Viewtiful Joe Red Hot Rumble ReviewCain Dornan
Fast-paced button-mashing affairs are clearly not the type of game that will satisfy every gamer, given the general simplicity that such games offer. Regardless, countless button-mashers in the past have proven to be thoroughly enjoyable to play, regardless of the variation or complexity in the gameplay that is on hand. Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble is such a game, offering the beautiful artistic visuals that the franchise has become most famous for, incorporating a wealth of characters from the two previous console expeditions and amassing a collection of different locales to play in. As such, Red Hot Rumble on the PSP isnt quite like the traditional gameplay seen in the previous games, although it remains similar enough to please fans of one of Capcoms newest franchises.
Red Hot Rumbles storyline sees Captain Blue retiring from the hectic and demanding role of a superhero, and has decide to kick-off his retirement by directing a movie. With the help of his busty and attractive assistant, Sprocket, and his camera-bearing, multi-function android, Rachel, he sets out to locate an actor to star in his flick. In order to choose his superstar, he decides to pit all applicants through a series of brutal battles to determine the ultimate winner of stardom. Of course, this becomes a perfect reason to throw in sixteen characters that have appeared throughout the course of the franchise, in addition to a guest appearance by Dante, the star of Capcoms devil-slaying action series, Devil May Cry. As one would expect, each character offers their own unique moves and abilities that will suit different individuals playing styles, allowing for some slightly more interesting and varied battles to follow.
The game consists of a series of battles against one to three opponents at any one time. The aim is to score higher than your opponents by collecting enough coins through a series of objective-based battles. These objectives range from being the last man standing through to killing the highest number of enemies, collecting the largest number of diamonds or laying the last blow against a boss. Winning such objectives will reward you handsomely through coins, which can also be collected during fights and are added to your final coin collection.
The games story mode drives you through a total of seven different scenes, each offering their own distinctive location that the battles are based on. These scenes are then divided into sub-sections that consist of several rounds of battles. The environments in which you battle are varied and, in most cases, quite interesting, requiring you to battle everywhere from a spooky mansion through to atop of a towering building and even jumping around on a bi-plane. While the gameplay itself usually consists of little more than throwing you character around a level while mashing buttons, the variation in the levels that you compete on do aid in keeping the gameplay fresh.
Outside of the story mode is the trial mode, which is essentially a challenge-type mode that sees you pitted against a series of different trials that see you attempting to complete objectives that vary in difficulty. There are various different objectives on hand, which include the standard killing all enemies within a time limit, taking control of a large gun on a bi-plane and shooting all incoming enemies or using a characters special move, such as a grabbing and throwing maneuver, to Judo your way to victory.
If you dont wish to be limited to specific objectives, you can enter the CPU Vs Mode, which is essentially a quick-match styled mode that allows you to set the number of competitors, the skill of these competitors and then the level that you wish to compete on. In similar fashion, the Network Mode allows you to do likewise but in a multiplayer setting, allowing you to link-up a maximum of four players wirelessly for some fast paced battles. This can be done with each player having their own copy of the game inserted into their PSP, or by downloading a slightly watered-down version to additional players PSPs from the host PSP. This is a perfect mode for playing multiplayer action without going through the effort of locating people who also have copies of the game.
While the fast-paced and frantic action helps keeps the gameplay fresh, it also manages to subtract from the usability at the same time. During heavy-action sequences when there are some three or four competitors on screen, it can become difficult to keep an eye on your character. That is, through the screen-filling action, you often lose sight of your character, and are then forced to spend some five or so seconds trying to find where your character has disappeared to. Not only does it disrupt the flow of the game, but it can become frustrating.
Those who have played previous Viewtiful Joe games will be familiar with Red Hot Rumbles presentation, which consists of the same fantastic visuals and sound that youve come to expect from the series. Characters look and animate in a cartoony manner that looks great, as do the environments that you battle in. Some solid voice acting and a great collection of music improves the games presentation.
While the game can be completed with only a few short hours of play, the frantic button-mashing action can be a refreshing joy to play. At the same time, the games overly frantic nature can cause from some issues when it becomes difficult to keep an eye on your character. Regardless, if youre looking for some simple fighting fun on the PSP, Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble is a worthy purchase.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.