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Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble

Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: GCD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Fighting/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:

Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble is yet another crazy fighting game from the Viewtiful Joe series. And this title is just as unorthodox as the previous ones.

Continuing the graphical style of the earlier games, characters are large-headed, animeesque, cel-shaded, small bodied, masked superheroes who are all trying to win a spot in an up and coming movie. The arenas are also very stylized. Each fight represents a scene in a movie and the effect is carried off well. Whether it is a roof-top battle with a helicopter or a Tomb Raider like temple complete with giant fighting statues, each location looks great and fits nicely in the game's overall visual-feel. In short, the game's visual style is unique... among other things.

Audio-wise, Red Hot Rumble is more of the same. The sound effects are over the top and the game's background music can be almost too hyped up at times. And even though the over-active music can get a bit annoying, it still seems to fit well in the overall scheme of the game.


Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble is a melee fighter in the vein of Super Smash Bros. In each battle, up to four characters will face off on the screen trying to either deal out more damage than the other players, collect more money or orbs than the other players, destroy more Bianys and Flatys (the grunt soldiers of the game) than other fighters, or achieve many other different win-conditions that are more than just the standard "fight until you die" situation found in most games.

Red Hot Rumble's story modes follow each of the series' main characters. You can play as Joe, Captain Blue Jr., Blade Master Alastor, Sexy Silvia and several other unlockable characters as they each try and claim a starring role in Captain Blue's next action movie.

Each fight is to be a part of the new movie. So scenes will include Joe fighting his rival, Alastor, on the roof tops and then the two need to take down Emperor Jet Black's helicopter. Or a fight might take place on a bi-plane's wings as Drill Sergeant Big John attempts to shoot you down. All the while, various items either get dropped by opponents or appear on the screen that can be used to either enhance your health or deal out more damage (once again in a very Smash Bros style).

Besides the story mode, Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble also features Battle Mode. Here four players can get together and duke it out. You can go up against either three other humans or up to three A.I. controlled opponents. I will say that trying to fight with four people going all out on the screen can get a bit unnerving. I found it hard to keep track of which character I was and it felt like there was way too much action going on in order to perform well.

Why does this work for Super Smash Bros and not Red Hot Rumble? This game is just way too flashy and the characters are too big. Smash Bros typically has huge arenas and a camera system that zooms in or out in order to keep all of the fighters on the screen, and those characters don't typically take up a lot of screen space. Such is not the case here. Typically, the characters in Viewtiful Joe are large and take up a lot of real-estate. Between four characters jumping around and explosions going off every time you turn around, it is just too hard at times to keep track of who you are and what you are trying to do.


Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble's various story modes can ramp up in difficulty fairly quickly. Though you might be able to get past the first few crazy fights without any trouble, it won't be long before you will have to replay missions over several times before you can actually meet the win-condition and move on to the next battle.

Since the win-condition isn't simply beating the other character or defeating someone before the other player. Just because you win the match fight itself, that doesn't mean you will actually be able to advance. For instance, just because you dealt out more damage, if the win-condition said you have to collect the most coins in the battle and you didn't -- you still have to repeat the fight. It is because of this and the wide variety of end-conditions that you will find yourself repeating matches over and over again.

Game Mechanics:

Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble is, at its heart, a 2D fighter. This means that, in general, the game has a fairly standard control scheme. Movement is done with the analog stick, while the shoulder buttons are used to initiate VFX Powers (which are earned by collecting orbs). You use the A button to jump. Y and B buttons are your various attacks, while the X button is how you perform your character's special move.

It shouldn't take long to get used to the game's control setup. After a couple of fights, you should be able to perform pretty much any of the wide range of attacks. Where the game really stands out, as far as mechanics are concerned, is the structure of the fights and the use of win conditions similar to strategy games that force you to pay attention to specific parts of the fight instead of just health bars. In other words, the mechanics are greatly changed when you have to worry about earning more money than your opponents or dealing more damage to a common enemy than the other fighters.

Red Hot Rumble is more of the same over-the-top action melee game that the series is known for. If you like the other Viewtiful Joe titles, then this game is right up your alley.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Microsoft Xbox Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones Sony PlayStation Portable Midway Treasures: Extended Play

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated