Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 3

Overall: 3


The second attempt from Capcom to branch a key franchise into a melee fighter (the first being Onimusha Blade Warriors), Viewtiful Joe should stay in the platforming realm. Red Hot Rumble is a mess of scattered concepts, ideas, and failed execution. It's completely unplayable with four players, the games key draw, and one-on-one battles are incomprehensible.

vjredhot2gc.jpg (90405 bytes)It's hard to imagine another game this hectic. Things randomly happen, collectible items appear from nowhere, collision detection is spotty, the controls (especially when it comes to double jumping) are touchy, and the fighting engine is an afterthought. Rumble's biggest issue is that it's stuck in an identity crisis war with itself.

For only having two attack buttons, it's amazing that the player feels like they have no control over these characters. It's mostly due to this being an ADD nightmare of fighting games. The basics are no different from Joe's other gaming endeavors, including platform hopping, enemy bopping, and items dropping. The problem is each round of the fight is something different, and the actual brawling takes a backseat to something else.

At the start of a round, you're told what the goal is. It could be beating up your opponent, taking out a boss by causing more damage than your foe, knocking out enemies that appear, or rapid collecting. Actually hitting and draining the life bar of your adversary is useless aside from a small points bonus at the end of the match.

This only causes problems as you struggle to cope with objects flying everywhere, animated backgrounds obscuring the brawl, and the occasional teleportation to some alternate stage that starts oddball button mashing mini-games. None of this makes sense, and it's impossible to keep track of what's going on. With four players, you're better off ramming on the X button because you'd likely have more success. The collectibles are beyond the point of being out of hand, and trying to find them or get the jump on your opponent for the win is a hopeless dream.

The single player story mode is fine, and clips from the TV show add to Viewtiful Joe's established and enjoyable storyline. There's definitely too much text to shift through, but it's the only time during the game where you can follow what's happening on screen. Unlockables include most of the roster, extra videos, and puzzles (which adds yet another item to collect and deal with during the fights).

There's a decent game buried here. It's sadly hidden in the mess of ideas that should have been split up into potential (and likely) sequels. With the focus where it should be, Red Hot Rumble may work. As it stands, Capcom has little hope of turning this into a successful spin-off.


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Last updated: Friday, August 25, 2006 11:04 PM