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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 and 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 elements where Fuuma appears as a Guest Fighter.

Not to be confused with SD Gundam World Heroes, the second entry in the SD Gundam World series, or A World Of Heroes, a Play-by-Post roleplay hosted on TV Tropes.


  • 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 in his World Heroes 1 ending, 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's weapon of choice is a snake sword.
  • Badass Longcoat: Captain Kidd wears a long coat, fitting for his pirate image.
  • 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:
    • Fist of the North Star was a heavy influence on the games: J. Carn is based on the prison warden Uighur (even sharing a shoulder tackle attack), Captain Kidd has mannerisms based on Ein, and Zeus has a heavy resemblance to Raoh (with some frighteningly similar attacks) and some traits from Souther.
    • Fuuma is based on Fūma Kotarō's depiction in the manga Hana no Keiji (done by Tetsuo Hara and Buronson, of Fist of the North Star fame).
    • 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.
    • Interestingly, the most obvious ersatz (Janne for Charlotte of the Samurai Shodown series) predated the character she appears to be ripping off.
    • Geegus is essentially the T-1000 if he was in liquid metal form every time.
    • And of course, Dr. Brown, no relation.
    • Ryoko is a blatant reference to real-life judoka Ryoko Tani, and Yawara Inokuma from Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl. Both became famous roughly at the same time.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Son Goku, aside from being an homage to his source material, shares traits from some of its adaptions, like Jan Kugo's hairdo from Starzinger or early Son Goku's playfulness or his Kaio-like symbol from Dragon Ball.
  • 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, much like the real life Ryoko Tamura, is a cute, petite girl who can throw down men twice her size.
  • 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.
  • Dramatic High Perching: The player's character is first shown atop a skyscraper at the start of Jet's tournament mode.
  • Fighting Across Time and Space: This is the main premise of series, where a scientist and time-traveler calls out famous Historical Domain Characters from different eras to fight against a big menace in different times, being reflected in their stages, when they can fight in diverse time periods, including Prehistory, Ice Age, the French Revolution and so on.
  • 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.
  • Historical Domain Superperson: The series is about historical characters (as well some contemporary ones like judoka Ryoko Tani and football player Johnny Maximum) fighting against a great menace invoked by a time machine traveler, having all these famous characters their own powers, some of them being elemental. The only non-famous characters are a cyborg created by the Nazis and the scientist who created the time machine and reprogramed the cyborg to help him in his mission.
  • 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. Furthermore, there's a M.U.G.E.N recreation of Hulk Hogan where the creator used Muscle Power as a base.
  • 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.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Captain Kidd throws sharks and ghost ships as projectiles. These appear to be made of water.
  • 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!"
  • 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.
  • Mighty Glacier: J. Carn and Ryofu are the biggest player characters in the game, balanced by their lack of speed.
  • 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...
  • Punch-Kick Layout: The series evolved with this as it concluded, see Damn You, Muscle Memory! above.
  • 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 Funny: The last entry in particular leans towards funny.
  • 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.
    • It seems that the manga Shura no Mon (the predecessor of Shura no Toki) was a strong influence on World Heroes 2: Shura was highly influenced by its main character Tsukumo Mutsu, Ryoko's technique "Bosatsusho" (a head clap that makes the victim's cranium vibrate, giving punch-drunk syndrome symptoms) is taken straight out of the manga, and Muscle Power and Mudman have Japanese win quotes that reference the manga's Hoax Hogan Ralph Dolman and the Religious Bruiser boxer Jersey Roman (based on George Foreman). Those references were heavily downplayed in the sequels.
    • Mudman's NPC allies contain silly name references: his god Fahfar is based on the brand FaFa (the Japanese brand name of Snuggle), and the muscled spirits that help him are named Adon and Samson (Sabu and Rosu in the Battle Coliseum super move), named after the iconic characters from Cho Aniki.
    • Erick's "Longhorn Train" is named after a technique from Kinnikuman
  • 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:
    • Zeus in World Heroes 2 Jet is very strong, but he returns as a Optional 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.
    • Neo-Dio, the final boss of Perfect, may not do as much damage as Zeus, but he makes up for it with his unmatched speed, his spin attack, and a sweep with a lot of reach.
  • 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).
    • There is also World Heroes Anthology/Gorgeous, a Compilation Rerelease which has Unlockable Content and the option to fight online with any of the games, 2 Jet included.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Kim Dragon and Captain Kidd wear outfits that show off their muscles. Mudman also qualifies, though he's usually covered by his large mask.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Muscle Power's Wonder Woman and/or Lex Luger style starry speedo.
  • Whip Sword: Janne's sword can extend into a whip, as seen in her ABC special move in Perfect.