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Which March game are you looking forward to the most?

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD
Mario Party 10
Ori and the Blind Forest
Battlefield Hardline

Game Profile
PlayStation 2
GENRE: Action
August 24, 2004
Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble

Viewtiful Joe Double Trouble

Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble

Viewtiful Joe 2

Viewtiful Joe 2

More in this Series
 Written by Adam Woolcott  on August 18, 2004

Final Glimpse: Henshin a-go-go, to PlayStation 2!

Viewtiful Joe was one of the GameCube's most popular releases in 2003, becoming an instant classic. The stylized cel-shaded graphics, unique and challenging gameplay, and overall ?cool' factor was a leading cause for this reverence, and while it wasn't a massive mainstream hit compared to other GCN games, hardcore fans ate it up. Naturally, a sequel was planned and announced?and not just for the Cube, but also the PlayStation 2. Because of that, Capcom has gone back and is now finishing the last tweaks and touches on a PlayStation 2 conversion of the original, just in time for the sequel to pick up steam on the anticipation scale. While mostly a direct port with no additional levels, the PS2 version looks to be the same high-quality action game as its GameCube counterpart, with one huge addition sure to please PS2 owners ? Dante. Releasing at a budget price of $29.99, action game lovers who haven't yet experienced VJ should make haste to grab one of Capcom's most popular games of this past year.

Viewtiful Joe tells the story of?well?Joe. Joe is a regular guy who happens to really love action/monster movies, especially ones starring his favorite action hero Captain Blue. One day, Joe and his girlfriend Silvia head to the theater to see the latest Captain Blue movie, when suddenly, a huge monstrous shape appears and kidnaps Silvia, taking her through the movie screen. Yes, it's a bit outlandish. Anyway, Joe goes after her, and actually runs into Captain Blue himself, who gives Joe his action hero powers and sends him after Silvia, not just to reclaim his woman, but to prove he is CB's successor as the greatest action hero going around. And then, you start kicking ass in every VJ level as you get to the source of evil. The story is a bit silly, but hey?it's a video game, it can be ignored.

For the uninitiated, Viewtiful Joe is a fairly traditional 2D action game, with a cool cel-shaded look along with a neat ?film reel' appearance to it. The game is meant to play out like a superhero movie, and Capcom makes it so. The action is fairly normal, with punching, kicking, and special moves against hordes of enemies. However, that's accented by the VFX tricks that become more and more important as you get into the game. With VFX, you can do many different things to assist in the action: slow down time, speed up time, zoom in, and zoom out. All of the VFX tricks adjust different things in the game, helping Joe out as he gets closer to finding his woman. While mostly familiar in play style, VJ's unique looks and cool VFX stuff makes for a unique action game that's a lot of fun, despite the infamous difficulty level the game is known for, which will be present in the PS2 conversion as well.

The PlayStation 2 version won't fall too far off from the original, as it doesn't contain any new levels or anything of that sort. However, there will be a ?Sweet' difficulty level for those who may find the default challenge levels (Kids and Adults) a bit too taxing, so those who struggled before can at least learn the game before going after tougher difficulty levels. What makes this game stand out on PS2, however, is the appearance of a most famous PS2 character ? Dante, from Devil May Cry. You'll need to unlock him, but you can then play through the game as Dante, in the same stages with a slightly different storyline. It's a very cool bonus that makes the PS2 version stand out and gives those who played it on the Cube a reason to perhaps try this again. The best part though? The price. While VJ did release at $40 last October on the GameCube, the PS2 version will release for $30, making it a great value for action gamers.

Final Thoughts
With a glut of PS2 games releasing in the next few months, Viewtiful Joe may get overlooked, especially seeing that the sequel is due in November on PS2 as well. However, action gamers who haven't yet experienced this game should be sure to check out Viewtiful Joe, as they'll find a challenging, unique, and fun action/beat ?em up, for a wallet friendly $30 price tag. The inclusion of Dante makes for a whole new game, and might be enough to woo even those who've played the Cube version into buying again. Viewtiful Joe PS2 ships next week Tuesday ? check it out.

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