Review by JDthecat
"Life is Viewtiful!"
Back when I was a little kid in the day of SNES games, I was a fan of beat 'em up games (like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), even if I couldn't get past the first few stages with my friend, it was still very fun to play. However, those types of games started disappearing and the ones released weren't very fun to play.
Then came Viewtiful Joe, a beat 'em up game developed by Capcom (who made one of my favorite series, Mega Man), which looked absolutely amazing. From the cel-shaded graphics to the awesome gameplay and the story that every kid always dreamed of, being a super hero. Viewtiful Joe is definitely the best I've seen in a while and I'll now analyze some of the aspects of this viewtiful game.
You are Joe, a guy who LOVES movies, especially the Captain Blue film. One day you are watching it with your girlfriend, Sylvia, at a movie theater. However, something absurd happens in the middle of the film, the character in the movie reaches out his hand into the real world and grabs Sylvia, taking her with him into Movieland and taking out Captain Blue and Six Majin, the giant red robot that takes you inside the movie in order to save Sylvia. You'll soon get the object of your dreams: the V-watch. With this you will go from Average Joe to Viewtiful Joe. Now, time to take down all the villains and rescue Sylvia.
The gameplay is absolutely mind blowing, Joe can do just about anything in the movie. You start out with no powers except for things any human can do (jump, kick and punch). Don't worry as you will soon get the V-watch from Captain Blue himself, telling you to become the super hero Movieland needs. As you say the words "Henshin a go go baby!", you'll see a normal teenager become the greatest hero around, Viewtiful Joe. As you progress through the game, you will acquire new abilities such as, Slow, Mach Speed and Zoom. As the names implies, you will be able to slow down or speed up time as well as zoom in to yourself making your attacks stronger. Those powers can be combined making you a powerhouse, don't think it will make you invincible though as the VFX bar (basically the amount of time you can use your powers) will decrease as you use them. It recharges as soon as you stop using your powers.
Now you can beat any villain that comes your way. If he punches high, duck and you'll see him become dizzy since you dodged his attacks. Now its time to use those powers that make the game viewtiful. Slow down time to dodge a bullet or maybe go on the offensive and punch with even more strength, maybe send him flying or perhaps you rather speed up and punch so fast that you will catch on fire. Seriously the possibilities are endless, you can do anything to those poor saps that come your way begging for more. Why stop there? You can buy even more moves for Joe such as a fiery red hot kick or more life as you'll need it for the later stages. In order to buy them you'll need points, which you get when you kill enemies, and the bigger the combo involved, the more points you get.
The difficulty is high and when I say high, I mean HIGH! In Kids mode you'll probably think the same thing I did "Wow, they said this game was hard? What were they thinking when they wrote that review?". Then you try out the other mode already unlocked at the start of the game, Adults mode, and you'll probably say "OK, its pretty challenging." Then you unlock the higher difficulties and say "That review was wrong. Its MUCH harder than he said!"
So if you are looking for a challenge this will be a hell of an awesome game. If you are unsure of your abilities, just play kids mode first until you get the hang of it. Oh, and lets just say bosses are even harder with their huge life bar and crazy strong attacks. Don't be discouraged though, this games is a blast to play.
As said above, the game has vividly colored cel-shaded graphics (like Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker) and I must say, at first I thought it wouldn't look good, but once you start playing you'll see it fits perfectly with the atmosphere as you're inside a movie. Backgrounds and enemies look very good and at times you'll think you are in the movie instead of just watching it. The only tiny detail I didn't like is when you see those thick outlines around the characters when they are close up, but its not really a problem.
The backgrounds look like comic books versions, which is perfect for the way the characters look like. Enemies look and feel different from one another, and some of them, you can see a great amount of detail, especially when pieces of them start flying everywhere as you take them down one by one.
Sound and Audio 7/10
This is the only part of the game thats somewhat average. The music is good, nothing that will make you mute the sound but nothing that really stands out either (well maybe a few boss fights). So the music is still good, but could have been better.
The audio is what I don't enjoy too much. Some characters already sound weird (like the first boss) but you can't understand what they are saying, I mean you'll understand very little of some phrases, particularly the boss ones. Joes and everyone else sounds good though.
Perfect. You'll never blame the controls for any mistakes you do. They are responsive and don't stop working until you let go of them. Even if you combine all three powers, jump and kick all at the same time, the game will do it flawlessly. Also in case you don't like the default controls, you can change them around a bit. All in all, the controls couldn't be better.
Play Time/Replayability 10/10
The game is fairly short, taking about 10 hours to beat, but you'll definitely play this for a while, because even after you beat it there's still a lot to do. You can unlock more characters, each with a slightly different storyline, or go for a run on an even higher difficulty. You can try to buy all the power ups or go for a perfect run (get the best grade on every single level) or maybe just play it to destroy all the enemies that are foolish enough to try and stop you. Perhaps just chill and watch the movies in the V-gallery. Whatever it is, you will have fun playing it over and over again.
Viewtiful Joe is a game that should not be passed up. An awesome game with viewtiful controls, game play, replayability, graphics and an alright sound and audio, this is a must buy for players who want a challenge or just want a good beat 'em up, like the good old days. If you think the game may be a bit too hard for you, rent it and try it out, you'll probably love it and get better and better at it. The game is pretty cheap nowadays so its probably better just to buy it already. Well what are you waiting for? Go out and buy it.
Henshin a go go baby!
FINAL SCORE 10/10
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/08/08, Updated 01/09/08
Game Release: Viewtiful Joe (Player's Choice) (US, 12/31/04)
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