No More Heroes 1 + 2
The Adventures Of Travis Touchdown In One Convenient Package
Originally released in 2007 as a Wii exclusive, the No More Heroes series was created by the crafty mastermind, SUDA51. Goichi Suda created the zany world of Travis Touchdown and his many adventures throughout the 15-year span, culminating in the release of No More Heroes 3. A highly anticipated title from SUDA 51 fans, we briefly looked at the game over the summer. As someone who was completely new to the series aside from having friends who adored it, NMH 3 took me on a wild ride. Thankfully, the first three games which include No More Heroes 1, 2, and Travis Strikes Back are all released on the Nintendo Switch.
Unfortunately, the first two games have been “exclusively” released digitally. Limited Run Games had released NMH 1 and 2 as physical copies, but staying true to their name, these copies are collector pieces. Fortunately, there is another option for import buyers. Arc Sys and Marvelous had teamed up to release the first two games on a single cartridge for the Asia market, not unlike what was done for the Atelier Mysterious Trilogy DX. It always amazes how these physical compilations happen to be exclusive to the Asian region, but thanks to the power of importing, these copies are accessible for anyone no matter where they are in the world.
No More Heroes 1 – The Birth of Travis
After playing this, I wasn’t sure what I expected as far as the origins of Travis Touchdown. Any media involving the NMH character shows him off as this goofy, nonsensical sociopath who has a penchant for violence, women, and nerd culture. The opening sequence to No More Heroes encompasses this, with Grasshopper Manufacture telling the player “Yeah, Travis? A backstory? Nah this is all you need to know right here.” Travis fights ten of the strongest humans to walk the city of Santa Destroy simply for a chance to lay in bed with the organizer, Sylvia, because she’s attractive.
The gameplay is as simple as the plot and the intentions of Travis, bringing the term “hack-n-slash” to a literal sense. The original NMH was released in 2007 on the Wii, the perfect era for motion controls. To keep up with tradition, most of the motion controls were kept similar to its original Wii counterpart. I’ve discussed the controls during the No More Heroes 3 preview and if anything else, the series is consistent. Everything including waving the joycon to “slash” your opponents, changing your stance, and “charging your beam sword” started here. The graphics and presentation are up to par with the mid-2000s but looking at it now, it didn’t age quite well.
Despite its outdated graphics, most of which would be improved in its sequel, the presentation is as flashy as the protagonist. Enemies fall in showers of blood dependent on how the player performs. Various power-ups are granted in response, some of which enable Travis to become a whirling tornado of death. The violence and comedy are over the top, something that would raise the bar higher with each subsequent title.
No More Heroes 2 – A Desperate Struggle
Beginning with No More Heroes 3 and having played the original game, I kept it a general rule of thumb to play up to the first boss. What would I do, then, if the “first boss” served as the tutorial? The introduction to this title was even more absurd than its original as it began with the brother of a minor character from the first game, “Skelter Helter.” His entire goal was to enact his revenge on Travis for killing his brother, someone who he doesn’t even remember. For Travis, it was just a bloody and violent Tuesday.
The “boss fight” serves as a way to re-introduce players to the motion controls from the previous game. Comparatively, the HUD is cleaned up alongside its visuals. There are actual dynamic reflections, the models are detailed, and the game embraces its cartoon influence. While the controls remain the same, Travis has even more dynamic actions in comparison to his previous endeavor. In short, Travis is once again placed in a gauntlet, this time ranked #51. His motivation this time being his best friend was murdered. But, which best friend? Why the owner of the video store Travis frequents to fill his otaku addiction of course.
While the gameplay doesn’t change, the aesthetics are far improved from its predecessor, with over-the-top fights and power-ups. In this game, Travis for no explained reason transforms into a tiger should the player be lucky enough to experience it. It was sudden, it was absurd, and it was violent. But at this point, the player has to be ready for whatever is thrown at them. Including the first actual boss fight including a man with a boombox that shoots missiles. There is also more to do outside of bloody violence including playing a sh’mup known in-universe as Bizarre Jelly 5 (as seen in the introduction).
No More Heroes 1 + 2 Continues To Be Nintendo’s Must Played Hack-n-Slashes
With that said, before players engage in any game in the series, it’s best to mentally strap in. All four titles within the No More Heroes series is similar to that of a roller coaster. Once the game begins, there are no stops and you are expected to keep up the pace. Having said that, this is the most convenient way to play the first two titles. While the mystery behind these convenient compilations behind Asian-only remains at large, importing continues to save the day.
Regardless of how players pick up the series, No More Heroes 1 + 2 continues to be the champions of the indie Japanese market. There have been many influences derived from Travis Touchdown’s adventures over the past decade. There is, however, the origin behind any crazy action game. Those with a Switch owe it to themselves to try each of the games out for an afternoon of over-the-top violence.
No More Heroes 1 + 2 is available on the Switch.