Review by Muk1000
"Just call me Joe...Viewtiful Joe!"
Games like Viewtiful Joe don't come along very often. To me, this is like the essence of what a game should be. Fun, challenging, and it looks great too.
Joe and his girlfriend Silvia go to see an old movie starring Captain Blue. This superhero has obviously seen better days...his gut is hanging out, and he has a huge scar across his face. This doesn't stop Joe from standing up and cheering, though. However, Silvia is obviously interested in Joe more than the movie.
Captain Blue is defeated, and the villain somehow comes out of the screen and grabs Silvia. Joe gets grabbed by Captain Blue's big robot, and is dropped in the movie. Captain Blue appears and tells Joe to unlock his power by saying ''Henshin''. Joe yells, ''Henshin-A-Go-Go, Baby!'' Joe transforms into Viewtiful Joe, and your adventure begins! I won't spoil anything, but you'll love the story's twists and tricks.
The screen shots of this game don't look like much, that's for sure. However, when you get into this game, you'll see that screen shots don't do it justice. Joe's moves, abilities, enemies, and everything else look great. Hit robots, and chucks of metal fly toward the screen and onto the ground. Hit Slow, and bullets that would be otherwise invisible suddenly appear. All the little details and special effects just add to the spectacular gameplay.
The meat of any game is gameplay, and this game is in no way lacking. Viewtiful Joe's gameplay is based on Joe's crazy moves and abilities. There are two separate buttons for punch and kick, making for extra combo action. Joe has three superpowers: Slow, Mach Speed, and Zoom In. As you use them, you use up VFX power. Run out, and you become regular Joe until it refills.
Slow is by far the most useful ability. It lets you see all of Joe's crazy moves in detail, and it increases his power, too. Slow also allows for huge combos and Joe can't get hit while in Slow (although this takes extra VFX power).
Mach Speed lets you speed up everything to the point that rapid attacks produce flames. Although not as useful as Slow, it lets you rip apart the easier enemies in seconds.
Zoom In allows Joe to use his strongest abilities, and combined with Slow's extra power, they are insanely lethal. Zoom In also allows you to see all of Joe's attacks up close, but you never really think about that when in the heat of a huge battle.
The voices and noises are very fitting, although a couple voices border on impossible to understand. Luckily, no one who tells you anything important has this problem, so it can be overlooked for the most part. Otherwise, the voices and music are great and fit in perfectly.
You start with two difficulties: Kids and Adult. Kids is by far the easier of the two, and even that one is difficult. Adult is much, much harder. You start with half as much health, your VFX bar empties quicker, and some enemies are faster and do more damage. If all this isn't enough, beating adult gives you another difficulty, V-Rated. And if you can do that, you get ANOTHER difficulty, Ultra V-Rated.
As if the four difficulties weren't enough, Capcom threw us something else. Beating Adult, V-Rated, or Ultra V-Rated earns you three extra characters. That is a total of 4 characters and 4 difficulties. Which, if you do everything, equals an insane 16 times through. Each play through ranges from 6-10 hours, depending on difficulty. My run through Kids took about 6 hours and thirty minutes. Oh, and you get a nice music video of Joe and his pals for beating Kids, too.
Of course, this wasn't enough. Oh no. You can also try the insane. One last secret lies in Viewtiful Joe: unlimited VFX power. In order to unlock this, you must get Rainbow Viewtiful rankings in every stage of the game. Much, MUCH easier said then done, as you'll discover. This can be done once for every character, so that is 4 more things you have to do. Capcom sure can stuff in the replay.
Everything in Viewtiful Joe molds into a wonderful, exciting game. Capcom did a wonderful job with this game. Polished to perfection and with enough to keep you coming back for more. One of the definite buys of this generation. So Mach Speed over to a game store and pick up this amazing game! HENSHIN-A-GO-GO, BABY!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 10/13/03
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