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Viewtiful Joe PlayStation 2

Published by CAPCOM
Developed by CloverStudio Co. Ltd.
Release Date - Out Now
Price : £19.99

Perhaps the most stylish action game on the GameCube has finally made it's way to the PlayStation 2. This can't be a big surprise really as the GameCube as a console has stagnated somewhat and a game as unique as Viewtiful Joe was never going to achieve the kind of sales figures it deserved. Some might think that Viewtiful Joe on the PlayStation 2 couldn't look as good as it did on the GameCube but CloverStudio have surprised us with a version of the game that looks practically identical and plays just as well.

The game begins with our hero, Joe, at the movies with his girlfriend Silvia. They are watching a movie of Captain Blue, a superhero (although Silvia has her mind more on smooching than watching the film). Whilst Joe is being distracted by the passionate Silvia, Captain Blue is defeated and his evil victor reaches out of the screen and takes Silvia prisoner. Joe is also bought into the movie and is told by the defeated Captain Blue that it's up to him to carry the torch of justice. Joe is endowed with a V-watch and thus the gameplay begins.

Viewtiful Joe isn't your everyday 2D beat 'em up. Joe has been endowed with special VFX powers such as slow motion, mach speed and zoom speed. Joe can't use these powers continually mind you, as when he uses any of the powers, the VFX gauge will empty and if it does empty then Viewtiful Joe will simply become ordinary Joe. These powers can be used to great effect though in both defeating enemies and solving puzzles. The slow motion and mach speed effects can be used to manipulate gravity at times and it's quite humorous to see objects fall out of the air when the slow motion is used. The mach speed and zoom powers enable you to do a series of super attacks that can quickly eradicate your enemies.

In terms of gameplay Viewtiful Joe is pretty fantastic but the opportunities to save your progress are few and far between and this will prove a source of irritation with many gamers out there. Saving can only be done when you've completed a level. This wouldn't be a bad thing if the levels were only small but they are actually quite big and it's possible to play for around 40 minutes and yet lose all of your progress as you haven't completed the level. If you are a hardcore gamer and can sit there for hours at a time this won't be a problem, but for the casual gamer this will prove a major stumbling block.

We opened the review by saying this was a stylish game and it certainly is. The game looked great on the GameCube and for all intents and purposes it's identical on the PlayStation 2. Capcom went for a cel-shaded look with Viewtiful Joe but not the squeaky clean cel-shaded look that The Wind Waker has but rather a cel-shaded look that's right out of a comic book. Objects have a thick black outline to them and the use of colour is very impressive. The style of the graphics also suits the 2D nature of the game remarkably well too, a 2D game needs flat objects and that's exactly what you get with the cel-shaded style. The only disappointment here is that you can't control the camera. Most of the time this isn't a problem but sometimes it doesn't automatically put itself in a convenient position.

Unfortunately Viewtiful Joe on the PlayStation 2 isn't subtitled and this is quite a disappointment particularly since the GameCube version wasn't subtitled either. Deaf gamers will be totally unaware of the plot which puts a massive dent in the enjoyment of the game. Tutorial messages are shown in text though so you'll be able to learn the game without any trouble. There are also plenty of audible clues in the game, such as those that warn of an impending boss fight, that deaf gamers will miss out on because they are not visually shown. The game has quite a few humorous comments and these also aren't shown in text either and although this isn't of the greatest importance it still means that deaf gamers will miss out on a good aspect of the game. In short it's not impossible for deaf gamers to play Viewtiful Joe but it will not be as enjoyable, or indeed as easy, as it is for hearing gamers.

We said at the end of the review for the GameCube version that 'if you are a hearing gamer reading this review then I would definitely recommend the game and class this as definite 9/10 material'. This could quite easily be said for the PlayStation 2 version too. The lack of subtitles takes a lot away from a game that is undoubtedly one of the best games of the last few years. A good job has been done in bringing Viewtiful Joe to the PlayStation 2 as it's practically identical to the GameCube version and personally I think the controls feel more natural on the PlayStation 2 controller. One addition gamers will notice is the inclusion of Dante from Devil May Cry as an unlockable character. This isn't a major plus though as Dante plays no differently from the other unlockable characters. One plus for PlayStation 2 owners is that the game is only £19.99. Even minus the subtitles though it's still a game that fans of side-scrolling action game should definitely own.

Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10
A truly great side-scrolling action game that's made the transition from the GameCube very well indeed. The game feels more natural using the PlayStation controller though and you also get an extra unlockable character in Dante.

Deaf Gamers comment:
Just like the GameCube version it has no subtitles at all and this is very disappointing (which is reflected in our rating). On the bright side though it's only £19.99 for the PlayStation 2 version.