"Who is the strongest hero in history!? In order to
solve this conundrum, a professor completed a time machine and used it to test
the might of warriors from different ages. Unfortunately, he was unable to find
an answer. A year later, six new heroes appear. Now, the largest battle of
history is about to begin."
screen... better artwork, character info, and.... Borders!!! Wooo!
Heroes 2 is the first title to feature the "ADK" logo, as the
developer changed their previous name from Alpha Denshi. The sequel to World
Heroes adds a few more characters, moves, stages, a new life bar
selection option, naturally making the game an improvement over the original by
adding much more variety.
World Heroes 2 also implements an innovative, yet somewhat
"nonsensical" new life bar system.
Before the match begins, players have the option to swap out the standard "double life bars" layout
for a "single life bar" that both players share. In the "Deathmatch
Game," a single lifebar will go back and forth as characters are damaged,
and a K.O. occurs when the lifebar is depleted on each respective side. No, it doesn't actually make much sense in terms of how a fight works... but hey, you can't blame ADK for trying to be creative during
a time when the fighting genre was incredibly competitive.
The stage hazards from the prequel also return when playing a Deathmatch
J. Max & Mudman... two
of the newcomers.
The new character designs of World Heroes 2 are an arguably odd bunch,
but do manage to stand out as "original" in the fighting game
universe. Newcomers like Mudman and J. Max definitely aren't copies of any existing
designs, and make for a more diverse roster than in the prequel. However, as a whole, the cast still leaves
something to be desired... along with the mediocre gameplay engine.
While the gameplay of World Heroes 2 is standard fare for a 2D fighting
game and potentially has its fun moments, it's still a far cry from many other 2D
fighters of the era in terms of innovation and actual fun. Visually, World Heroes 2 is
at least a competitive title for the
time period featuring large, colorful character sprites and nicely hand-drawn
backgrounds. The updated character selection screen is also a huge improvement
and looks much better than the first game. On the other hand, the animation and
"ouch factor" left something to be desired.
Janne (based off of Joan
of Ark) VS Ryoko (based off of Ryoko Tamura).
Unlike the first game, World
Heroes 2 actually features an opening movie (and it's pretty good)! Perhaps
the most memorable part of the intro is Hanzou facing off against
the rest of the cast... I remember watching the intro over and over, from
across the arcade, while playing something else.
(Ouch.) I'm sorry World Heroes... maybe I'm biased (or spoiled) because
of how much I was truly enjoying other 2D fighting games at the time.
But, maybe I did make the right call after all, because I was mastering my fighting
game fundamentals during that time in thosegames, and thosegames are still around to this day... when World Heroes
thing I didn't get hooked on the idea of a single lifebar or stage hazards back
then, because I'm not sure my hours of strategies regarding those mechanics
would've paid off as much.
Maybe the gameplay wasn't as memorable, but World Heroes 2 was trying, at
least. The artwork wasn't bad, and some of the character designs were starting
to become more fleshed out (they had some catching up to do, considering how
hugely popular some other fighting game characters were getting).
My local arcades got World Heroes 2 the
year it came out, so I put some tokens in for a while, and actually had some
fun with it. Aside from a few interesting characters and the innovative life-bar selection,
there really wasn't much to the game, and was a far shot from Street Fighter 2
(and many other titles).
The gameplay and mindgames are just sluggish in comparison to the top fighting
games of the time. I also distinctly remember not many people were playing World
Heroes 2, while other fighting games had huge crowds around them. For obvious
reasons, I put most of my tokens into Street Fighter 2, Mortal
Kombat, or Art of Fighting in 1993. In retrospect, I'm glad I did...
but I'm also glad I tried out the World Heroes series when it was
"new". After World Heroes 2, ADK released two more sequels: World
Heroes 2 Jet and World Heroes Perfect.