The one-on-one fighting gold rush started by Capcom's Street Fighter II inspired many famous series, including Fatal Fury, King of Fighters, Virtua Fighter and Samurai Shodown, but there were just as many - if not more - also-ran challengers which achieved moderate success at the time but have since faded into memory. ADK's World Heroes is one such franchise; while it enjoyed some well-received entries on the Neo Geo it failed to remain in the public eye beyond the '90s, and its lineage essentially died with SNK's console.
World Heroes Perfect - the fourth and final instalment - might seem like an odd place to start on Switch, but it lines up with Hamster Corp's policy of giving us the best examples of each series first before filling in the gaps afterwards. Compared to World Heroes, World Heroes 2 and World Heroes 2 Jet, World Heroes Perfect lives up to its title - it's a refinement of what ADK achieved in its previous titles, boasting a cast of 19 fighters, a new four-button control system and a "Hero" gauge for pulling off super-special moves - the latter being a big deal back in the mid '90s, as many other fighting titles were already offering the same feature.
The World Heroes series is often quite brazen in how it borrows ideas from its rivals - the main characters Hanzo Hattori and Fuuma Kotaro have similar moves to Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter II, and occupy the same kind of role within the roster. The hook with the cast is that many are based on historical characters; the two aforementioned rivals were real-life Japanese ninjas, while Janne is supposed to be Joan of Arc and Muscle Power is based on (the still very much alive) Hulk Hogan. By far the most amusing fighter is Rasputin, who shares his name (and appearance) with the infamous Russian mystic and holy man. Not many brawlers can boast of having such a unique individual in their roster, but Rasputin isn't alone - World Heroes Perfect is blessed with a truly interesting selection of pugilists. In fact, its characters are without a doubt its biggest strength, even if they do make the game look a little goofy at times.
While there are the typical selection of special moves and combos to learn, World Heroes Perfect takes a more inclusive approach; to pull off super-specials you only have to press the A, B and C buttons together, removing the need to memorize complex button inputs on top of those associated with your standard moves. This alone opens up the game to a wider player base, and - when combined with the wacky cast - makes it easier to tempt non-fighting game fans into playing a few rounds. The Switch's detachable JoyCon controllers mean that you can stage a World Heroes Perfect tournament anywhere there's sufficient space to lay down the console, although purists will want to use the Pro Controller so that they benefit from a proper D-Pad.
World Heroes Perfect stands out from other fighters thanks to its unusual cast and vibrant atmosphere, and is without a doubt the best version in the entire series. The action is fluid and responsive and the simplified super move system makes it easy to understand for newcomers. The only real criticism is that while World Heroes Perfect refines the franchise after some inconsistent early entries, it was never iterated upon and even by 1995 standards it was hardly pushing the envelope of the genre. Fans of the series will no doubt be pleased, but those coming to the series without any prior experience many want to check out titles like King of Fighters '98 and Samurai Shodown IV before investing in this.