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Video Game / World Heroes

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Time Travel at its finest.

A series of fighting games developed for the Neo Geo by ADK and also co-created with SNK. Imagine Hattori Hanzou, Kotaro Fuuma, Rasputin, Joan of Arc, Genghis Khan, Bruce Lee, Hulk Hogan, and a Nazi super-cyborg coming together and battling each other for the right to fight an alien shapeshifter bent on taking over the world. That's World Heroes in a nutshell; a one-on-one fighter built around No Historical Figures Were Harmed versions of famous people beating the snot out of each other.

While initially largely derivative of Street Fighter, which explains its complete lack of longevity, it developed some interesting gimmicks later on by Jet and Perfect. There was also a slew of Rule of Cool involved in the character selection; the sequels added even more thinly-veiled historical personages, including characters based on Captain Kidd, Erik The Red, Joe Montana, Lu Bu and Jack The Ripper, as well as generic witch-doctor Mudman for some reason.


Unfortunately, cool characters and gimmicks weren't enough to make the series stand out, and it languished into obscurity, during only between 1992 ans 1995. The only appearance it made ever since was in NeoGeo Battle Coliseum, where Hanzou, Fuuma, and Mudman were playable characters and 2/Perfect Big Bad Dio was one of the bosses (in his form from Perfect, Neo Dio.) This is because after its bankruptcy ADK was bought by SNK Playmore and the series actually become part of the SNK's Expanded Universe. Janne (now spelled "Jeanne") also shows up in the 2018 all-girls fighting game SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy as a Downloadable Content character, marking the first time a World Heroes character has appeared since Battle Coliseum.

The World Heroes series in general is possibly the most known series from ADK, being ported to various other consoles than Neo Geo, like SNES, Game Boy, PC Engine, Mega Drive and recently Virtual Console. As the years passed by, it's actually become a Cult Classic of sorts and was compiled by SNK Playmore by the name of World Heroes Anthology/Gorgeous for PlayStation 2 in 2007 as part of their Greatest Hits Compilations.


Also see the Spin-Off Aggressors of Dark Kombat, an Original Generation Fighting Game with a touch of Beat 'em Up where Fuuma appears as Guest Fighter


  • World Heroes (1992)
  • World Heroes 2 (1993)
  • World Heroes 2 Jet (1994)note 
  • World Heroes Perfect (1995)
  • World Heroes Anthologynote  (2007); PlayStation 2 compilation of the 4 games made by SNK Playmore.

This game series provides examples of:

  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Janne laments how she can't find a suitor who's stronger than she is.
    • And then she meets J. Carn and falls for him, of course.
    • And then there's Ryoko fawning over Hanzou.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Hanzou and Fuuma were clearly modeled after Street Fighter's Ryu and Ken, from their basic moveset to their respective colors.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: In Perfect you battle Zeus (the boss from WH2 Jet) for one round then Neo Dio (the boss from WH2) breaks up the fight and you take him on in a full match as the Final Boss.
  • BFS: Janne.
  • Badass Longcoat: Captain Kidd
  • Best Her to Bed Her: Janne seems to be of this type, as her endings usually have her lamenting her victories as a still-single woman.
  • Breakout Villain: Dio appears in a handful of crossover cameo appearances, even showing up as a full-fledged character in NeoGeo Battle Coliseum as Neo Dio.

  • Bruce Lee Clone: Kim Dragon was one of gaming's first takes on the man of legend.
  • Camp Gay: Rasputin, complete with Marilyn Maneuver.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • Geegus is essentially the T-1000 if he was in liquid metal form every time.
    • While he does bear a strong resemblance to Marvel comics villain Blackheart, Neo-Dio is actually an Ersatz of the eponymous Baoh, an early work of Hirohiko Araki, with a few traits of Dio Brando and Kars thrown in for good measure.
    • Similarly, while Brocken appears to be a riff on M. Bison, he's actually based on Brocken, Jr. and Brockenman from the anime Kinnikuman, the characters Bison was also partially inspired by, along with a liberal sprinkling of Stroheim from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Because of his extendible arms and legs, he also bears some resemblance to Dhalsim from Street Fighter II.
    • A somewhat obscure one (owing to the source manga not having an English translation), Mudman is named after and inspired by the manga Mud Men: Mask of Ongoro by Daijiro Morohoshi.
    • Interestingly, the most obvious ersatz (Janne for Charlotte of the Samurai Shodown series) predated the character she appears to be ripping off.
    • Zeus' heavy resemblance to Raoh is obvious, with some frighteningly similar attacks.
    • And of course, Dr. Brown, no relation.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Not as often as you'd think, but you still get things like Rasputin's "ICEU BALL!" and Captain Kidd's "PIRATE SHIP!"
  • Cat Smile: Ryoko does this frequently in Perfect.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The AI reads your controller inputs and moves far faster than you can.
  • Cute Bruiser: Ryoko Izumo.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In the first three games, you gently press the punch or kick button for a weak attack. By pressing and holding either button, you'll execute a harder attack. The fourth game has two punch buttons and two kick buttons, plus the ability to execute stronger basic attacks by pressing both punch or kick buttons a la early Samurai Shodown games, effectively making it a six button fighter on the four-button Neo Geo hardware.
  • Death Course: One play mode in (at least) the first two games replaces the standard character-specific stages with an arena full of traps, such as landmines and electrified ring ropes.
  • Desperation Attack: The Crazy Death Blow from Perfect, which can be performed once a character's Life Meter falls below half and begins flashing. Using the Crazy Death Blow when the character's Hero Gauge is maxed enhances the move further. Every character has one Crazy Death Blow while Janne and Fuuma each have two.
  • Ditto Fighter: Geegus, final boss in the first game can transform into any of the eight original fighters. In World Heroes 2, he goes by Neo Geegus and can transform into any of the six new fighters as well.
  • Finishing Move: World Heroes Jet has a literal variation—at the end of each of the first four rounds, the deciding move of each individual fight is noted, like after a Japanese wrestling match. Non-character-specific normal moves are dubbed 'Standing Blow of Ba-Boom', 'Standing Kick of Chaos', 'Killer Crouch Kick' and the like.
  • Flawless Victory: Your character's Victory Pose changes if you score one. The last game is called "Perfect" for a reason.
  • Funny Background Event: Shura's stage in 2 has two Buddish monks doing silly things and jumping whenever a character falls to the ground. Additionally, a Siamese cat is trying to climb on a column and will fall to the floor alongside any character that lands there.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Ryoko admires Janne for being strong and pretty and also has a huge crush on Hanzo.
    Ryoko: "Janne! When I grow up, I want to be just as beautiful as you. And even stronger!"
  • Historical Domain Character: Everyone except Brocken, Mudman, and the bosses. Although Brocken was originally conceptualized as a cyborg Hitler. Yeah.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: At the end of Perfect, following the first round of the final boss fight, Neo-Dio murders Zeus and attacks you.
  • Hoax Hogan: Muscle Power is a blatant rip-off of Hulk Hogan, having not just the look but the personality and even the intro of ripping off his t-shirt before a fight. Even when the developers said he wasn't a Hogan expy and changed some of their attirbutes (like shaving his moustache since 2) to avoid copyright issues, he's still considered his expy, and one of the most famous of them.
    • In an interesting case, there's a M.U.G.E.N recreation of Hulk Hogan where the creator used Muscle Power as a base.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: Brocken, obviously.
  • I Have the High Ground: The player's character is first shown atop a skyscraper at the start of Jet's tournament mode.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: Johnny Maximum is based on Joe Montana (check out his default uniform colors!), and fights using his American football skills accordingly.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: Zeus' desperation move which is based loosely on the Kaiser Wave.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Captain Kidd throws sharks and ghost ships as projectiles.
  • Jack the Ripper: He's a mashup of the Ripper and Spring-heeled Jack, an Urban Legend from the same era, who was said to have metallic claws, a devilish face, could breath blue fire and (hence the name) jump incredible distances.
  • Kiai: From multiple people:
    • Fuuma: "ORA!"
    • Kim Dragon: "WHOOO!"
    • Mudman: "WHOOOO-HOO!"
    • Neo-Dio: "CHOUUUU!" and, in a literal Shout-Out to the other Dio, "WRYYYYYYY!"
  • Knife Nut: Jack, in Jet and Perfect; A Nightmare on Elm Street-style.
  • Lady of War: Janne, as well as what Ryoko aspires to be.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Muscle Power: Fast. Strong. Dominating... but he has no way around projectiles.
  • Love Freak: Rasputin... in a decidedly R-rated way.
  • Multiform Balance: Any character in Jet can be a Jack-of-All-Stats, Glass Cannon, Stone Wall, or Fragile Speedster, via handicap in two-player games.
  • Multiple Endings: World Heroes 2 Jet employs an unusual variation of this, the ending is determined by how much health you have left after beating the final boss.
  • Ninja: Hanzou and Fuuma were from competing clans - the Iga and Fuuma Ninja.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Janne's beauty flaw is her ear-grating laughter.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Ryoko Izumo is based on famous japanese judoka Ryoko Tani, Muscle Power is based on Hulk Hogan (though the resemblance was toned down in later appearances) and Johnny Maximum is based on Joe Montana.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: All the characters except Hanzo, Fuma, Captain Kidd and Rasputin have their names changed. Jack is arguable, since he's based on Jack the Ripper, but that wasn't the guy's real name... far as we know. Mudman and Brocken, as noted above, are the only characters who aren't based on any specific figures from history.
    • Early concepts for the game featured Brocken as a cyborg Adolf Hitler using Zyklon-B gas; this was dropped early in development for obvious reasons (World Heroes, indeed!), though he retains his toxic gas attack and "Heil, Brocken!" win quote in the Japanese versions of WH2J/WHP (text only, likely a reference to Brocken Jr.'s theme song in the Kinnikuman anime). Brocken also stars in 19YY, one of the minigames in ADK World, where it is implied that he is a flying cyborg soldier, fighting literal airships for a Reich-esque Germany in the Diesel Punk world of an Alternate Timeline. But since this game takes place inside a movie, it's probably not canon.
    • Many characters also got their background heavily altered. For example; Janne is the guardian of a traveling circus she grew up in, J. Carn is one of the top officers and personal bodyguard of the actual Genghis Khan and Erick is a friendly family man who himself decided to become an explorer, while the real Erik the Red was exiled for murder. Brocken, having his initial background concept dropped, does not have much of a background at all.
  • Pirate: Captain Kidd, of course. He does not have a rivalry with Fuuma or Hanzo, unfortunately.
  • Pirate Parrot: Captain Kidd's pet bird seems to be more of a condor, but it really just represents a more badass version of a parrot. During Kidd's Finishing Move, it pecks at the hanged opponent...
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Geegus' theme in the first game is the stage 1 music of Magician Lord, another Neo Geo game by ADK. This is not the case for the rearranged Neo Geo CD soundtrack, which gives him an original composition.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Fuuma and Hanzou. They're even color-coded!
  • Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny: The last entry in particular leans toward the latter.
  • Shoto Clone: Hanzou and Fuuma were the ninja equivalent of Ryu and Ken respectively and even wore the same colors as their Capcom counterparts.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The inventor of the time machine is a certain Dr. Brown... Also, Neo-Dio is an Ultimate Life Form fond of phrases such as "Useless, useless, useless!" and "WRYYYYYYY!" and uses sabers coming out of his arms just like Baoh and Kars.
    • The Death Match mode was almost certainly inspired by Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, a Japanese promotion popular at the time due to its outrageous hardcore matches (barbed wire ropes, electrified ropes, explosions, etc.). Much more pronounced in the first game where all the matches take place in wrestling rings.
    • Brocken's speech pattern in text was modeled after Stroheim. Like the extra Dio lines snuck into Neo-Dio's win quotes, these were Lost in Translation.
    • Brocken and (Neo) Geegus were adapted from Terminator movies, being T-800 and T-1000 respectively.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Janne is the only female in the original game. Even after the arrival of Ryoko in 2 they are the only female characters in the entire series.
  • SNK Boss: Neo-Dio of course.
    • Zeus in World Heroes 2 Jet is very strong, but he returns as a Bonus Boss in World Heroes Perfect that you aren't required to beat. In Perfect, his moves have absolute priority and no startup, as well as being extremely overpowered. One of his super moves is a ordinary-looking punch that hits five times for 20% damage each hit. If it connects perfectly, it KOs the player regardless of how much health they have.
  • Stout Strength: Erik is probably pound-for-pound the most physically powerful character. He also has an extremely pronounced gut.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Brocken the German cyborg's profile in the first game mentions that he "has no emotions except that he loves to destroy", though this aspect of his character is heavily toned down later in the series.
  • Super-Deformed: The Game Boy port of World Heroes 2 Jet uses this style.
  • Terminator Impersonator: This series has not one but two despictions of Terminators: Brocken and Geegus, which are game versions of T-800 and T-1000 respectively. Brocken is a cyborg dressed as a military man who was supposed to be made as a walking weapon but was reprogrammed by Dr. Brown to be one of his champions. Geegus instead, is an alien lifeform with the shape of a muscled human and can take shape of any opponent, later to be revealed as he's The Dragon of Dio.
  • Time Travel: Why everyone's here. Dr. Brown invents a time machine and... uses it to set up a fighting tournament.
  • Traumatic Haircut: One of the Death Course fights takes place in a fully normal arena. However, the character portrait of the loser will be shown with all of their hair shaved.
  • Unicorn: Ryofu summons one in his desperation attack, though it's probably meant to be a Kirin.
  • Updated Re-release: Subverted with World Heroes 2 Jet. While it sounds like a revamped version of World Heroes 2, Jet is actually modified enough to be an installment entirely unto its own. It retains the character roster from 2 but most of them received new and modified moves and fighting statistics. Jet also introduces two new playable characters to the roster, Jack and Ryofu, alongside with a new Final Boss named Zeus. Additionally the game features a unique arcade mode that is structured more like a global tournament than your standard "Three Round Deathmatch then move onto the next opponent" (though this typical structure eventually shows up further into the arcade mode; you can also play regular Three Round Deathmatch fights by selecting the alternate single player mode). The word "Jet" in the title not only refers to faster movement, but also the ability to perform forward and backward dashing. Another new addition is when two attacks hit each other, they'll rebound. Lastly, the word itself, "Jet" was simply a jab at Capcom with its numerous Street Fighter II derivatives (specifically Street Fighter II′ Turbo).
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Kim Dragon, Mudman and Captain Kidd
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Muscle Power's Wonder Woman and/or Lex Luger style starry speedo.


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