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The Moonlight War novel by S.K.S. Perry

No More Heroes (Wii) artwork

No More Heroes (Wii) review

"Let's face it. Most games Suda51 has made were a complete and utter failure at being good. You had some of the latter Clock Towers, which were bad to begin with and overshadowed by the vastly superior Silent Hill. You had Killer7, which was mediocre at best. You had Contact, which by many people's standards was at least a partial ripoff of Earthbound. Suda51's latest offering, No More Heroes, vowed to be his first truly good game, as well as a release that fills the four-month void between Mario..."

Let's face it. Most games Suda51 has made were a complete and utter failure at being good. You had some of the latter Clock Towers, which were bad to begin with and overshadowed by the vastly superior Silent Hill. You had Killer7, which was mediocre at best. You had Contact, which by many people's standards was at least a partial ripoff of Earthbound. Suda51's latest offering, No More Heroes, vowed to be his first truly good game, as well as a release that fills the four-month void between Mario Galaxy and Smash Bros. Brawl.

No More Heroes is essentially Grand Theft Auto 3 meets God Hand. You play as Travis Touchdown, a self-styled badass and wapanese who manages to fight like the infamous Cutscene Dante of Devil May Cry fame while sounding exactly like Gene from God Hand. Travis spends every cent he has on a rocket bike, a lightsaber, and a bunch of anime paraphernelia, then goes out and kills the eleventh ranked assassin in a mysterious organization called the UAA. From there, Travis must kill all of the other ten assassins ranked higher than him in order to become the best. This is done in the same fashion as God Hand or Devil May Cry, with very linear beat-em-up levels. While this may sound like more of the same old thing, it really isn't, all because of the Wii's hardware.

You see, like most games on the Wii are, No More Heroes is very interactive in the way it handles combat. While most of the actual fighting is done using the A or B buttons, use of those two buttons alone will not win you the game. Enemies will guard against your attacks, either high or low, and you must counterattack in the opposite position by moving the Wiimote, which dictates the way Travis holds his lightsaber. The motion sensor controls are used for all of the wrestling moves that are initated with B. For instance, after stunning an enemy with a melee strike, you can hit B again and move the Wiimote and Nunchuk up simultaneously to perform a throw. Different throws require different movement combinations. Meanwhile, if you bring an enemy down to near-death with the lightsaber (done with the A button and chained to form massive combo attacks), or manage to parry their weapon and win in the ensuing clash (also done with the Wiimote), you are given the opportunity to Death Blow the enemy. Death Blows are Wiimote movements that result in time being slowed down temporarily while Travis cuts his opponent in half, resulting in massive blood sprays. A successful Death Blow will usually result in the spinning of a slot machine at the bottom of the screen. If three symbols match, Travis goes into "Darkside mode", much like Devil Trigger or the Roulette Wheel from God Hand. After shouting a cheesy, anime-style attack name, Travis proceeds to do some amazing moves - anything from "Blueberry Cheese Brownies!" which makes time slow down and allows Travis to shoot instant-kill lasers at his enemies, to "Anarchy in the Galaxy!", which causes the entire screen to explode. The lightsaber can also be used to block enemy melee attacks and bullets, but doing so weakens the batteries of the saber, even moreso than attacking. Recharging Travis's sword is done by masturbating the Wiimote as Travis attempts to masturbate his sword's batteries into working again.

The boss fights are quite inspired, and very diverse in the tactics they make Travis employ. For instance, the first ranked assassin Travis fights is Death Metal, a British metalhead with a massive electrified sword and a clone technique. Then one of the later fights is against Destroyman, a wannabe supervillain complete with strings enabling him to fly. While some of them can be particularly annoying at first (including several bosses that have unblockable abilities and one that has an unblockable ability that will kill you in one hit), they're all definitely beatable.

With so much content in the levels alone, one would wonder what else a game would have to offer. In the case of No More Heroes, there's a lot. You see, arranging matches with the ranked assassins requires money, some of which is earned by killing the assassins themselves, but some of which must be earned through other means. This is where the town of Santa Destroy comes in handy. Travis can cruise around the town on his rocket bike in between missions to earn money for the next fight and to power up his weapons. There's all kinds of little things to do here. You can flip over dumpsters for new clothes for Travis, go shopping for videos that teach Travis new melee attacks, or get a new lightsaber at a hefty price. There's also the Lovikov balls, which are hidden all throughout Santa Destroy. Seven Lovikov balls can be turned into Lovikov, a drunken Russian combat master, for new moves and HUD additions. There's also odd jobs and side assassinations Travis can take to earn money - everything from cleaning up the assorted grunts left over after an assassination to mowing lawns and catching cats. Another intriguing gameplay quirk is Travis's motel room, which houses his massive anime collection, his toilet (which is a save point) and his cat, which can be played with using the Wiimote and button combinations.

One thing that No More Heroes must definitely be commended on is its graphical style. The game itself is cel-shaded, much like Killer7 was, but not to the degree where it looks retarded like Killer7 did. However, all of the menus, as well as much of the HUD, is done in retro 8-bit graphical style. For instance, Travis's health meter is a massive pixelated heart which loses pixels as his health goes down. The game shows an immense amount of attention to detail in everything from the town of Santa Destroy to the massive amount of blood and gore that spew out of anything that gets anywhere near Travis.

The controls also have some things that really add to the immersion of the game. The best examples of this are the second level, with rooms full of enemies that toss baseballs at you. When Travis enters one of these rooms, he picks up his lightsaber like a bat and proceeds to hit the balls the enemies throw at him to kill them. Before every boss fight, Sylvia, the UAA representative, gives Travis a call on his cellphone. The one thing you'll notice (unless you have your Wiimote's speaker volume manually turned way up) is that you can't hear a single thing they're talking about... unless you take the Wiimote and put it up to your ear as if you were actually using a cell phone. It's the little things like this that turn No More Heroes from what would have been a merely good game into being a great one.

I pirate a lot of the games I play. Most of them released today aren't worth buying. However, I'd highly reccomend buying No More Heroes, even if you have a modchip for your Wii (which you should probably get rid of before Nintendo releases the new firmware). It's really just that good. There's nothing I could find that was really wrong with it, and therefore No More Heroes gets a 10 from me.

Rating: 10/10

timrod's avatar
Community review by timrod (February 08, 2008)

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