Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
|Release date||January 18, 2019|
|Genre||Action, visual novel|
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes is an action game for the Nintendo Switch developed by Grasshopper Manufacture. It is the third game in the No More Heroes series, but due to its smaller size and different gameplay style, it is not No More Heroes III, which is its own game.
The majority of Travis Strikes Again consists of beat-em-up action combat against Bugs in games for the Death Drive Mark II game console. Although there are different gimmicks in the various games such as platforming or puzzles, the gameplay engine for combat is the same. Player characters have light attacks, strong attacks, jumps and rolls, as well as special moves in the form of chips equipped on the Death Glove. Much of the strategy of the game comes from equipping different chips and utilizing them effectively. Experience is gained as Bugs are killed, which can be used to level up the health and attack power of the player characters. Travis Strikes Again can be played with a co-op partner.
When not in a Death Drive game, the player controls Travis Touchdown at his trailer, where they can equip different t-shirts, browse the internet, read documents or enter a game. Between Death Drive games, Travis has to acquire the Death Ball cartridges themselves in the form of the Travis Strikes Back game mode, a completely non-interactive visual novel.
- See also Death Drive Mark II, Travis Strikes Back and Badman Strikes Back for information on the individual games and chapters.
Years after the events of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, former assassin Travis Touchdown has moved to a trailer in the middle of the woods somewhere in Texas, where he spends his days playing video games. Somehow, he has acquired a phantom game console called the Death Drive Mark II, an old VR machine that never saw an official release. Despite this, the console and its games, the Death Balls, are said to be out there somewhere, and it is rumored that if one gathers all six of them and beats them, a wish will be granted.
Meanwhile in Seattle, the assassin Badman is being targeted by Dan Smith due to their shared history in the Seattle criminal scene. Bad Man lost his daughter Bad Girl some years ago when she was killed by Travis in the events of No More Heroes, and only wants to get revenge for this. Dan learns Travis' identity from Christopher Mills, and rather than killing Bad Man, he gives him the Death Ball for Electric Thunder Tiger II and informs him of Travis' identity and location.
Bad Man drives to Texas and attempts to kill Travis, but the Death Ball on Bad Man's person activates the Death Drive, which sucks them both into the game. They implicitly decide to gather the Death Balls and play through the games in order to use the rumored wish to resurrect Bad Girl.
Grasshopper Manufacture did not develop a No More Heroes game for the Wii U due to the console not coming with a Wii Remote by default, Suda seeing the Wii Remote as essential to the gameplay of No More Heroes. When Suda was invited to a private early showing of the Nintendo Switch, then called the NX, he was struck by inspiration to bring the series back. Not wanting to make No More Heroes 3 just yet, though, he decided to make a smaller scale game as his way of returning to the director's chair, having been largely absent since the first No More Heroes. The result was Travis Strikes Again, a game he created with a team of only 15 or so people, due to having been inspired to return to development by the passion of the indie game scene.
Because Suda had not directed for so many years, he decided to in effect "make" several games in one by basing the plot around Travis fighting through different game worlds. The games for the Death Drive Mark II are loosely based on unfulfilled ideas of Suda's. Between this and certain late-game elements, Travis Strikes Again can be seen in some ways as Suda killing his past. As it was largely developed (and originally slated for release) in the year of Grasshopper's 20th anniversary, it is seen as a commemorative title and thus several characters and plot points from Grasshopper's long history make surprise appearances, particularly in the Travis Strikes Back visual novel, which in some ways is like a followup to The 25th Ward: The Silver Case, the remake of which was released also in Grasshopper's 20th anniversary. Additionally, the t-shirts the player characters can wear are mostly branded off of various indie games, another way of paying tribute to their passion. In particular, Hotline Miami figures more explicitly into the plot.
Two DLC packages were released shortly after the initial release date, although a download code is automatically included in all physical copies. The first, Black Dandelion, adds Shinobu Jacobs as a playable character as well as a visual novel component for Bad Man. The second, Bubblegum Fatale, adds Bad Girl as a playable character as well as a new Death Ball, the full version of Killer Marathon (with a corresponding Travis Strikes Back chapter).