World Heroes

STORY:  Dr. Brown, a scientist, perfected a time travel machine, and organized the "World Heroes" tournament for various fighters throughout all of history to combat each other. True to this plot, many of the fighters are based on actual historical figures.


World Heroes 1 character selection screen.

REVIEWWorld Heroes is a 2D fighting game by ADK which originated in arcades in 1992 and eventually made its way to home consoles. It would be hard to deny that World Heroes wasn't yet another 2D fighting game riding the coattails of Capcom's wildly successful Street Fighter 2 series. While offering a unique cast of characters and some original ideas, World Heroes mostly follows the recipe of other successful 2D fighters of the time. (Eight playable fighters, two karate/ninja guy brothers, a guy with extending arms, and one chick? Following that recipe pretty closely I'd say.)

Instead of a 6-button layout, World Heroes uses only 3 of the standard 4 Neo-Geo buttons: one for punching, another for kicking, and the last for throwing. Certain buttons can also be used to deliver stronger attacks by holding them down.


World Heroes introduced the first ever Bruce Lee doppelganger!


Though a bit clunky at times, the gameplay of World Heroes is at least playable. The one unique gameplay element that World Heroes introduces is the inclusion of "stage hazards". The likes of electric fences, flaming wrestling ring ropes, and spiky walls await the combatants at the corners of certain stages. Players can knock each other into the walls for added damage, or possibly even make a mistake a jump into a trap by accident. The game can be entertaining for a while... but I wouldn't go as far as calling the overall gameplay experience "fun" (when compared to other fighters of the time).

Overall, the visuals of World Heroes certainly weren't bad for 1992, but the game definitely looked like a handful of other titles at the arcade. The colorful and "beefy" 2D character sprites were competitive enough with their SF2 / Fatal Fury / Mortal Kombat counterparts in terms of size and vibrancy, but definitely not animation. The sound effects and music also didn't make much of a statement... and I do remember some of the sounds in World Heroes being rather abrasive and annoying (that electric fence sound is particularly irritating - and round 2 hasn't even started yet).


This looks like it could get messy... (it doesn't though.)


In my opinion, most of the characters of World Heroes just weren't very likeable - right off the bat. The fact that characters are based on historical figures is a unique novelty and all, but the designs themselves lack originality, personality, and... I don't know.... something. Plus, many of the World Heroes just seem like they really really want to be in Street Fighter 2 (but are settling for this lower budget deal out of necessity, so they're making the best of it). On the bright side, the sequel World Heroes 2 added several interesting characters which helped the lackluster roster situation of the first game.

Worth mentioning, World Heroes characters are known for some of the all time worst "win quotes" in fighting game history. And keep in mind... back then, simple win quotes went a long way for fighting game character personalities. If you want to see what I'm talking about, take a look at some of the screenshots on the bottom right.


Cool story bro... I don't like you.


Page Updated: January 21st, 2023
Developer(s): Alpha Denshi   (assisted by SNK)
Publisher(s): SNK
Designer(s): Kenji Sawatari           Producer / Director
Kimitoshi Yokoo
Platform(s): Neo Geo, SNES, Sega Genesis, Wii Virtual Console
Release Date(s): July 28th, 1992           Neo Geo
Sept. 28th, 2007
           Wii VC
Oct. 8th, 2007 
              Wii VC
Characters Hanzou, Fuuma, Dragon, Janne, J. Carn, Muscle Power, Brocken, Rasputin, Neo Geegus

worldh-s2.jpg (85798 bytes)jmaxx-quote.png (545783 bytes)rasputin-quote2.png (93392 bytes)

Featured Video:

Related Games: World Heroes 2, World Heroes 2 Jet, World Heroes Perfect, Aggressors of Dark Kombat, Ninja Master's, Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition, Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Fatal Fury, Fatal Fury 2, Art of Fighting, Mortal Kombat, Fighter's History, Power Instinct

Gameplay Engine  6.0 / 10
Story / Theme  5.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  6.5 / 10
Animation  4.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  3.0 / 10
Innovation  5.0 / 10
Art Direction  6.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  4.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun  4.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  4.0 / 10
Characters  4.0 / 10

 4.9 / 10

 Review based on Arcade version    


Final Words:

World Heroes was the start of a "memorable" SNK series which eventually spanned 3 sequels... it's that SNK game everyone remembers but nobody actually played. While the concept was a novelty, the overall vibe of the game and charisma of the characters just wasn't there. In comparison to many blockbuster fighting games of the era, WH was just lackluster in my eyes. In my opinion, WH felt like a Chinese bootleg version of a better SNK or Capcom fighting game.

I remember in every arcade I visited in the early 90's (and I visited many)... at any arcade that actually had World Heroes, the machine was usually empty... all the while, crowds were forming other fighting games like Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat (just to name two). There was a reason for this... and it wasn't just the characters, assumed gimmicks, or anything else. It was about solid and fun gameplay. World Heroes just didn't have it.

However, I can respect a few things about World Heroes... the kooky character designs have their moments, the box art is pretty good, and the stage designs are decent. So if you don't care how the game actually plays, maybe you enjoyed some things about World Heroes? I didn't. Over time, the World Heroes series did improve gameplay and other aspects in the sequels.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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