Released when the avalanche of Street Fighter 2 clones hit arcades in the early ‘90s, World Heroes was a minor success that gained a cult following thanks to a combination of impressive graphics, crazy characters and half-decent gameplay.
Like so many games of this type, World Heroes lifts ideas from Capcom’s seminal brawler. The two main characters have almost identical move sets (like Ryu and Ken) and have ‘fireball’ and ‘dragon punch’ moves in their arsenal (again, like Ryu and Ken). The rest of the cast is a little more inventive, thankfully.
The developers have assembled a truly weird and wonderful assortment of fighters here; you’ve got everything from female fencers to deranged German robots. To top it off, you can play as Russian monk Rasputin.
This crackpot collection of brawlers helped World Heroes stand out from the crowd back when it was released and it’s somehow pleasing to see that they still look delightfully strange even today.
Another feature that makes World Heroes unique is the ‘death match’ mode, in which players fight it out in arenas packed with deadly weapons and traps. It’s little more than a gimmick and doesn’t really work that effectively, but at least it’s different.
Sadly, World Heroes doesn’t quite cut it these days. Whereas games like Street Fighter II, Samurai Shodown and Fatal Fury have aged reasonably well, World Heroes looks tired and old in comparison with only the deranged band of fighters giving it any kind of identity. Unlike SF II, World Heroes went for a un-gritty, rather cartoony look which still holds up reasonably well.
Sonically the sound effects are nothing to write home about, but there are some good background tunes running throughout the game, especially the death matches and muscle power’s stage.
If you were a fan back in the day then there’s no reason why you won’t enjoy this on the Virtual Console, but newcomers should be sure to check out the better fighters that are currently available before downloading this.