Reviewed in 2011 by Tibe

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Back in Black

by Tibe (2011)

After the relative success of the first World Heroes of the series, ADK decides to put a second stone to the construction less than a year later, with this second episode. The editor went largely over the one-hundred megs step here, as WH2 weighs almost twice heavier than its ancestor, with 146 Mb. New characters, new backgrounds, new moves... Has it really changed and corrected the few flaws of its predecessor? After a short introduction, we come to the character selection screen. And there, there's a first nice surprise: now, the game packs no less than fourteen selectable fighters! It will stand for a few months, as the biggest roster in fighting games. In fact, Street Fighter II Turbo, Mortal Kombat and Fatal Fury 2 were behind with twelve characters for the first, seven and eight for the others! Versus mode is also well thought out - for the time - as the players can change their warriors, even after a victory.

Good ideas were retained from the ancestor, and the game still offers bonus stages and the death match. This latter has been completely redesigned and improved. Indeed, now in this mode, the two fighters have a bar of common life. Inflict damage to the opponent reduces its life and extends yours: Now, it's really is a duel to the death! In addition, reducing the opponent's life to zero does not mean winning... The opponent still has the opportunity to get up, only if he punches the stick and buttons fast enough! And one can get up several times, depending on the intensity and speed on the stick. Another great improvement: the death match arenas are more numerous and varied than before: Skinhead, Exploding Spikes, Metal Mesh, etc... a really different way to play this time, considerably far from the traditional versus with two winnong rounds. World Heroes 2 looks very good, as the realization was also leveled up: more characters, so more backgrounds. Those are varied, beautiful and colorful; the draw is not the finest ever seen, but the overall design is beautiful. 

The animation has been greatly improved too, we no longer feel like fighting on the moon! Characters' moves are now fluid, flexible and fast enough, there's nothing wrong anymore with our heroes animations. The sprites were partially redesigned, and the character design was re-drawn with better inspiration. Speaking about the sound part, we are granted new impact noises, way more vocals than before, and a bunch of new catchy themes, but also "not extraordinary" ones. Anyway, the realization still stands a very high level for a 1993 game. The gameplay has not changed much, taking the simple basics of World Heroes and making some improvements: more special moves, more combos, more game mechanics... but it remains that the three-button system could have been improved (in a four-button one, maybe...?). C button is used only to throw, and it's not a model of ergonomy (Street Fighter IV, if you hear me ...) and given the broad range of moves for each character, the game wuld really have deserved a four-buttons interface. That said, the controls are easy and fast to learn, still damn reminding SFII.

Other news, when pressing A+B simultaneously, some characters trigger a remote attack. The game also features a great counter system for throws and projectiles. If you put your guard at the last second, before receiving a fireball or other projectile, you return the attack to the sender. If he does the same, he returns again ... and so on! Fun idea, opening some nice options in combat. For the throws, pressing the right button in a precise timing when you're catch to be thrown will have your character counter-catching, in order to throw the one who wanted to throw you! These are great features, that give a boost to WH2 gameplay. Very nice realization,  varied and interesting gameplay with some original features, fourteen characters' roster: World Heroes 2 is an excellent game, probably the best of the saga. People will still blame the lack of charisma or interest of some fighters and a lack of depth about the gameplay. Competition is surely more technical, just watch Fatal Fury Special orSuper Street Fighter II to convince yourself... That said, the game is still fun and taking. Those who knew it  in its glory years know what I mean; most young players will probably will go their way over this very cool 'old-school' fighting game.



All new, the backgrounds are beautiful and varied. Sprites, big sized, are finely drawn.
Completely re-designed, the animation offers more luidity and a faster-paced action than in the first episode.
Not particularly original, the soundtrack is still sympathic, the effects are good and vocals numerous.
Fourteen selectable characters and two differents modes (normal and death), that's good. There are two bosses to defeat, and it will take a certain time to clear the game with every fighter! Two-players VS mode is providing a lot of fun either.
Without reaching heights of technicality, WH2 is filled with good ideas and fun, promising a lot of good times.



An excellent VS fighting game, having its very own personality, featuring cool and fun content!


You'll need only thirty euros to become the owner of a japanese copy of WH2, and just a little bit more for a US or euro version. So, it's a very good investment for a pure gamer. Moreover, it's probably the best episode of the saga on the Neo Geo.

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