Viewtiful Joe (Hands On) (GameCube) Preview

By James Temperton 27.06.2003 2

All games have something of a gimmick, be it visuals or a natty little gameplay element there are very few titles that do not have one included as standard. Whilst so many titles use it to little or no effect there are a few that are able to make use of this gimmick and implement it into improving the game. When we got the chance to sit down with Capcom's stunning title Viewtiful Joe we were hardly likely to say no and now we return with great news about one of gaming's greatest ever well used gimmicks.

To get into the game you must first appreciate the style of it. Any of you that have ever visited or indeed appreciated modern day Japanese teenage culture will instantly see how Viewtiful Joe works. American style clothes but a very withdrawn and corny Japanese background, and whilst the western influence is more than overpowering here you will still be able to smile at the eastern influence pasted all over this title. The conflict between the western and Japanese cultures is interesting to see in gaming form and Viewtiful Joe does it very well, but your not here for that so on with the game.

So, start up the disk and you get the worlds most annoying American-esque voice informing you that you are playing View-ti-ful Joe which made us cringe to say the least, frantically hammering at the start button we are bought into the main beef of the game.

Screenshot for Viewtiful Joe (Hands On) on GameCube

The thing that instantly hits you is the bold visual style of the title, this really is Capcom at their blinding best. Menu's, characters and backgrounds are all stylised in perfect unison. So, things kick off with you, Joe standing there, a quick flick of the analogue stick and you buzz into action, all ready to go and kick some pixilated ass you are stopped rather abruptly in your hurry and told to get learning. This integrated training is very clever, everything is taught to you very quickly and the fact that the game works at numerous levels is key. Like all good things it is easy to learn but only a few will master it as you will soon discover when you get further into the game, but we will not spoil anything for you here.

Screenshot for Viewtiful Joe (Hands On) on GameCube

So, now you have been informed of how to do some moves you can move on, of course you will want to try out all your kicks and flips so get tapping at the buttons and you will be amazed at what Joe can do.


L Button
Not Used [Joe]
Slow Motion Attack [Viewtiful Joe]

Control Stick and D-Pad
Up: Evade high attack
Down: Evade low attack
Left: Move left
Right: Move right

C Stick
Not used

B Button
Not Used

A Button
Double Jump [Press two times as Viewtiful Joe]

X Button

Y Button

Z Button
Not Used

R Button
Not used [Joe]
Mach Speed [Viewtiful Joe]

Whilst that may not seem impressive in itself [in fact it tells you very little] try grabbing your GameCube controller. Now think of how you would structure a move. You start with a dodge, then a punch, a kick, another dodge, go into slow motion and then deliver the final blow; now how easy was that? This is no doubt one of Viewtiful Joe's best aspects. As we said this game is easy to pick up, and the simple and intuitive control system only goes towards enhancing the pick up and play feel of the title.

Outside of the controls we will no move onto the how the game plays, and it is here that the game enters it's oh so special chocolaty centre, if it was a chocolate bar of course. Everything is so well judged and we had great fun moving Joe about the screen and kicking the hell out of enemies with some of the most stylish and imaginative, yet simple, moves we have ever seen. A simple kick can be added to a punch and a jump with some slow motion action to great effect, this game is about style and content. Of course not everything in Viewtiful Joe is a case of smiles and happiness, you will die of you are not careful and the handy heart meter will keep you in touch with your health. Also of great importance is how 'viewtiful' you are at that time. If you use slow motion or any other special effects attacks you will start to use up your 'viewtufuls' and when they are all used up you go back to the lame in comparison Joe. Now you will have to wait for your meter to build up before the fastest ever costume change takes place and you are the red spandex clad Viewtiful Joe again. Style just seeps out of this game from every crack and crevice and when we say every, we mean every, oh yes.

Screenshot for Viewtiful Joe (Hands On) on GameCube

One thing we loved about Viewtiful Joe was the humour. One of the first bosses you will play had us in fits of laughter. Allow us to explain. A tall dark man in a cloak and a hat, who has more than a little camp value struts his way onto the screen and starts to parade around spinning and declaring 'Can't touch me' oh how we laughed. Being a boss he will require a tad more thought to defeat, but nothing too special, and once he is gone it is onto the next section of the game and something of a scenery change. Lush backgrounds with think black lines and vibrant colours that might be 2D but seem so alive and fun. Now we move inside, into a mansion in a similar vein to Luigi's Mansion with the camera on rails this game really does work like it is promoted, as a movie. The entire idea of the game is a movie experience, with the slow motion and speed attacks being the special effects and when you happen to die you get the words 'cut, cut, cut' shouted at you, lovely.

We now started to come to the end of our time with Viewtiful Joe and we endeavoured into the code even further, getting to a cow boy who was on something of a mission to kill us. Armed with a gun and some smart jumping moves you will first have to get rid of a pesky chandelier that he keeps on jumping up onto and shooting you dead from, furniture kicked into the abyss it is time to deal with the enemy. This is where you will need to use your slow motion capabilities along with some dodging moves to get out of the way of his bullets and then attack. After a while he will have to reload and now you can seriously pound him, after a while he will fall foul to your 'viewtiful' moves and you are able to progress again. Another door, another key and even more excitement. Viewtiful Joe is wonderfully structured with clearly defined sections that keep up the pace of the title and make you feel like part of something special.

Perhaps the most fun we had was when we bumped into a helicopter. You can throw any moves you like at it [being such a huge target] and really go all out on it and show off all you have learned. We might not of had long with the game but we were amazed at how much we picked up. People walking into the room might of mistaken us for professionals if they had not seen us fall to an untimely death when we got over excited and walked straight into a pit.

Screenshot for Viewtiful Joe (Hands On) on GameCube

Final Thoughts

We loved all we saw in this title, it really is quite a special thing. Amazing graphics, amusing sound, great enemies, intuitive controls and some mouth watering Matrix-esque moves all add to a very unique and stylised experience. So, when Viewtiful Joe comes out over here what do we advise doing? Well for one thing never try any of the moves in the game yourself, we got a serious injury and were forced to pay a hefty fine as our slow motion jump attack met a passer by's face and then a shop window. This is not reality, this is not serious, it is just simple fun. Start saving, this really is 'viewtiful'!









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (13 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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