Get ready for a very
original experience brought to you by the masterminds behind the Resident Evil and Megaman franchises, Capcom. This is a 2-D
sidescroller beat-em-up set in a 3-D world. Yes, I know, 2-D sidescrollers are nearly extinct nowadays, but trust me, this
game is definitely worth picking up.
The game starts off with
a young couple going to the movies. The couple consists of Joe, your every day guy who’s sort of a smartass, and Silvia,
a headstrong young girl who wears very thick glasses. They’re watching an old superhero movie starring Joe’s favorite
superhero, Captain Blue. After awhile, Silvia gets bored and tries to seduce Joe, and for reasons unknown to anyone, Joe refuses
to go along with Silvia’s temptations to make out with him. Is he crazy??? Meanwhile, in the movie, Captain Blue is
fighting a mysterious bad guy. He eventually loses the battle, and all seems lost for the hero. All of a sudden, the bad guy
reaches into the movie audience and picks up Silvia and brings her into the movie. Captain Blue then comes into the movie
audience himself and brings Joe into the movie in order to save Silvia. Joe is then taken into intense training under the
wing of Captain Blue so he can set out on his adventure to rescue Silvia. Joe is eventually given a V-Watch, which is needed
to transform into a superhero. He then becomes Viewtiful Joe, a brand new superhero dressed in red spandex and a long pink
This is just the beginning
of the story. I know, it sounds like another damsel in distress game on the lines of Mario or Zelda, and you may be right.
But it does have many interesting twists in the game which spice up the story. But overall, it’s nothing original or
new, but it does fit in well with the rest of the game.
Viewtiful Joe is one
of the many games out there that uses the cel-shaded graphics that is starting to become popular. It is used to its full potential
and looks fantastic. Much detail is given to all the areas in the games, along with the many characters and villains that
inhabit them. The action in the game runs as smooth as silk. All the animation seen looks perfect, and there is no slow down
whatsoever. This is indeed the best 2-D sidescroller on the market, but this is most likely because the genre isn’t
too popular among the game developers anymore so the game doesn’t have much competition.
The sound in this game
is more unique then it is breath-taking. The music in the game is pretty average and nothing out of the ordinary. No catchy
songs to get stuck in your head or anything here. But what more than makes up for it is the great and often funny dialogue.
Joe himself has sort of a cocky attitude and everything he says truly defines the character that he’s meant to play.
The bosses in each level are the best dialogue sequences in the game. Each boss has his own distinct personality. You got
your stuttering idiot who babbles on about stuff you cant understand, there’s the big bad dude that thinks he’s
all that and acts as sort of a bully to you, and many more that will easily keep your interest.
Absolutely amazing. There
is so much variety in this game and the action never gets old.
Like I’ve stated
before, this is a side scrolling beat-em-up, except there are twists that keep it from feeling like an old Double Dragon or
Streets of Rage game. You are of course given the traditional punch, kick, and jump moves but when transformed into Viewtiful
Joe, you can inherit 3 special powers that will help you plow your way through all of your enemies.
The first is Slow, which
gives you the power to slow down time. This power can slow down anything from making your punch deal more damage to your foes,
to slowing down a drop of water and making it increase greatly in size to hit a nearby switch for you. This is probably the
most useful power you are given in the game, so use it wisely.
The second move is Mach
speed, which gives you the power to speed up time. This power can speeds up everything from your punches and kicks so that
you can kill a handful of enemies in a matter of seconds, to propeller wheels making them spinning blades of death that will
cut any and all things that cross its path. Also, when you speed up and attack enemies for long enough, you eventually catch
on fire making you impervious to flames and also allowing you to catch enemies on fire making them die much quicker. But while
this is a very cool power, it isn’t really useful too much in battle. It’s mostly used in many of the puzzles
that you must solve to progress through the levels.
Last, but certainly not
least, is the Zoom-in technique, which obviously allows you to zoom in on your character. After zooming in on Joe, his strength
is hugely increased, plus you can see all the action that is taken place on screen up close. Though this technique is rarely
used for any puzzles, it’s an absolute must on many boss fights. You will definitely be using this power a lot.
All of these techniques
are fine and dandy on their own, but it’s not until you start combining them that you get a taste of the full magic
of Viewtiful Joe. Zooming in while slowing down time makes for the time to deal out maximum damage to all foes, plus you can
also hold in mach speed at the time to make Joe go a little faster while still slowed down and zoomed in. You may be thinking
that the action could get boring with only 3 techniques to work with, but trust me, it doesn’t. This is one of those
games that you really have to play for yourself before you can fully enjoy it.
There is a Viewtiful
Meter that you must keep filled throughout the game. If this meter drops to 0, then you’ll transform back into regular
Joe, who is a much weaker, slower, and more vulnerable version of his superhero counterpart. You do not want to stay in this
form for long. While being regular Joe, your Viewtiful Meter fills up automatically, and once it hits a certain spot, you
instantly transform back into Viewtiful Joe. The Viewtiful Meter only depletes when you are using one of your 3 techniques.
You must stop using your powers when the meter gets low so that it can replenish. During levels, you can find pieces of film
which can help you make the meter longer so that you can last longer doing techniques without worrying about reverting back
into regular Joe. It’s a really strategic element in the game; one second can come between Viewtiful and non-Viewtiful.
Aside from the 3 special
techniques that you’re given, you can also purchase other special moves using money that is collected in each level.
These moves spice up the gameplay a lot and can be used with the techniques to dish out a plentiful damage on your foes.
This style of gameplay
is like nothing else out there. It’s very easy to pick up and play, yet it takes a long time to master.
Yet again, this game
excels in another category. The controls are easy to learn and are very responsive. All 3 techniques are given a single button
on the controller so it’s easy to activate whichever one you want at any time. They are placed at good spots on the
controller and you get used to where they are in no time. Since you will be using each power up dozens and dozens of times
in just one level, you will never struggle to figure out which button activates which technique.
Overall, the game isn’t
really that long. It may occupy about 7 or 8 hours on your first time through, and probably about half the time if you play
through it again. But there are a handful of cool unlockables. First off, you can unlock a very quirky Japanese music video
of the Viewtiful Joe crew singing a song that you can’t understand. It’s very entertaining and I go back to watch
it now and then just for laughs. Next, there are 2 super hard difficulty settings, adding to the other 2 that you start the
game with. These are extremely hard and only the most hardcore gamer could hope to accomplish them. Last off, there are 3
unlockable characters that you can play as. All are somewhat unique, but mostly, they play a lot like Joe does. This may not
seem like a lot to unlock in a game, but due to the insanely hard difficulty, unlocking everything will be quite the challenge
and will take you a long time.
This is a very entertaining
and challenging game that I think everyone should try. I highly recommend it to all of those looking for something a little
different. With the huge masses of shooters, racers, and all other platforms of games that have been done a million time hogging
up the huge population of the gaming library, Viewtiful Joe is a godsend. Its originality and simple gameplay will most likely
please all who cross its path. Get this game and see for yourself.
Lasting Appeal: 8.3/10.0