Review by Retro

"An unsung hero for the SNES"

I'm sure that almost everybody who plays fighting video games on a regular basis, or that used to back when the 16-bit systems were on top of the world, have played at least one of the Street Fighter games at one point. World Heroes 2 is a lot like Street Fighter, except that it has its innovative differences and unfortunately it never got the recognition that it should have.

To start off, World Heroes 2 is a 2D fighter that has a lot to offer its players. If you're playing a one player game, you will have 14 fighters to choose from, but if you play a two player game against somebody else, you'll have 16 fighters that are waiting to be picked. Just so you'll know exactly what to expect from this game if you ever choose to rent or buy it, I'll list all the fighters. There are two ninjas, a martial artist, a sorcerer, a sort of mechanical police officer, a pirate, judo queen, spirit warrior, wrestler, marauder, fencer, a Viking, kick boxer, and a quarterback. If you're playing a two player game, you will also be able to choose from the game's two main bosses. One is a creature that can morph into any of the other fighters, and the other is a nemesis that has great reach and that is just plain fast.

As you might expect, all the fighters have their own special moves and ways of attacking. All of them have strong and weak punches and kicks, and they can all grab their opponent, which will lead to a variety of attacks such as a HUGE, crumpling handshake, or a throw, depending on who the fighter is. The special attacks also stay true to what kind of character the fighter is. For example, the spirit warrior can summon spirits to dance around his opponent, the ninjas can throw throwing stars, and the pirate can use ships and sharks as projectiles.

Another way in which World Heroes 2 isn't any different from your everyday 2D fighting game is that each player has their own story to tell. Just like in the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat games, when you beat the game with a character, some pictures will come up and you'll be able to read that fighter's story underneath the pictures.

But what makes World Heroes 2 a great fighting game that stands apart from most of the other classic fighters are the ways in which it's not like most of the other 16-bit fighting games. The biggest thing that sets World Heroes 2 apart from other better known classics such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, is that you can choose from two modes of play. One is called the Normal Game. This mode of play is just like what you see in your normal fighting game. In a Normal Game, the fighters' energy is represented by a bar full of energy just like Street Fighter's. The other mode of play is called the Survival Match. The Survival Match changes both the energy bar, and the way the game is played. If you're playing a one player game against the computer, the survival matches will automatically be toggled and switched after each round. But if you're playing a two player game, you get to choose what kind of Survival Match you will play. There are many dangerous types of matches to choose from such as slippery oil slicks, having a spinning saw move across the floor, gruesome spiked walls, land mines that will fire you up in a heartbeat if you step on them, and a few others.

If you choose to go along with the Survival Match, the energy bars will also be changed a lot from the regular ones that you normally see. Instead of two separate bars of energy, one for you and one for your opponent, there will just be one huge energy bar for the both of you. In the middle of the bar there is an arrow that divides both of your energy levels. Of course, player 1's energy is on the left and player 2's energy is on the right. If your side of the energy bar completely runs out, you will be knocked out. But don't fret because you have a chance to get up. Much like a boxing round, you will be given to the count of 10 to make your fighter get back on his/her feet by pressing the buttons on the SNES controller as fast as you can. The first time you get back up, you will be given almost all of your energy back, the second time you get knocked out and successfully get back on your feet, you will just be given a small slice of energy back, and don't ask me about the third time because I haven't ever seen anybody, including the computer players, get back up more than two times.

Just for the fun of it and for your information, I'm going to tell you exactly what it's like going through a fighting match of World Heroes 2 in a one player game. First of all, of course, you choose who you want as your fighter and then whether you want to play a Normal Game or Survival Match. Once you do that, I hope you're ready to rumble because it's time to fight! Right before the fight begins, the spinning earth will come up and reveal what country your opponent is from. Then after the fight is over, it's time for some good ole trash talking, video game style. You will be taken to a screen in which either you or your opponent will praise the loser, or downgrade them and say something such as ''To meet someone as strong as you makes me happy. It was disappointing to have to smash you into bits.'' Then it's on to the next opponent.

That's not quite all. There are a few options in World Heroes 2 to spice up or tone down the gameplay like you want it. You can choose how hard the computer players are, whether or not you and your opponent can see how much energy is left on the energy bars, how much the time limit is if there's a time limit at all, control setups, and more.

World Heroes 2 might not be recognized by millions of fans who claim it as a classic, but let me tell you, it should be. In ways, I like World Heroes 2 better than Street Fighter 2. I think being able to choose from a regular fighting game (Normal Game) and having fearsome obstacles to watch out for on top of fighting your opponent at the same time (Survival Match) was innovative at the time this game was released. There are also more fighters to choose from. Many of the fighting moves and actions can be hilarious and they're all unique. If you like the Street Fighter games, I would definitely recommend renting or purchasing World Heroes 2 if you ever get the chance.

GRAPHICS - World Heroes 2's graphics aren't spectacular in any sense, but they're not bad either. All the fighters have their own background that can range from arctic seas with mountains, being inside a castle, crowds of people cheering you on, one with a tank that plummets through a building, and many others. The backgrounds are colorful and somewhat detailed, and the characters are well drawn with good animation.

SOUND - The sound effects are what you would expect. There are grunts of pain, victory chants, the cool sound effects of punches, kicks, and other attacks, and many others. Most of the sound effects are well done and won't make you grimace at the sound of them. The music in World Heroes 2 is mostly well done too. Some of it is fast paced with a good beat to it and some is slower, with a more haunting and catchy sound.

CONTROL - It's a cinch to make any of the fighters perform any of the basic punches and kicks, and even the special moves. As long as you have good hand-eye coordination and a working controller, you shouldn't have a problem controlling World Heroes 2.

REPLAY VALUE - World Heroes 2 was one of the last SNES games that I bought, but me and my brothers and friends have played it a lot. It's a lot of fun to go through the whole game with all the characters, just to see their story, and it's even more fun to play a two player game against somebody else.

OVERALL - World Heroes 2 is in my opinion, a classic fighting game that never got the attention it deserved. It's one of my favorite fighting games and if you play it, it just might become one of your favorites, so give it a chance!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/23/01, Updated 05/20/02

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