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Published on April 15th, 2011 | by Jasmine


Leave Luck to Heaven #13: Viewtiful Joe, I Miss You

For the uninitiated, Viewtiful Joe was set to be a trilogy on the Gamecube and later on the PS2. Now in reality there were three games on the Gamecube, but the final one, Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble was a spinoff based on the show that was also a spinoff. Instead the series never had a formal ending, due mostly to Capcom dissolving the subsidiary, Clover Studio, before it could happen. This was due to poor sales of the games which included Ōkami and God Hand, as well as the Viewtiful Joe games. Interestingly enough Ōkami saw a sequel with Ōkamiden, on the DS.  So maybe fans can still hold their breath for the, at one point discussed, Wii finale.

Viewtiful Joe follows Joe, a movie lover that is pulled into the movie world in an attempt to rescue his girl, Sylvia. Nothing too exciting there and for the most part pretty standard, but then Joe is given a watch from his movie hero, who at this point is getting old. This watch allows Joe to transform into a super sentai style character. Through a majority of the first game he attempts to come up with a cool superhero name final deciding on Viewtiful Joe.  In the end, Joe of course saves Sylvia, who then turns and also becomes a hero, Sexy Sylvia.  Within the first game you could replay the games with other characters which altered the cut scenes but mostly played the same.

The second game brought in Sexy Sylvia as a main stay.  Compared to Joe’s hand-to-hand combat style, Sylvia had guns.  These were used as an additional puzzle aspect in the second game.  Besides these basic styles the hero forms allowed Joe and the others to utilize movie powers. This ranged from altering the passage of time to zooming in for a close up. Each game added more such as the second game giving Sylvia replay abilities. These powers could be used in different ways such as fast forward allowing Joe to strike something enough times and fast enough to catch on fire to deal more damage. Further into the games, these powers needed to be used in conjunction to either make the bosses easier or even to get through puzzles.

Graphic wise this was when cel-shading was new and the thing to do. In this case, the cel-shading lends well to the movie themed levels. The atmosphere fits and even the serious levels have a colourful and fun feel. Along with the trips through different movie themes the music also changes accordingly.

The spinoffs, on DS and Gamecube/PSP, are also pretty good.  In the case of Red Hot Rumble on Gamecube and PSP, they basically tried to do a party fighting game in the vein of Smash Bros.  Unfortunately, this game is easily the weakest. While it shares the same look and characters as all the others, it doesn’t seem to capture the series.  Double Trouble, on the DS, however does feel like it could have been the third game that never happened.  The only thing that makes it obviously not the finale is the unconnected storyline. This one adds two more powers called “Scratch” and “Split”.  In these cases you are directly affecting the film.  This mainly was to use the DS’s touch screen and manipulates other onscreen objects.

Overall, I miss this series and wish it could have had the ending it deserved. If you can pick any of these up, in anyway, it should be done. However, if you can only find Red Hot Rumble go ahead and avoid it because that is not a measure of what this series really is.

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