Saturday, July 16, 2011

Viewtiful Joe

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It also goes by the alternate title “Greatest Side-scrolling platformer in the universe!”

Viewtiful Joe is the loving creation by Team Viewtiful a group working for Capcom Production Studio 4. They later would become Clover Studios before being shutdown by Capcom and going off to form their own game making group Platinum Games, which have made quite a few modern gems (Madworld). Prior to production the game was intended to be a rush job in which they had no more than 12 months and a five man team to finish the game. However over time the team progressively grew in size and the finished product took 21 months to complete. This game was thought up by and produced by Hideki Kamiya. You may know him for his other games, Devil May Cry, Okami, and God hand. Viewtiful Joe was incredibly well received by everyone and won numerous awards over the course of its lifetime for its innovative design and both its quirky cast and story.

There are two versions of this game, the Gamecube version and the PS2 version. The Gamecube has nothing particular special as it was the original version, however the PS2 version contains several extra characters; they include Dante and Trish from Devil May Cry each have their own original stories as well. In both games you have the ability to play as quite a few characters though they need to be unlocked in order to play as them, each of the unlockable characters have their own respective stories adding a great deal of playability to both versions.

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Cameo’s as far as the eye can see!

The game is a 2D side-scroller though it is nothing like its predecessors, Viewtiful Joe is something new, it combines beat em’ up action platforming with some simple and amusing puzzles. Joe can only move in four directions and back your enemies will come at you from all sides including the foreground and background. At your disposal aside from the typical punches and kicks are three abilities that you unlock throughout the game; the first is “Slow” which allows you to slow the passage of time to increase the damage of your punches or to effect your surroundings to fulfill a puzzle. The next ability is “Mach Speed” which speeds up Joe and his surroundings when using this Joe’s attacks are lightning fast and after a while of punching he glows red as his attacks gain fire attribute and he becomes immune to fire, it can also be used to move fast as the name would suggest. The final ability Joe gains is “Zoom in” while using it enemies on screen are stunned by Joe’s coolness, also Joe’s attacks become much stronger. These three abilities can be used in combination with each other to make strong combo’s.

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Mach Speed in action!

This game stars Joe, an average fellow who happens to like super heroes, comics, and old movies. One day while going to see a special run of a classic super hero movie with his girlfriend Silvia tragedy strikes as a monster from the movies reaches out from the screen and snatches her away. From there on Joe begins an epic quest through Movie Land to save his girlfriend and all of Movieland from the evil Jadow.

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Some people just don’t appreciate the classics.

Each level in the game is based off a certain genre of movie ranging from Horror to Sci-Fi. The Stages are beautifully done and work amazingly well with the Cel-shaded style of the characters and enemies. Viewtiful Joe is essentially Double-Dragon or River City Ransom mixed with the most iconic movies of all time and stirred together with several gallons of awesome creativity. Aside from the movie references rife in the stages there are allusions to famous real life personages and companies throughout the game. Just to make the game even better it has a great soundtrack with music ranging from rock to techno that always fits the mood of each level and changes to reflect what's going on.

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Case in point; Hulk Davidson

Now to use these abilities you use your VFX gauge (pictured below). If you use up your VFX then Joe goes from being a Hero back to being Average Joe. The VFX gauge refills over time and once its recovered he transforms back into his Hero Self. Now the difference between the forms of Joe aside from the awesome powers is that Average Joe takes more damage and deals less, while Viewtiful Joe is the opposite. The VFX powers are all useful and are consistently used throughout the game to platform and pass through puzzles.

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You can use them to kick butt. . .

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. . .Or solve puzzles.

The story of the game follows Joe, as he adventures through Movieland after his girlfriend Silvia is kidnapped in front of his eyes during a date at the movies. Joe leaps through the Movie screen to try and save her where he meets his hero Captain Blue who tells him that he needs to unlock his secret potential and become the greatest hero ever, Viewtiful Joe! Joe then proceeds to travel throughout the entirety of Movieland fighting the forces of Jadow as he searches for Silvia. He fights Jadow’s many bosses and even the mysterious Other Joe. . .

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DUN DUN DUN!!!!!!

After plowing through all the forces of Jadow and reaching the climax Joe fights the Evil King in Six Machine to free Silvia and save Movieland.

The story of Viewtiful Joe is a serious rescue the princess and save the world thoroughfare combined with a cast of characters who have original personalities and are rife with individual quirky humor such as a shark who has trouble remembering, a bat who talks to much, and a Thunder boy who needs to stop reading from the script. The fact that Joe takes nothing he’s doing seriously makes the game even greater as he catches all his foes off guard with his blunt statements and comic/movie logic he imposes on his adversaries. Also the consistent movie and television references add some extra fun to those who can identify them.

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See if you can count the allusions to movies and old peripherals.

This game is loads of fun and is a gem regardless of what system you get it for, I would highly recommend this game to anyone who likes platforming and even more so to people who like characters that know how to be fun regardless of how serious the situation is. Also for those who liked the Devil May Cry series, there’s a certain character who will ring a few bells. . .

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See what's in his hand? Yeah he’s the spirit in the sword.

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