Review by Braben

"The most cheap but at the same time cool hero since Adam West!"

Viewtiful Joe is just what the Game Cube needs, good original games and not remakes and more remakes of the good old Nintendo games, I mean, remakes are ok, but what is not ok is having one or two new games and fifty remakes every month, agreed?, agreed.

Plot :
The plot and all the icons the game is based in a those we have already seen one million times, but that is the idea, spoofing all those things in the most classical way, exaggerating all the key elements, and for that reason the story in Viewtiful Joe kicks major butt. Everything begins when Joe and his girlfriend Silvia are in the cinema watching a crappy B movie starring Joe’s favourite hero, Captain Blue, a movie that Joe seems to be enjoying as much as Silvia is getting bored. But suddenly, the big robot Captain Blue was fighting with comes out of the screen and kidnaps Silvia, so Joe jumps over the screen too and right before you can say “Viewtiful” he becomes the new ultimate super hero, Viewtiful Joe!

The plot makes fun of all the imaginable cliches in a comic book in truly hilarious way, with ridiculous costumes, stupid poses, and totally over the top dialogue that is going to make you laugh like never before in a video game. With this game happens something similar than with the best rpgs, that is, you will want to play just to see the next cut scene. Magnificent.

Graphics 10/10 :
Well, first of all I have to say that I am not a big fan of the American comic book style this game has, in fact I found that style to be absolutely disgusting, but that is not enough reason to dislike Viewtiful Joe’s graphics, because even if you don’t like the style, it is undeniable that they fit the game in truly perfectly way and their originality is absolutely amazing. I don’t know exactly the way the graphics are made, cell shaded graphics were obviously used, but I don’t know how to describe the rest pf the game, I don’t know if it is fully in 2D or has 3D elements, but I don’t really care, the important thing is that the graphics are excellent, with bright colours everywhere and tons and tons of funny details in every single corner of each scenario. All the scenarios are an exact copy of a page of any American comic strip, fans of these comics are going to be literally blown away with the overall design of the game that is for sure.

The characters animations are some of the better made and most hilarious I can remember in a long time, Joe’s poses are so ridiculous that even a Power Ranger would feel ashamed, however, unlike things like the above mentioned Power Rangers or all the characters this games spoofs, Joe simply cannot look better doing those crappy performances. Then the rest of the bunch as well as all the enemies have also superb movements and comical actions, like when Joe uses his Zoom ability. Terrific.

The characters are very oddly designed, the mix between the above mentioned retro American comic book style and the traditional Japanese SD, but this is one of the reasons why this game is so innovative and good looking, and not the only god guys are wonderfully made, there are enemies that I would say that are even better than the main characters, they are also in SD version, for example the average enemies, some kind if Incredible Crash Dummies only that they are completely white ( at least most of them) and wear stupid outfits like a ballet tutu, a cowboy hat, and a lot more silly costumes. Anyway, an special mention deserve the bosses, I am not going o talk about them because spoiling them would be a crime, but know that they are simply KILLER!

Music 5/10:
To be honest I can’t remember anything about it, the action in this game is truly furious and so it is hard to listen to the music. Anyway, sometimes I stopped the action for a few minutes to listen to the it and I saw that it is not something really special, sure it is well made and suitable for the game (I mean for those who can stand all that rap or techno crap, because that is the style the game uses), but in my opinion this game needed a much more powerful and catchy soundtrack, a soundtrack as badass as the rest of the game, like in the first scenario, the only one with cool music.

The voice acting for the main characters were made by the same guys who dubbed Dark Cloud 2 (at least the two main characters), only that here they have done a much better job, a superb job, however, I am very disappointed with the way Joe says his “Henshin a Go Go Baby”, he doesn’t sound cool enough, in the cut scenes he talks in a great way but that is like is motto, too bad. In the other hand Silvia’s voice is superb, I love the way she says “Let’s Go For It! or Let’s Get It On”, and then comes the narrator, he talks exactly like the one of the very first Superman cartoons (if have seen one of them then you know what I am talking about) from I can’t even remember how many ages and he is simply unpayable.

Gameplay 9/10:
At first, this game looked like an old school platform game, that is why I though after seeing some screenshots in some magazines and in the Internet, but when I finally played I saw that I was wrong, and my disappointment was pretty big, because after an hour everything looked like a 2D side scrolling version of Devil May Cry, and I hate Devil May Cry with all my strength, fortunately I was wrong because while it still has some features and options that were also available in that game, like the possibility to boost or buy our abilities as well as some items in certain parts of the scenarios or the fact that the enemies take the tons and tons of punch and kicks before passing away. Anyway, even if the game shares some features, those feature that were badly done in that game in Viewtiful Joe they work in a much better way, ok, in fact in this game “they work” instead of being a horribly frustrating annoyance.

We have to beat different episodes that follows Joe’s misadventures to save his unsatisfied girlfriend, the stages are divided like in sections, we have to beat all these sections plus a boss at the end of each stage to get to the other one, like in a lot of Snes platformers, but even if some people says so, this is not a platformer by any means, this is just a 2D side scrolling beat em-up. A map with smaller stages is what the game lacks in my opinion, that way and with easier bosses this could have definitely been a top notch game as well as a new classic, too bad.

Viewtiful Joe has something that I don’t know if it is what Max Paine invented because I have never played that game but that probably is, the possibility to use some kind of slow motion whenever we want, I have read something about this feature in some other games but this is the first time I play one with it, and now I have understood why is something so popular, this feature is COOL, kicking butt this way is simply amazing, you can clearly see Joe’s ridiculous but classy movements perfectly as well as tons of enemies exploding into pieces and flying throw the air. Also, aside from this ultra cool movement, we have the opposite power, the ability to accelerate, as well as a weird Zoom that gives use new powers against certain enemies. Cool baby!

One thing I disliked about the game are those parts where you have to do certain things like using those bombs in the second world or when you have to hit a slot machine, or those missiles in the fourth chapter, or every time you have to do certain things in order to advance, I always get pissed of with these things because some of them are exasperating (like those damned bombs in the second chapter argh I sure have one hell of a time there) and make the game slower and some times very tedious, which is what happens with the bosses, by far the biggest flaw in the game, and they get even worse given their originality and wonderful designs. The thing is that the boss battles are very slow and tedious, they have a lot of energy and we can only do little damage every time we hit them. The bosses may be (ok, are) magnificent, but fighting them is a nightmare.

But above everything, where Viewtiful Joe shines is in its humour, the cut scenes and the dialogues with the bosses are going to make you cry like never before, as I said before the bosses simply cannot get better, I can’t remember more amusing bosses ever in a video game, and what about Joe’s superhero, Captain Blue, there is only one super hero in this world able to compete with the cheapness of that guy, and of course, as I said in my tagline, I am talking about Batman, yeah Batman, are you telling me that you don’t remember Adam West in that TV series of the 60s!?, can’t you remember his belly while he was wearing that horribly cheap Batman costume!, not even Austin Powers would wear such a crappy outfit man!

Difficulty: Hard.
Oh baby this game sure is tough, everything is pretty tough, from the enemies to the little traps on the stages, I specially hate those damned cowboys oh my god you have no idea about how much I hate them, anyway, there are two difficulty levels, I choose the second one Adult (the toughest I assume” right at the beginning because Kid (or Child as I played the Spanish version I don’t know the way it was called in English) sounded to easy, but it is definitely better to play, at least for a few hours, in the easiest level. Anyway, by far the biggest problems come with the EVIL bosses as I said before.

Replay Value
Quite a lot, but it depends, if you are patient and more than anything EXTREMELY skilled (and have some nice fingers because the Game Cube stick is very uncomfortable after some time, and even more in a game like this where you have to smash the buttons and move the stick all the time), as I was saying, then this game is going to last a very long time, otherwise, if you get pissed off too easily after finishing it you are not even going to try to obtain the secrets because in order to obtain all the extras we have to beat all the stages with different but always good scores which is something so hard that there is no use, and it is a pity because the secrets are pretty cool, but if there is not an easiest way to obtain them then I am not going to believe that is possible to beat all the stages with a V ranking, the way the stages are done make that an impossible task in my opinion.

As a result:
Viewtiful Joe is the most cheese game in ages, which is something great, it is not a perfect game and it has been very overrated because sometimes it gets frustrating, but it is certainly a game that needs to played because things so incredibly original are extremely rare to find, and even more nowadays where everything consists on remakes, cheap games based on movie licenses, and games with horrible 3D graphics and lots and lots of boredom.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 04/16/04

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