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A series of fighting games developed for the Neo Geo by ADK. Imagine Hattori Hanzo, Kotaro Fuma, Rasputin, Joan of Arc, Genghis Kahn, Bruce Lee, Hulk Hogan, and a Nazi super-cyborg coming together and battling each other for the right to fight an alien shapeshifter bent on taking over the world. That's World Heroes in a nutshell; a one-on-one fighter built around No Celebrities Were Harmed versions of historically famous people beating the snot out of each other.
While initially largely derivative of Street Fighter, which explains its complete lack of longevity, it developed some interesting gimmicks later on by Jet and Perfect. There was also a slew of Rule of Cool involved in the character selection; the sequels added even more thinly-veiled historical personages, including characters based on Captain Kidd, Erik The Red, Joe Montana, Lu Bu and Jack The Ripper, as well as generic witch-doctor Mudman for some reason.
Unfortunately, cool characters and gimmicks weren't enough to make the series stand out, and it languished into obscurity. The only appearance it made ever since was in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, where Hanzo, Fuuma, and Mudman were playable characters.
- All Amazons Want Hercules: Janne laments how she can't find a suitor who's stronger than she is. And then she meets J. Carn and falls for him, of course.
- And then there's Ryoko openly saying that she likes strength in men, plus openly fangirling Hanzo and calling him "ninja cutie".
- BFS: Janne.
- Badass Longcoat: Captain Kidd
- Bruce Lee Clone: Kim Dragon, our Bruce-alike.
- Camp Gay: Rasputin, complete with Marilyn Maneuver.
- Captain Ersatz:
- While he does bear a strong resemblance to Marvel comics villain Blackheart, Neo-Dio is actually an Ersatz of Baoh, the protagonist of the manga of the same name, with a few traits of Dio Brando (created by the same person as Baoh) thrown in for good measure.
- Simlarly, while Brocken appears to be a riff on M. Bison, he's actually based on Brocken, Jr. and Brockenman from the anime Kinnikuman, the characters Bison was also partially inspired by, along with a liberal sprinkling of Stroheim from Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure.
- Interestingly, the most obvious ersatz (Janne for Charlotte of the Samurai Shodown series) predated the character she seems to be ripping off.
- Zeus' heavy resemblance to Raoh is obvious. Right down to some frighteningly similar attacks.
- Calling Your Attacks: Not as often as you'd think, but you still get things like Rasputin's "ICEU BALL!" and Captain Kidd's "PIRATE SHIP!"
- Cat Smile: Ryoko does this frequently in Perfect.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The AI reads your controller inputs and moves far faster than you can.
- Cute Bruiser: Ryoko Izumi.
- Death Course: One play mode in (at least) the first two games replaces the standard character-specific stages with an arena full of traps, such as landmines and electrified ring ropes.
- Ditto Fighter: Neo Gee Gus, final boss of the first game and mid-boss in the second.
- Finishing Move: World Heroes Jet has a literal variation here--at the end of each of the first four rounds, the deciding move of each individual fight is noted. Non-character-specific normal moves are dubbed 'Standing Blow of Ba-Boom', 'Standing Kick of Chaos', 'Killer Crouch Kick' and the like.
- Flaming Sword and Whip Sword: Janne's sword predates Ivy's.
- Flawless Victory: Your character's Victory Pose changes if you score one. The last game is called "Perfect" for a reason.
- Hero Worshipper: Ryoko admires Janne for being strong and pretty and also has a huge crush on Hanzo.
Ryoko: "Janne! When I grow up, I want to be just as beautiful as you. And even stronger!"
- Historical Domain Character: Everyone except Brocken, Mudman, and the bosses.
- Hijacked by Ganon: Neo-Dio murders Zeus and attacks you at the end of Perfect. This may only happen if you lose the first round to Zeus.
- Hollywood Cyborg: Brocken, obviously.
- I Have the High Ground: The player's character is first shown atop a skyscraper at the start of Jet's tournament mode.
- I Know Madden Kombat: Johnny Maximum is based on Joe Montana (check out his default uniform colors!), and fights using his American football skills accordingly.
- Improbable Weapon User: Captain Kidd throws sharks and ghost ships as projectiles. These appear to be made of water.
- Jack the Ripper: He's got Freddy Krueger claws and a red mohawk, but it's Saucy Jack all right.
- Kiai: Well, it's a fighting game. But Fuma and Kim Dragon have a special, pretty annoying battle cry they use with almost every move. Neo-Dio even has TWO of them:
- Knife Nut: Jack, in Jet and Perfect; A Nightmare on Elm Street-style.
- Lady of War: Janne. This is also what Ryoko wants to be.
- Lightning Bruiser: Muscle Power: Fast. Strong. Dominating... but he has no way around projectiles.
- Love Freak: Rasputin.
- Multiform Balance: Any character in Jet can be a Jack of All Stats, Glass Cannon, Stone Wall, or Fragile Speedster, via handicap in two-player games.
- Noblewoman's Laugh: The annoying sound of her laughter is Janne's one big beauty flaw.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: All the characters except Hanzo, Fuma, Captain Kidd, and Rasputin have their names changed. Jack is arguable, since he's based on Jack the Ripper, but that wasn't the guy's real name... far as we know. Mudman and Brocken, as noted above, are the only characters who aren't based on any specific figures from history
- Many characters also got their background heavily altered. For example; Janne is the guardian of a traveling circus she grew up in, J. Carn is one of the top officers and personal bodyguard of the actual Genghis Khan and Erick is a friendly family man who himself decided to become an explorer, while the real Erik the Red was exiled for murder. And Brocken, having his initial background concept dropped, does not have much of a background at all.
- Mighty Glacier: J. Carn, Ryofu.
- Multiple Endings: World Heroes 2 Jet employs an unusual variation of this, the ending is determined by how much health you have left after beating the final boss.
- Pirate: Captain Kidd, of course. He does not have a rivalry with Fuuma or Hanzo, unfortunately.
- Pirate Parrot: Captain Kidd's pet bird seems to be more of a condor, but it really just represents a more badass version of a parrot. During Kidd's Finishing Move, it pecks at the hanged opponent...
- The Red Sonja: Jeanne seems to be of this type, as her endings usually have her lamenting her victories as a still-single woman.
- Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny: The last entry in particular leans toward the latter.
- Ryu and Ken: Hanzo and Fuuma.
- Shotoclone: Ditto.
- Screams Like Mickey Mouse: Kim Dragon does this whenever he gets knocked out.
- Shout-Out: The inventor of the time machine is a certain Dr. Brown... Also, Neo-Dio is an Ultimate Life Form fond of phrases such as "Useless, useless, useless!" and "WRYYYYYYY!".
- The theme of the final boss of the first game is lifted straight from Magician Lord, another game by ADK.
- SNK Boss: Neo-Dio of course.
- Zeus in World Heroes 2 Jet is very strong, but he returns as a Bonus Boss in World Heroes Perfect that you aren't required to beat. In Perfect, his moves have absolute priority and no startup, as well as being extremely overpowered. One of his super moves is a ordinary-looking punch that hits five times for 20% damage each hit. If it connects perfectly, it KOs the player regardless of how much health he/she has.
- Stout Strength: Erik is probably pound-for-pound the most physically powerful character. He also has an extremely pronounced gut.
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Brocken the German cyborg's profile in the first game mentions that he "has no emotions except that he loves to destroy", though this aspect of his character is heavily toned down later in the series.
- Time Travel: Why everyone's here. Dr. Brown invents a time machine and... uses it to set up a fighting tournament.
- Traumatic Haircut: One of the Death Course fights takes place in a fully normal arena. However, the character portrait of the loser will be shown with all of their hair shaved.
- Unicorn: Ryofu summons this one in his desperation attack. It is perhaps a Chinese unicorn.
- Updated Rerelease: Subverted by World Heroes 2 Jet. The game plays nothing like the previous game aside from having the same character roster. The title was simply a jab at Capcom with its numerous Street Fighter II derivatives (specifically Street Fighter II′ Turbo).
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Kim Dragon, Mudman and Captain Kidd
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Muscle Power's Wonder Woman and/or Lex Luger style starry speedo.