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Viewtiful Joe Review - Gamecube

96%
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You launch over a crazed android, turn around, slow down time and zoom in as you twist effortlessly through the air in a flurry of pink spandex and robot heads. Then as you uppercut the next robot you kick out and shatter it into tiny pieces, which fall slowly around you. You leap over a rolling barrel which then crushes your foes into a pile of limbs.

Sounds cool, doesn't it?

Gameplay

Playing Viewtiful Joe is one of the best experiences you can have in this generation of gaming. The controls are so intuitive, so flowing and so right that you'll catch yourself grinning goofily at the television screen. You control Joe, a movie fanatic who takes his girlfriend Silvia to the movies, only to see her sucked into the screen by the movie's villain. Joe follows her in and meets up with Captain Blue, his hero, who bestows upon him the VFX powers of Slow, Mach Speed and Zoom. Joe then sets off to rescue Silvia as the superhero Viewtiful Joe.

The controls are simple, but clever. Holding the control stick left or right moves Joe in that direction. Holding up hovers him over the ground temporarily to dodge low attacks, and holding down makes him duck to miss high attacks. The L button slows down time, the R button triggers Mach Speed, and both the C Stick and B button are used to zoom. The A button is for jumping, and the X and Y buttons are used for punching and kicking.

Joe progresses through 2D stages, moving from left to right creaming masses of robots. He can punch and kick in different ways depending on which direction you hold the control stick. He also has three powers which can be used in combination with his attacks for extra power. Slow does as it suggests - the enemies become sluggish and Joe can easily dodge attacks. It is also powers up attacks, and can be used to affect the environment. For example, you may find a tap dripping on a switch. Hold slow and the drop will build on the tap until it's huge, at which point you return to normal speed and it pounds down the switch. Mach Speed makes you incredibly fast, and powers up your attacks more. Zoom can be used in conjunction with the other two powers, and the camera gets up close to Joe for some very flashy and very powerful attacks.

Viewtiful Joe is best described as 2.5D. Joe himself looks very snazzy and is fully 3D, as are the enemies and important platforms or objects. The background, however, is 2D, and you cannot move inwardly, only up and down and left to right. The game is mostly fighting, but there are some decent puzzles in there as well. You'll have to know all your moves well to get through certain situations, so be sure to try out every combination of VFX powers and attacks.

Joe has a VFX meter at the top of ... (continued next page)