Review by Thievius Jubei

"Killer App, Meet Viewtiful Joe!"

For months had we all read about the awesome ''Capcom 5,'' the exclusive Nintendo Gamecube games that would set the world on fire and send a shockwave through Sony's and Microsoft's respective camps. Out of the five, I must admit to being taken immediately with the look and potential of one ''Viewtiful Joe,'' believing before the massive hype machine created by the media, that this particular title would do the impossible, spur a resurgence of good ol' 2-D gameplay, though with a 2003 twist.

After playing the demo, my mind wasn't made up yet, however. I found the game to be great fun, but couldn't get a good feel for it, for the obvious reason of it being a short demo. Though the V-powers were interesting, the demonstration was particularly easy, and so it wasn't even necessary to use them. So, I sat back with mild interest after that, awaiting the reviews.

Soon came word that the finished product was tough and challenging, and that the visual stylings of the game were fresh and vivid, that the V-powers were seamlessly integrated into the game, and that they were not a gimmick. I soon learned that Capcom concocted some mojo to attain the ingredients on how to make the perfect 2-D action platformer; they only hinted at what this game is with the demo. Ladies and gentleman, Viewtiful Joe is here, and it will rock your world. Henshin a Go Go Baby!

GAMEPLAY

Lets go ahead and call this title ''Game That Re-defines Really Everything About Video Games in One Fell Swoop.'' A game long on gameplay features deserves an equally-lengthy classification. So, you know all about the V-powers? No, you don't. See, you might know about the slow-motion, and the fast-forwarding, and zooming in, but you don't KNOW about them until you have the GC pad in your hands and are manipulating Joe. See, in order to get the most out of the game you're gonna have to make great use of your strengths and your foes weaknesses. For instance, one character (I'll call him Yellow Man, for lack of a better nomenclature) can't be hit from the front. And it would take you quite a bit of time to beat him if you simply jump at his back and wail away without using your powers wisely. So, you have to time your jump to his back, because he has two devestating attacks of his own, slow time down, zoom in, do a whirling kick, then punch him. It reads complicated, but it's simple in play. Other gameplay essentials in this one are spot-on controls; Joe is always at YOUR command. Awesome reticules appear at points with some enemies, allowing you to dispatch them in a particularly cool method. The enemy AI is fluid, though not particularly smart, more like creatively positioned throughout, with numerous thugs dispatched from tanks, planes, etc. I could really go on and on about gameplay, but it's important to just have the control pad in your hands, moving this guy around the game screen to truly believe the hype, and that the gameplay is really top-notch stuff. Friggin' awesome!

GRAPHICS

Cel-shading has lost its umph! Everyone's doing it. Hell, even first-person shooters have joined in the fray (though it will be good use of it in that one case). What Capcom does is evolves the staid artform with gorgeous comic book-like characters and environments. You'll be hard-pressed to find anything else that gives you the same feeling of watching Joe slow down time to zoom into the screen as he whips enemie's asses. The graphical clarity is stunning, not to mention everything on screen looks fantastically-detailed. This has to be the first game to ever really look like a freakin' comic. The enemy design is spot-on, with a whole cast of richly-drawn bosses who are extravagant and wowing to look at, though don't look to long as to get your ass pummeled. Really, I can find no fault with the graphics. This being a 2-D game, there are no camera distractions whatsoever, no clipping, no mis-timed jumps, nada. Furthermore, this game manages to do more with a bathtub than most developers do with a 10,000,000 dollar budget! I also like the filter that appears when Joe loses his powers. A lot more to say, but you can see the rest for yourself.

SOUND

Spectacular throughout. Wait until you get an earful of... I forget his name, but he's some sort of rhino... Jeez! I'll have to go back and face him again... Anyway, when you get to the hotel, you'll hear what I'm talking about. None of the sound in this game is overdone, none of it. Hell, even the pause screen is a riot, as any time you pause the narrator will chime in with some witticism, like: Bathroom Break!, or he'll ask if you're going to do the number 1 or 2. Really fantastic design decisions that Capcom should be applauded for. The soundtrack will aid you along in being a superhero. Furthermore, the voice acting is spectacular, never taking itse;f seriously at all. You'll smile whenever you hear Joe try and figure out what to call himself for a superhero name. It's magical stuff, and automatically flawless.

EXTRAS

Are ya kiddin'? Extra characters to play with, who have different stories and powers. Extra difficult modes to unlock. The whole kit n kaboodle.

OVERALL What are you waitin' for? Didn't you read all that gushing? Ain't nothing wrong with this game, other than it may be too short for those that beat it one time. For those people, I ask ''Why did you buy it in the first place? And if you rented, I'm telling you to go BUY it. NOW!


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/13/03


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