fast and frenzied gameplay of the GameCube version
is even more chaotic on the PSP's smaller screen.
30, 2006 - If
I had to describe Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble, in
one word, that word would be "frenzied."
Thankfully as a game journalist I'm allowed more than
one word to describe such a game.
can see the trend of gonzo editing being assimilated
into film and videogames. I'm talking about the collage
of multiple camera angles and the interspersing of
different scenes that are spliced in at a rapid pace
intended to stimulate viewers. This technique became
popular in many late-80's videos where it was developed
to keep young viewers with short attention spans,
interested. You can see this technique being used
in movies, commercials, TV shows and even videogames
that are aimed at a younger market that is already
over-stimulated. Red Hot Rumble is guilty of taking
this process too far which results in a schizo graphic
style that is hard on the nerves - and hard to play.
If only there was a speed control to the gameplay.
actually is a speed control that is unique to the
Viewtiful Joe series. It's in the form of VFX powers
which give the main character, Joe, the ability to
slow down time which slows everything and everyone
around him while he becomes invincible. It's too bad
we couldn't use and adjust this feature like an option
slider for the entire game. With so many characters,
obstacles, enemies and coins onscreen at once the
action is just too intense. It really gets confusing
to differentiate your character from the others which
at times makes it just about impossible to play. This
was a problem with the original Cube version and considering
how much smaller the PSP screen is compared to the
average TV set, things really get muddled.
gameplay in Red Hot Rumble could best be described
as a 2D, fighting platformer. As far as the controls
go, the game is relatively easy to play. The fighting
moves are limited but you can use the stick as a modifier
to access different moves. There are lots of different
characters to play as including Hulk Davidson, Gran
Bruce and, get this, Dante from Devil May Cry. Many
characters have alternate forms and costumes that
give them different abilities. For the most part all
of the characters share the same basic moves on the
control system. They differentiate in their special
attacks. But some are more powerful than others and
have more useful abilities. Some characters can fly
while others remain grounded which makes them unbalanced
and less likely to win many fights. In a way it beats
playing the same character for the entire game if
only to add some variety.
Blue is retiring from his life as a movie superhero
but has taken up movie producing instead. He's looking
for a new action hero to star in his movie and is
holding auditions which feature many of the wacky
characters from past Viewtiful Joes games. To audition
for the movie, the characters visit various movie
sets that include a variety of locations such as the
Old West, a sci-fi planet, caves, tunnels and on the
wings of an old-style plane. For each fight there
are some objectives to accomplish such as being the
last man standing, collect a certain amount of gems,
defeat a boss or avoid getting knocked down more than
one time. Not all of these objectives have to be fulfilled
but if you fail some you will have to start all over
collecting is your ticket to stardom. The more coins
you have, the better you are doing in the audition
process. Coins are awarded for completing objectives
in battles but you can also collect them as they are
scattered about in each level. Like the Mario games
the coins are arranged in different patterns. For
instance if you're falling, you can move your characters
into a line of coins that are positioned diagonally.
Chasing some of these coin lines can be dangerous
and may lead you right off your platform, so you have
to be careful.
are other ways of getting coins. One way is to take
them from your opponents. Just beat them up and steal
their coins. This also works to their benefit if they're
stronger than you. Another way to get coins is to
collect VFX-orbs. If you manage to find a super VFX-orb
it will initiate a series of mini-games in which you
compete against another player for his or her coins.
These games are relatively unchallenging and just
require you to button mash the controls to fill gauges,
turn the analog stick as quickly as possible in a
circle, and hit a button at the precise time in a
four-player mode is made possible with the Ad Hoc
Wireless system. It's virtually identical to the single-player
mode except there are more characters on the screen
which make it all the more confusing. I'm not a big
fan of this mode at all. You can play with one other
player in which you will only need one copy of the
game. This is more acceptable but it's not a co-op
mode. It's every man for himself, so what's the point?
Why make it any more difficult to play that you have
to. Let the cheap bastard buy his own game to play.
the chaotic nature of the gameplay, the graphics do
look bright and colorful. They have an art style to
them that gives the series a distinctive look. It
looks every bit as good as the Cube version. The animations
are fast and fluid and despite everything that's going
on, the framerate is solid. There are just enough
voiceovers to give the characters personality although
some of the battle shouts can get a little repetitive.
The intro music is catchy but the rest of it is forgettable.
Joe may have bitten off more than he can chew on his
PSP debut. Even if you have the metabolism of a hummingbird,
you're going to have a difficult time relating to
the incredibly fast and confusing pace of this game.
versus gameplay for the Viewtiful Joe universe The
gloves come off during the 'audition' as players
participate in this intense versus fighting action;
a first for the award-winning series.
cast of playable characters Reacquaint yourself
with familiar faces or discover new and original
characters from the TV anime series including Sylvia,
Alastor, Sprocket, an ice princess that intimidates
people with her cold stares, and Captain Blue Junior,
Captain Blue's sidekick who calls himself 'Junior'.
environments In addition to new set designs, players
will be able to use enemies and background elements
to attack their opponents.
different modes of play Choose between one or two
player cooperative mode.
PSP features Additional content will be available
and specifically geared towards the portable system.