Fatal Fury 2 (SNES)

Pub: Takara | Dev: SNK | April 1994 | 20 MEGS
Pub: Takara | Dev: SNK | April 1994 | 20 MEGS

In April of 1994 — 25 years ago in fact — Takara released the SNES port of Fatal Fury 2. Being one of the Neo Geo’s most popular fighting games, the original version made its debut in the arcade in 1992 and weighed in at a hefty 106 megs. The Super Nintendo conversion clocked in at 20 robust megs, arriving (arguably) right around the peak of the golden age of both fighting games and 16-bit gaming. Fatal Fury 2 proved to be a prime example of how to nail down a sequel properly, featuring more playable fighters, more special moves and enhancing virtually everything that the first Fatal Fury had to offer.


The Neo Geo MVS was a gorgeous sight in those days
The Neo Geo MVS was a gorgeous sight in those days

March 1991. A one on one fighting game revolutionized the gaming world. STREET FIGHTER II became nothing short of a phenomenon and a household name. At the time I was only 7 years old, but I can still remember it so vividly. You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing the Street Fighter II arcade cab. Whether it was 7-11, video rental stores, Pizza Huts or trading card shops, people lined up in droves to play it. Fatal Fury came out roughly 8 months later in November of 1991. I remember encountering Fatal Fury for the first time on a Neo Geo MVS cab. These powerhouse machines could hold up to four games, giving players the ultimate choice. The cab stood out in a crowd with its bright red exterior and four mini game posters up top. It immediately caught your eye and it was always fun to look up and see which four games were featured. Occasionally, old games got filtered out and were replaced by newer ones. There was always an element of Russian Roulette with Neo Geo MVS cabs that I loved. If you were in the arcade scene back in the early ’90s, then I know you know damn full well what I mean.

Magical memories
Damn near mythical

In retrospect, that time period was truly special. There was a certain magic to it. Just standing in front of an MVS cab gazing up at the four titles and watching the game demos switch on the screen before you, each game making a convincing bid for your precious quarter, was epic beyond words. Maybe part of it had to do with being young… but I really believe in my heart of hearts that that was simply a magical time in gaming that will never be duplicated ever again, period.


Fatal Fury was often wrongly accused of being a Street Fighter II clone as it came out 8 months later. Back in the day it was easy to claim that. But years later I discovered a shocking fact. The sort that debunks the gaming theories of one’s youth. The creator of Fatal Fury, Takashi Nishiyama, also created the very first Street Fighter (1987). After gaining recognition for his talents following Street Fighter, he was sought out by SNK. Nishiyama, along with many members of the development crew for the first Street Fighter, made the jump to SNK. Fatal Fury was the follow-up title in November 1991. In an interview conducted by 1UP, Nishiyama was quoted, “Fatal Fury was my Street Fighter II.” Wow. As it turns out, Fatal Fury was never a Street Fighter II wannabe. In Nishiyama’s mind, Fatal Fury WAS Street Fighter II. My bad, Mr. Nishiyama. Forgive me for the sins of my youth.


So much for Fatal Fury being a Street Fighter II clone, eh? Fatal Fury was actually in development at the same time as Street Fighter II. Fatal Fury has a special place in my gaming heart. I fondly remember it best for its 2 player co-op mode, where you and a friend can team up to fight the thugs at the same time. This gave it a unique atmosphere, almost as if it were an old kung fu flick. I have so many memories of my brother and me battling South Town’s most corrupt and dangerous villains. From the ageless Tung Fu Rue, who could morph into a muscular monster, to the enigmatic dancing Duck King. With incredibly lush and vibrant visuals, it made for a damn fine alternative whenever the Street Fighter II line went past the entrance. In some ways I even liked Fatal Fury more than Street Fighter II as a kid.

This was mind blowing back in 1991!
This was mind blowing back in 1991!

It was so cool how the levels you fought on would change from round to round. At first it’s sunny but then evening would befall the battle tested warriors. Tung Fu Rue’s stage haunts me to this day, even nearly 30 years later. The second my brother and I saw those heavy raindrops falling from the sky, complete with ominous thunder and lightning, we didn’t know whether to wind our watches or crap our pants. I remember standing there at Safeway completely frozen in awe. To this day it remains one of my fondest gaming memories. Another night I recall fondly occurred either in late ’91 or early ’92. Fatal Fury just came out and my uncle took us to a mom and pop rental shop. We rented WWF Survivor Series 1991. My brother and I were so hyped to see the championship match pitting the Immortal Hulk Hogan against the impervious Undertaker. But instead of rushing home as we normally would following a WWF tape rental, we found ourselves fixated on tag teaming against Tung Fu Rue as the arcade screen rained cats and dogs.


Our uncle, being the awesome uncle that he was, stood by the arcade cab cheering us on. Not many games could put Hulkamania on hold, but there was something special about Fatal Fury that resonated with me. Those colorful backgrounds and their wondrous transitions haunt me to this very day!


While flawed, Fatal Fury was a fun game in its own right. While Street Fighter II featured smoother gameplay and placed an emphasis on combos, Fatal Fury (from Nishiyama’s own words) “focused more on storytelling and special moves.” Although Fatal Fury lacked a combo system, it did feature some amazing special moves. Since there were no combos, you had to rely on pulling off your special moves at just the right time in order to gain the upper hand. Special moves are the lifeblood of Fatal Fury. Fatal Fury also had a pretty good story. You play as one of the Bogard brothers (Terry and Andy) or Joe Higashi. Your goal: avenge your father’s death. The man responsible: South Town’s crime lord, Geese Howard! Sure it sounds simple, but there is much beauty in simplicity.

I was so hyped seeing this in EGM circa January 1993
I was so hyped seeing this in EGM circa January 1993

As was the case back in those days, one could only dream of owning the mega expensive Neo Geo system. Therefore, most of us mere mortals had to rely on sized down 16-bit conversions that were either hit or miss (often times seemingly more miss than hit). Sadly, Fatal Fury was a massive miss. My brother and I were ecstatic seeing it previewed in the vaunted pages of EGM in early 1993, but a small part of our childhood died when we finally played it months later. I won’t even bother to review it. It’s a super disappointing conversion, eliminating the 2-on-1 game mode that made the original so damn fun and appealing.

Sure it looks nice but...
Sure it looks nice but…

At first glance, it looks promising. Although obviously scaled down visually, it looks pretty damn good for a 1993 Super Nintendo game. It captures the lush and vibrant colors of the arcade. F’rinstance, Andy’s massive energy wave looks fairly on point. But beyond excluding the 2-on-1 mode, the gameplay suffered due to its terrible control. The sound quality was poor as well. It was a far cry from the arcade original and that made me very sad as a kid.

What a missed opportunity...
What a missed opportunity :(


One of the best quotes in fighting game history
One of the best quotes in fighting game history

Following the “death” of Geese Howard at the end of the first tournament, a new leader stepped in. And not just any Average Joe [Higashi -Ed.], it was actually Geese’s half-brother, the vile Wolfgang Krauser! Talk about keeping it in the family…


Damn right
Damn right


Two planes let you escape the action for a strategic bit
2 planes let you escape the action for a strategic bit


The first Fatal Fury didn’t allow you to manually switch planes. But here you can, and it’s much better this way. It added in a wrinkle and made battles more strategic.

Just another reason why I love the SNES controller :)
Just another reason why I love the SNES controller :)

The six buttons on the SNES controller was fully utilized. Instead of pressing two buttons to switch planes like in the arcade, all you had to do here was push R. Nice! So while the arcade original is obviously superior, little tweaks like this made the SNES port easier to play in some ways.


Projectiles are much easier to avoid, and thus a bit devalued as a result.

You can even smack them into the next plane!
You can even smack them into the next plane!
You can also attack from one plane over. Sweet
You can also attack from one plane over. Sweet
Jubei's stage is the best for plane jumping ;)
Jubei’s stage is the best for plane jumping ;)
Jump kicking through paper screens is rather satisfying
Jump kicking through paper screens is quite satisfying

A few stages have their own unique gimmick. On one stage you can shatter paper screens or “hide” behind them, making you feel like you’re in a Bruce Lee film. There are other stages where you can even send your rival into various hazards in the background, causing extra harm. More on that later…

Good shit
Good shit
It never gets old :D
It never gets old :D



Everyone can jump back to avoid attacks. Also, anyone can crouch while moving forward at the same time. Not just for the more agile fighters but everyone, including Big Bear. There are also counterattacks. All of this made Fatal Fury 2 a much deeper game than its predecessor.

You can also taunt... if you're the scoundrel type
You can also taunt… if you’re the scoundrel type
They always come crawling back... or forward
They always come crawling back… or forward


Although home ports could never match the faithfulness of its arcade original, home bonuses such as the Elimination Mode was always a welcome sight.


If you're gonna steal some ideas then take from the best
If you’re gonna steal some ideas then take the best
Andy was my guy. Terry for my brother. Art imitates life
Andy was MY GUY. Terry for my bro. Art imitates life




It’s nowhere near as iconic as Ryu’s dojo rooftop but it’s memorable in its own right. Battling on a roaring railroad train, the passing scenery is majestic but the action is brutal and barbaric. Few landmarks scream AMERICANA more than Mount Rushmore, which you can catch a glimpse of in all its sweet glory.




Overlooking the exquisite sights of Italy, combatants wage war on a boat that’s anything but the Love Boat. As stated earlier, Andy’s always been my guy [Who are you, Woody? -Ed.] when it comes to the Fatal Fury franchise. He’s got the coolest special moves in (South) town…




Set in a quaint Thailand village, the hardworking women look on as they cheer their local champ who is anything but an ordinary Joe [You just had to, didn’t you? -Ed.]




Japan is well known for its bustling night life but Mai prefers to whup your ass on this private wooden raft. Gorgeous waterfalls and exotic statues grace the background.




Proud of his Korean roots, Kim shows off his skills in a busy part of town that showcases Korea’s rich sense of culture and tradition while also embracing modern sensibilities. Best of all, this stage is home to a hilarious sight gag. Timed precisely, you can knock the elderly off their bikes! Talk about some dark humor…




I love how Jubei kicks off his wooden clogs right before each fight, and how big they appear as they fly into the screen. Speaking of screen, his stage is one of my favorites because of all the paper screens. They’re irresistibly fun to mess around with, whether you’re “hiding” behind one or busting through one!




Hong Kong makes for a gorgeous backdrop. The skyline is absolutely breathtaking, and it’s awesome to see it transition from early evening to late evening between rounds.




The big Aussie, proud of his digs, wrestles all foolish challengers in the Australian outback. Having earned a large following, a small legion of his most fervent fans cheer on the big man as he attempts to rip apart his latest victim. All about branding, Big Bear even has his own personal big rig on full display. Raiden who?



C'mon Nintendo Power. Seriously?!
C’mon Nintendo Power. Seriously?!

Fatal Fury 2 introduced desperation moves. These super moves, often featuring a complicated command, can only be performed once your energy bar is low and flashing. They are powerful and hard to pull off.









Damn, Kim. Have some mercy!
Damn, Kim. Have some mercy!


Jubei with all that old man strength
Jubei with all that old man strength








For fighting games back in the early to mid ’90s, the inherent thrill of a home port was undoubtedly the strong possibility of a boss code. The very idea of playing as the boss characters at home — you know, the same ones that kicked your ass in the arcade — was titillating. Sure, home ports back then could never dream to approach the lofty standards set by their arcade original, but the really good ports were able to capture the spirit of the arcade while providing you with some awesome home bonuses. Look no further than Fatal Fury 2 which has a handy code allowing players to use any of the 4 bosses, expanding the roster from 8 to 12. Talk about a fantastic Easter egg!

Lets check out those bosses shall we!
Let’s check out those bosses shall we!



An ominous fog permeates in the background. Watch out for those massive cogwheels — Billy Kane can smack you into them causing extra damage. Of course, this means you can do the same to him… ;)




Balrog, you say? Never! :P At any rate, Axel Hawk (what a name) is a mean sucker who uses his environment to his advantage. He can pound you into the electric ropes, zapping you of whatever will remains in your bruised and battered body. But similar to Billy Kane, you can do the same…




Those stampeding bulls don’t discriminate. In the words of Richard Vernon (played by Paul Gleason), “Don’t mess with the bull — you’ll get the horns.”




Wolfgang’s elegance and refined taste is on full display here. This is the only boss stage without a background hazard. It’s actually quite fitting and symbolic. Just like Heisenberg, Wolfgang Krauser is the danger and the one who knocks.



When you finally dethrone the bastard, he goes out in dramatic fashion á la The Nature Boy, Ric Flair!


Knocking em into the giant gears is so damn gratifying
So damn gratifying knocking ‘em into the giant gears
Exhibit A: Well-timed duck, bravo! Exhibit B: Someones been skipping Squat Day
Exhibit A: Well-timed duck, bravo!
Exhibit B: Someone’s been skipping Squat Day
Axel Hawk reminds me of King Hippo from Punch-Out
Axel Hawk reminds me of King Hippo from Punch-Out
Ah, such sweet sadistic memories :P
Ah, such sweet sadistic memories :P
Looks like he messed with the bull
Looks like he messed with the bull
Make that 25 YEARS now! And counting
Make that 25 YEARS now! And counting
I like how it borrowed inspiration from World Heroes
I like how it borrowed inspiration from World Heroes
Talk about a hilarious sight gag





Besides the boss code, what was a guaranteed staple of fighting games from the early ’90s? If you said the obligatory bonus stage, bingo! Fatal Fury 2 has two. The first appears after Round 4 and the second after Round 8.

Would have been ho-hum without the plane system
Would have been meh without the two planes
Love making it just in the nick of time
Love making it just in the nick of time
Second one is similar, just swapped out with bricks
Second one is similar, just swapped out with bricks
Its not Capcoms car, but its not too shabby
It’s not Capcom’s car, but it’s not too shabby


In the wrestling biz that's known as great selling
In the wrestling biz that’s known as great selling
Ouch, I guess no Little Bears will be running around
Ouch, I guess no Little Bears will be running around


I love a good ghost story. When I was a kid my uncle would regale us with his tales of terror and all things that go bump in the night. He spoke in a way that evoked haunting images in my soul, sending a wave of shivers up and down my spine. You’ve probably heard various stories about the Boogeyman or the Wendigo, but have you ever heard the story of The Lady With No Feet?

Beware of The Woman With No Feet...
Beware of The Lady With No Feet…

In Korea there is an infamous legend of a ghost woman and her two young ghost children wandering the streets in desperate search of the woman’s husband. Thousands of eye witnesses over the years have claimed to see them passing by on dark cold nights. The legend goes, the mom has walked so much that her feet fell off!


One anonymous man had this to say, “One night I was walking home per usual. Suddenly I felt a blast of cold air devouring me. I gazed up and there she was. I asked if she needed help but then I looked down and saw she had no feet. Frozen in terror, I watched in horror as she proceeded to float right through me. As she passed by I heard the awful wailing of “WHERE ARE YOU, MY LOVE?” Her two children skipped around me singing a lullaby, emotionless. By the time I turned around they were all gone. Vanished. Without a trace. And ever since that night I have never walked that path again… the Lady With No Feet is still out there… somewhere in the darkness. She’s watching… waiting… right behind you…”

WHOA... maybe Kim is the missing father!?
WHOA… maybe Kim is the missing father!?
Missing his foot, too! Is this how the missing dad died?!
Missing his foot too! Is this how the missing dad died?
Paper screens in Jubei's stage offers plenty of hi-jinx
Paper screens in Jubei’s stage offers plenty of hi-jinx
Hard to believe that film was almost 20 years ago!
Hard to believe that film was almost 20 years ago!
WHAT?! I would *never* do anything juvenile
WHAT?! I would *never* do anything juvenile
[Of course. Jubei... more like Pee-wee M I RITE -Ed.]
[Of course. Jubei… more like Pee-wee M I RITE -Ed.]
Press X, A, R -- oops... Ryo was in Fatal Fury Special
Hmm, where have I seen and heard this before?
Ah, right
Ah, right



Instead of your standard gaming advertisement to promote Fatal Fury 2, Takara ran a rather clever promo. They offered free miniature one inch Fatal Fury 2 action figures. It was a brilliant piece of business. Or maybe it was just Takara’s little way of saying sorry for the first Fatal Fury port. At any rate, I absolutely ate this up as a 10 year old kid at the time. I waited 2-4 weeks for my random action figure to arrive. In the meantime I was even more hyped for the pending arrival of Fatal Fury 2. So it worked like gangbusters. Genius marketing by Takara!

Those 2-4 weeks were also spent wondering who Id get
Those 2-4 weeks were also spent wondering who I’d get

You didn’t know which of the 12 fighters you were going to get so that added to the excitement. To this day I wonder how many of these little bastards were made and how many are in homes today — relics kept from one’s childhood. I’m curious to see what the rest of the figures look like. From the four I’ve seen, the detail on these small figures were actually quite phenomenal especially considering they were free (more or less, not counting the two 29 cent stamps required).

Stamps in 2019: 55 cents. Stamps in 1994: 29 cents
Stamps in 2019: 55 cents. Stamps in 1994: 29 cents

I wanted Andy Bogard of course. My brother said if I got Terry that it would be his to keep. What a punk. It turned out to be a moot point in the end as a blue Wolfgang Krauser greeted me in my mailbox roughly a month later. I had the little guy for the next 7 years until I traded him away in a package deal along with Golden Axe: The Duel for the rights to Street Fighter Collection (Sega Saturn) via GameTZ on December 31, 2001. Damn, that was eons ago. I kind of wish now that I had kept the little blue guy. Oh well.

One day before 2002. Damn, feels like a lifetime ago
One day before 2002. Damn, feels like a lifetime ago
Good times we shared. Bubble baths, long walks, ah [Im not one to judge but er... -Ed.]
Good times we shared. Bubble baths, long walks, ah
[I’m not one to judge but errr… -Ed.]
Great stuff, TAKARA!
Great stuff, TAKARA!


Wil Overton designed the amazing Super Play covers
Wil Overton designed the amazing Super Play covers
Wil's attention to detail was IMPECCABLE
Wil’s attention to detail was IMPECCABLE



Fatal Fury 2 did well with the critics. It earned EGM’s Game of the Month honor in issue #58 (May 1994). EGM gave it scores of 9, 8, 8 and 8. Super Play rated it a respectable 79%. It was arguably the first Neo Geo port on the SNES that garnered praise and recognition for being a faithful and solid translation.





After seeing Fatal Fury 2 earn EGM Game of the Month honors, my brother gave me the go ahead to rent it as soon as possible. As my brother and I booted it up, I could feel a certain unspoken level of trepidation between the both of us. I think part of us, despite the rave review from EGM, still expected the worst. That’s how bad the first Fatal Fury port was — we were scarred. But I’m very happy to say the sequel passed with flying colors. SNES owners finally had a Fatal Fury worth playing on their Super Nintendo.


25 years ago I viewed Fatal Fury 2 highly. 25 years later I still think it holds its own quite well. Graphically it captured the essence of its arcade brethren. Visuals are lush, vibrant and colorful. Some desperation moves, such as Joe Higashi’s towering tornado which goes from top to bottom, are a sight to behold. Control wise, while it doesn’t have the perfect control of Street Fighter II, it’s fairly precise. Sure, the music and sound could be a bit better but it plays well, thus making combat easy and fun to play. The boss code is the icing on an already well made cake. Adding 4 new fighters to the fray made Fatal Fury 2 a serious contender and one that fighting game fans could truly sink their teeth into.


With 12 fighters to pick from, a unique two plane battle system, memorable backgrounds, and plenty of cool special moves and devastating super specials, Fatal Fury 2 is quite the package. I liked it a lot back then and I still like it now. Although long gone are the days where one had to rely on the Super Nintendo for their Neo Geo fix, it doesn’t change the fact that this was a very competent port for its time. Fatal Fury 2 proved that not all hope was lost when these arcade monsters were ported over to the SNES, and that the possibility of capturing the essence and spirit of the arcade original was feasible.


I still throw Fatal Fury 2 in my SNES for a few rounds every now and again. The SNES controller’s six button layout allows me to experience the game in a way different from the arcade, which earns the SNES port major cookie points with me. You also had some awesome home bonuses like the Elimination Mode, handicap levels and of course the boss code, which made it feel more like Fatal Fury 2½. It’s just a great effort all around, and one that made me forgive TAKARA for the atrocity that was the first Fatal Fury port. And that’s saying a lot!

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8.5
Longevity: 8.5

Overall: 8.5

Double Silver Award
Double Silver Award





Over the years you might have noticed that I always list the meg count of every SNES game I review. There’s a good reason for that. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated by MEG count. The Neo Geo had some ridiculous 100+ meg games, and as a kid it was always fun to see how big a certain SNES game was. The meg count varied on the Super Nintendo from 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, 24, 32 and 48. For sure, the size of a game does NOT indicate how good it is. Some of the best SNES games are only 4 megs. Some still look great for their lack of megs while others boast a much higher meg count but look far worse. It was just part of the fun back in those days.


20 megs was my favorite of the lot. 20 is a nice round number, and there weren’t many SNES games that were 20 megs. Less than 10. Speaking of 10, 10 MEG games are a close second favorite. There were only a small handful of them. I remember when Final Fight 2 first came out, my friends and I wondered to ourselves, “How many megs? 8 or 16?” Then you read in EGM or GameFan only to find out it was neither. Instead it was 10 MEGS. You couldn’t help but chuckle as 10 was a very uncommon meg count. In homage of those good old days, I make it a point to cite the meg count of each game off the bat! It’s just something I love to do, and I feel it’s all part of preserving the history of the Super Nintendo.

Fatal Fury franchise belongs on Neo Geos Mt. Rushmore
Fatal Fury series belongs on Neo Geo’s Mt. Rushmore
Until we meet again, Bogard brothers!
Until we meet again, Bogard brothers!

King of the Monsters 2 (SNES)

Pub: Takara | Dev: Now | June 1994 | 16 MEGS
Pub: Takara | Dev: Now | June 1994 | 16 MEGS

If there was one thing I loved as much as video games when I was a kid, it was monsters. I was obsessed with Godzilla growing up. Any giant rubber suited monster movie was right up my alley. So combining the two — video games and monsters — was a grand slam for a kid like me. At least, in theory. Execution is entirely another matter. I remember being excited to play Ultraman: Towards The Future. After playing it, Towards The Garbage Bin seems like a more appropriate subtitle. Then came the SNES version of King of the Monsters. I loved the arcade version especially for its tag team bedlam mode. Not only was that gutted from the SNES port but they also scrapped two of the six monsters. 0 for 2 now. Would King of the Monsters 2 be the third strike, or would SNES owners finally get a decent monster game?



My local arcades didn’t carry King of the Monsters 2. I was never able to play it, sadly.


I saw screenshots of it in magazines and it looked awesome.


The new monsters looked great, making me want to play it even more.


Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I searched high, I searched low. Nada. It wasn’t until a fateful Saturday afternoon back in June of 1994 that my best friend Nelson and I ran across the Super Famicom import version of King of the Monsters 2.

It was like witnessing the Holy Grail
Nelson and I nearly crapped our pants


We couldn’t believe that standing before us were the import versions of Fighter’s History, King of the Monsters 2 and Muscle Bomber (Saturday Night Slam Masters). The North American versions were either weeks or even months away from release. Nelson grabbed Fighter’s History and so I had to make a choice between King of the Monsters 2 or Saturday Night Slam Masters. I loved Slam Masters but this was a clear no-brainer to me…

Time to put my great white whale to rest!
Time to put my great white whale to rest at long last!
Featured also in Memoirs of a Virtual Caveman
You can read the rest of the story right here




... an evil alien race crashed the party! Winner takes all!
… an evil alien race crashed the party! Winner takes ALL


On the original site, anyhow :P
On the original site, anyhow :P


DESTROY ALL MONSTERS!! King Famardy awaits...
DESTROY ALL MONSTERS! King Famardy awaits…


Atomic Guy
Atomic Guy
Cyber Woo
Cyber Woo
Super Geon
Super Geon

The roster stands at just three. It’s a little disappointing, considering the original gave you double the choice. Hope you aren’t too attached to the likes of Poison Ghost, Beetlemania and Rocky…




















Before you square off with King Famardy, you must first travel to six different parts of the world to romp and raid. At the end of each short level, there awaits a big and ugly monster for you to fight. Trust me, none of these guys will ever win a beauty contest! I like the cryptic touch of only being shown their silhouettes.



There are a couple bars to pay attention to. Your own, the boss bar and your power bar. When your power bar is fully charged, you can unleash a vicious special attack.


As seen here, each boss gets progressively tougher and tougher. Some of the bars get so long that they can be a little bit intimidating!


Trying to go #2...
Trying to go #2…

Charge your power bar by holding L. You cannot move or attack when charging, so you leave yourself wide open to enemy attack. With two players, it’s a lot easier to have your buddy entertain the boss while you charge, or vice versa. On your own though, you better pick your spots. As the old saying goes, charge wisely.


Just like the first game, grappling is still the main point of attack. Toggle back and forth like a mad man all while cursing and hollering like a raving mad lunatic. Trust me, it’s a lot more fun that way. Unlike the first game, however, here it seems the victor of a grapple isn’t random but actually awarded to the one who toggles faster. Imagine that — what a concept…


New is the ability to block. By simply pressing R, you can thwart the opposition’s blows. It’s a welcomed feature and adds some strategy to the fold, particularly in the 2 player game.


Height: 321 feet tall Weight: 126,000 tons Advantage: Speed
Height: 321 feet tall
Weight: 126,000 tons
Advantage: Speed

Formerly a (mad) scientist, he transformed into Astro Guy during an experiment gone wrong (or right…) when the Monsters first appeared in 1996. The ambitious scientist was looking to discover a way to make the human body immune to radiation. Well shit, look at him now. Surviving the ruckus of the original war, Astro Guy evolved into Atomic Guy. He’s now stronger and faster than ever. Master of lightning, fireballs and fashion!

The Megaton Thunder is my favorite move in the game
The Megaton Thunder is my personal favorite






Electrocute them like there’s no tomorrow!

Suplex City, Bitch
Suplex City, Bitch



Height: 367 feet tall Weight: 132,000 tons Advantage: Power
Height: 367 feet tall
Weight: 132,000 tons
Advantage: Power

Ahh, everyone’s favorite Godzilla knockoff, or at least, mine anyhow. Super Geon doesn’t move as fast as the others but his immense strength more than makes up for his lack of speed. Equipped with sharp spikes, fangs, claws and one very nasty disposition, Super Geon is ready to tear down any obstacle in his way. Looking more like FIN FANG FOOM here than Godzilla, this dragon beast makes the earth quiver with one of his mighty Earthquake leaps.

The Geo Sword is pretty wild
The Geo Sword is pretty wild
But nothing can compare to a little summer BBQ
But nothing can compare to a little summer BBQ


Height: 295 feet tall Weight: 180,000 tons Advantage: Balance
Height: 295 feet tall
Weight: 180,000 tons
Advantage: Balance

Woo underwent the most drastic transformation of all the monsters. An overgrown gorilla in the first game, he is now a lean, mean, fighting machine. No one knows for sure how he came to be in this state, but rumor has it he was assembled by the government as a top secret weapon. Some say the original Woo is dead and that this is something new altogether. Whatever IT is, the very hope of mankind may very well lie in Cyber Woo’s cold, steel hands!

He has the best balance of power and speed
He has the best balance of power and speed








Launching missiles into their ugly faces? Sign me up!

Love the simplicity of the Ray Gun
Love the simplicity of the Ray Gun
Huge Frogger: OH SHIT
Huge Frogger: OH SHIT
Cyber Woo: Only *I* get to destroy EARTH!
Cyber Woo: Eat your heart out, MEGATRON!


HUGE FROGGER (American City)
HUGE FROGGER | American City

The entry soldier of King Famardy’s line of defense. Huge Frogger looks like a nasty bugger that might give you fits, but he’s a bit of a wimp. Don’t overlook him though. He can still be slightly formidable thanks to his abilities. These include teleportation, laser beams and razor sharp elbow horns. He’s also got humongous feet and he’s more than happy to use them to smash your face in! He’s far too cocky for his own good, though. Occasionally, he’ll stop to just laugh at you. Be sure to make him regret that foolish decision! After you see his face, you’ll understand why he hides it behind that huge mask.

Good pep talk
Good pep talk
Excuse me, are we in Wisconsin?
Excuse me, are we in Green Bay?

Apparently, Huge Frogger isn’t a huge fan of Brett Favre. He appears for a brief skirmish. However, the wimp will eventually teleport and meet you again at level’s end.

Weirdest name for an enemy I've seen in a while!
Weirdest name for an enemy I’ve seen in a while!



Y'kno what they say about big feet
Y’kno what they say about big feet…
A face only a mother could love
A face only a blind mother could love
NO! I wanted frog legs!
No frog legs for me :(
EIFFLELYTE | French City
EIFFLELYTE | French City

Great original city names so far, eh? This guy is quite a piece of work. His face is a disgusting tissue-y mass that has a parasitic alien brain sucking on it. He’s gifted with freaky strength. He’ll lift you high and pound you into the ground several times over before you can scream GODZELLER. Thanks to his ability of being able to stretch his limbs, he can strike from almost any distance. Once defeated, his blob-like brain will detach from the body for a desperate final battle!

Did you NOT learn from Godzilla 1985?
Someone didn’t learn from last time…
Godzilla 1985 AKA Return of Godzilla
Gotta love the Super X clone
Gotta love the Super X clone
King of the Monsters 2 brings you right back!
King of the Monsters 2 brings you right back!
Godzilla: Don't even try it, pal
Godzilla: Don’t even try it, pal
We all know how this turns out...
We all know how this turns out…
Where do you think Gen-An came from?
And I thought Gen-An was ugly!

[It was Steve. Yup, totally Steve. All Steve -Ed.]
[It was Steve. Yup, totally Steve. All Steve -Ed.]

Gotta love the Eiffle Tower in the back there
Gotta love the Eiffel Tower in the back there
Love the cheesiness of this game
Love the cheesiness of this game
He's the Dhalsim of monsters
He’s the Dhalsim of monsters
What a freaky abomination
What a freaky abomination





Dhalsim but with the strength of Zangief… on steroids!

Godzilla never faced a foe like this before!
I don’t even want to imagine the smell
Super Geon, YOU FREAK!
Super Geon, YOU FREAK!
Damn, I guess we're just all freaks in the end
Damn, I guess we’re all just freaks in the end



It ain't over yet...
It ain’t over yet…
CLAWHEAD | Grand Canyon
CLAWHEAD | Grand Canyon

Bogun. Freaking Bogun from Ultraman. That’s the first thought I had when I saw Clawhead. What a grotesque creature. Hands for feet, creepy eyes tucked inside the mouth (which is bizarrely placed at the bottom), a pair of killer horns and two faces that could give Freddy Krueger nightmres! This two-headed menace guards the Grand Canyon with malice. What exactly is lurking in that hideous mouth beyond those eyes? Pray that you won’t have to find out…

Bogun. Uncanny resemblance...
Uncanny resemblance…
This excellent artwork comes from Hawanja
This excellent artwork comes from Hawanja




Shake it loose
Shake it loose
Now you can chuck it
Now you can chuck it



So this stage is called Grand Canyon, but Mount Rushmore is in South Dakota. Last I checked, I’m pretty sure the Grand Canyon is still located in Arizona. WTF were y’all doing, SNK? Or rather, what were y’all smoking…

Someone's been hitting the gym
Someone’s been hitting the gym


It's really not TOO far off
It’s really not TOO far off…

Let’s see… American City, French City… yup, by stage four they clearly said “f*ck it.” That’s why we now come to… DESERT. Remember the messenger from earlier? The brain that spewed all those threatening messages but then always scurried away? It now takes a stand. And to help it take that stand, it employs the hideous body of one, Beetle Master. Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would like a word with you, good sir. Oh, and whatever you do, DON’T say his name at night three times. Or else he’ll appear out of thin air to eat you whole. You’ve been warned…


Tap the A button madly to recover
Tap the A button madly to recover in time
Or else...
Or else…
I don't think we're in Kansas anymore
I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore


This pic was made around the 2008 Olympics :P
This pic was made around the 2008 Olympics :P
Oh yeah, well, we shall see about that, Krang!
Oh yeah? Well, we shall see about that, Krang!


Screw Bacon! I'm the one that stuck around!
Screw Bacon! I’m the one that stuck around!
Just when you thought it was safe to go to the desert
Just when you thought it was safe to go to the desert
You gonna kiss me or fight me, huh?
You gonna kiss me or fight me, huh?


Beetle's got some tricks
Beetle’s got some tricks
Talk about using your head
Talk about using your head
Always makes me wince
Always makes me wince
What goes down...
What goes down…
... must come back up [Uh, I don't think that's it -Ed.]
… must come back up

[Uh, I don’t think that’s how it goes -Ed.]

This remind you of another SNK property?
Shades of Hwa Jai
Fatal Fury (SNK, 1991)
Fatal Fury (SNK, 1991)
Fighting til the bitter end
Fighting until the bitter end

While none of the monsters will be winning any sort of beauty contest, Sack Eyes truly takes the cake. He is one repulsive bastard. He’s also tougher than a two dollar steak. If his looks don’t kill you, his deadly repertoire will. His squalid face is the stuff nightmares are made of, and that throbbing red blob-like substance around his neck is every bit as dangerous as it is unnerving…




Again, these pics were made around 2008 Olympics
Um, pal…
I hope Super Geon can swim like Michael Phelps!
I hope Super Geon can swim like Michael Phelps!
Rip the base apart to find goodies
Rip the base apart to find goodies
Hmmm, I wonder what's under that rock...
Hmmm, I wonder what’s under that rock…
What a shocker
What a shocker
OUCH! No more baby Geons...
OUCH! No more baby Geons…
Nope, never seen this before
Nope, never seen this before
Oh yeah, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (Toho, 1995)
This did come out King of the Monsters 2, though
King of the Monsters 2 came out in 1992, mind you
LAVICUS | Lava Zone
LAVICUS | Lava Zone

Meet King Famardy’s right-hand man, er, monster. Lavicus is tougher than nails. As the last line of defense, anything less would be disappointing. He’s not so bad with two players. But by your lonesome? Good luck. Just how tough is he? There is NO stage. You just fight him right away. The developers must have thought, “Why delay the inevitable ass-whupping? Let’s just feed them to Lavicus.” Best to get it over with, then.


Lavicus’ Lava Zone is rather lovely. It’s simple but therein lies its wicked effectiveness. The lava flows as the monsters duke it out. Jump up on the hill if that’s your thing, or settle the score right there in the bright scorching molten lava.

More great art from Hawanja
More great art from Hawanja


The fire hurts, but not the lava. Only in video games!
The fire hurts but not the lava. Only in video games!

Congrats! You’ve made it to the last stage. Fatter than Santa but not nearly as jolly, King Famardy is a sight for sore eyes. He moves a lot faster than one might anticipate, and he comes equipped with a host of tools from which he can use to decimate you. Kill him and the world is yours to rule as King of the Monsters.



[What, no dig at Beijing this time? -Ed.]
[What, no dig at Beijing this time? -Ed.]
Famardy after this? HA! You wish
Famardy after this? HA! You wish, son
Thank goodness for small favors
Thank goodness for small favors

Thankfully, in-between each victory you’re given a supply of power-ups and such. Little L’s are for small health gain, large L’s for moderate health gain, P’s for leveling up, and if you’re lucky enough, the odd 1-UP will crop up here and there. However, one small catch. There’s only enough time to grab two, so pick the best ones. With two players, each player nabs two.

Here comes the king
Here comes the king
What great detail on the back there
What great detail on the back there

If you thought his front side was fugly, you ought to see his back side! I love the intricate details here, especially the scales. Check out the feet protruding from Famardy’s back. That should warrant a visit to his local alien doctor, one would think.

[How my mother-in-law get in this game? -Ed.]
Someone could use a Tic-Tac
Aw, is the "king" scared of a little wittle roar?
Aw, is the “king” scared of a little, wittle roar?
He already got hit with the ugly stick
He got hit with the ugly stick long before this
Get a room, you two!
Get a room, you two!
Actually, this doesn't look all that consensual...
Actually, this doesn’t look all that consensual…
If this happens, it's nighty night
If this happens, it’s nighty night







They look like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!
They look like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!


If successful, you're blown sky high
If successful, you’re blown sky high




On the other hand, IF you lose...
On the other hand, IF you lose…


[Shoot, imagine if Trump is ever President. Oh... -Ed.]
[Shoot, imagine if Trump is ever President. Oh… -Ed.]


It's a gooey mess when you die
It’s a gooey mess when you die



First, if you’re browsing this on a desktop or laptop, click on the music video and follow along with the text-embedded pictures below.









It’s always times like these
When I think of you
And I wonder
If you ever
Think of meeee
Cause everything’s so wrong
And I don’t belon –

Um, ahem. The real ending, then…


Still waiting on King of the Monsters 3 :(
Still waiting on King of the Monsters 3 :(



While I still miss the tornado tag team feature from the first game, I have to say it’s still a blast to team up with a buddy to take out the computer alien bosses one at a time. It’s a 2-on-1 handicap match essentially, and I cannot think of another SNES game that operates like such. Even beat ‘em up bosses tend to throw lesser henchmen at you, while this is strictly a 2-on-1 affair. It really makes playing King of the Monsters 2 unlike any other SNES experience.

It's all about that 2 Player mode
It’s all about that 2 player mode

Playing with a buddy also lends a certain strategy you don’t get when playing alone. It’s a short game but it’s pretty damn fun with two while it lasts. My favorite strategy is charging my power bar and then having my friend block while I attack from behind with my charged up special move. All is fair in love and war! Too bad though there isn’t an option for you and a friend to take on two alien bosses at a time. The three options are: 1P vs. CPU, 1P and 2P vs. CPU or the ho-hum 1P vs. 2P mode, where it’s just you and a buddy trying to win 3 out of 5. Unfortunately, you can’t control the alien boss monsters in this mode, which was a wasted opportunity.

Show 'em who's boss!
Show ‘em who’s boss!


A completely different change in gameplay!
A completely different change in gameplay!

The Sega Genesis version of King of the Monsters 2 is radically different from the SNES version. While the SNES port mimics the arcade game, the Genesis version opted to go the Street Fighter II route. It is strictly a 1-on-1 fighting game, but instead of a single plane, players are allowed to use the entire screen. It’s actually what I envisioned my own childhood game, MONSTER FIGHTER, to be back in the early ’90s. A blend of King of the Monsters meets Street Fighter II. The Genesis version received pretty solid reviews. Some people liked the fact that it cut out the side-scrolling beat ‘em up sections and got straight down to the action. If nothing else, it’s an interesting footnote in the history of the King of the Monsters series.

Best of all, you can use the bad guys
Best of all, you can use the bad guys


The ad was SO cheesy :D
The ad was SO cheesy :D



I remember doing this and getting my free King of the Monsters 2 key chain back in the day. Too bad I lost it. But yeah, these freebie give away prizes Takara used to do back in the ’90s was awesome.



Throughout the annals of history, there have been some great philosophical questions posed.

“What came first: the chicken or the egg?”

“To BE, or NOT to be?”

“How much wood can a woodchuck chuck…
if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

And then, on July 7, 2008, a five year old student of mine asked me one of life’s greatest questions:


But let me back up the DeLorean a bit here. In college I studied to become a teacher, with a minor in Theatre Arts. Wherever I could, I implemented drama into my presentations and public speeches. I was in a Humanities class in 2006 and after one of my dramatic presentations this is what my professor wrote on our class’ online message board:





I didnt know about print screen back then :P
I didn’t know about print screen back then :P

In the summer of 2008, I found myself teaching a public speaking camp to a group of five and six years old. On my first day of class, I began by introducing myself and asking my students to share some basic info about themselves. I’ll never forget these two twin boys. They were five and when their turn to speak came, they said they loved video games.

“And what is your favorite game?” I asked.


I almost fell over. The next day was Show and Tell. Guess what the twin boys brought to the party?

HOLY SHIT (yes, this is the actual shot from 2008)

During break time, they were telling me all about their favorite monsters from the game. One of the twins was describing Cyber Woo to me and at one point he stopped. “Mr. Steve, who is the robot monkey?” I couldn’t help but laugh as I answered his thought-provoking question. Damn, it’s hard to believe it’s almost been 10 years since I taught that summer camp. Jeez, those twins are now 14 and in high school! I feel old now.

You could say I was shocked
You could say I was shocked

Later that day, I asked one of the twins who his least favorite monster was. He said Atomic Guy because “he’s weak and this little kick is all he can do.” Then the kid actually replicated the kick to a tee right in front of me, TWICE. It scared me how flawless his form was! It just goes to show you how genuine and real their passion for King of the Monsters 2 was. They restored my faith in humanity! :P

Baron demonstrated the wimpy kick on cue
He demonstrated the weak kick on cue



The SNES translation didn’t win any awards or anything, but critics agreed it was a great port considering the hardware limitations of the 16-bit SNES compared to the mega arcade power that was the Neo Geo. EGM gave it scores of 7, 7, 7 and 8. Super Play rated it 74%. It’s definitely one of the better arcade to SNES translations ever made.



That Saturday June afternoon of 1994 saw a dream of mine realized when I finally got to play King of the Monsters 2. I’m not quite sure if I liked it more than the first one but I know I had a blast playing it with my best friend, Nelson. And that’s what video games are all about. King of the Monsters 2 is filled to the brim with bright and bold colors. At times it is a visual feast. One look at the game and you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it’s a Super Nintendo game circa 1994. The monsters animate well, look terrifying and the special moves are a treat to behold. Atomic Guy’s Megaton Thunder, for instance, really lights up the screen. The giant monsters are intricately detailed as are the stages you wreck. It is this believability of the behemoths that makes the game work and also makes it fun.


Of course, there’s more to a good game than great visuals. As for the sound, King of the Monsters 2 has some solid rocking tunes which really help add to the whole B-Movie feel of the game. Sound effects are a bit hit and miss, though. Some are out of place or oddly missing altogether. Where’s the sound when my guy is crushing small buildings? What’s up with the fact that jumping on water sounds the same as when I’m jumping on the ground? So with the good comes some bad.


As for the gameplay, it’s a lot more sound than the original. This time, it really feels like the person who toggles the D-Pad faster actually wins. I do miss the tornado tag team mode, but I welcome the ability to block as well as the mode where you and a buddy tackle the alien bosses one at a time. Having only three monsters to select from is kind of lame, but on the bright side, unlike the original, their grapple moves are exclusively theirs. Only Atomic Guy can perform a front suplex while Super Geon makes good use of the spikes on his back like only he can. He heaves his foe five hundred feet in the air before the poor victim comes crashing down on a bed of nails. Ouch! Or Atomic Guy shocking the shit out of fools.

Beautiful artwork by Hawanja!
More beautiful artwork by Hawanja

I also like how you have to march through each unique stage before fighting the boss. These little beat ‘em up sections range from cities to Grand Canyons to even an underwater sea bed where a mutated aqua slug resides. The stages are kept short too because the main focus here of course is on the seven boss monsters. The minor enemies you deal with as you romp through each level present minimal threat, but it’s still a blast to strike down foul land sharks, wretched one-eyed freekazoids and what have you. And of course, along the way there are various power-ups as well as bad ones, like the BOMB icon (to keep you on your toes), the Power Down icon, and the Roulette where you’re taking a chance with whatever icon the game decides to give you.

Let the wild rumpus start!
Let the wild rumpus start!

No one will ever mistake King of the Monsters 2 as one of Super Nintendo’s very best, but it serves its niche well as a creature feature. SNES fans got the shaft with the original but here is a bit of redemption. Yeah, the game is incredibly short, and there’s only a scant three monsters from which to use, but man is it fun playing with a like-minded friend. It’s hard to believe it’s now been 23 summers since that fateful June day that Nelson and I shitted our pants seeing the import version of this game sitting high and pretty on the top shelf over at Game Hunter. The exuberance surging through our ten year old bodies and the sheer thrill of finding this unexpected gem before us was the perfect way to kick off one of the last great summers of my childhood. I guess I’ll always remember King of the Monsters 2 most of all for that innocent summer day in June of 1994. I’m also happy to say that it’s a pretty solid little 2 player romp. If you love your wanton monster mayhem, then don’t miss out on King of the Monsters 2.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 7
Longevity: 6

Overall: 7.0


World Heroes 2 (SNES)

Pub: Takara | Dev: Saurus | September 1994 | 24 MEGS
Pub: Takara | Dev: Saurus | September 1994 | 24 MEGS

Yesterday marked 25 years since the original World Heroes hit arcades worldwide. Released on July 28, 1992, World Heroes was one of the earliest Street Fighter II competitors on the scene. At best, it was viewed as an amusing alternative but ultimately fell way short of challenging Street Fighter II. Exactly 10 months later, ADK released World Heroes 2 on April 28, 1993. Six new fighters were added to the fray, boosting the roster count to a whopping 14! Keep in mind this was a good six months before Super Street Fighter II came along with its massive lineup of 16 fighters. World Heroes 2 was a huge improvement on the original game. I loved it in the arcades and started counting down the days until the inevitable Super Nintendo release…



Was it really 25 summers ago that I poured hundreds of quarters into this silly little fighting game? Wow, 25 years. I became a fan from day one. While I loved and respected Street Fighter II, there was something about World Heroes that clicked and resonated with me. Maybe because it was an underdog, or maybe it was the cheese and violent dark humor. Whatever it was, the summer of ’92 was awesome. Lines for Street Fighter II: Champion Edition ran out the door, leaving me to enjoy World Heroes without any waiting or fanfare. My bro bought Street Fighter II for the SNES that same month. So I would play Street Fighter II at home and World Heroes at the arcade. What a freaking sweet summer. 25 years… damn.

Neo Geo Nook!
Neo Geo Nook!

May 1993. It started out as just another innocent night. Accompanying my dad to the local Safeway grocery store, my old man would buy the goodies as I would be off in the corner playing on the one arcade machine they carried — a Neo Geo MVS. Throughout the early ’90s, that spot in the corner was mine. It was there that I played King of the Monsters, Super Baseball 2020, Sengoku and World Heroes more times than I can count. On that night I was hoping to get another solid 10-15 minutes in with World Heroes. With several quarters in my pocket courtesy of my generous pop, I was good to go. I strolled over to that infamous Neo Geo nook. Looked up at the panel where they display the four Neo Geo games, hoping to see World Heroes once again.

But there was no World Heroes.

My jaw dropped when I instead saw World Heroes 2. HOLY SHIT. At the time I had *NO* idea a sequel was even in the works. It totally caught me by surprise! Then I saw the demo. I had to once again pick up my jaw off from the floor.


The star of the first game, Hanzou, was surveying the new challengers. What a brilliant way to introduce the new cast to your audience. It seemed so larger than life that it absolutely freaking blew me away.


Dramatically, the scene would shift back and forth from a close-up of Hanzou’s grill staring down the new fighters and then switch back to the new cast as seen from Hanzou’s point of view.


The speed of the shifting began picking up as we scrolled through the new lineup of contenders. It ended by taking us to the WORLD HEROES 2 title screen. It was the greatest intro I had ever seen up to that point. I was so hyped! The new fighters looked so cool, especially that voodoo man and the pirate. Even the small touch of those ominous clouds was awesome!

Nowadays that intro may seem a bit tame. But back in mid 1993, as a nine year old kid who had no idea a sequel was even in the works, this was a gawd damn work of art.

So many choices...
So many choices…

I remember hoping that my dad would never come back! I even watched the intro twice. Then I dug into my pocket to fish out a quarter. I was overwhelmed by the choice of 14 fighters, but ultimately went with Mudman. I always had a thing for outcasts and weird fighters so Mudman became my guy. I managed to get by Shura before getting my ass kicked by the evil pirate, Captain Kidd. I played until my dad called me over. He had to pry me away from the machine. It was like crack to a kid. I remember thinking two things as I was leaving Safeway that night… 1). I can’t wait to play more and 2). I can’t wait for that inevitable glorious SNES release!


Fast forward a year. It’s now mid 1994. One night I was at The Wherehouse with my dad to rent a game for my brother. As my dad was checking out the game, I thumbed through the new GameFan magazine they had sitting on the rack. Imagine my ecstasy when I saw the World Heroes 2 preview! I even let out a small cheer under my breath. My wish from one year ago is finally coming true. Soon, I’d be able to play World Heroes 2 from the comfort of my own living room :)


GameFan was the shit back in the day. Their layouts were legendary. Their World Heroes 2 preview made it look like such an elite game. I was thrilled to see their hype for the game. It was the opening preview in the Planet SNES section. Guess which game was second… Super Metroid! Everything about it blew me away. 1). It was finally coming out on the SNES. 2). It beat out Super Metroid for opening preview and 3). GameFan’s ringing endorsement made World Heroes 2 look like a BIG deal. I studied that two page preview for 10 minutes and held my dad up, pleading with him that he had to buy this game later that summer. The old man was nice enough to humor me.

The hype train rolled on
The hype train rolled on

A couple months later GameFan ran another piece on it. I recall reading through this once again at The Wherehouse and eagerly shoving the magazine preview into my dad’s face. As great as the summer of 1992 was, the summer of ’94 was even bigger. I had just finished 5th grade, it was the best year of my childhood, my best friend Nelson and I were thick as thieves, the SNES was at its peak, and so was the bond between me and my out of town gaming crew. Now we had a whole summer before us to enjoy all these wonderful things. I remember Nelson and I spent a large chunk of our time playing World Heroes on SNES that summer as a way to prep ourselves for the sequel. It was simply a great time to be a kid.

Yes, this is my actual Takara card!
Yes, this is my actual Takara card!

To prep myself even more, I joined the Takara Masters Game Club. I wanted any insider news I could get on World Heroes 2 and all other future Neo Geo SNES ports. The bottom of the card states, “The bearer of this Takara Masters seal is a unique and praiseworthy gamer. Anyone who presents this card should be shown the utmost respect and offered all the privileges due to a game player supremo.” That shit always cracked me up.

Back side of the Takara Club card
Back side of the Takara Club card

I called Takara one day in the summer of 1994 to specifically inquire if the arcade intro would be included in the SNES port. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, I finally hung up. It saddened me a bit when I first fired up the SNES port and found the intro missing. Hey, there’s only so much from a 146 MEG arcade game that you can cram into a 24 MEG Super Nintendo cartridge!

[Don't forget us! -Saurus]
[Don’t forget us! -Saurus]
1994 was indeed a banner year thanks to hits like this
1994 was indeed a banner year thanks to hits like this
It had WAY MORE features than the arcade
It had WAY MORE features than the arcade
To be specific, this is for the Death Match
To be specific, this is for the Death Match

FUN TIP: If you choose seesaw for life gauge and you play the 2 player mode under Normal Match, it can serve as sort of a Practice Mode ;)


New to this sequel is the ability to send an opponent’s projectile back at them by blocking at the last possible second. This can go back and forth several times until the projectile disappears into thin air.


I never liked this change all that much. It prevents you from advancing after a slow fireball. On the bright side, it gave fighters without a fireball more of a fighting chance. It added extra balance to the roster, making guys like Muscle Power and J. Carn more formidable.



Each fighter has six colors to choose from. This is exclusive to the SNES port. Great job, Saurus! Some of the new colors are even better than the original colors… while others are a bit more… ahem, bizarre. More on that later.

Not only do outfit colors change but some special moves match the color of your costume! For example, take a look at Hanzou and Fuuma’s Dragon Uppercuts below.



















Having six costume color choices is awesome, sure. But it’s made even more awesome when some of the fighters’ special moves are color coordinated.



















Saurus you crazy bastards, you! :P







Hanzou’s ninja stars even changes colors accordingly! Nice.

He's green with envy [Oh no you dih-ent -Ed.]
He’s green with envy [Oh no you dih-ent -Ed.]
16 fighters. Six colors each. You had a whopping 96 combinations to toy around with. It was all part of the fun and something I wasted hours on back in the day!


Love the way the newbies stare down the originals!
Love the way the newbies stare down the originals!
12 was the biggest number prior to World Heroes 2
Anything more than 12 back then was big
Super Street Fighter II introduced 16
Super Street Fighter II introduced 16 in late ’93

Most fighting game sequels back in the mid ’90s featured two or four new fighters. Not so here. You get SIX. 14 fighters made this the biggest fighting game roster back in April of 1993. It felt like ADK went all out and didn’t hold anything back. This is how you do a sequel right!

Fuuma's eternal rival
Fuuma’s eternal rival


One of my favorite backgrounds, combatants battle in a bamboo forest on a moonlit night. Brown leaves drop from the sky as the warriors scratch and claw for victory. A couple gravestones can be seen to the far right. Hanzou’s parents, perhaps? A nice touch to add mystique and intrigue to this beautifully atmospheric stage.













Master of the Iga Ninja arts, Hanzou can throw a shuriken, or three. His ever reliable Dragon Uppercut and Spinning Blade are back as well. New to his arsenal is the Leg Lariat. It works well as a long range anti-air attack.

Hanzou's eternal rival


Fuuma loves to show off his superior fighting expertise in front of his friends. It’s a nice stage but I do miss his funky monkey pals from the first game.













Fuuma and Hanzou’s moveset began to receive some differentiation here. Fuuma’s Spinning Blade attack now moves in a wild up and down fashion, which perfectly fits his more flamboyant fighting personality. He can also throw opponents in mid-air as well as perform his Dragon Uppercut in mid-air.

The ORIGINAL Bruce Lee clone!
The ORIGINAL Bruce Lee clone!


Like Fuuma, I prefer Dragon’s previous stage. It’s hard to beat fighting in front of a Shaolin Temple after all. On a side note, Dragon was billed from China in the first World Heroes. ADK however changed Dragon’s birth place to Korea starting with World Heroes 2. But somehow the SNES port shows China’s flag instead of Korea’s. In my heart, Dragon will always be Chinese, damnit!













Dragon can still punch fools into oblivion as well as throw them in mid-air. As if that wasn’t enough to convince them NOT to jump, the Dragon Kick will surely make them think twice. His new attack is a nifty lunging kick. Oh, and don’t you love the Incredible Hulk version of Kim Dragon? I know I do. Bruce Banner meets Bruce Lee…

Invisible walls don't hit back
Invisible walls don’t hit back
The Ferocious Leader of the Mongol Empire
The Ferocious Leader of the Mongol Empire


This little backdrop does a great job of evoking memories of all those classic old kung fu flicks you watched as a kid on lazy Sunday afternoons. I almost expect to see Jet Li or Donnie Yen come flying out at any moment…







Sadly, the portly Julius Carn got a bit gypped here. No new special moves to speak of, although he did receive a pretty cool new throw and his Mongolian Dynamite looks better than ever. Still irks me though that it doesn’t set his victims on fire. ADK finally fixed this in the fourth and final game, World Heroes Perfect.

She's a real swinger. Sword swinger, that is
She’s a real swinger. Sword swinger, that is


Travel right back to the 15th century with this great looking stage! Much prefer this over her traveling circus backdrop from the first game.



















Janne’s Aura Bird comes in baby or adult form. I always loved how the World Heroes games changed the size of their projectiles based on the strength of the button pressed. It wasn’t just speed that came into play but size as well. That was pretty unique for its time! Her new move, the Justice Sword, is a solid anti-air attack that can hit up close or from a distance. Again, depending on the button you use. ADK never got credit for giving a single move multiple purposes. The classic standbys are back as well: the Flash Sword (another good anti-air attack) and arguably the most painful looking move in the game, the Sword Hop.

Told 'cha she's a swinger
Told ‘cha she’s a swinger


ADK’s attempt to reduce Muscle Power’s resemblance to Hulk Hogan didn’t stop with the slight alteration in his look. In an effort to further differentiate the two, ADK dropped the wrestling ring in favor of a construction site. Boo! The wrestling ring inside a steel cage suspended high in the air was the perfect over-the-top background for Muscle Power. Oh well. As Hulk Hogan himself would say, “What chu gonna do, brother?!”

Ever saw Hogan hit a dropkick?
Ever saw Hogan hit a dropkick?

The good old Muscle Bomber running elbow is back. His new trick is an impressive leaping dropkick that serves as a pretty decent anti-air attack. Proving you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks. Not sure about that pink hair color, though. Midlife crisis, hmm?

Tornado Break is aptly named
Tornado Breaker is aptly named
Strongest move in the game
Strongest move in the game
Speaking of swingers...
Speaking of swingers…
Round and round he goes
Round and round he goes
Where he stops...
Where he stops…


Indeed I do. After the first World Heroes came out on the SNES in late 1993, my best friend Nelson held a neighborhood tournament. I played a pretty mean Rasputin in those days but decided to branch out and challenge myself. So I selected Muscle Power. Well, I got my ass handed to me pretty hard. I walked home that day thinking to myself over and over, “Just wait ’til World Heroes 2 comes home next year. His new Giant Swing will be the difference maker. Just you bastards wait!” It’s strange the memories we vividly recall, huh? And that’s the beauty of fighting game sequels. Just one new special move could be a game changer, no pun intended. Good times.

Ah, Raspy. You silly bastard you
Ah, if it isn’t ol’ Raspy. You silly bastard you


Some people think the purple building in the back reminds them of the castle from Aladdin. But for me growing up, it looked a lot more like the building seen on the cover of Goosebumps book #25, Attack of the Mutant (November 1994). As a kid I liked to think that R.L. Stine was a huge World Heroes 2 fan and was inspired by Rasputin’s stage when he penned Attack of the Mutant. I know, I was weird… [Was? -Ed.]









Rasputin could enlarge his hands and feet, making him sort of a pseudo-stretch fighter. His classic giant hand crush returns but brand new is the hand swatter. This might be the greatest anti-air attack in the history of fighting games. Certainly back in 1993 and ’94 it was! Simply press strong punch while standing and Rasputin will knock anyone out of the air. It can also attack the opponent while they’re standing. It was a game changer for sure!













Rasputin was a trailblazer. The first World Heroes introduced air projectiles to the genre. Not only is Rasputin’s air fireball back but now he can also perform his Spinning Robe in mid-air.













Being a trailblazer, he didn’t receive just one new special move but rather two completely different moves. The first is the deadly Thunder Ball. It “feels heavy” and hits accordingly so, inflicting more damage than Rasputin’s regular fireball. It also shocks the competition, which is always a fun visual. His second new move is the Cossack Dance, which acts as a bit of an anti-air attack. Speaking of new, a magical glowing aura now surrounds him while standing still. Awesome!

Ah, the first Hero I ever used :)
Ah, the first Hero I ever used :)


A heavy tank comes plowing through the wall early on as the fighters duel to the death. It creates a great war atmosphere. Bonus points for the ominous red skyline as well. Good shit.







Brocken’s extendable limbs give him the best reach in the game. Brand new however is when you press down-diagonal and attack in mid-air, Brocken raises his leg upward instead. It’s nice to have that option to keep opponents honest!



















Brocken can now fire missiles from his kneecap. And he’s still the only fighter that can produce both fiery and electrocuted animations. Always loved that about him. His useless but amusing Flying Torpedo is back for shits and giggles. You can see his classic Hurricane Arm in the last shot there, as well as the wall before the tank comes barreling through.

Controlling the flight is 90% of the fun!
Controlling the flight is 90% of the fun!
The Rowdiest Rebel of the High Seas
The Rowdiest Rebel of the High Seas!


An animated zombie skeleton watches the fight from a large mound of gold. He even loses his head at the end of each round. The gold glitters and glistens. It beckons to the heart of the greedy. A proven distraction, Captain Kidd uses this to his advantage.



















Captain Kidd was the first fighter I can recall to have two different projectiles. And I’m not talking about a cheap high and low Tiger Shot. A shark and a ghost ship?! Blew my mind back in the day! His Shark Upper is a great anti-air deterrent and his Hyper Kick is good at surprising the opposition. Slightly reminiscent of Guile’s Flash Kick, Kidd’s Spiral Kick is a dandy two hit number.


My theory as a kid: ADK couldn’t decide on giving him a shark or a ghost ship. Both fit him perfectly. In the end they didn’t have the heart to scrap either so they said screw it we’re reinventing the rules — who says a fighter can’t have two totally different fireballs? And it’s not just for cosmetic purposes, either. Each one serves a different purpose! The Shark Knuckle is done Sonic Boom style and the jab version allows Kidd to follow up. The Pirate Ship Blast is done Hadoken style (no charging required!) and due to its insane amount of coverage can nullify both low and medium projectiles, making it arguably the greatest projectile ever. It’s no wonder everyone loved Captain Kidd back in the ’90s, even the most ardent of World Heroes critics admitted that he was a great addition to the franchise.

You can get caught in some insane projectile wars!
You can get caught in some insane projectile wars…
The Raging Warrior of the North
The Raging Warrior of the North


I have such fond memories of this stage. I remember seeing this stage first thing upon walking into the arcades with my best friend Nelson. At the time World Heroes 2 and Super Street Fighter II were fighting for arcade supremacy, and I just remember walking into that arcade hall only to be greeted by the soft Norwegian tune and seeing Erik kick the stuffing out of his opponent all over his viking ship. A long line formed behind Super Street Fighter II but World Heroes 2 respectably held its own. It’s just one of those childhood memories that stick with you for some bizarre reason. So anytime I see Erik’s stage or hear that soft Norwegian tune, I’m instantly transported back to that innocent Saturday afternoon at the arcades with my best friend circa late 1993 :)



















Another fighter with a weapon, ADK wasn’t afraid to make up their own rules. I always liked Erik’s mini Tidal Wave projectile. It was the first projectile I remember executed with a kick button as opposed to the traditional punch. Bizarre! Also loved the way it crashed into opponents; hey, a tidal wave is no joke. Erik makes good use of his horns and is the only fighter in the game able to shock and freeze the competition. A fun addition to the roster!

Japan's Teenage Prodigy
Japan’s Teenage Prodigy


Don’t get caught admiring the beautiful cherry blossom trees. If you do, Ryoko will throw you before you can say Bonsai.







Ryoko is a tough target to hit, being so small. Her quick Flip Kicks strike fast and have two variations. One acts more as an anti-air while the other serves as a lunging strike. It all depends on whether you press the light attack buttons or the strong ones. She can bounce off walls and is able to ignite a ball of energy from the palm of her hands.



















Ryoko can throw fools with the best of them. I like how ADK flipped the script here on your typical stereotypes. This big throw is as damaging as Muscle Power’s Tornado Breaker. Probably didn’t expect that from a 16 year old girl, eh?

Muay Thai Master of Mayhem
Muay Thai Master of Mayhem


A rather peculiar stage that perfectly epitomizes how the World Heroes franchise has never taken itself TOO seriously. At first glance it appears to be a normal looking “serious” stage until you notice the monks scurrying in the background. Not only scurrying with their quick feet (an animation that was cut from the SNES port due to lack of storage) but leaping for no reason other than to make you scratch your head and go, “Heh, OK then.” World Heroes wasn’t afraid to mix in some humor but they never overdid it to the point where it became more of a parody (see Clay Fighter). It was this fine balance they struck that really resonated with me.













Shura is a bit on the slow side, which is surprising considering he’s supposedly a “Muay Thai Master of Mayhem.” Especially given his build as well, I always expected him to be faster. Nonetheless, he has two striking attacks that are reminiscent of Balrog. He also has a running jumping fist strike that is a bit awkward and can leave him in a vulnerable state. Speaking of vulnerable, while his Tiger Kick is definitely cool looking, Shura soars to the sky and it takes him a second or two to land. This also leaves him in a vulnerable state. Maybe it’s just me but I kind of felt he was a pseudo-joke character when I was a kid. Not quite on Dan’s level, mind you!













Forget about having two different projectiles, having two anti-air attacks is where it’s at! Eat your heart out, Captain Kidd. Actually, while the Muay Thai Kick is definitely badass looking, it only counts as one hit. It looks like Shura hits them a second time but he doesn’t. It’s the longest animation in the game and doesn’t exactly leave him in a good position following usage of said maneuver. So let’s quickly recap. He’s got two different anti-air special moves, but both are flawed and leave him rather vulnerable. He’s also oddly slow for being a supposed Muay Thai master. All signs point to “joke character,” sadly. Even his ending, which I won’t spoil, treats him as a bit of a joke. Huh. A most curious creation, indeed.

The First and Only Football Fighter
The First and Only Football Fighter


Just when you thought you had seen it all, along comes J. Max AKA Johnny Maximum. A quarterback, he’s most likely based off Joe Montana (one of the greatest QBs the NFL has ever seen). Players fight on a seedy street outside a local bar. Drunken hobos cheer on the mayhem and strut the night away. Many people (myself included for a number of years) mistakenly assume that Takara developed this port. Nope. Saurus did. And they weren’t afraid to include a little sign of self promotion, either!



















Johnny Maximum sold me the first time I witnessed his high and low Pigskin Thunder Shots. A quarterback not afraid to take the hits, his Shoulder Crash shows off his ruggedness. Don’t be so jump happy against him or else the Lightning Tackle will put an end to that. The Head Crash, which sees J. Max burying his head through his opponent (and into the ground even), makes me cringe each time I see it.

Mighty Friend and Ally of the Earth
Mighty Friend and Ally of the Earth


Mudman’s stage is easily one of my all-time favorites. I mean, just look at it. It paints such an atmosphere scene. The dancing natives, the shining stars, that gorgeous evening skyline and the flickering fire all add up to leave a lasting impression. Mudman is such a likable character and the first fighter I used the first time I played World Heroes 2. He’ll always be one of my guys.



















Perhaps the strangest “Shoto” fighter you’ll ever see, I love how Mudman incorporates his Spirit Buddies into the fight. There are two versions. The little shy Spirit Buddy or the streaking bold one. His Mud Gyro is one of my favorite anti-air special moves — I just love the way Mudman looks with his giant mask spinning around like that. The Mud Cutter is one of the most unorthodox looking Hurricane Kick variations I’ve ever seen, which suits him perfectly. One of his throws involves a ring of his Spirit Buddies dancing around the opponent. I’ve always loved that, as well as the way his projectile nullifies another. You get a glimpse at his ugly mug whenever he blocks. Brilliant!







Mudman, what is this? This isn’t the set of Thriller!

Michael Jackson's iconic Thriller
Michael Jackson’s iconic Thriller
The MAD Morphing Man!
The MAD Morphing Man!


He was embarrassed in the first tournament but now he’s back for revenge. This time he battles in front of a captive crowd at a Coliseum in Italy. A massive Geegus statue has been erected. In his mind, there is only one true God to be worshiped and feared…

IT'S MORPHIN' TIME! ... sorry







Geegus can now blow himself up, setting his opponent on fire in the process. The drawback of this new move however is it takes him a few moments to recompose himself which leaves him wide open. This should be used strictly as a last ditch effort.













Geegus is gone so you’ve won the tournament, right? Not so fast! Meet the new final boss, NEO DIO. In the arcade, he was infamous for being one of the cheapest fighting game bosses of all time. Thankfully, Saurus scaled him way down for the SNES port. Mercifully!

The Mysterious Supreme Fighting Machine
The Mysterious Supreme Fighting Machine


Dio arrives in a blaze of glory. Dude sure knows how to make a dramatic entrance! If you think about it, Dio just lowkey committed genocide. The entire crowd of spectators are wiped out in the blink of an eye. Wherever Dio goes, destruction follows. The Geegus statue has been obliterated. There’s only room for one supreme being!













Having a fetish for slicing and dicing, Dio’s Sonic Saber and Gran Saber rips through the competition. The Rolling Smash shows off his graceful agility. Dio doesn’t have a fireball but he can create a static ball of energy that lasts for a couple seconds.


It randomly selects the mode if players don't agree
It randomly selects the mode if players don’t agree
This mode is on fire. Sorry
This mode is on fire. Sorry

The ingenious Death Match is back. Sadly, World Heroes 2 was the last game in the series to feature the Death Match. Unfortunately, the original game had better Death Matches. For example, I loved the ring with the burning ropes in the first game. The sequel had grenades on the ropes instead. It just didn’t look as cool.

See? It's just not the same...
See? It’s just not the same as burning ropes…
Still a hoot, though. Don't get me wrong!
Still a hoot, though. Don’t get me wrong!

Also a shame that ADK’s infamous “Aftershock Effect” is gone. That’s part of what made the first game’s Death Matches so compelling. Few things in gaming match the sheer pleasure of watching a guy get roasted in slow motion even after you’ve dealt the final blow. These are just minor gripes, though. Overall, I’m glad the Death Matches returned even if they’re slightly watered down. Let’s take a closer look at the eight different Death Matches below.

Barbed Wire Bomb Match
Barbed Wire Bomb Match
Spiked Wall Match
Spiked Wall Match
Thunderbolt Match
Thunderbolt Match
Oil Match
Oil Match
Saw Blade Match
Saw Blade Match
Metal Mesh Match (Dawn)
Metal Mesh Match (Dawn)
Metal Mesh Match (Daytime)
Metal Mesh Match (Daytime)
Metal Mesh Match (Dusk)
Metal Mesh Match (Dusk)
Land Mine Match
Land Mine Match









ABSOLUTELY priceless. Poor Shura had to get this stage, eh?


Giving the guy with no fireball the land mine stage? Classic ADK. The new projectile deflection definitely helps, though. I always appreciated the subtle sense of dark humor that these games have.

Haircut Match
Haircut Match



I’ll share a few of my favorites…






Gotta love all the weird Old English words ADK used...
Gotta love all the weird Old English words ADK used













Classic moment courtesy of Capcom's Final Fight
Classic moment courtesy of Capcom’s Final Fight












Maximum’s quite the fine athlete, no? :P








Hanzou and Fuuma have their own specific post match quotes devoted to each other. Did Ryu and Ken have this back in the day? No sir. This rivalry was LEGIT!

One last match to settle the score once and for all...
One last match to settle the score once and for all…


To be continued... of course
To be continued… forever. Of course


The two bosses are available in 2 Player mode
The two bosses are available in 2 Player mode

2 Player mode allows you to use the bosses up front. You now have a whopping 16 fighters to select from. But there’s also a secret code that lets you use the bosses in the regular mode.


Solid cast of weirdos, freaks and badasses!
Solid cast of weirdos, freaks and bad asses!



Poor Dragon
Poor Dragon





Whoa whoa WHOA! Um, let's move on
Whoa whoa WHOA! Um, let’s move on


SURF NINJAS, anyone? [Yeah, no -Ed.]
Ride the wave! SURF NINJAS, anyone? [Yeah, no -Ed.]
Around 2010 I discovered that the SNES beta version of World Heroes 2 differs from the final product. I was blown away because the beta version actually plays more like the arcade. There are some bugs, though. The biggest difference is that combos are easier to do in the beta version. This is where owning some kind of SNES flash cart (like the PowerPak for example) is super handy…

  • Hanzou and Fuuma have different Dragon Uppercuts in the beta version. In fact, they much more accurately represent their arcade forms, whereas in the final version their Dragon Uppercuts are identical. Not to mention, the animation is a bit lackluster. In the beta version, the animation on the Dragon Uppercuts looks much better
  • Game speed in the beta version mirrors arcade speed more
  • It’s possible to chain several jabs together in the beta version. You really can’t do this in the final version. Try Hanzou’s Leg Lariat followed by a Dragon Uppercut. You can pull off this sweet chain in the beta version with the greatest of ease, but you can’t in the final product no matter how hard you try.
  • Unfortunately, Mudman’s Mud Cutter in the beta version in an unfinished move. It works but only the first frame. Also, Geegus’ exploding attack is missing.
  • Endings in beta have slightly different text
  • There is an option to listen to the sound effects and music tracks in the beta version



I love that this game never took itself too seriously. The Death Match was a brilliant feature and lended the first two games a subtle yet satisfying sense of black humor. Wacky fighters like Brocken, Rasputin, Mudman, a towering football titan with red glowing eyes, and a Hulk Hogan knock-off bring a certain level of quirk to the game that I’ve always appreciated.


Yet it’s also really cool how the game does take itself seriously, too. It strikes a good balance between having outlandish characters and more serious ones, such as the rival ninjas, Kim Dragon and that swashbuckling scourge of the High Seas, Captain Kidd. It’s a mix that worked really well in my book.


It held its own against Super Street Fighter II
It held its own against Super Street Fighter II

Similar to how the first World Heroes came out a month after Street Fighter II Turbo on the SNES, World Heroes 2 came out a month or two following Super Street Fighter II. Not exactly the best timing in the world, especially given how World Heroes 2 was in the arcade a good six months before Super Street Fighter II. Nonetheless, the heroes held their own and fared rather well with the critics. EGM crew gave it scores of 6, 7, 8, 8 and 8. GameFan gave it ratings of 80, 80 and 84%. Super Play rated it 80%. Most people agree it was a great port. Sure, it’s missing the intro, some animations, bonus stages, referees and so on, but it really was a fantastic port by 16-bit standards. It’s just a shame it didn’t come out a few months before Super Street Fighter II. That stole a lot of its thunder.


I agree with EGM. Great job, Saurus!
I agree with EGM. Great job, Saurus!
Also missing
Also missing
But no biggie. All in all, an impressive port!
But no biggie. All in all, an impressive port!
Just too bad we didn't the Japanese style box art
Just too bad we didn’t get the Japanese style box art



All the cool SNES extras — speed options, six colors, four button layout and playable bosses — make this game a winner in my book. Saurus did a very good job, although I do wish it were more combo friendly. You can rip off combos in the arcade game pretty easily but it’s very hard to here. The first World Heroes on SNES was way too easy in terms of pulling off dizzying combos, but the sequel goes the opposite end. It’s really my one glaring flaw with this port. Other than that and slightly small sprites, it’s a pretty bang up job. The colors are fairly vibrant and it’s pretty amazing to consider how much of the arcade game’s look they were able to translate to the Super Nintendo. This is as good as anyone probably could have made World Heroes 2 on the SNES to be. The sound is a little weak but the death cries are awesome. The music varies from decent to very good. Some of those tunes I can still hear when I close my eyes.


At 16 fighters and 24 MEGS, World Heroes 2 was one of the biggest fighting games of its time. Yet sadly, World Heroes 2 kind of flew under the radar. In my view, it strikes the perfect balance between being serious and a little silly. Where else can you send Hulk Hogan flying into a spiked wall one moment and the next be swapping projectiles with Joe Montana? It’s cool how each fighter was based off a historical figure. Although it’s a pretty blatant Street Fighter II clone, it also did its fair share of unique things such as the Death Match, air fireballs (Rasputin was the first fighter to have one), throw counters, projectile repelling and so on. An unsung hero of the SNES library, World Heroes 2 is definitely one of the better fighting games on the SNES not named Street Fighter II.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 9
Longevity: 9.5

Award4Overall: 9.0
Gold Award


World Heroes (SNES)

Pub Dev: Sunsoft | September 1993 | 16 MEGS
Pub & Dev: Sunsoft | September 1993 | 16 MEGS

The clock just struck midnight as of this writing. It is now July 28, 2017. That means only one thing to me: World Heroes has officially turned 25 years old. Wow. Released on July 28, 1992, World Heroes was one of the earliest Street Fighter II clones to hit the arcade market. If you don’t know by now, I kind of have a thing for World Heroes. I loved it from day one and have been a fan of the franchise ever since. In fact, when I began posting on video gaming forums in early 2001 I even used a Hanzou avatar. Ask different gamers what their favorite franchise is and you’ll hear your usual suspects: Metroid, Zelda, Castlevania, Street Fighter and so forth. But me? I would be lying if I didn’t cite my (sentimental) favorite of all time is probably indeed World Heroes. I know that sounds crazy but man, 25 YEARS. There’s no better way to honor the milestone than to look back at one of the most underrated arcade to SNES ports of all time.


Neo Geo Nook!
Neo Geo Nook!

I’ll never forget that summer day back in 1992 when my brother came running home and told me all about this hot new arcade game. He said it plays like Street Fighter II but it has crazy “Death Matches” or something. He said there was freaking Hulk Hogan in the game! Of course, being a Hulkamaniac at the time, I was sold. Hell, I was sold at the mention of Street Fighter II.

I instantly became a fan for life
It was love at first sight

I can’t tell you how many quarters I wasted on this game. In fact, while the lines ran long for Street Fighter II, I was more than content playing World Heroes on the opposite end of the store. It was definitely an underdog and that made it even more appealing to me. I’ve always been drawn to the more obscure or less touted games, and World Heroes was no exception. My best friend Nelson and I loved it to death. We loved Street Fighter II too but there was something about World Heroes that we really identified with. When Sunsoft released the SNES port, Nelson was all over that bad boy and we spent so many nights in late 1993 playing the game until the cows came home. Some of my fondest gaming memories came from that fall and winter of 1993 just staying over at Nelson’s and playing World Heroes until our thumbs went numb.







Seeing the title screen scroll on and on as the cheesy tune blared is forever embedded in my soul. ADK developed the arcade game but it was Sunsoft that reprogrammed it for the Super Nintendo. Sunsoft did such an amazing job with the translation and they never got the proper credit for it. But more on that later.







Advantages of having a six button SNES controller, eh? The arcade version had a funky control scheme where you had to tap the buttons to produce a light attack, but press the buttons normally to use a stronger strike. Well, the SNES fixes this and allows you to assign each attack to a specific button. This made playing World Heroes smoother than ever before.

I wrote this 10 years ago exactly. Make that 25, not 15
I wrote this 10 years ago exactly. Make that 25, not 15
Damn right!
Damn right!


5’9″ 152 lbs

Essentially Hanzou is the Ryu of World Heroes lore. Confession time: I always thought he was a lot cooler than Ryu. I mean, the Hadoken is timeless but Hanzou throws ninja stars. NINJA STARS! Ruy’s Dragon Punch is legendary but Hanzou’s version actually has a freaking dragon wrap itself around him! The Hurricane Kick is deadly but what if you added ninja blades on each end? My heart still would go with Hanzou if the two ever met in a fight, even though I know Ryu would beat him because it’s Ryu.


Love this background. Especially how the pigeons fly off at the start.

See? Its the little details!
See? It’s the little details!













Hanzou can throw up to two ninja stars at a time (always thought that was so cool how the projectiles in this game vary whereas the projectiles in Street Fighter II were “static”). He uses his blades to cut deep into his opponent while spinning like the rotor blades of a helicopter. His best special move however is the majestic soaring Dragon Uppercut. It’s easily my favorite special move in the history of fighting games. I was instantly sold when I first saw it back in the summer of 1992.

5’9″ 154 lbs

If Ken were made into a ninja, this is the end result. I love me some Ken but a ninja version of Ken? I’m so there. Fuuma as you might have guessed is Hanzou’s eternal rival. They share a similar moveset (that slowly differentiated as the series went on) but Fuuma is considered the more reckless and flamboyant of the two. You know, just like Ken. His Dragon Uppercut sees a red dragon wrapping itself around his body as opposed to Hanzou’s blue dragon. Did Ryu and Ken have that visual distinction in their Dragon Punches in Street Fighter II? No sir. Just one more reason why I favor these two ninja warriors.


A beautiful mountain (Mt. Fuji?) can be seen in this stage. Monkeys act a fool in the background. A quirky and rather endearing backdrop if I do say so myself.













Fuuma’s ninja star can be big or small depending on the strength of the punch button you use. Nice. He’s also got the same Dragon Spin and Uppercut as Hanzou. Their moveset is identical in this first game but began shifting in the sequel(s) to come.

5’5″ 130 lbs

Long before Fei Long (Super Street Fighter II) and Law (Tekken) there was Kim Dragon! The original Bruce Lee wannabe in fighting games, Dragon strikes hard and strikes fast. His Dragon Kick is easily one of the coolest special moves in fighting game history, right up there with Hanzou and Fuuma’s Dragon Uppercuts. But perhaps most memorable of all are his Bruce Lee-like “HA CHOO!” battle cries.


Duel in front of some monks and youngsters training to be the next Dragon. Love this temple setting — it fits Dragon perfectly.



















Dragon Kick is a thing of beauty. He’s got faster hands than E. Honda and he can even throw your ass in mid-air. They nailed his Bruce Lee mannerisms nicely. He can even bounce off the side of the screen! One of the most underrated fighting game characters ever made.

5’6″ 117 lbs

Honestly, growing up I was never a huge Chun-Li fan. I actually didn’t like using a lot of female fighters. But one of the few exceptions was Janne. Based off 15th century Joan of Arc, Janne was the first female fighter I can remember having a fireball (beating out Sonya Blade from Mortal Kombat by five days). Not only that but she fights with a sword — a FREAKING SWORD! ‘Nuff said.


I used to wonder as a kid, “Why the circus for Janne? What does Joan of Arc have to do with the circus?” Well, years and years later, I found out the Ringling Bros. did a “Joan of Arc at the circus” show in the early 1900s.

Weird but true...
Weird but true…

I love it when a childhood mystery is solved! :)













Janne’s Aura Bird projectiles vary in size and speed depending on the punch button used. Again, I love this quirk about the game. Not many fighting games did the size difference thing, only the speed. Her Flash Sword is a good anti-air attack. Thought Chun-Li’s head stomp was annoying? Imagine a sword slashing you through the skull instead. Yup, Janne was a bad, BAD woman.

5’7″ 265 lbs

Based off the founder and emperor of the Mongolian Empire, Genghis Khan, J. Carn fulfills the E. Honda role. As a kid I used to daydream a lot about a Street Fighter II vs. World Heroes crossover. The rosters were so evenly matched that it’s a shame it never happened. J. Carn wears spiky gloves and has a spiky ball on his shoulder that he reveals during one of his special moves. Though he lacks a projectile, he’s not one to take lightly.


I like the colors of the sky there. Carn’s cronies watch their master dole out the latest beatings here.













Julius Carn doesn’t mess around. His Mongolian Smash hits you with a spiky ball. Pounding his fist into the ground produces the Mongolian Dynamite. (It irks me though that getting hit by this move doesn’t produce a fiery animation). More agile than he looks, he can slide under fireballs and take out his competition.

6’7″ 298 lbs

If you grew up a wrestling fan in the late ’80s then you know all too well who this guy was inspired by. Eat your prayers and train your vitamins (you know the whole spiel), this Hulk Hogan wannabe is the biggest fighter in the game. Hulk Hogan was one of my favorite wrestlers as a kid so I couldn’t help but laugh my ass off the first time I laid eyes on Muscle Power. In the sequels to come ADK made him look less and less like Hulk Hogan so that’s another reason why I’ll always be incredibly nostalgic for the first World Heroes. Muscle Power is in all of his Hulkamaniac glory!


Duke it out in a wrestling ring seemingly suspended high up in the air! The Statue of Liberty can be seen in the background. A steel cage surrounds the combatants of this war zone. Pretty gnarly.

Where have I seen this before?
Where have I seen this before?
Ahhh, mmm hm
Ahhh, mmm hm



















Muscle Bomber shows off his deceptive agility. On a side note, people like to say this game ripped off Capcom so much. Interestingly enough, Capcom made a wrestling game in 1993 that was known as Muscle Bomber in Japan (Saturday Night Slam Masters in North America). I guess what goes around comes around. Speaking of around, the Tornado Breaker is sure to cripple your opponent.

6’1″ 441 lbs

At first glance, he appears to be a ripoff of M. Bison and Inspector Gadget, but he’s actually based off Brocken Jr. from the Kinnikuman anime and manga series. Unlike the other fighters in this game, Brocken is the only one not based off a historical figure. Yes, it might be a stretch to call Hulk Hogan a historical figure but you get the picture. Speaking of stretch, that is one of Brocken’s strengths. As kid I thought he was the ultimate hybrid of M. Bison and Dhalsim. Plus he was the first character I chose when I first played this game so I will forever have a soft spot in my gaming heart for Brocken.

Brocken Jr. from the Kinnikuman series
Brocken Jr. from the Kinnikuman series


This background scrolls vertically, reminding me a lot of Rolento’s stage.

Rolento from Street Fighter Alpha 2
Rolento’s stage from Street Fighter Alpha 2



















Brocken is the only fighter in the game who can set opponents on fire as well as electrocute them. I always loved the animations on these effects so it made me an even bigger Brocken fan. His Hurricane Arm is a solid anti-air attack. Of course, stretching his extendable limbs made him a unique fighter. Hell, ADK even gave him a Bison-like torpedo attack. It was a lot weaker and more of a joke but I love how you can actually control his flight. Fun times with that stupid little move :P

5’11” 150 lbs

It’s pretty obvious who Rasputin was based off of. As the games went on he was made more and more — how should I put this — homosexual, but I like how they played him pretty straight (pardon the pun) in the original game. But you could definitely see there was something different about him! He’s one of my favorite characters from the franchise. I dare say I play a pretty mean Rasputin. I fondly recall beating my friends in a World Heroes tournament back in 1993 using Rasputin. Good times.


I love how you can see mice scurrying across the ground. This is one of those haunting backgrounds that I remember seeing in the arcade over and over again.



















Rasputin couldn’t stretch like Brocken but he is able to slightly enlarge his hands and feet, which made him feel somewhat like a pseudo-stretch fighter. I like the look of his fireball — it’s exactly what I imagine a fireball to look like if I close my eyes and had to imagine one. He’s also the first character in fighting game history that I know of who has an air fireball! His Spinning Robe is definitely silly but points to the fact that World Heroes was never afraid to poke a little fun at itself. It was part of the game’s charm. Finally, who could forget his classic giant yellow hand crush? That visual is seared into my memory bank even 25 years later!


Damn Doc Brown, so that's how you get down
Damn Doc Brown, so that’s how you get down
But of course...
But of course…
Oh shit
Oh shit
Hey, he did technically beat Shang Tsung by five days!
Hey, he did technically beat Shang Tsung by five days
Mortal Kombat came out on August 2, 1992
Mortal Kombat came out on August 2, 1992







Geegus fights in some sort of spacecraft that overlooks earth. He was based off the T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

The best summer blockbuster of 1991, or ever
The best summer blockbuster of 1991, or ever







Geegus melts into a pile of liquid-y goo after a one round defeat.







Morphing into the other fighters, he’s able to recreate any of their special moves. I love how when you beat him the crystals in the background explode into tiny little pieces.







Geegus implodes at the end. He’ll be back for the sequel…













Hmmm, now where have I seen this before?













Seriously? Those ADK lads had no shame!







Laziest ending for a fighter belongs to Brocken. “Gee, I didn’t even work up a sweat!” I bet the programmer who made this laughed thinking the same!







Fuuma’s ending pissed me off as a kid, I recall. It made me question if it was a dream all along. No, damnit, FUUMA IS FOR REAL! Ahem, sorry.

The sequel thankfully treated Fuuma as real
The sequel thankfully treated Fuuma as “real”
And we start to see the "cracks" with Rasputin...
And we start to see the “cracks” with Rasputin…


Battle a giant boulder?
Battle a giant boulder?
That turns into Arnold?!
That turns into Arnold?!
Uh, OK then...
Uh, OK then…


This is what set it apart from the rest of the clones
Damn right!

Besides the odd bits of humor and the fighters largely based off of historical figures, what made World Heroes stood out to me as a kid were its Death Matches. My brother wasn’t lying when he called them crazy. You can fight in the regular mode (regular stages with no hazards) or you can duel to the death in the Death Match (combatants are dropped in a wrestling ring with various hazards). This is where dark humor comes into play and made World Heroes such a blast, pardon the pun… ;)










For the victim, yes. But to the victor goes the spoils
For the victim, yes. But to the victor goes the spoils


They all have their various hazards and most of these stages have hazards that can inflict extra damage to the fighters. Only the straight up Butter Match (it’s just slippery) and the Hair Match do not cause extra damage. The Hair Match is a hoot because you get to see your defeated opponent shaved bald post-match!

























Insult added to injury! The Hair Match is a classic representation of the dark humor that World Heroes has in spades. It gave you that extra jolt to trash trash your brother and friends. Made for some damn great times.







Sending your opponent into the hazard to shave off extra health always felt so damn satisfying. Best of all is the “Aftershock Effect.” Beat an opponent and watch him fly into the electric ropes post-match complete with slow motion! It’s a thing of beauty that was sadly removed from the sequel (the Aftershock Effect).







Brocken was the best to use in Death Matches because you can set them on fire right before they get electrocuted. Hey, it’s all about the small pleasures in life.







Certain moves should be avoided in the Death Match unless you have enough room. Way to go, Fuuma.













Whoever designated the Mine Match to Muscle Power was effin’ brilliant. He’s got no projectile and he’s a bit of a lumbering brute. Just stand behind a mine and watch him take himself out! :D













Electrocuting someone before they bounce off the burning ropes? Priceless.













Getting a little cocky there, are we, Brocken? One of the funniest things is beating someone with this flying attack but hitting the hazard with next to no health remaining. Can you say Double KO in the most embarrassing fashion possible? As a kid I remember doing this just for shit and giggles.







Thanks to his reach, Brocken was made for the Death Match. He almost had a built-in advantage due to the length of his limbs.













Nothing beats the triple whammy. Shock ‘em with Brocken. They land on a mine. Then death by electrocution. Seeing this in “Aftershock Effect” is the way to go.













Sacrifice knows no bounds.



















“Aftershock Effect” in slow motion never gets old.


Jumping strong kick
Jumping strong kick
Crouching weak kick
Crouching light kick
Jumping strong kick
Jumping strong kick
Standing strong punch
Standing strong punch
Dragon Uppercut
Dragon Uppercut



Standing strong punch
Standing strong punch
Still stunned...
Still stunned…



Standing strong kick
Standing strong kick
Double hitter!
Double hitter!
Jumping strong punch
Jumping strong
Standing strong punch
Standing strong punch
Double Hitter!
Double Hitter!
Jumping strong kick
Jumping strong kick
Crouching weak kick
Crouching light kick
Standing strong kick
Standing strong kick
Jumping strong kick
Jumping strong kick
Crouching light kick
Crouching light kick
Justice Sword!
Flash Sword!
Standing light punch
Standing light punch
Standing strong punch
Standing strong punch
Fire Bird!
Aura Bird!
Jumping strong punch
Jumping strong punch
Standing light punch
Standing light punch
Standing strong kick
Standing strong kick
Jumping strong punch
Jumping strong punch
Standing strong punch
Standing strong punch
Standing strong kick
Standing strong kick
Muscle Bomber
Muscle Bomber
Standing strong punch
Standing strong punch
Standing strong kick
Standing strong kick
Jumping strong punch
Jumping strong punch
Standing strong punch
Standing strong
Spark Thunder!
Spark Thunder!
Jumping strong punch
Jumping strong punch
Standing light punch
Standing light punch
Standing strong punch
Standing strong punch



As someone who poured countless quarters into the arcade game, I anxiously awaited the SNES port with bated breath. My best pal Nelson was also a huge fan. I didn’t buy many SNES games back in the ’90s. If my brother and I were lucky, we got three games a year. You might think World Heroes would be one of those scant few purchases. Nope. My best pal Nelson bought a copy the week it came out and since we hung out nearly 24/7, there was no need really to buy the game. If he didn’t come over with his copy of the game then I’d be at his place. Occasionally, we had our other friends over for a tournament marathon. And like a best friend would do, Nelson graciously loaned me his copy from time to time.


In the fall of ’93, my uncle from Texas visited my folks. He was full of life. I hadn’t seen him since the late ’80s. I remember teasing him about how his favorite team the Phoenix Suns came up short that year in the NBA Finals. He didn’t appreciate that much.

That same weekend I happened to borrow Nelson’s copy. It was the first night my uncle came to town so he was a bit tired. He kicked back on the couch and watched as I fired up World Heroes. My uncle was not a gamer but he had nothing better to do so he just laid there and watched. I went with Dragon and it wasn’t long before my uncle started cheering me on as I tackled the two ninjas, Hanzou and Fuuma. My uncle really took a shine to Dragon. Probably because he was always a huge Bruce Lee fan.


I remember explaining to my uncle how the two ninjas were the main stars of the game. “What? If you ask me, THAT’S who the star should be! He’s Bruce Lee for crying out loud! How can you top that!?” Huh, being a huge Hanzou and Fuuma fan I never thought of it that way, but my uncle had a point. My same uncle who never played a single video game in his life before. What was happening here?!


It was around 6 PM or so because I remember the sun starting to set in the sky. I was set to fight Janne next when my mom called me to set the dinner table. But my uncle had other plans, apparently.

“Relax sis, we’ll be there in a second. First we gotta handle our business though, right Steve?” He gave me a wink as I looked back at him laying on the sofa. It’s an image I’ll never forget. World Heroes really captivated him. Him! Someone with NO interest in video games whatsoever. I’ve always had a special bond with the World Heroes franchise but it was at that moment in time my bond with the game went to that next level.


He sure did. We got my mom to agree to let me have this one last match, which was against Janne, and my uncle suddenly became my coach. Calling plays from the sofa, he kept yelling “Dragon Kick!” Even my mom stopped to witness the mad scene. I saw a strange smile crept across her face as she watched her younger brother and her youngest son bonding through, of all things, a video game. It’s a memory and image that has stuck with me to this day.

One last memory I have to share: it was Thanksgiving weekend 1993. I remember it so well. Back then I had my best friend Nelson, I had my other grade school friends, and then I had an out-of-town gaming group of family friends. We had some of the most epic sleepovers in the history of mankind. Just imagine three or four different families all partying under the same roof until the wee hours of the morning. The parents would reminisce about the good old days downstairs while the kids played video games galore upstairs. It was a glorious time.

On this particular sleepover bash, I had with me Nelson’s copy of World Heroes. My Gaming Crew and I had a World Heroes tournament that night. My friends were good but I was better. They owned me in Street Fighter II but when it came to World Heroes I had no equal. And that fine evening, I proved it in the tourney.


I played one mean Rasputin back then. No matter who they used or what tactics they tried, I always came out victorious. They had no counter for my Rasputin antics. I even made all of them rage quit on me. We then popped in Super Bomberman and I remember they all ganged up on me. I didn’t win a single Bomberman match that night. But was it worth it? Oh yeah, you know it ;)

Good ol' Raspy and I kicked some serious ass that night
Good times



World Heroes didn’t do so bad with the critics. EGM gave it ratings of 6, 6, 6 and 8. Super Play rated it 77%. However, there was some controversy created out of EGM’s less than stellar scores. Personally, I find their ratings to be fair. I can see how a fan would give this port an 8, but I can also see why someone different might give it a 6. It is a great port but keep in mind by the time this came out, Street Fighter II Turbo was already out and that game is a thousand times superior. If only Sunsoft were able to release it closer to mid 1993 then I think it would have fared a lot better. Anyway, the producer of the SNES port reached out to EGM in issue #52 (November 1993) to air his grievances.




Dan’s letter and EGM’s earnest reply filled up the whole page! Two months later (issue #54, January 1994), EGM printed a World Heroes review PRO and a World Heroes review CON letter from fans. This too filled up an entire page which was quite rare of the magazine. It was certainly an interesting read of both sides of the coin.

Well Danny my boy… if you’re out there somewhere in the vastness of cyberspace… if you somehow happen to see this, I do want to tell you… YES, you made a HELL of a port and I know when you saw the EGM ratings you felt like you wanted to…


But hey…

I could not believe the ad used the B word...
I could not believe the ad used the B word…

Just kidding, Dan. Great job, buddy.

[Don’t ever buddy me again -Dan MacArthur]


Two of the coolest special moves in fighting game lore
Two of the coolest fighting game special moves ever

Gawd damn. 25 years huh. Where does the time go? 25 years ago today World Heroes first hit the arcades. I soon fell in love with it and it’s probably my number one sentimental favorite gaming franchise of all time. The SNES port is vastly underrated. Sunsoft did such a great job bringing home the visual stylings, the brutal Death Matches and the super easy to chain combos. A speed option would have helped but the regular speed isn’t too bad. Being able to change the controls to optimize the six button SNES pad makes this game infinitely more playable and enjoyable as a result. I feel like this port never got the credit it deserved back in 1993. Hell, it holds up rather well even nearly 25 years later.


The fighters are HUGE! There isn’t a trace of slowdown anywhere. Special moves which made my jaw drop the first time I saw them in the arcade have all been faithfully translated. Even the Aftershock Effect remained intact! Speaking of which, the Death Matches add a touch of dark humor. World Heroes strikes that lovely balance of taking itself seriously enough yet at the same time a bit tongue-in-cheek to create a memorable playing experience. Although the sound effects lack the oomph you’d like to hear from a fighting game, some of those stage tunes are jamming. Dragon’s theme is stuck in my head. The announcer does a good job and those death cries are among the best I’ve heard in the genre.


Maybe in the end World Heroes is the kind of game you had to have experienced back in the summer of 1992 to truly appreciate. If you were to pick it up today for the first time I can easily see how it may be dismissed after a few rounds and viewed as a poor man’s Street Fighter II. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But for me, it was my jam 25 years ago. I still play the SNES port every now and again and it’s held up remarkably well. Happy 25th anniversary, and here’s hoping there’ll be a World Heroes 3 before all is said and done. But hey, at least we got World Heroes 2.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8
Longevity: 8

AwardsOverall: 8.0
Silver Award


I marked out when I saw this earlier this year!
I marked out when I saw this earlier this year!