World Heroes 2

STORY:  "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."

World Heroes 2 character selection screen. 

REVIEWWorld 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 "Deathmatch Game" a single life bar will go back and forth as characters are damaged. The K.O. occurs when the life bar reaches all the way to one character's 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 and somewhat innovative during a time when the fighting genre was incredibly competitive at the arcades! The stage hazards from the prequel also return when playing a Deathmatch Game. 

Johnny Maximum versus Mudman... two of WH2's 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 on Joan of Ark) vs. Ryoko (based on 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 and competing in 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 those games, and those games are still around to this day... when World Heroes isn't. Good thing I didn't get hooked on the idea of a single life bar or stage hazards gimmick 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 solid or fun as the top tier of the genre... but World Heroes 2 managed to stand out significantly more than others in the world of "me too" 90s 2D fighting games riding the coattails of smash hits like Super Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat 2. The improvements in the character artwork and character designs helped World Heroes 2 become significantly more catchy than the first title, and eventually spawned two more sequels: World Heroes 2 Jet and World Heroes Perfect.

Page Updated: June 15th, 2024
Developer(s): ADK  (assisted by SNK)
Publisher(s): SNK
Designer(s): Kazou Arai
Platform(s): Neo Geo, SNES, TurboGraphics CD, Wii VC, PS4
Release Date(s): April 28th, 1993           Neo Geo
Nov. 15th, 2011             Wii Virtual Console
Dec. 27th, 2012             Wii Virtual Console
Jan. 10th, 2013              Wii Virtual Console
May 25th, 2017
           PS4 (PSN)
Characters Hanzou Hattori, Fuuma Kotaro, Johnny Maximum, Mudman, Captain Kidd, Shura, Dragon, Janne D'Arc, Julius Carn, Muscle Power, Brocken, Rasputin, Ryoko Izumo, Erik, Neo Dio, Neo Geegus

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Featured Video:

Related Games: World Heroes, World Heroes 2 Jet, World Heroes Perfect, Aggressors of Dark Kombat, Ninja Master's, Fatal Fury Special, Super Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat 2, Samurai Shodown, Fighters History, Eternal Champions, Virtua Fighter

Gameplay Engine  6.5 / 10
Story / Theme  5.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  6.5 / 10
Animation  6.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  5.5 / 10
Innovation  6.5 / 10
Art Direction  7.5 / 10
Customization  5.0 / 10
Options / Extras  5.5 / 10
Intro / Presentation  6.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  5.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  5.0 / 10
Characters  6.0 / 10

 6.3 / 10

 Review based on Arcade version    


Final Words:

In 1993, my local arcades got World Heroes 2 (the very year it came out)... and it quickly became clear that World Heroes 2 was not going to be as popular as other top fighting games of the time. Not many people were surrounding the WH2 cabinet like they were swarming around games like MK2 or Super SF2.

However, I actually popped quite a few tokens into the WH2 arcade machine back in the day and kicked a few butts. My opponents didn't even know what game they were playing and kept asking me questions about it, but what did I know? lol. I briefly enjoyed WH2 for its interesting characters and the innovative "single life-bar" selection... but overall had a far better time playing other games like MK2 and SSF2.

The gameplay and mind games of WH2 felt sluggish in comparison, and I distinctly remember not many people were playing World Heroes 2, while other fighting games had huge crowds surrounding them.   In retrospect, I'm glad I tried out WH2 for a history lesson. The game has some charm. Following World Heroes 2, ADK released WH2 Jet and World Heroes Perfect.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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