this review’s going to be a bit weird, namely b/c i’m a big dork, i.e. sometimes i can be incredibly dense. so i played through viewtiful joe, a game that seems to be universally praised, particularly for its distinctive visuals, and at the same time universally damned for being old-school hard. i started out fine and really enjoyed the game’s presentation and its great central mechanic of slowing down time (a la the movie the matrix) and speeding up time, despite the fact that the first main boss kicked my *** repeatedly b/c of the game’s significant learning curve. but after that everything was going fairly merrily along, until i got to the later levels, which seemed endless, and the bosses, all of whom just seemed to take forever to beat. and then i got really bored b/c the game just dragged on and on and was taking so long to get through, and then i finally got to the last section and was finding it impossible to beat. so i finally consulted a FAQ online and realized that i’d been a big dork and had been playing the game completely wrong and was making it about 10 times harder on myself than it actually was.
so what was the problem? well if you’ve played the game you’ll prob. laugh when i tell you that my problem was that i’d completely ignored the most powerful move of the game, the slow zoom punch (apparently a.k.a. the slowRHOH, i.e. the slow red hot one hundred), which does twice as much damage as the regular zoom punch. i must’ve learned the move when it was introduced in the game, but after trying it out and not really seeing much difference on the grunts, i had just chalked it up as being a fairly useless move like the “red hot kick” move and the zoom down/up moves and never used it again. so no wonder i’d thought the levels and all the bosses took way too long to beat, b/c if i’d used that move they would’ve taken me 1/2 as long. as it is, once i found out i should’ve been using that move from the beginning i breezed through the last stage of the game, and i’m sure that if i’d used it earlier i would’ve finished the game in a fraction of the time it had actually taken me. i’m not sure how much of this i can blame on the game itself and how much on my own stupidity, although part of the blame may be due to my habit of playing through the first couple of hours of a game and then setting it aside for months before picking it up again, by which time i’ve generally forgotten all the basics of the game. hopefully someone out there will tell me they’ve done the same thing so i feel a little less idiotic. i did feel better when i read about this guy who hadn’t realized that buying the life item actually extended his life meter, which prob. made his playthrough almost as much harder as my playthrough.
b/c of my skewed experience it’s a bit hard to give a fair assessment of the game. there was a lot i enjoyed, and the game would’ve been a pretty good length and not nearly as much of a challenge if i’d played it properly. all in all even if i hadn’t been an idiot i prob. would’ve given the game slightly higher than average marks. it has about as much variety in enemies and gameplay as the average beat ’em up and could’ve used more, although the ranking system and combo system are unique pluses. i’m not overly fond of beat ’em ups, but i’ll prob. play through the sequel at some point. and i should def. check out the cartoon as well sometime.
some viewtiful links:
– guide at IGN
– entry at wikipedia
– this rainbow V challenge in adult mode FAQ at IGN also includes some info on advanced techniques (although it’s not a challenge i have much desire to tackle)
– the only video i could find of gameplay as silvia and a tiny bit as sexy silvia