Review by EJRICH

"Henshin Should be Put Into The Dictionary"

Viewtiful Joe

Vision is something that is sorely lacking these days, that and innovation, but that's what this game came to fix. Unlike a good 95% of the other games on the market these days, Viewtiful Joe does something special by combining old with new to create something truly spectacular. It's one thing to have a vision, but you also have to have the ability to back that vision with the creativity of innovation. That's what is special about this game; they took an idea and made it their own. Time alteration isn't exactly a new idea, in fact it was kind of abused way back when; but what people failed to see in it this developer capitalized on. They took the idea as a whole and changed it to make it a breath a fresh air to its players that would change the way many people thought of gaming for a very long time. Viewtiful Joe is by no means perfect, but what it does do right it rocks in, creating a perfect balance between old and new.

Possibly the only problem I had with this game; Viewtiful Joe's story is a mockery of the title itself. The plot itself is underdeveloped, sporting poor plot development to drive along its pitiful story. What's cool about that though; which is kind of weird, is that the characters themselves make the story special. I am truly saying that the characters themselves each bring to the table something of their own that really makes the story better as a whole. The word Hen shin-a-go-go has basically become a legend among the games devotes. The story revolves around an average guy named Joe who finds himself on an endless quest to rescue his girlfriend Silvia from the evil antagonists of movie land. What's really funny though is that Joe himself is one of those heroes that couldn't tell his left foot from his right. He's an imbecile. I think that that is something that should be used more often. I'll be honest; I'm really tired of seeing the same cookie cutter heroes that have some sense of justice about them that makes them look like a poster boy out of superman. It's either that or a hero who's a complete jerk out for revenge. Joe doesn't fit in either, and I think that that is what makes him special in that respect. Sure, he has a sense of justice, but that sense of justice stems from his own will. He's what you'd call a regular guy. The really funny part though is that the games villains aren't very bright either, so most of the time it comes down to plain out hilarity that no one in their right mind should miss. The end of the game has one huge plot twist, but it's too little too late. Luckily for this game though, the characters make the story ;).

Game Play
This is were Viewtiful Joe really leaves its mark. Not only is the game play stupendous, but it also shows that the side-scrolling/ action genre isn't dead yet. To many times I had to sit there and ponder this really simple question, “Why don't more designers do this?” It's really a shame considering what this game accomplishes in every category. Taking an idea and making it your own is one thing, but taking an idea, making it your own, and running with it is another. They took a character that perfectly fitted this role and created a world of hilarity that shines past what others would consciously expect from this title. I'll tell you here and now. This is the best Viewtiful Joe game ever, as gradually the series has been loosing what made it what it was. To me the newest title to hit the DS was a mockery of this game. It shouldn't have even been able to call itself a game of this series. The same definitely holds true for the sequel of the console games. With that being said, I really didn't let it get to me that much, I was just a little disappointed that they didn't give a repeat performance of one of the best games I've ever had the pleasure of playing. The game play itself is really well thought out, and I think that by adding a little customization to this game they greatly increased the depth to which it functions. The ability to choose your own power ups by spending your points is great, and although it really isn't that heavy, it still works. I guess it just gives of the personification of it, giving off an illusion. Better it be there then not though.

With that being said, there are two forms from which you will play in this game. The first is your average Joe, nothing really special. He basically can just punch and kick your enemies. His jump is still high, but it lacks the height it needs to be able to clear some of the leaps that only the double jump can give. He still is funny to watch though, mainly because it's a regular guy beating things up. The second form from which you'll be playing is none other than the games main protagonist, Viewtiful Joe. Viewtiful isn't playing games either. Joe's not average any more; in fact he's plain out spectacular, boasting time alteration abilities as well as the nifty ability to double jump, Viewtiful Joe makes the game playable. That's the problem with this game, without you being in your super hero mode, you'll quickly find yourself being beaten unless you are a veteran of then game. It's pretty sad; the enemies do far more damage then they should, and add that to the fact that you have bosses in the game and you're in for a difficult time. That's were his powers come in. Viewtiful Joe has the ability to enter a couple of time alternating sequences that can either speed up time to help you beat enemies up faster, or a slower state of time in which he can virtually become invincible if you learn how to time yourself right. You'll find yourself abusing these abilities more often than not, and if you abuse them too much you'll end up reverting back to your average Joe, which isn't a good thing at all. There are some more awesome powers in this game, ranging from fiery kicks to possibly the funniest move in the game; Viewtiful forever.

The stages in which you battle are divided up into segments, each being divided further into battle sequences were it is your job to be both stylish and effective while you are beating up your enemies. You're rated after you beat a group of enemies depending on how well you did, and what's really funny is that they always included a comment on the bottom of your rating XD. That being said, I never really paid attention to it, but it is good for replay if you try and get perfect on every run.

The graphics of this game are unique in the fact that as you fighting as regular old Joe you get a grainy like appearance to your screen, harkening to the fact that you are in a movie. When you are Viewtiful Joe though, everything changes. The screen itself turns into an amazingly detailed world of color and vibrant places that make the game even better to both play in and look at. I really appreciated the fact that they continued the creativity here in the graphics area, as in my opinion this area in-particularly is left out when you think of creativity. For example, take Football. Compared to games, lets say that you take an offensive line as your game. You have game play as the quarter back, music and graphics and your receivers, and Story as your backs. The extra line-men act as the back-ups to your game. The quarter back's job is simply to get the ball to a receiver or possibly hand it off for a run play. Without the receivers, music and graphics, the quarter back has no-one to throw to. Without the backs, he can't do much either. Everything must work together in a game to make it better as a whole. When each member of the team can come together and score, you know you have a winner. I really like this section of the game, and I'm sure you will to.

This game sports an impressive array of music that compliments the overall game play. I enjoyed the tunes that this game had, mainly because they fit the spots. Joe's hilarious to listen to when he punches or kicks, and I think that by adding that in they put in something a little more special; almost personification, into the game itself. Their were some iffy parts to it, but for the most part it hit what needed to be hit in order for the musical score to work. Granted, it all comes down to opinion; and I think that depending on what you like you may or may not enjoy this. To me, it was a completed pass.

This area is were my main problems come from; as the difficulty in this game is far higher than it should be in order to keep the level ratio enjoyable to its fans. I can tell you that this may take away from your overall experience. They basically force you into a hard time right at the beginning of the game, and when they do that it's probably one huge sign for what the rest of the game will hold. I seriously suggest you get the game at a used game store, see if you can handle it, and go from there. If not, as long as it is in the return time you're good to return it. One boss in-particularly was so hard to me that it basically sapped countless hours of both enjoyment and time from my life. Granted, it was rewarding to finally beat that stupid thing, but as I was looking back on it, it really didn't make sense. I say you should still get it, mainly because the rest of the game is so good. Every hero has an Achilles heal I suppose, but it's a shame that it had to be what you'll be putting up with for the majority of the game.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/27/06

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