World Heroes Anthology is a game released by SNK Playmore which contains four games in a bargain priced disc. World Heroes was originally released during the rise of Street Fighter and was mostly dismissed as nothing more than a Street Fighter clone. While this is somewhat true, World Heroes is a decent game in its own right. World Heroes Anthology contains four games in the series, World Heroes, World Heroes 2, World Heroes 2 Jet and World Heroes 2 Perfect.
The story line of World Heroes revolves around a mad scientist bringing together fighters from different time periods and having them fight to find out who is the greatest warrior of all time. While the premise of the game is pretty weak, no one really plays fighting games for the story line.The gameplay in World Heroes Anthology will be familiar to anyone who has played a 2D fighting game in the last 15 or so years. It’s very reminiscent of Street Fighter, mimicking many of the same moves. The first game in the collection, World Heroes, is the worst of the bunch. With gameplay ripped straight from Street Fighter, outrageous, but ultimately forgettable characters, there is not a lot of substance here. World Heroes 2 upped the character roster, but the slow and awkward gameplay still hinders the series. World Heroes 2 Jet is a reworking of the previous game, with new characters, faster gameplay, and new modes. While this was definitely a step in the right direction, the adjustments still left it behind other fighting games of its time, namely Street Fighter and Fatal Fury.
This brings us to the final game in the collection, World Heroes Perfect. With the problems present in the previous games, this game was mainly overlooked when it was originally released, which is a shame because Perfect is definitely the shining star of this collection. What Perfect did was take everything that made World Heroes a 3rd tier game in the fighting genre, throw it out, and improve it. Gone was the 3 button layout of the previous games; in was a more useful (and more familiar) 3 punch/3 kick control layout. The game speed was also upped, closely matching the speed of the Street Fighter Turbo games. A meter, called a Hero Meter, was added, allowing players to use supped up versions of their special attacks. Other things such as ABC attacks and Fake Dizzies added surprising depth to the gameplay. Perfect, it’s not, but it’s definitely an excellent game.
So how does the collection stack up? For fighting game fanatics, it’s always fun to go back to the roots of the genre and see how it all began. For the simply curious, the low purchase price makes this worth looking at if you want to see what all the fuss over the genre is about. If you do decide to pick it up, definitely head straight to World Heroes Perfect, and enjoy one of the overlooked gems of the genre.
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