Saturday, August 29, 2009

Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble (GCN, PSP) Retro Review

Let's wrap up the week with another retro review. This time we're taking a look at Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble for the Gamecube. This game also hit the PSP, and it's the same game only on a smaller screen.


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Viewtiful Joe premiered on the Nintendo Gamecube in the fall of 2003 with much critical success. And as we know Capcom with critical success and sales comes the milking of the franchise. A sequel followed for both the Cube and PS2, and then a handheld title for the DS. The final game in the span of two years is Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble. This title is a mix of a party game and a fighting game which is also simply a way to endorse the animated series than the other VJ games.

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Fighting each other is the least of your worries.

Each movie or level is comprised of three scenes followed by a final boss battle to conclude the movie. In each scene you compete against one to three CPU players while attempting to complete objectives to let you go on to the next scene. These objectives include winning by 4000 viewtiful points, to having the most viewtiful points at the end of the round, to simply staying alive the whole scene. In each scene gameplay is split up by miniature objectives such as collecting gems, beating the most enemies, staying alive the longest, etc. You earn viewtiful points for being the winner of each task. The player with the most points at the end of the scene wins.

You'll come across bosses such as a pair of elemental tigers in Fire Leo and Frost Tiger, an axe-wielding Hulk Davidson, and even a statue of Poseidon. These battles are quite fun and add some more variety to the gameplay.

The powers you know and love from the previous Viewtifuls are here, but not in the form you might expect. Slow brings everything to a crawl allowing your punches to be strengthened, Mach Speed catches your fighter on fire and allows him or her to fly across the screen in burning glory, Zoom makes your fighter two times tall and two as powerful, and Sound FX shoots out sounds which cause damage to your enemies.

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One of the many boss battles the game presents.

My main problem with the game is that it's sometimes disorienting and confusing. All the graphical flares of attacks, fire, enemies, and characters can look like a bewildering mess of confusion-- this is especially so if you have four players. This game can also be extremely cheap. Some of the characters are unbalanced such as the yo-yo throwing Captain Blue Jr. You'll be doing well and winning a lot of the aforementioned sub-objectives when all of a sudden you'll get killed cheaply, lose a large portion of the viewtiful points you earned, and have your opponent(s) reap the rewards. Occasionally the game feels like no matter how skilled you are you'll only be rewarded half of the time while the other half is left to chance.

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These mini-games come up fairly often within the game.

Overall, fans of the previous games may want to give this a rental. It's not a bad game at all, but I would honestly have preferred a more traditional fighter. I enjoyed all the various unlockables such as alternate costumes, new characters, and concept art. I picked Red Hot Rumble up for $10 USD at Best Buy, but if I had paid full price for it, yes, I would have been disappointed. Rent if you're curious, buy if you're a fan of the anime and not necessarily the games.

[SuperPhillip Says: 6.0/10]

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