Viewtiful Joe GameCube Review

Certainly one of the most original games to land exclusively on the GameCube since the console’s release, Viewtiful Joe brings a welcome change with it’s unique comic book style graphics, simple combat system, and most importantly, fun gameplay. Does this much hyped game up to its expectations? Let’s find out as we embark upon the quest to rescue Silvia, Joe’s girlfriend, from the evil movie villains.

Graphics

Graphically this game is very unique; it takes the pages of a comic book and gives them life. Both the background and foreground are full of little details. From the rust on the walls, the pipes in the background, even bits fly off your enemies as you literally smash them to pieces. You can see the wind blowing past you as you execute VFX Max, and Viewtiful Joe’s cape is constantly blowing about. Everything adds to the comic book feel, and it would be quite a hard job to find anything out of place.

Gameplay

For the vast majority of this game you play as Viewtiful Joe on foot, roaming the games colorful and vibrant 2D levels. The fact that the game is 2D does not limit it at all; there are many puzzles throughout that will challenge even the wisest minds. Some puzzles may require that an object be moved to a certain place, or that one of Viewtiful Joe’s powers be used, or possibly even a combination of both. Sometimes you may find yourself isolated in one room, unable to resolve the puzzle, this can become very frustrating.

Throughout some of the early stages of the game, your ordinary Joe must face Captain Blue in order to gain his red suit that turns him into Viewtiful Joe, and three superhero powers, also known as VFX. These powers are VFX Slow, VFX Max and VFX Zoom.

– VFX Slow (L trigger), as you might have guessed from its name, makes everything go slow. This means you will easily be able to defeat multiple enemies as they move to slow to attack before you do. Speeding bullets can’t be seen for dust, until now. With the use of VFX Slow, speeding bullets can be punched back to the enemy, or if you decide not to counter the attack, Viewtiful Joe will simply spin to avoid the bullets that now go straight past him.
– VFX Max (R trigger) allows you to move with great speed; you can then outrun enemies and rack up huge combos. You should be aware that it doesn’t really affect enemies, if you are hitting one enemy, another behind you can still easily attack you.
– VFX Zoom (B button and C stick), as it suggests, zooms in on you, and freeze’s all the enemies.
Although you are unable to move also, you are able to unleash a multiple of devastating attacks.

As good as these powers are, they aren’t unlimited. Towards the top of the screen is the VFX gauge, this gauge drains as the VFX powers are executed, but refills itself when the powers are no longer in use. Should you drain the VFX gauge completely you will turn back into ordinary Joe, something which you don’t want to happen, but within only a few seconds you will yet again become the red suited superhero as the VFX gauge slowly refills.

The combat system is incredibly simple with only three basic buttons being used, the controls are as follows:

Control stick/D-pad – Move Viewtiful Joe around
A button – Jump (double tap for double jump)
X button – Kick
Y button – Punch
Z button – Skip movie
B button – VFX zoom
C stick – VFX zoom
L trigger – VFX slow
R trigger – VFX max
Start button – Pause

From the control list it may seem that there aren’t many attacks, but once a combo has started an array of spin kicks and powerful punches burst from our superhero. Extra moves can also be bought with points that are earned through the game. Such moves include special kicks, boomerangs, bombs and other things such as extra lives and the chance to increase the health meter.

One of the most frustrating things about the game is saving. The game is split into episodes and the episodes are split into parts. You can only save after you have defeated a certain number of parts; if you die before you reach the end then you have to start from where you saved.

Sound

The music is very fitting throughout the game, and tends to be fast paced as you battle though the hoardes of enemies. You can hear each individual enemy falling apart as Viewtiful Joe’s attacks certainly don’t go unheard. As you can expect, there are the usual groans should you get knocked to the ground, and a little ‘Ya!’ every time a kick is unleashed. A reassuring sound is the ‘Henshin a go go baby!’ the words ordinary Joe cries out as he transforms into Viewtiful Joe. Without the sound, the game wouldn’t quite be the same but lacks anything spectacular.

Lifespan

The game has a number of different difficulty settings, and since you can only save at certain times, in effect the game is shorter for better players, but the game does get much harder towards the end. Apart from unlocking special characters, I don’t see too much replay value in this game

Overall

A fun, fast paced side scrolling beat ’em up that is quite genius. Even if you only rent it, I’m sure you will end up buying it later. It’s originality in both gameplay and graphics really is a breath of fresh air. It may have no multiplayer, and can get frustrating at times, but I feel this is a game everybody should play at least once.

9 out of 10
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