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Time to beat the Death Drive.

Travis Touchdown: I've been away a long time. There's a whole new generation of gamers out there! Let me at least introduce myself—
Bad Man: TRAVIS TOUCHDOWN! You killed my daughter! Don't pretend you've forgotten!
Travis: Now quit making this shit confusing! They need to know about the most hardcore assassin in video games!
Bad Man: You BASTARD!!! Quit trying to butter up the gamers! Your fight is here in the real world! SON OF A BITCH!!!
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Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes is the third entry of the No More Heroes series, developed by Grasshopper Manufacture as usual and released on the Nintendo Switch on January 18, 2019, with ports for Playstation 4 and PC via Steam coming at a later date. Notably, it is being directed by Suda51, whose last directed game was the original No More Heroes, and includes collaborations with various indie developers in the form of licensed in-game T-shirts. Despite taking place and continuing the story after the first two games, Travis Strikes Again is not No More Heroes 3, and is instead a smaller-scale game that tells a somewhat different story.

Seven years after the events of Desperate Struggle, a ghost from the past returns to hunt down retired assassin Travis Touchdown: Bad Man, the bat-toting, beer-chugging father of Bad Girl, who's out for a personal vendetta against Travis for murdering his daughter. Tracking down Travis to an RV in the middle of nowhere, Texas, he attempts to kill him, but Travis gets the one-up on him and the two clash. In the midst of the fight, a mysterious "phantom" game console known as the "Death Drive Mk. II" in Travis' possession activates, transporting the two of them within. According to an urban legend, collecting (and beating) the console's six games, stored in eye-shaped cartridges called "death balls," will grant the owner a wish, enticing Bad Man to attempt to complete Travis' collection with him (and play through the games in the virtual world of the console) to use that wish to bring Bad Girl back to life.

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The game is divided between the games themselves, which play out as action gameplay with optional co-op, and adventure game Visual Novel type chapters which show how Travis and Bad Man acquire the death balls in the real world.


This game contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: You can complete the game without reading K's faxes or any of the bonus ones he sends if you find Hidden Characters in the levels, but you won't have the full context for what happens in the ending or a key piece of information about what you're really killing for most of the last stage.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The game ends with both Travis rediscovering his love for adventure (and, of course, bloodshed), and accidentally reigniting his enmity with Bad Man.
    Bad Man: Did you just call Charlotte a "fuckin' mutt"? You just signed your death warrant. I'm gonna kill you!
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  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Per series tradition, Travis will be able to collect a variety of different t-shirts, with many of them this time based on real-life indie games.
  • Arc Number: Seven. It's the number on Badman's default t-shirt from his baseball days, seven years have passed since the events of the last game, there are seven Death Ball levels in all, Garcia Hotspur was killed after being shot by seven holy bullets, and Dan Smith from Killer7 makes a cameo in the "Day 7 Patch" intro cinematic.
  • Art Shift: Every Death Drive game opening scene has a different art style, including PlayStation 1-style CG, vector-esque and live-action video segments, with some elements of these carrying over to the games themselves. Other examples include monochrome green for the visual novel, and pixel art for the scene on Mars.
  • Babies Ever After: Travis off-hand mentions having a child and a wife that he had left behind so they wouldn't get continually threatened by the assassins coming for him. This is more fully addressed in the second DLC. Turns out he had two kids with Sylvia, one being his daughter Jeane, the girl who appeared in The Stinger of the first game, and the other being his son Hunter.
  • Back from the Dead: Bad Man plans to use the Death Drive Mk. II's fabled wish-granting powers to resurrect his daughter. It actually works...sort of. Due to the fact that one of the Balls is basically a dud, she comes back in the form of Bad Dog, a puppy with the attitude of an infantile Bad Girl. It's played straight in the second DLC—though she retains her regressed personality as Bad Dog—with Travis Lampshading the whole thing.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While the game ends with Travis' decision to unretire and take on the next wave of assassins, he's no less remorseful about killing Dr. Juvenile, who he finally realizes has been forced to bury her frustration and grief over very little going her way, and being taken advantage of. It especially gets to Travis as due to him getting to live out the video games she's designed, he experiences firsthand how much she poured all of her thoughts and emotions into every title, and praised her as a genius.
  • Boring, but Practical: The 00 Skill Chip gives either character access to a dash move. It doesn't do any damage or expand the offensive toolkit, but its low cool down makes for a handy evasive maneuver and a way to make timed puzzles much easier.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • In the reveal trailer, Travis personally introduces himself to the audience as the result of his long absence. Bad Man also literally breaks the fourth wall, also known as one of Travis' lenses.
    • The demos shown at various gaming events all have the characters talking about the event the game is being shown at.
  • Broken Pedestal: Played With. From hearing about the plights of Dr. Juvenile, both self-inflicted and out of her control, Travis' rosy view of how "fun" making video games must be is quashed. That said, Travis gains a newfound respect for developers in the process.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Meta-example — Travis Strikes Again marks Suda51's return to the director's chair since No More Heroes, a time gap of more than ten years.note 
    • Bad Girl returns in the second DLC, "Bubblegum Fatale".
  • Came Back Wrong: The attempt to bring back Bad Girl in the main game goes this way, thanks to one of the Death Balls coming from an incomplete game. The second DLC addresses this, with Travis going through a completed version of said game, leading Bad Girl to come back as her old self, albeit with the infantile personality from her first resurrection still intact.
  • The Cameo: Before returning as part of the first DLC, Shinobu appears outside Travis' trailer right before the credits, informing him that the next generation of assassins are waiting for him to return.
  • Canon Welding: Various characters and plot points from numerous other Grasshopper games appear in this one, including The Silver Case and its sequels, Killer7, Let It Die, Killer Is Dead and others.
  • Character Customization: Travis, Badman, Shinobu and Bad Girl can be equipped with chips (some of which are exclusive to a certain character) that grant them different abilities in combat, although neither of them can have the same chip active simultaneously. All four of them can also be leveled up by defeating enemies, although the pool of EXP they do this from is shared.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: A second player can take control of Bad Man and join the first player (Travis) on their violent romp through the game.
  • Denser and Wackier: By no means is this game tamer than previous No More Heroes titles, but it's certainly less gory due to the enemies here being corrupted data bugs rather than flesh and blood humans. The bosses are even dispatched in less violent ways, only being subjected to a single wrestling move rather than the over-the-top finishers seen previously. It does however amp up more ludicrous humor.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Dr. Juvenile had dream visions of Shadows of the Damned, which is how she was able to make a sequel to it about two decades before it came out.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Dr. Juvenile's struggles with game development directly parallel Suda 51's, with certain game having very explicit parallels with his works. The Travis Strikes Back segments are filled with direct sendups to his visual novel games, while the Obvious Beta nature of the later games aligns with Suda's struggles with game development in recent years. This comes to a head in the Serious Moonlight level, which many critics theorize is a way for Suda to come to terms with the infamous level of Executive Meddling that Shadows of the Damned got.
  • Fictional Video Game: Travis and Bad Man fight their way through seven different video games:
    • Electric Thunder Tiger II, a cyberpunk-styled action game.
    • Life Is Destroy, a puzzle game taking place in a developing residential area.
    • Coffee & Doughnuts, a post-apocalyptic side-scroller.
    • Golden Dragon GP, a racing game with vector graphics.
    • Killer Marathon, a scrolling shooter, not unlike Asteroids. This game is unfinished and thus extremely short.
    • Serious Moonlight: Due to the game's troubled production and Dr. Juvenile not being able to develop the game as she initially intended, the name was changed to Damned: Dark Knight. It is a sequel to Shadows of the Damned starring Johnson as the protagonist.
    • Central Intelligence Agency, a secret final game. While it at first it appears that Travis and Badmanare inside another game world, it is eventually revealed he has been transported inside the actual CIA.
  • Final Boss: In the demo, Travis immediately assumes that Dr. Juvenile, who created the Death Drive MK II, will be the final boss of the game. Turns out he was right, though the exact context behind the fight is much more complicated. This is subverted with the existence of the second DLC, which is technically the conclusion of the story, as Silver Face becomes the final opponent Travis faces. Silver Face's rage over being relegated to DLC ends up turning him into the hardest boss in the game.
  • Foreshadowing: In the trailer hub, Badman sometimes drunkenly mutters about how getting "sucked" into a video game sounds like nonsense to him in spite of the fact that it seems to happen to him and Travis every time they use a Death Ball. It turns out that the console actually employs a form of Brain Uploading through the Death Gloves that shunts the minds of its players into the heads of digital avatars of themselves.
    • At the ramen stalls in every level, Travis and Badman will say "Itadakimasu" before eating. Note how the pronunciation of the word differs between the two of them- Travis says it like "ita-daki-masu", while Badman says "ita-daki-mahss", which is actually the correct way to say the word. This hints at his Japanese heritage.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Travis will say "Itadakimasu" and then "Gochisosama deshita" before and after eating at a ramen stand. Not exactly unheard-of behavior for an Occidental Otaku of his generation.
  • Hailfire Peaks: Killer Marathon, the globe trotting sports murder title, is essentially the game's version of this, as it sees you going from a shopping center, to a wild western setting, to space, to a coral reef, and finally returning to the big city. This is because the game is actually a composite of multiple pinball tables.
  • Healing Checkpoint: Toilets, this series's traditional save points, now also fully restore health.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: Badman was once a legitimate and promising professional baseball player until he was kicked out of the leagues for drunken misconduct during games. With few other skills apart from being able to slug things with a baseball bat, he became an assassin shortly after his forced retirement.
  • Like Father, Like Daughter: Bad Girl's father fights much like his daughter; with a baseball bat and plenty of beer on hand. He even re-anacts some of her animations.
  • Logo Joke: The Grasshoper Manufacture ident switches out the usual head on the logo for Travis'.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: Bad Man is a drunk-off-his-rocker assassin wearing a leather mask.
  • The Most Dangerous Video Game: K claims that even playing the Death Drive MK. II could give the player fatal brain damage and that perishing in the game world could have lethal consequences. He's actually lying in an attempt to dissuade Badman and Travis from playing further. Although this doesn't mean the console is harmless by any stretch of the imagination.
  • No Fourth Wall: In series tradition. As the fight with Bad Man and Travis starts, Travis notes that it's been a while since he's been in a game, and notes that Bad Man is probably confusing the audience. Bad Man gets angry at how little Travis is taking him seriously, and tells him to knock it off with the audience pandering.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo:
    • The Kamui Uehara who appears in this game is specifically the protagonist Uehara from Grasshopper's immediately previous release, the remake of The 25th Ward.
    • Mondo Zappa briefly appears after killing Count Dracula, giving a Death ball to Travis before telling him to leave.
    • Dan Smith shows up in the intro added in the Day 7 patch, two months between the release of Travis Strikes Again and the Killer 7 HD remaster.
  • Power-Up Food: In-game ramen stands provide Travis and Bad Man with a quick health fill-up. Unlike the toilet savepoints, they can only be interacted with once, but they do refill the energy meter and reset the cooldown for any skills as a tradeoff.
  • Product Placement: Travis's default shirt bears the Unreal Engine logo. Furthermore, there are UE logos hidden in the game that, when found, unlock more shirts featuring that logo.
  • Punny Name: A number of the Bugs are named after various pop culture icons such as the Backstreet Boys and Mark Zuckerberg among others.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Travis has changed in his red jacket for a purple one.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Much like the case of Skelter Helter and Jasper Batt Jr. in the previous game, there are people connected to the people that Travis has killed and their relatives are likely to be pissed about it — in this case, Bad Man.
    • invokedTravis lampshades that due to the Sequel Gap, not everyone in the audience would know who he is, what's going on, or how it came to this.
  • Retreaux: From what's been shown of the adventure game segments, they look as though they come out of an old Apple II computer game.
  • Role Reprisal: Robin Atkin Downes, Kimberly Brooks and Kathryn Fiore return as Travis, Shinobu and Bad Girl. Steve Blum and Greg Ellis as Garcia Hotspur and Johnson. Michael Gough as Dan Smith.
  • Sequel: The Original Title: invokedTake note of how small the series' logo is in comparison to the new subtitle. This was a deliberate choice in lieu of calling it "No More Heroes 3", accounting for the nine-year long Sequel Gap and making it feel more like a newcomer-friendly, self-contained adventure.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The logo has a very similar font to Stranger Things.
    • The "Death Drive Mk. II" is an in-universe predecessor to the Death Drive 128 from Let It Die, and its mysterious nature and backstory is inspired by Polybius.
    • Travis's TV screen is shown playing Hotline Miami. Fitting for an ultraviolent assassin.
      • The Carl Mask (a.k.a. the locust mask) appearing in the trailer is likely a reference to Grasshopper Manufacture.
    • The goal of the game is to collect six video games (called "Death Balls"), where collecting all six will summon a huge tiger god to grant the collector's wish.
    • Travis' Unreal Engine shirt alludes to the British Phonographic Industry's 1980s "Home Taping Is Killing Music" anti-piracy ad campaign.
    • When Travis enters a game world, he appears in a sphere of electric light similar to a Terminator.
    • The Death Drive's boot-up screen features the console's name being chimed in a similar fashion to the famous "SEGA!" cheer from the original Sonic the Hedgehog games.
    • On the back of Travis's jacket is "Eye of the Tiger" transliterated into katakana.
    • During one of the visual novel segments, Travis enlists a horse named Epona to find one of the Death Balls.
    • A large number of the Skill Chips are named after Gundams. Some of the skills themselves further reference their namesake Mobile Suits, such as F91 Chip creating clones to distract enemies and Shining Chip "grabbing" its target.
    • Mr. Doppelganger announces the phase changes in his boss battle with "Change! Doppel 2!" and "Change! Doppel 3!", like the Getter Robo team.
    • The animation that play when Travis acquires a Skill Chip from clearing a game is parody of the item-get pose from The Legend of Zelda, complete with a soundalike jingle.
    • One of the visual novel segments features a company named Texas Bronco, a nod to Andrei Ulmeyda's t-shirt from Killer7.
  • A Sinister Clue: The Death Drive Mk. II's controllers are two left hands.
  • Stealth Sequel: Although it's obviously a No More Heroes game, less obvious is the fact that one of the characters, Kamui Uehara, is making an appearance that directly follows one of the endings to The 25th Ward. The fourth chapter of Travis Strikes Back sees Travis visiting the setting of the game and meeting numerous characters.
    • Serious Moonlight is actually one to Shadows of the Damned, revealing its true name and nature upon being booted up.
    • The new intro cinematic added with the 'Day 7' patch makes the game one to an old Japanese-only killer7 spin-off novel, of all things.
  • The Stinger: Once the (second) credits finish rolling, the player is thrown in a prototype area in a third person perspective and a slightly modified control scheme. Interacting with a dummy model has Travis break the fourth wall one last time to hint at the existence of No More Heroes 3.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels: invokedTravis lampshades the effects of Continuity Lock-Out, which is partially why this game is titled the way it is rather than No More Heroes 3.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Uehara talks with Travis in this game, but in The 25th Ward he was almost entirely silent, even in the ending that leads into this game.
  • Take That!:
    • The reveal trailer pulls a few fast ones on video gamers, gaming companies, and the game itself.
    • When advertising the game's use of Unreal Engine, it sarcastically calls it "noble and pedigreed."
    • A villain in the fifth Travis Strikes Back segment is an evil CEO with the last name "Riccitiello"; John Riccitiello was CEO of Electronic Arts when Suda was developing Shadows of the Damned. Travis ends up beating him to a pulp.
    • The entire Serious Moonlight/Damned: Demon Knight is a huge one to EA and their meddling with Shadows of the Damned, right up to the changed in what type of game it was supposed to be and the entire stage being even more glitched out than usual due to the somewhat buggy nature of some sections of the game, including pop-in.
  • Teeth Clenched Team Work: Likely how the Co-Op Multiplayer works since Bad Man is the second player character. While players can't damage each other, they can still attack one another or make their partner the target of their Skill Chips.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Through his faxes, K warns that the Death Drive Mk. II is designed to gradually tweak the minds of players so that they can be influenced to see people in real-life opponents as digital Bugs that you can slay without remorse as a means of curbing the PTSD and guilt soldiers experience from killing humans. During the final level, Travis and Bad Man are manipulated into slaughtering hundreds of CIA operatives because they see them as a Bug army that Dr. Juvenile summoned from the game world.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: Serious Moonlight begins with Garcia Hotspur being hunted down and defeated by Fleming's gun-totting son, Alfred.
  • Top-Down View: Some levels uses an overhead view perspective.
  • Trapped in TV Land: Travis and Bad Man, initially. After the first game, they are free to travel between the Death Drive and reality, but continue to return to it.
  • Underground Monkey: Dr. Juvenile corrupter the Death Ball games with the Bugs to prevent players from completing them. As a result, they tend not to mesh with the settings very well.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: You unlock Death Balls by going through segments based on visual novels, and Golden Dragon Grand Prix is a racing minigame. In both cases, the game calls itself out on it.
  • Very False Advertising: The game plays multiple times with this trope in regards to several games.
    • Serious Moonlight: The game was marketed as a modern century RPG, and while that was initially the intention, executive meddling and creative differences forced the game to be cancelled, causing Juvenile to instead create a sequel to Shadows of the Damned.
    • Killer Marathon: The game was marketed as a future action game that pits criminals into a globe trotting murder sport for entertainment. The boss, Silver Face, reveals that the game is actually a Pinball game; pointing out that the game's traps, layout and obstacles were a dead giveaway. Silver Face also isn't an actual murderer because his game doesn't involve murdering, he himself admitting to being squeamish.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: If you choose to rescue Jeane every time she wanders off into the Death Ball worlds, you'll be rewarded with a special Skill Chip that grants temporary invisibility.
  • Visual Pun: The fact that this game's trailer is about Travis and Bad Man fighting in a literal trailer.
  • Wham Episode: Serious Moonlight. The game is revealed to be a sequel to Shadows of the Damned where Garcia is seemingly killed and Johnson takes his place as Eight Hearts, the sequel's main protagonist. Cue the game's true title: Damned: Dark Knight.
    • The 'Day 7' patch, which reveals that Bad Man is Shigeki Birkin, a character from killer7 All There in the Manual content, and was given the first Death Ball by Dan Smith, who knows who Travis is and wants him dead.
  • X Marks the Hero: Jeane's portrait in the visual novel-style segments has an X-shaped scar across her snout.
  • You Killed My Daughter: The man fighting Travis in the debut trailer is the father of Bad Girl, an assassin Travis killed in the original game.

Alternative Title(s): No More Heroes Travis Strikes Again

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