Viewtiful Joe


Review by Review Contest 2003!



Graphics: 9

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 10

Overall: 10

When the going gets tough, the tough gets old-school. There’s a motto that old time gamers can live by. Games these days seem to be hit or miss, with old-school games STILL being preferred over today’s games. Capcom decided to take the good of that is old-school side scrolling beat-em up, mix it with some new flava, light a match and BOOM!! Henshin a go-go baby, we’ve got another shining star shooting onto the GameCube, Viewtiful Joe. While some people were kind of skeptical of the game judging by the first screenshots, others were sure that Capcom would make something awesome. Once VJ came out in Japan, most doubtful assumptions were shot to hell, and VJ tore up the charts. The GameCube is starting to get some really great games, and VJ has already made himself comfortable as the 3rd best game for the GameCube out of the top 5. Life is Viewtiful people.


Joe is no ordinary Joe. Well, maybe he was for awhile, but that’s before his girlfriend was kidnapped and taken inside a movie. Joe and Silvia are enjoying a nice night at the movie, watching Joe’s favorite action super hero. Then something freaky-weird happens, and the next thing Joe knows, Silvia is taken into the movie, and so Joe follows. Now Joe is inside the movie, and with the aid of Captain Blue, Joe must learn to be an action super hero, and save his dear Silvia.

Cheesy? Yeah... funny? Of course. Who cares? Not I says I. The story isn’t real deep, but it is fun. Capcom took Viewtiful Joe in a weird direction, but the wrong turn didn’t lead to death. Told through a series of explosive cut-scenes, the story takes on a much more deeper looking “flare,” even while it’s not all that deep in the first place. The way the story is told is very grandiose in a debonair way.


Words are hard to find in order to explain the richness that Viewtiful Joe brings to the GameCube. Kind of like guys do when they see a beautiful girl, Viewtiful Joe leaves you breathless, because it’s just so - Viewtiful. The gameplay is so fun that even after dying and having to start back over from the beginning of the level, you’ll have just as much fun romping back through it. Whoever said that side-scrollers are dead should be shot, VJ mixes in some new with old-school to produce a not so suck ridden product. When first starting the game out, it slightly resembled Super Smash Bros Melee, however it’s anything but. There are three basic controls in VJ; the analog stick (not technically a button), the A button, and the X and Y buttons. The A button is probably the most obvious, but if not, then it’s jump. The X and Y buttons are your punching and kicking controls, which can be linked to tons of combos by alternating between the two really fast when attacking enemies.

Some of the things that sets Viewtiful Joe apart from other beat-em up side-scrollers are the special abilities you have. Stringing together combos will get you Viewtiful points, which you can use to purchase different items at certain points in each level. The most important thing, aside from your life bar, is the VFX bar. The VFX power is how long you can stay in any certain VFX power up. When the power bar depletes, Joe will return to his ordinary self and attacks are limited until the VFX bar powers back up (usually about 5 seconds or so, it’s not too bad). The Mach Speed and slow down powers are the most important in the game, and will be used quite frequently. Mach Speed speeds the game up to a super fast pace, and as you pull off more and more attack combos in a row, you’ll eventually get fired up (literally, you’ll be on fire). There are some places in the game where Joe needs to be on fire. Racking up huge combos in Mach Speed is fun, and very cool, but I’d have to say that the slo-mo power ala Matrix is the absolute coolest power. When used effectively, pulling off combos in slo-mo are really fun, and Joe even has a dodge move where he can dodge oncoming projectiles.

The kinds of combos you can make up in the game are endless, and so the replay in Viewtiful Joe is so high because of this. Using your powers effectively are key though, because you don’t want to be fighting a boss and waiting for that power bar to fill back up so you can transform into Super Joe. The way that the puzzles are set-up, you’ve got to use your powers to solve them. They’re presented so well, and sometimes the right power to use isn’t the most obvious. For example, in the first level, I had no clue that I had to use slo-mo in order for a water drop to get really big, and then drop onto a switch that opens up a door. It took me almost 20 minutes before I went, “well what would happen if I did this...”.

The control in Viewtiful Joe is very smooth, and easy to learn. The fighting is fast, and often times furious, and s o the control would have to be damn near perfect. The only small thing about the controls is that when you jump up to try and attack, Joe kind of goes in a slow free fall as long as you keep hitting the punch or kick buttons or both. This kind of makes it hard to attack enemies in the air because when you jump up to kick or punch, you stop in mid-air.


Viewtiful Joe looks beautiful - nuff’ said. If you thought Wind Waker looked good, or maybe you didn’t, then you’ll be blown away by the cel-shading in Viewtiful Joe. The game plays out like a real cartoon, and has got a lot more attention to detail than the Wind Waker. The primary colors; red, green, blue, and yellow, are all much more bright, clear, and crisp than any other cel-shaded game. The colorful effects on-screen are very easy on the eyes - visual splendor.

As the action scene gets heavier and more power combos are being used, the frame rate gets bad. No wait, I totally lied, Viewtiful Joe is actually the complete opposite. No matter how congested the screen gets, the frame rate stays very high. There was never any slow down, whether there were hordes of enemies on screen or while switching back and forth between the mach speed, slow down, and zoom in/out.

Viewtiful Joe will be one of those games that when people think about the top 10 games on GameCube or the most visually appealing, they’ll think of Viewtiful Joe. VJ is actually in a category of its own. The cel-shading is done so well nothing can really compete at the moment (XIII was disappointing), and Capcom’s own Killer 7 might be able to surpass VJ, but not by much.


Professional sounding cartoon voice-overs lead the way in sound, giving VJ its own really cinematic feel without having an hour of cut-scenes before fighting one boss, and then going through another 30 minute cut-scene. The sound effects go great with the theme of each level, an d Joe’s Henshin a go-go baby! never gets old.


Viewtiful Joe is just what the doctor ordered. It’s on mass production and patients are eating it up. Part of the Capcom 5 (which is actually 4, because one game got cancelled) made exclusively for the GameCube (P.N.03, Viewtiful Joe, Killer 7, Resident Evil 4), Viewtiful Joe is a statement by Capcom, a very bold statement. The side-scrolling action may not be for everybody, but I’m sure those that don’t take to the side-scrolling action very well would be entertained by VJ for a little while. The game is pretty short, but there are different difficulty levels that you can run through, and are FUN to play back through as well. Viewtiful Joe is awesome, a AAA title to add to the GameCube line-up.


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Last updated: Sunday, February 08, 2004 12:44 PM