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World Heroes Reviewed by John Huxley on . Rating: 57%
World Heroes
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  • Review Score:

  • C+
If it's true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the folks at Capcom must be more flattered than a pancake by now. Over the last 15 years company after company has tried to recreate their own Street Fighter II. Some companies get it right (Arc System Works and their Guilty Gear series), while others shoot for the moon and fail miserably (Art of Fighting, Rise of the Robots, Kasumi Ninja, etc.). World Heroes is yet another Street Fighter II clone from SNK, it's a good playing fighting game ... but it's definitely not on the same level as the best of Capcom.

I'd guess there are two main reasons why the game succeeds: First, it's a cleanly designed contest that takes advantage of the power of the Neo Geo without any of the flickering or slowdowns that put damper on some of SNK's more ambitious titles. Secondly, it is such an unbelievably blatant copy of Street Fighter II that I'm shocked that there wasn't a huge Capcom vs. SNK court battle. Honestly, this sucker should come in a box with a sticker that screams "I am a Street Fighter II clone!"

Of course, it's not the first Neo Geo game to want to be Street Fighter II. Fatal Fury, for example, had a digitized voice that announced each round with an exclamation, "FIGHT!" But World Heroes goes wa-a-ay beyond that. There are eight characters to choose from, including one female and a pair of Japanese martial artists who share the same special moves. One guy even has the ability to attack with hists and feet that stretch across the screen. A map appears before each match to show each fighter's country of origin, and there are hordes of onlookers who cheer and gesture wildly in the background during each round. After each battle, close-ups of the characters appear, and the winner taunts his or her bloodied opponent. Does any of this sound familiar?

The tastiest bits of World Heroes appear when the game goes out on a limb and strays from the Street Fighter II formula. Janne, the female character, is perhaps the best example. She's the only fighter who carries a weapon (a sword), and her postgame remarks are particularly sarcastic: "Would you like to make any other comments about my place being in the kitchen?" The "Death Match" is also interesting because the characters can be injured by their surroundings: spikes on the wall, flaming barriers, etc. Although there are plenty of fighters that do that today, at the time this was a novel approach that made this game stand out.

Let's pretend for the sake of argument that the Street Fighter series never existed. It's hard to estimate what the public reaction to World Heroes would have been in such an imperfect world, but I 'd have to guess that the game would fare pretty well. If the genre didn't have a solid foundation, it wouldn't be so widely imitated. I should stress, too, that the graphics, sound and gameplay for World Heroes are certainly strong enough to make a favorable impression. The game won't win any awards for originality, but it's not hurting anybody. The only problem with playing World Heroes now is that there's a superior sequel already on the Neo Geo, but if you want to see where this series started, then you won't be too disappointed with this average fighter.
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