Get to the endzone with the touchdown-tips
I can’t get enough of No More Heroes 3. It’s got so many overlapping parts, and the tension between them is endlessly engaging. It starts off as a stress-based action game with a steep learning curve. Then, about halfway through, it starts giving you more and more Easter eggs to hunt for in the open world, peppering the pure violence with… peaceful wandering?!? I beat the game after about 20 hours, but at least six of those hours were me just looking around for lost kittens. Then, after it was all over, I spent another six hours getting toy figurines, finding other unlockables, refighting bosses, and just thinking about the game’s story.
And I haven’t even touched New Game+ yet!
So now that No More Heroes 3 is finally out, I wanted to give you some tips that may help you enjoy every aspect of it, from action to exploration, from story to unlockables. We’ve got some gameplay tips, a guide on where to find some of the most well-hidden Easter eggs, and even some mild hints on where the series may go next. But don’t worry folks. We’ll make sure not to spoil any story beats or other specifics.
Time to enter the Garden of Insanity!
Don’t forget your sushi
This is a silly one, but if you’ve played a lot of No More Heroes 1 and 2, you may not be in the habit of using No More More Heroes 3‘s new Zelda-esque health and status rejuvenation system. It’s particularly easy to sleep on because your restorative items don’t appear on a subscreen, and some of them don’t need you to pay attention to them at all.
There’s two kinds of sushi to choose from — the kind that immediately improves your stats and/or gives you the ability to come back to life after taking a beating (like the fairies in the Zelda series), and the kind you have to use manually munch on mid-battle. It’s that second kind that I straight up forgot existed for a little while, making some boss fights feel impossible.
In order to use the “take-out” sushi you’ve bought from Bugzaburo, hit up on the crosspad. You can also select different types of sushi you may be carrying in your pockets (gross!) by hitting left or right on the crosspad. The type of sushi you have selected also shows up as little colored pixels near the bottom of the screen. Try to keep an eye on them. It may help you to eat your snacks and stay alive!
Make the most of your dodges, grapples, and death glove
When fighting a bunch of aliens with a laser sword, the obvious thing to do is hit them with the sword as much as possible. And there is a time and place for that! But in No More Heroes 3, you’re going to have to mix it up a bit if you want to excel. If you’ve played Travis Strikes Again, you know what I mean. That game has a ton of depth too, though it can be a little hard to see. No More Heroes 3 takes that depth and presents it in a clearer, more user-friendly package.
So if you hoped you could button-mash your way to wins, give up hope now. From the first boss on, it’s just not an option. He has a ground-based attack that you need to jump over in order to avoid, and getting hit by it two or three times will probably kill you. More often than not though, the dedicated dodge button is the best way to avoid enemy attacks. When timed properly, it causes your foe to move in slow motion, allowing you to land multiple hits while they’re trapped in a nearly frozen stance. This works on some distance attacks too, which is crucial, because nearly every enemy in the game has both long-range and short-range moves.
The best thing about being able to attack a jerk while they are stuck is you may get in enough hits to make them dizzy. That’s when you can grab them and slam them with a wrestling move. Not only do grapples do more damage than most other attacks, landing one also automatically recharges your beam katana. That’s crucial. It doesn’t matter how long your combos are if your sword goes limp mid-strike.
Another great way to avoid running out of katana juice is to lean into your death glove moves. The dropkick, which is unlocked from the start, has a soft lock-on feature and it does big damage. The other moves are unlocked a few bosses in, and will make or break most battles from there on out. Use your glove to slow enemies down, push away heavy hitters so you can pick off the weak ones without a crowd to deal with, and get that projectile launcher in the sky to support you whenever you can.
Unlike the “Full Armor Travis” and other specials, you don’t want to save your death glove moves for a rainy day. The sooner you use them, the sooner you can recharge them for another round. If you’re really low on health and are too scared to get in close, you can always run around for a bit to wait for your death glove abilities to recharge. Once you have all four ready to go, few will be able to stand a chance.
Reexamine the map on a regular basis
A lot of games will tell you right away when there is some new thing to do on the map or some side-quest to veer off on. No More Heroes 3 is not one of those games! If you’ve played Flower Sun and Rain, the pacifistic adventure game that set the stage for the original No More Heroes, then you know that Suda51 isn’t always big on explaining what to do in his open worlds. No More Heroes 3 is no exception. Finding new jobs to do for cash — or alien battles you need to complete in order to open the boss door — are key parts of the game’s flow, and both my take some digging.
There are also off-to-the-side text-based “Adventure Mode” sequences and other NPCs that will unlock new featured on the map, and they are even tougher to find. They start to pop up on the map screen after the first or second boss, with zero fanfare. You need to stop and look at the map after beating every boss in order to see if there’s anything new. The “Adventure Mode” bits have an icon that looks like word balloons, and the Easter egg NPCs are represented by a little green “Person” icon. Hover over to it and it says (you guessed it) “Person.”
What kind of person, and what they’ll ask you to do, will remain unknown until you chat them up. Don’t miss out on what they have to offer! Planting trees, punching statues, and picking up scorpions is a lot of fun, and the only way to unlock those options is to get to know your neighbors.
Get the 80 Chip if you want to hunt for Easter eggs
Getting various kinds of Easter eggs to even appear on your map is just the first step. Finding them means combing over every quiet, uneventful, potentially unimportant piece of real estate in the game. Most of the stuff you can find gives you some skill points and/or in-game currency. That will help you beef up your stats, but the real point of finding them is seeing all the unexpected places Suda and his team decided to hide the next scorpion and/or fertile patch of soil.
That said, some secrets are so well-hidden you will straight up never find them without a little help. That’s where the 80 Chip comes in. It makes a loud noise when you’re about 30-or-so in-game feet away from a secret. The closer you get to the thing in question, the more intense the sound. You get the chip by building it in Naomi’s lab, and you should have the parts for it pretty early on. It works for kitten finding too, which is a relief. The thought of all those sad homeless cats, lost in a broken world during an alien invasion, is enough to get me in full “In the arms of an angel” mode.
Here’s where to find the most hidden Easter Egg Man
But the 80 Chip can’t find everything. There is one chain of Easter eggs that you won’t even know about unless you check your Spam Email (which is worth doing anyway, just for the dad-joke-quality Suda51 movie puns). Doppelganger, the social worker turned serial killer from Travis Strikes Again, starts hiding on the map fairly early on. He emails you about it, taunting you, and his hints about where he’s hiding are pretty vague.
This guy is the only “secret item” on the map that the 80 Chip doesn’t detect, and if I’m being real, finding his third location took me something like four hours. I don’t want you to ever have to go through that, so I took screenshots of all his hiding spots. But if you want to find him yourself, squint really hard right now, then scroll down about seven screens. We’ll pick up with some less fully revealing tips and hints from there.
Here’s Doppelganger’s first hiding spot, in a backlot near the off-ramp to Perfect World.
His second spot is near the entrance to Destroy Stadium in Santa Destroy.
His third hiding place is behind the trailers in Thunder Dome, between the public toilet and the t-shirt alien.
Hist fourth location is back in Perfect World, at a gas station that is about a 10-second drive from where you arrive on the map using fast travel.
His fifth spot is in Call of Battle, up the road away from the beach. Look for an armory on your left, on the way to an army base. Run down a slope and explore the fence around it. Doppelganger is around the corner to the left.
His sixth spot is back in Santa Destroy, on the border of Mexico (which looks like a plunger on the map).
His seventh spot is in the ruins of Call of Battle. Walk in through the entrance near the backroad entrance to the beach. He’s in one of the nooks facing the ocean.
The eighth spot is back in Perfect World in the residential area. There’s a culdesac near the tip of the island. He’s standing there in plain sight. Hope he didn’t murder nauybody!
His last hiding spot is right near your motel, but to get to it, you have to go around back. There’s an alley between the Motel and Beef Head video, near what Beef Head’s outdoor picnic tables. Doppelganger is right there, behind a trailer.
For finding his true self, Doppelganger gives you some 5,000 UtopiCoins and a t-shirt. But it’s the same shirt you get from the start if you have a Travis Strikes Again save on Switch!
You’re killing me, Doppelganger…
Read up on Travis Strikes Again
No More Heroes 3 is like Captain America: Civil War meets Twin Peaks: The Return. You don’t need to know the backstory of Ant-Man, Bobby Briggs, and every talking raccoon and tea kettle to understand what’s going on, but those details add color to the adventure.
Travis Strikes Again holds a lot of No More Heroes 3‘s backstory. That’s probably because it technically is No More Heroes 3, and the actually No More Heroes 3 is its direct sequel.
Confused? Just wait, it gets worse.
Travis Strikes Again also tells at least four different stories in three different ways: through in-game cutscenes, in-game faxes sent by a few different parties (including your cat!), and a visual novel mode called Travis Strikes Back. It’s a lot. I love the game, and I still forgot like half of the lore from it. There’s just so much, and it’s delivered in so many ways, like a dream that keeps changing formats. Suda’s fans love him for those sorts of transgressions, but dang, it can be hard to keep it all straight.
So if you never played Travis Strikes Again, or you’re just straining to remember it, here are key areas to refresh on: The Death Drive Mk II, Badman and The Black Dog, Dr. Juvilnille, Doppelganger, Shinobu, Bad Girl, Henry Cooldown, Sylvia Christel, and Damon Riccotelo. All of them were either introduced in, or were massively changed by, Travis Strikes Again. The hyperlinks above should help you get started on learning how.
As you explore, keep in mind that Suda’s own career, the nature of the afterlife for video game characters, new-ish faces like Midori Midorikawa and Kamui Uehara from The Silver Case, and various themes from No More Heroes 1 and 2 also make up parts of the game’s backdrop.
Again, you can enjoy No More Heroes 3 without knowing all that stuff, but boning up on your lore can be a lot of fun. It’s unnecessary, but then again, aren’t most things?
Learn about Takashi Miike
Travis Strikes Again ended with a teaser for No More Heroes 3. All in all, it looks like that plan worked out pretty well. It’s no surprise then that No More Heroes 3 has not one, but two, but three moments that could be considered hints about where the series is going from here.
I’m not going to tell you what they are.
What I will tell you is, throughout the game, Travis and his friend Bishop talk about how much they love film director Takashi Miike. He’s royalty in Japanese cinema, and director of some of the best game-to-film adaptations, including Yakuza and Ace Attorney. He even made a cameo in No More Heroes 2.
But that was a long time ago. For about a decade, no one was sure if No More Heroes 3 would ever happen. But it’s here, breathing new life into the character of Travis Touchdown. Miike may have inspired aspects of this resurrection, and I won’t be surprised if he plays a hand in wherever Travis goes next.
So if you want to know more about this master filmmaker, this retrospective from Mordibly Beautiful is a nice place to start, but it probably won’t be the end. Miike’s filmography is just one of the many threads that No More Heroes 3 weaves together. Sometimes it feels like the start of 10 different projects that never really end. I hope that’s the case. While people have waited a long time for this revival, I think playing it will make them even hungrier for No More Heroes 4, 5, and 6.
Long Live Santa Destroy!