Review by PeachKid

"Not your average Joe Shmoe"

Viewtiful Joe is a work of art created by yours truly, Capcom. It is highly unique and one of a kind. You can describe this game in many words such as fantastic, beautiful, or innovative but simply Viewtiful just seems to fit. Does this game live up to it's enormous hype? It does indeed, and here is why.

Story 7/10
You begin in an empty movie theater with Joe and his girlfriend, Sylvia. Joe just keeps ignoring Sylvia's cries for some ''off screen action'' and continues to watch his favorite action super hero, Captain Blue, on the big screen. Out of nowhere a huge hand grabs Sylvia and pulls her into the movie screen. Joe is also dragged into the movie by another huge machine. The action begins right away as you are trained by Captain Blue to take his place and rise as the new super hero and savior of this strange movie world. You will go through a series of levels to save your beloved Sylvia. Although there are few cut scenes I feel that the character development was done very well. Joe becomes more and more like a super hero throughout the game. Each character has their own personality and you feel attached to each one of them. Capcom even had the kindness to throw in a lot of humor into the story.

Sound 7/10
The music in the game is decent, but nothing you'll find yourself humming as you brush your teeth in the morning or take a shower. As for the sound effects such as punches, kicks, rockets, and more ......well they are just pretty good. The main reason I gave a good score in sound is due to one thing, the fantastic voice acting. Everyone's voice is different and unique. They all work well with their respective characters. I wish I could give sound an 8 or 9 but some (maybe 2) of the voices are hard to understand but they are very minuscule parts which are not that important to the story line.

Graphics 8/10
Cel-Shading is the newest trend and is becoming somewhat of a gaming fashion. Combined with side-scrolling action you feel like you are actually playing a role in an awesome comic book. Backgrounds are well done and can be fun to gaze at. You will never have trouble trying to figure out if something is in the background or part of the level. Cut scenes look beautiful (or should I dare say Viewtiful) with the exception of Joe's hand sometimes wandering through his head or stomach. For some reason though it feels like they meant to do that.

Controls 10/10
I never had a single problem remembering which button did this or which button did that. The actions are 100% responsive as well. Easy to learn, easy to master. If you do happen to have a problem (which I doubt anyone will) there is an option to change the buttons around. Enough said.

Gameplay 10/10
This is where the game truly flourishes. The old school beat 'em up style combined with some brand new twists. You gain 3 different powers early in the game that will become your best friends. Slow-mo to easily predict enemy attacks, dodge and rack up some great combos. Mach-Speed to kill multiple enemies at once, hit boxes in the background, and even set enemies and yourself on fire. Zoom-In to perform some dazzling, fancy moves and attacks. All of these powers are not just for battling your foes, but are required to use at certain situations in order to progress through levels. Whether it be slowing down the propeller on a moving platform to make it fall or to speed up the flow of the water to make it rise you will find that your VFX powers will come in handy.
You will also earn points/coins for your combos that you will be able to use to buy new moves, items, health, and continues. The moves that you buy will become part of almost every combo or attack you make. If you learn them and use them correctly you will be awestruck at the combos that you can pull off.
I consider the difficulty of this game to be a very big bonus. You may find yourself stuck on a boss or level for a while, but when you finally pass it you feel like a million bucks. This isn't like those types of games where you get stuck for hours and are frustrated to the point of a broken controller or TV. The difficulty is just right so that you don't breeze through the game, but at the same time don't play the same level over and over for days upon days.
In the end Viewtiful Joe has one of the most innovative, fun and exciting gameplay we've seen in a very long while.

Replay Value 8/10
With unlockable characters and difficulties you will be playing this game for a while. Each new character has slight adjustments such as speed or how high they can jump. You may find yourself playing through each difficulty with each character. The initial quest takes around 10 hours. If you play each difficulty just once you will get well over 30 hours of gameplay. Try to unlock everything and you'll most likely get over 40 hours. Not bad at all. Heck, even if there weren't any unclockables just the fun factor alone will keep you playing this game all day and night. It has that certain zing to it. The same zing that makes us all play Super Mario Bros. over and over.

Overall 9/10
When all is said and done this game is a must have for every GCN library out there. It is definitely in the top 5 for best GCN games if not number 1. With the high fun factor, great challenge and hilarious moments, I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to own this title. It is easy to say that you haven't seen the last of Viewtiful Joe. I would like to end with a quote from Nintendo Power's own Alan - ''If you don't like this game, you have no soul''

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/19/03

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