Just in time to rescue the Wii from mini-game madness, Killer 7 team arrives with No More Heroes
October 11, 2007 – Back in 2005, the Nintendo GameCube received a creative kick in the polygons with the release of Killer 7. The very mature, super-stylized, and ultra-violent title, about an assassin with multiple personalities and a hunger for his victim’s blood, didn’t exactly mesh alongside its Nintendo neighbors, Mario and Link. In addition to its decidedly un-family friendly presentation, it was criticized for an intuitive, but unconventional on-rails control scheme. Still, despite Killer 7’s alienating traits it did enjoy critical and cult success due mostly to its amazing visual style, bizarre storytelling, and eventual access to a broader, more accepting audience on the PS2.
Developer Grasshopper Manufacture-led by the twisted mind of CEO, Suda 51-has returned to shake things up again with No More Heroes. Sporting a similarly inspired visual approach as Killer 7-think Okami meets Jet Set Radio meets Viewtiful Joe-Suda 51’s latest effort will exclusively-and ironically-bring its mature themes to Nintendo’s newest fun-for-the-whole-family console. This, of course, is fantastic news for serious gamers searching for a cure to the Wii’s mini-game affliction. But those Wii Sport-playing senior citizens that keep popping up in Nintendo’s casual-gamer focused marketing campaign may want to sit this one out; No More Heroes is a violent, weird, mind-blowing ride-hold on!
The funky visuals are supported by equally bizarro environments and characters; one boss baddie, dubbed Destroyman, actually dons a lethal beam-shooting cod piece. Players will assume the role of Travis Touchdown, a spiky haired, anime-loving dude who sports some slick, yellow-lensed shades that’d make Bono envious. Travis is a low-level hitman living in the fictional town of Santa Destroy, California. He’s looking to rise up the hired-killer ranks by taking out the top 10 assassins; he starts the game as number 11. Selecting missions in any order you like in an open-ended world-which can be navigated on Travis’ moped-like ride-you’ll gradually encounter and hopefully take out the higher ranking killers. This being a Suda 51 production, you can expect the ensuing battles to be surreal mixtures of nut-job personalities, campy-in-a-good-way dialogueand way-over-the-top violence-fueled action.
In fact, utilizing the Wii’s motion-sensing tech, the action will take the driver’s seat on this wicked ride. Travis’ choice weapon-of-stylized-destruction is a plasma-beam katana, sort of a low-tech lightsaber that looks a bit like a fluorescent tube light bulb. Players will rapidly shake the Wii-mote to power up the blade right before unleashing a devastating flurry of attacks. Skilled Wii-mote wielders will even be able to deflect bullets-and groin-based projectile attacks-with the weapon. In an interesting use of the Wii-mote, attacks will hit your opponent based on the height of the peripheral; raise it high to slash at the face and chest, but if blocked, quickly lower it for some below-the-belt damage. In addition to the sword-swinging, quick-reflexed gamers will pull off some old school wrestling moves by following on-screen prompts. An action-packed and sweat-breaking boss fight might unfold with Travis deflecting bullets from afar, before moving in for some serious Wii-mote-waving swordplay, and then finally putting the smackdown on his foe with a neck-breaking finisher.
No More Heroes, while not for all Wii owners-sorry, grandma-is definitely one of the most anticipated titles on the platform. Its brilliant blend of stylized visuals, quirky characters and inventive, immersive gameplay-not to mention Grasshopper’s Killer 7 pedigree-should appeal to more seasoned gamers as well as anyone beginning to tire of the Wii’s endless mini-game line-up.
Heroes or not?
February 19, 2007 – To be number one. That is the pursuit of so many main game characters. No More Heroes, brought to you by the same psychedelic studio that brought you Killer 7, takes this simplistic idea and runs with it. However, it adds a few unique twists that are sure to delight gamers on both sides of the Pacific.
No More Heroes is set to debut on the Wii in Japan on June 30, 2007. A U.S. release date has yet to be confirmed, but is sure to follow soon, as the trailer features both Japanese subtitles with English voiceovers. The game begins with a less-than-colossal battle between Otaku-turned-assassin Travis Touchdown and serial badguy Helter Skelter. Wielding a beam katana (a kind of lightsaber-infused sword) won on an online auction site, Travis annihilates the competition. He is then approached by the beautifully stylized UAA Agent Silvia Christel who informs him that he is now ranked 11th. It’s up to you now to make sure he gets to be number one.
Gameplay includes levels and missions designed to hone Travis Touchdown’s skills before going on to face the mysterious top 10. The game’s environment is very interactive, and can be explored either on foot or on your motorcycle. There are also side quests where you can earn money and upgrade your beam katana.
Controls utilize the Wii-mote for slashing and the A button for attacking with the beam katana. Not too much else is known about moving around, or any special attacks, although one would think the Wii’s nunchuk would be involved somehow.
Graphics resemble a stylized anime-type game. Three-dimensional characters with minimal detail look so-so on the Wii. While they don’t look bad, they definitely don’t do much to impress either. Characters seem to also have distinctly identifying color palates that contrast sharply with their environments. This adds a real brightness to the game (which so far only looks to take place at night).
Not much else is known about the game as of yet. Hopefully this first-person sword-slasher will improve upon the Wii-slasher genre set forth by Red Steel last November. Anime-stylized graphics and an interesting storyline will hopefully bolster this title into another sure-hit for the Wii.