You're the protagonist! I'm just the cool, handsome foil, who happens to be your twin brother. Hate to say it, but it's your job!
    Travis: Answer me!
    Jeane: It's impossible.
    Travis: Impossible? What do you mean?!
    Jeane: It's too terrible. It alone would jack up the age rating of this game even further.
    Travis: So what? Who cares?!
    Jeane: What if the game gets delayed? You wouldn't want this to become No More Heroes Forever, do you?
    Travis: Alright, I'll fast forward this so you can tell me.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Holly Summers is hard to catch not only because she moves fast, but also because there are many buried traps and mines in the battlefield (a coast).
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The final boss is Jeane, a character only mentioned in the game manual and once in passing, who appears and reels off a huge amount of tragic backstory and villainous exposition before her fight. The pre-fight scene assigns her as the major antagonist of the game, and it all happens moments before the final sequence of the game.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Jeane
  • Glass Cannon: Oddly for a boss, Jeane. Her health is relatively low, but she dodges most of your attacks, will counter your grabs, moves really fast and has a large number of unblockable attacks and damaging abilities. The cutscenes actually imply that she isn't even glass, as you'd never win without help. An even straighter example is Speed Buster, who has a Wave Motion Gun, but dies as soon as you make it to her. Arguably a Justified Trope with her: being that her primary weapon is a laser cannon, she's probably not very well versed in close combat. Even if she was, she's shown to be an older, out of shape assassin, so she'd probably not put up much of a fight up close.
    • An earlier example is Shinobu, who makes up for her extreme fragility with ridiculous power and speed. Even her taunt can do significant damage if Travis is careless, and several of her later attacks leave him one hit from death. Doubles as a Wake-Up Call Boss, since the only way to beat her is to out-maneuver her.
  • Graceful Loser: Every battle with a ranked assassin is a fight to the death, but some of the assassins you beat will calmly admit they were beaten, possibly even congratulate you, and wait for the killing blow with their heads held high. The clearest examples are numbers 10, 6, 3 and Jeane.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Travis. Also Shinobu, the rank 8 boss' nickname.
  • Greater Scope Villain: If you slow down the exposition delivered by Jeane, you'll learn that her actions were out of revenge for Travis's father being an Abusive Parent to her.
  • Groin Attack: Dark Star is punched through the groin by Jeane.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Travis.
  • Hide Your Kids: This game is NOT meant for children under 17.
  • Hidden Depths: Nice singing voice, Dr. Peace.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Not just blood — when you kill a minor enemy, tons of cash also showers out of them.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Harvey Volodarskii, who gets blinded by Travis and killed by the same giant-circular-saw illusion he tried to kill Travis with before the fight began.
    • Holly Summers' instant death attack is evaded by deliberately falling into one of the trap holes she dug to trap you.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Travis learns new moves by renting wrestling videos, and "remembers" other moves by finding wrestling masks lying about with notes reminding him of them stuffed into the masks' mouths.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Sweet, Mild, and Bitter.
  • Idiot Ball: Travis has it during the leadup to the seventh battle.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Death Metal has a giant katana that transforms from something resembling a briefcase, Destroyman has a laser codpiece, Holly wields a shovel and fires rockets out of her prosthetic leg, Letz Shake has a giant earthquake-maker, complete with a Brain in a Jar, Speed Buster has a shopping cart/Wave Motion Gun, Bad Girl has a baseball bat and gimps (she attacks by hitting gimps hard enough to send them flying at Travis which he can hit back or land and serve as regular mooks), and Dark Star pulls a laser whip shaped like a dragon's tail out of his helmet.
  • Indecisive Deconstruction: Not because the game's non-committal, but because even the serious themes are played for laughs a lot of the time.
  • Invulnerable Attack: Shinobu's special move. Get hit, and you'll be knocked down to three hit points.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Tsubaki Mk. III is the infinity sword, with a price comparable to the entry fees for Ranking Matches, it doesn't just increase your attacking power, it also has increased range with its finishing moves, allowing you to kill several enemies at once, and extends the charge attack to a slightly more useful three hit combo. The Tsubaki Mk III's Energy Saver is what makes it an Infinity+1 Sword, costing a whopping $999,999, it gives the Tsubaki Mk III infinite energy. You never need to recharge it again. In effect, this means you can spam the charged attacks as much as you want. The sole downside is that it's not quite as powerful as the Mk. II .
  • Inherently Funny Words: Killing enemies occasionally causes them to shout "My spleen!" as they die. See also some of the luchadore mask cards. Clearly someone recognized the comedy in a name like "La Guerra, Jr." and ran with it, because "Jr." recurs several times in the card collection and keeps getting funnier. It's Truth in Television though, as many Luchadore names are passed on this way. 'Hijo de ____', '_______ Jr.' are very common things to see in a Luchadore name.
  • Interface Screw: Literally, one of the moves of the 4th rank assassin, complete with screwed-up controls.
  • Katanas Are Just Better:
    • Beam katanas, no less. They're really just called that, since they're more your regular lightsaber, with only the Infinity+1 Sword, the Tsubaki Mk III, even vaguely resembling an actual katana. Death Metal's sword resembles a giant straight razor more than anything else, but is still called a beam katana. Henry is a bit of an inversion however, as his style, or at least the stances, seem to be far more based on Western styles of swordsmanship, and his weapon, the Cross Sabre looks much more like a Claymore. It's worth noting that he's faster and stronger than Travis, and his weapon is parallel to if not greater than yours.
    • Shinobu stands out by using real genuine katana. No crazy electric beams here. She's consistently considered one of the harder bosses to fight as well.
  • Kill Steal: Henry in the 5th battle.
  • Kitsch Collection: Travis' collection of luchadore masks that you amass through the game. There is also his massive collection of Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly merchandise.
    • On a side note, if you have save data from this game and you start the second one, the masks you have will be in Travis' room.
  • Klingon Promotion: Exactly how the UAA works.
  • Laser Blade: All over the place.
  • Last Lousy Point: Getting Gold Medals on the Pizza Butt missions, for a mix of unreasonable par times, guns, and enemy beam katanas. note 
  • Leitmotif: Travis and Henry. All of the other assassins also have their own unique themes.
  • Level in Boss Clothing: Speed Buster, who attacks with a large Wave Motion Gun that deals a lot of damage, and from the long distance is impossible to defeat, so the only thing Travis can do is to approach her step by step until he manages to disable the weapon and then reach her to kill her instantly.
  • Limit Break: Amusingly preceded by Travis loudly yelling the names of his favorite anime characters' attacks.
    Travis: Blueberry Cheese BROWNIE!
  • Lovely Assistant: Features Harvey Moiseiwitsch Volodarskii, an assassin magician. His two silent, lovely "asseestahnts!" are under his loyal command, until Travis blinds him and they provide the wheel saw for his execution.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The first game has plenty of decapitations, severed limbs, and people getting cut in half both ways.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Subverted at first, when Dark Star uses this line on Travis, but is quickly shown to be lying through his teeth. But then played straight when Travis' ex-girlfriend Jeane turns out to be his half sister... and rival Henry his twin brother. For the latter, Travis asks him why the hell he waited until the end of the game to reveal that. Although Henry tried to tell him that after killstealing Letz Shake, and Travis cut him off.

    M-R 
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Holly Summers' fake leg creates a miniature version of this.
    • It's also the only attack Helter Skelter shows in the game's teaser trailer/prologue.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Travis can survive things that would otherwise be fatal, especially in cutscenes. These particularly daring feats include being tossed around with lasers, being blown up, beaten savagely, being blown up, his sister thrusting her hand into his rib cage, and being blown up. This is arguably the only thing Travis has on his opponents. Several characters use beam katanas, which often are better looking and/or stronger than Travis'. In fact, after some of the more brutal beatings, some of his opponents automatically assume he's already dead. And then this is subverted with Bad Girl beating Travis to death with a baseball bat if you fall for her trap.
    • Destroyman somehow survived being cut in half.
  • Magical Realism: It's a world that mostly seems grounded in reality for your average citizen, yet also one where you can order lightsabers off of eBay if you want glory. Most bosses have something about them that definitely fits into this, from Holly's prosthetic leg firing missiles to Destroyman's superhero lasers.
  • Man on Fire: One of the mooks during the Rank 8 level has the ability to set Travis on fire. If this happens, Travis runs around, slowly burning to death until he can get his hands on an extinguisher.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Sylvia rips Travis for money by pretending that there's an entry fee to pay.
  • Masked Luchador: This is Suda. None make an actual appearance, though Travis learns new wrestling moves by reading notes left on Luchador masks and watching lucha libre videos. And few masks might look a bit familiar to you.
  • The Mentor: Thunder Ryu, to a tee. Except for the implications about sex with Travis. But the fact that he still instructs Travis as a blue-tinted ghost after his death really seals the deal.
  • Meteor Move: Henry has a spectacular one. Check out that page for a synopsis.
  • Mind Screw: Relatively straightforward compared to, say, killer7, but it's still pretty bizarre, it just plays it for comedy more often than befuddlement. Definitely has a Gainax Ending, though, even if it's something of a parody.
  • Mini Dress Of Power: Bad Girl.
  • Morality Pet: Jeane (the kitten) is a literal version of this.
  • Multiple Endings: An anticlimactic one and a real one. The game doesn't even pretend like the first one is the real ending either, presenting the "Real Ending" option to you even if you haven't unlocked it yet (by buying all of the beam katanas, for some reason).
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Most of the soundtrack, really, but special mention goes to Hustlin' 'n' Tusslin'.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Speed Buster with her Wave Motion Gun in a shopping cart.
  • New Game+
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. Toilets are save points, and they are everywhere.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dr. Peace bears a great resemblance to actor Charles Bronson, and is a doctor, a policeman, and an assassin, three roles Bronson was famous for playing.
    • Travis Touchdown's design is heavily based off of Johnny Knoxville... with a lot more otaku thrown in. His design is also reminiscent of Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in his first appearances in Fight Club.
    • Then there's Sylvia Christel, which is either a Shout-Out to softcore actress Sylvia Kristel or a hell of a coincidence.
  • Oh Crap!: On the path to Holly Summers, nearly every barricade Travis destroys has a landmine behind it, to which Travis always winds up stepping on it and gets knocked back from the explosion. The final barricade has a landmine Travis nearly steps on, but he spots it and moves his foot ahead of it. He winds up stepping on a hidden land mine and realizes he is going to get blown up yet again. If you fall onto one of the many sand pits Holly digs and don't get out in time, it will explode and kill Travis.
  • One-Hit Kill: Almost every boss after Shinobu has one in the first game, though they are relatively easy to dodge or escape for the most part. Shinobu herself has a very near OHK that functionally serves the same purpose.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with three characters named Jeane.
  • Overly Long Fighting Animation: Subverted: Letz Shake's "Disaster Blaster" Earthquake Generator has this massively long cutscene where it charges up and prepares to flatten the battlefield, but then Henry shows up out of nowhere and proceeds to cut the machine (and Letz Shake) to pieces.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: Shinobu on Bitter mode, while already a hard boss in Sweet and Mild, becomes insane dodging every other attack including your killing blows and using her own even if you win the bladelock and you can only hit her for two or three hits at most in each opening. Charging the katana in low stance, normally not very useful even with the infinite power upgrade that removes its excessive cost, will make short work of her.
  • Pet The Kitten: Travis Touchdown: assassin, otaku, kitty owner.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Averted; several of the assassins make reference to "outside work". Travis himself seems like an example, although he takes assassination missions from K Entertainment. Additionally, his ranked fights could be considered an assassination (he is, after all, being paid to kill a certain person).
  • Playing Tennis with the Boss: When Bad Girl bats projectiles at you, you can deflect them back, although it's optional. Travis also tries this before the fight with Dr. Peace, but there is more to his gun than his gaudy tastes in coloration.
    • Also can be done in both Dr. Peace's battle (Slashing back his explosive quick draw) and Destroyman (Knocking back Destroy Cannon). Both are of course optional.
  • Post Modernism: Both games are Suda ridiculing the player. See Travis Touchdown, the loser otaku who spends all his money on anime and fights rather than moving out of a hotel? This Loser Is You. The empty sandbox plays into that, as the only locations you can actually visit are a few nerdy stores and Travis' various jobs.
  • Premiseville: Santa Destroy.
  • Psycho for Hire: Most of the UAA members, most notably Destroyman, Letz Shake and Bad Girl. Jeane qualifies too.
  • Rank Inflation
  • Rated M for Manly: When your game is about an average guy buying a katana lightsaber from the internet to become a top assassin, not to mention the excessive blood, fanservice, and adult themes, you kind of have to expect this.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Given to Travis by Sylvia via cellphone right before the Dark Star fight.
  • Reference Overdosed: See the shout outs below.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Nearly every aspect of the game reeks of this trope.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Speed City is a modern metropolis that's abandoned and dust-choked for no adequately explained reason.
  • Rule of Cool: Beam katanas are impressive, but more impressive is what can block them—Jeane can even block it with a kick. Holly can block it with a shovel, too.
  • Rule of Fun: Where to begin?
  • Rule of Funny

    S-Z 
  • Save Point: You save in the bathroom. And there's always a bathroom right by the boss area. Even in the middle of the woods.
  • Schmuck Bait: Bad Girl when she throws a fit.
    • It depends. Sometimes it's a trap, sometimes it's actually happening (and leaving herself open). If she has her hand on the bat, then it's a trap; if not, you can attack without repercussions.
  • Second Person Attack: A gruesome example. When Travis decapitates Speed Buster, we see her head fly to the ground from her POV.
    • A more downplayed example is with Harvey, where the camera shows his point of view as Travis throws his beam katana at him, it cuts a red line across his vision, and then that line turns black and expands over the entire screen. The next several seconds are entirely black as Harvey complains that he's been blinded.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Jeane. The woman, not the girl or the cat.
  • Sequel Snark: The very last line is Sylvia lampshading the bizarre ending of the game with "Too bad there won't be a sequel!" This, of course, turns out to be a lie.
  • Serious Business: All the part-time jobs.
  • Sex Is Violence: All over the place.
  • Sexy Walk: Bad Girl.
  • Shirtless Scene: From the beginning, you have the option of removing Travis's shirt.
  • Shoot the Dog: Travis definitely didn't mean it this way, but most of the assassins are probably better off dead.
  • Shout-Out: So many to Star Wars. Reaches its peak at the 1st Rank battle—after racing some Imperial troopers riding Tie-Fighter motorbikes on your own X-Wing styled scooter, you fight a Darth Vader Expy who tries to pull a Luke, I Am Your Father on you. And the song played during the normal ending credits is a Suspiciously Similar Song of the Star Wars theme. And, of course, Travis' weapon is essentially a lightsaber.
    • There is a Nintendo 64-like console in Travis's room.
    • Dr. Peace has gold revolvers.
    • Letz Shake's visor appears to be a Virtual Boy, and the image on it appears to be the logo for Public Image Ltd.
    • The plot sounds suspiciously like Branded to Kill.
    • In the Final Battle, you fight Jeane, a character who makes extensive use of duck-dodging to counter your attacks - a hallmark of the character homonym Gene from God Hand.
    • Next to the clothing shop, Area 51, there's a shop called Clover.
    • There are lots of references to previous Grasshopper works, too. The fridge in the Rank 2 boss fight in the first game says "Chiller7," a reference to killer7.
    • The 'To Be Continued' at the end is in the style of the Back to the Future title.
    • The offical website for the sequel notes that Sylvia wears her Sunglasses at Night.
    • One of Henry's attacks involves shooting energy balls at you, a reference to one of the characters from Devil May Cry.
    • The title "No More Heroes" is a reference to the song of the same name by The Stranglers.
    "No, no, that's a bit too obvious."
    • You can actually see a poster referencing the song slapped on an otherwise nondescript wall in Santa Destroy.
    • In a further punk reference, the sword Three Girl Rhumba is named after a song by Wire (the one Elastica basically hijacked with "Connection").
    • The background music in Thunder Ryu's Gym is a heavy metal Suspiciously Similar Song of "Eye Of The Tiger".
    • Travis' figurines, among them Sailor Moon, Reisen, and The Lady Fighter.
    • In the original trailer for the first game, Sylvia instructs Travis to "aim for the top!"
    • A parody of the Sex Pistols' album, Never Mind The Bollocks..., is displayed across the street from the Beef Head video store.
      • Another band parody, this time of Black Sabbath, is displayed on a t-shirt you can buy once you become 4th in rank.
      • Travis' many shirts are ripe with references, referencing everything from previous Grasshopper works (there are several Flower, Sun and Rain and The Silver Case designs) to existing magazines and publications to The Rocky Horror Picture Show: one shirt has a very familiar pair of red, open-mouthed lips.
    • Travis' Strawberry On The Shortcake attack has his hair turn gold and gains an increase in attack and speed.
    • Sylvia Christel is named after actress Sylvia Kristel, mostly known for the role of Emmanuelle in the eponymous french softcore films.
    • There is one to The Warriors. In Dr. Peace's stage, all the mooks are dressed in baseball gear. Though none of them are wearing face paint like the Furies. Also they have the word Warrior written on the front of their jerseys.
  • Show Within a Show: The Magical Girl Super Robot anime Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly, and the shmup minigame that is based on it.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Travis is on the receiving end of this just before his fight with Bad Girl:
    Travis: You're no assassin. You're just a perverted killing maniac.
    Bad Girl: In essence, they're the same. Don't go on thinking you're better than me. You think you're hot shit! Who the fuck do you think you are?!
  • Sidequest
  • Silliness Switch: Purchasing every article of clothing in Area 51 unlocks an amazingly gaudy pink ensemble themed after Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly.
  • Sinister Silhouettes: Entering a ranking area shows the boss's silhouette.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Speed Buster is anything but small or a girl, but the gun is very big, so it kind of balances out.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Travis' goal is essentially to run through this and put himself on top.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: Played straight, each new sword basically replaces the last.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • A surprisingly touching, well-sung ballad precedes the 9th rank fight and plays over the end credits in the normal ending (though "normal" fight music plays over the actual 9th fight). There is also an instrumental version of the song that plays in Gold Town, the bar where Lovikov is. (It should be noted that the lyrics to this song, 'the virgin child makes her wish without feeling anything', are actually very dark, but that this trope still occurs due to the upbeat melody of the song).
    • Heavenly Star, the incredibly sweet Genki Rockets song that plays in shops and is available in music video form (complete with birds, sparkles, and rainbows) in the Japanese and European versions of the game, strikes a stark contrast with the game's content and overall theme.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To killer7. k7 deals with political issues, NMH deals with social ones. k7 focuses on a group of professional assassins, NMH focuses on a singular youth who stumbled into the business. In k7 you can only walk on very specific paths, while in NMH you can wander around the entire city. The list goes on...
  • Sprint Meter: One of the Lovikov Ball upgrades is the ability to run outside of battle, which uses a Sprint Meter.
  • Stationary Boss: Dr. Peace, in a rare case of a human boss. He is always placed on the center of the baseball stadium, shooting Travis from that position with his Golden Gun.
  • Stealth Pun: In wrestling, to win a round is to perform a hold, lock, or pin on a downed opponent. In the world of assassination, when Travis finishes off a wrestling move, the beam katana falls and skewers, or pins a downed enemy.
  • Sucking-In Lines
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Every so often after landing a deathblow, Travis will randomly enter a "Dark Side Mode" where he can do some crazy stuff.
  • Surprise Incest: See Brother-Sister Incest, also the cause of the Take That quote below.
  • Take That: "What if the game gets delayed? You wouldn't want this to become No More Heroes Forever, do you?" The fact that the name is also a nice pun just makes it gravy, considering what could have been the canonical ending.
  • Technology Porn: Before the boss fight with Dr. Shake.
  • This Loser Is You: Travis is a 27 year old anime obsessed, professional wrestling watching, video game playing loser who dreams of adventure and getting laid. Even if you become the world's deadliest assassin, you are still a stain of a human being. This might qualify as a deconstruction. What kind of person buys a lightsaber off of ebay and becomes the world's greatest assassin? An otaku, that's who. Of course, if you see it that way.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Travis does this in order to blind Harvey.
    • He also tosses it into the air when doing a wrestling move. Some times he just catches it, majority of the time it falls perfectly into the mook's vitals.
  • Title Drop:
    • It's both the name of the motel Travis lives in and displayed in one way or another in every save bathroom.
    • Jeanne says it during their fourth wall demolition.
  • To Be a Master: Mostly deconstructed.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Anarchy In The Galaxy, the ability you get for hitting 777 on the slot machine. It instantly kills every non-boss enemy in the room (but does zero damage to bosses), but aside from being extremely rare (you'll usually see no more than one a playthrough), you get a 10,000 dollar bonus per use for holding onto it when you kill the boss (which gets even higher on New Game+), making it even harder to want to use it.
  • True Final Boss: Henry, fightable after killing Jeane and buying every beam katana.
  • "Uh-Oh" Eyes: Jeane, who has Red Eyes.
  • Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000: Lampshaded interestingly. The game is in many ways a violent slugfest, but the game (and Suda 51) has no problem in lampshading this repeatedly and mocking you for your violent, mindless tastes (also see the Analysis tab).
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Travis' dream sequence on the way to the fourth-ranked battle, Pure White Giant Glastonbury, which is done in the style of a Galaga-type shooter.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: On your way to the Rank 5 fight, a trail of blood pools leads you to a dead body (which also leads you to a path to the same fight) and everybody just goes on with their business. Possibly justified, considering what kind of environment Santa Destroy is.
  • Updated Re-release: No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise for the Xbox 360 and PS3 features improved HD graphics and a 'Very Sweet' mode which features the female characters in skimpy outfits (who weren't already).
  • Useless Spleen: Several types of enemies yell "MY SPLEEN!" upon getting killed. Considering that they usually get chopped in half, you would think that would be the least of their concerns.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Shinobu. At first, her attacks aren't too powerful; but when her HP is approaching zero, she starts using a prolonged version of her slash attack, which takes away a large part of Travis' own HP. This attack is the reason why players who relentlessly attacked the first two bosses end up losing to her.
  • Warmup Boss: Death Metal. Being the first boss in the game, his battle serves as a practice for subsequent boss encounters, and his attacks aren't too powerful.
  • Wave Motion Gun: #3 ranked Speed Buster's weapon, which is the end result of a transformation of a shopping cart.
  • Wham Episode: A few, but the most notable is the cut scene after you pay the money for the Rank 1 fight, where Travis learns that the UAA is not real, just a front for Sylvia to con suckers out of their money.
  • Where It All Began: The Final Battle with Henry takes place where the game started: the parking lot of the NO MORE HEROES Motel.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?:
    • In the ending, a would-be assassin foregoes the whole "ranking match" setup and simply attacks Travis while he's on the toilet.
    • In the Letz Shake cutscene, Travis starts charging Shake towards the end of his weapon's start-up sequence, while Shake helpfully gives a "T-Minus X seconds!" countdown. He doesn't quite make it before it fires, but Henry just comes out of nowhere and cuts the whole thing in half.
  • Vice City: Santa Destroy
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Subverted; you are given an overworld to explore, but you can't actually interact with much of anything beyond searching for collectibles in the alleys...
  • Virtual Paper Doll: The clothing.
  • The Voice: The long-suffering Diane, from Beef Head Videos.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: The real reason Travis couldn't kill Shinobu or Holly, and why Holly had to kill herself. He gets over it, demonstrated when he decapitates Speed Buster, then impales Bad Girl and later cuts Jeane to pieces.
  • World of Badass: A world in which, it seems, anyone can easily become an assassin if they so desire.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Using wrestling moves is quite effective during most of the boss fights, taking off a good chunk of the victim's health. The fact that they don't work on Jeane, the normal final boss makes her as hard as Henry, the Perfect Run Final Boss. This is justified though; Travis apparently has dabbled in wrestling in Calgary and at the beginning of the game is still very friendly with his old teacher, the legendery former pro Thunder Ryu.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: In this system, when an assassin kills a higher ranking assassin, he gains the slain assassin's rank. Unfortunately Travis doesn't realize the downside of that - he'll be a target for every other up-and-coming assassin - until Sylvia tells him after he kills the tenth-ranked. This convinces him that the only way out is simply to get rid of them all.
  • You Killed My Father: Shinobu to Travis (though she is mistaken), and Travis to Jeane (this one is true).


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Videogame/NoMoreHeroes