Viewtiful Joe - GameCube

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Also for: PS2
Viewed: Combination Side-on, Scrolling Genre:
Beat 'Em Up
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Capcom Soft. Co.: Capcom
Publishers: Capcom (JP/GB)
Released: 2003 (JP)
10 Oct 2003 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 12+, ESRB Rating Pending
Accessories: Memory Card


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In an industry inundated with sequels, 'me toos' and also-rans, it's always a pleasant surprise when something a little innovative comes along, breathing life into the current crop of rather stagnant release schedules. Such is Capcom's Viewtiful Joe - a breeze of inspiration and originality, albeit, rather ironically, built around the basis of your typical old-school, 2D beat-em-up.

Players take on the role of Joe, who, after a somewhat eventful trip to the cinema, finds himself caught up in a movie, on the quest to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend. Within a matter of moments, Joe becomes more than just an ordinary guy and is blessed with a fetching Lycra superhero suit and a range of special powers. Along with the help of his favourite superhero, Captain Blue, Joe then puts these powers to use against a relentless onslaught of enemies and bosses, as well as making use of them to solve an assortment of puzzles as he makes his way across the game's diverse array of film-inspired levels.

Where the game's innovation is to be found - apart from in the unique 2D/3D cel-shaded visuals - is in the implementation of these aforementioned powers, which essentially bestow upon the hero the ability to manipulate time. From the outset, the left trigger transcends the action into slow motion, which subsequently opens up opponents' weaknesses, allowing combos to be strung together and multiple foes to be taken out. More than just an impressive add-on, this element is actually a key focus to the game - as well as looking extremely cool, clearing the screen with a super slo-mo, explosive combo attack racks up the 'Viewtiful' points, which are later required for purchasing a variety of power-ups. Also found later on in the game is a Mach Speed attack, which, unsurprisingly, goes the other way and sees our Joe speed up and multiply, unleashing a barrage of offensive attacks on the oncoming opposition.

The overall visual effect is simply stunning, and the fact that use of the effects is vital to progression through the game means that the action constantly brings a smile to your face. There's also a lot more to the concept than simply beating up bad guys - controlling the time is also essential for solving a range of puzzles. But we won't spoil it for you.

According to Capcom, Viewtiful comes from the work Beautiful, which the game clearly is. As well as this though, it's also an extremely entertaining old-school beat-em-up, complete with the added depth we've come to expect from games these days.