Henshin a go-go, baby!

Wednesday, 21 April 2004 — 5:30am | Video games

Breaking news: the second-best video game of the 128-bit generation (behind The Wind Waker, of course) is officially getting a sequel. Capcom has officially announced Viewtiful Joe 2, which promises more varied environments, co-op play as both Joe and Silvia, additional Six Machine levels, and a new “Replay” VFX power. There are some initial promotional images that, while not from the body of the game itself, are absolutely gorgeous and entirely in line with the VJ aesthetic.

For those of you unfamiliar with the GameCube original, Viewtiful Joe is probably best described as a melangé of everything that works in video games – the Matrix-style bullet-time effects of Max Payne, the style-point grading system of Dance Dance Revolution, the beat-’em-up approach to wave after wave of enemies like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games of old – and best of all, a return to the two-dimensional side-scrolling format that has been so sorely missed on home consoles since the days of the Super Nintendo. It even has a Star Wars spoof level. The basic concept is that you play as a superhero fighting evil in the world of the movies, where you have spatial manipulation powers such as slow-motion, fast-forward and zooming in – all of which have physics-bending effects that have to be employed strategically. The mix of American superhero values and Japanimation-inspired designs make this a game I wouldn’t be surprised to be playing ten years on, not unlike the SNES classics I buy off eBay every now and then.

Personally, I want to see the return of the planet-stomping Gundam-bot “Six Majin”. That, and a lengthier experience – the first Viewtiful Joe had only seven “episodes”, which were further divided into a grand total of about twenty separate levels from one save point to the next – never mind that some of them took forever to beat. Hopefully more VJ2 details emerge at the E3 Expo next month, but right now, I’m putting it on top of the Christmas wishlist based on precedent alone.

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