Hen-shin A-go-go baby! This game is absolutely Viewtiful!
Capcom’s Viewtiful Joe is fantastic. That is all you really need to know, but if you want more you can continue reading.
Joe runs through levels, which are punctuated by boss fights at the end of each themed area. He’s also been granted movie-themed super powers. He has the ability to slow down or speed up time, and can also zoom in to get a closer look at the action. He can also kick, punch, double jump, and dodge incoming attacks. Punches and kicks are executed with the Y and X buttons respectively. A jumps, and tilting the control stick up or down causes Joe to dodge. L, R, and B are used for the Slow, Mach Speed, and Zoom In abilities. These powers, or “effects" as the game calls them, drain energy from a bar at the top of the screen. Not to worry though because this bar is quickly replenished and can also be expanded by collecting enough Viewtiful Film Cans.
As Joe wanders through these movie-inspired levels, he will come across numerous baddies. By attacking the villains enough, he can dispose of them. Some enemies can only be attacked when you use a certain power. One enemy type spins around very rapidly like a ballerina. By slowing down the world, Joe can get a quick shot in to break him out of the spin, and then it’s on with the pummeling. Mach Speed allows Joe to deliver a ton of attacks in a small amount of time. These abilities also affect the world around Joe. For example, slowing down time with a helicopter present will cause the chopper’s rotating blades to slow down, which will in turn cause the chopper to fall to the ground.
The game controls beautifully. Making Joe execute combos of moves is as simple as pressing a few buttons, and nothing is ever too complex. The enemies keep coming too, so there is almost always something to fight.
The game’s sense of style is insane. If Joe burns out his entire effects bar, he will transform into his civilian form. But after the bar fills back up a certain amount, he shouts “Hen-shin a-go-go baby!" and turns back into his Viewtiful self. The bosses also have a healthy amount of character. The demo shows off a teleporting boss who has to be hit when slowed down, as well as a gun-toting, cowboy hat-wearing western style boss whose bullets can be ricocheted back at him.
Again, Viewtiful Joe is amazing. The controls are smooth and the gameplay is an absolute blast. I'm looking forward to its Japanese release because there’s no way I can wait for it to come out in the States even a day later.