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Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble Package Art
Clover Studios

Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble

The old guard moved aside for some new franchises this hardware generation, and none were more boisterous than Viewtiful Joe. A mix of sensibilities old and new, it scored honors as game of the year from some publications. Now franchise-milker Capcom serves us another take of the film loving action hero star, but on a handheld scale.

For those wondering if they could even do this sort of game on the DS hardware, thereís no doubt that the answer is yes. While thereís some scaling back, this is a Viewtiful Joe title no doubt. The new VFX powers keep puzzles fresh, and itís got a lot of flair, but the touch screen controls are a little difficult and the combat has sadly taken a step backwards, limiting replay value.


Viewtiful Joe Double Trouble is the best looking game on the DS if your definition is "how much does this look like the console version?" While the number of foes is limited to two at a time, the art sense and the visual touches that make VJ a textbook 2.5 D series are all here. Dynamic camera, involved backgrounds, and plenty of animations make it hard to argue that a lot of effort went into the graphics. In sacrifice of resolution and frame rate we receive a great visual package.

Similarly the visual designs for the various baddies touch on excellence. The bosses are parodies of some popular cinema characters and the cut-scenes tell the story well. Or at least, as well as the console versions managed to do.


The cut-scenes are devoid of sound effects, but Joe, Jasmine, and the bosses all make their own grunts and exclamations. Many of the sounds are ported over from the console versions to add authenticity. Unfortunately the background music is less inspiring as it is repetitive. Considering how long some chapters are, a little variety would have helped a lot.


Joe may have a solid A/V package behind him, but the gameplay is not quite as inspired. The new VFX powers, Split, Scratch, and Slide, are all great ideas. Indeed, without them this game would have been a watered down console release like so many other DS games. Split allows you to move the two halves of the bottom screen independently of one another, making it a snap to go through walls or bust up background objects. Scratch makes debris rain from the sky. Slide replaces Zoom and incorporates the touch screen for button pressing. For puzzle solving, these elements are interesting. A platform may be too far to jump towards, but using Split can bring it closer to you. Inventive, right? This is marred by the developerís choice to label nearly all of the puzzles with the power you need to use to solve them. Still, points are netted for not just porting the game or allowing the features of the DS to go to waste.

Thatís not to say actually using the powers is easy either; most of these powers should be used in conjunction with slow, not to improve the effect of the power but simply to make sure you donít get killed moving your hands from touch screen to D-Pad or buttons. It isnít easy even after hours of playing it. Much worse befalls the left-handed gamer, as this is the first DS game that your preference in hands will make the game harder to play.

Combat is an area of the Viewtiful Joe series that traditionally kept the replay value high; you might have solved the puzzles a dozen times, but it feels good to just bash some mechanical monsters. Regretably, this is also not quite as fun as you might remember on consoles. The multiple combo system is hurt by the engine only being capable of handling two foes at once. To compensate the developers reduced the effectiveness of slow; if you hit a stunned foe, which was cue to unleash havoc in the original: the targets would pop up on every foe and the screen would be awash with flying gears. This omission makes Viewtiful Joeís encore performances at higher difficulty levels more work than enjoyment.

All that said, the game is still silly fun. The difficulty curve is not nearly as high, so those stumped by puzzles or soundly defeated in combat on the console versions can take Joe from beginning to end without nearly as much trouble. I can respect that, as I had to take a peek at some FAQs to make it through the console titles.




It pains me to not give this game a high score. There was a lot of work put into this game when it would have been easier to dump a port like so much excrement onto the unsuspecting populace. The graphical engine, the imaginative VFX powers, and the style of the game are all positive. The issues with combat and the hassle of switching between input methods on the fly are not.

Viewtiful Joe fans will love this title. So will people who played the console versions but found them obscenely difficult. Rental is a safe bet for most everyone elseÖ Except lefties.

final score 7.3/10

Staff Avatar Matt McDaniel
Staff Profile | Email
"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes"

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