Superheroes, how we love thee. For anyone who grew up reading comic books (and for those of us that still do), seeing our favorite heroes in digital video game form has often been a crapshoot. For every Spider-Man (PSX), there’s a Superman 64 (N64) to cancel it out. Spider-Man/Venom: Maximum Carnage (Genesis) was good; X-Men (NES) was a pile of putrid filth.
So in the midst of all this bouncing back and forth, along comes Capcom, and cranks out the much-anticipated Viewtiful Joe. Rather than use an existing license, Capcom created an original character. Cel-shaded graphics are used; even though they’ve been done to death (the only great-looking cel-shaded games are Jet Grind Radio and its sequel, Jet Set Radio Future), they fit perfectly here, since it’s supposed to be reminiscent of a comic book.
Our hero’s name is Joe. Not “Mega Strong Man,” or “Super Awesome Guy”…just “Joe.” Because he’s an average Joe, get it? Anyways, the gist is that this Fred Durst lookalike takes his girlfriend Silvia to the movies, and wouldn’t you know it, a bad guy pops outta the screen and kidnaps her. Joe follows, and his favorite movie superhero Captain Blue endows him with kickass powers. As “Viewtiful Joe,” our hero can perform all manner of Matrix style beatdowns on his foes, complete with slowdown if desired. Rock on!
VJ himself looks like a cross between Zero and Quick Man, both from the Mega Man series. Makes sense, considering that Capcom is behind that whole franchise as well. However, I’ve never seen Zero (or Quick Man) make devil-horn gestures with their hands or stick their tongues out when they jump. Though that would be pretty damn cool.
Now then…most of you folks now the Gamecube isn’t held super-high in my twisted gamer’s mind. Nintendo’s many faults tend to kick it down a few notches, primarily due to the lack of quality titles available for the system. Bitch about hardware, game design, etc. all you want; the other two next-gen systems just have a much higher ratio of good titles. So I’m sure you’re saying, “Then why the f*ck are YOU writing this article about the #1 GC game?!”
Simple. If nothing else, what Nintendo has done properly with the ‘Cube is this: when a good game does come out, 99% of the time it’s incredibly good. We’re talking “world-shattering fantastic” here. Animal Crossing, Zelda: The Wind Waker, and F-Zero GX are all good examples of this rule. Nintendo has a knack for pulling quirky games out of their collective asses that satisfy the fans, even while casual gamers can’t comprehend that a game with bright colors might actually be good. Even Super Mario Sunshine, which was really nothing more than a Super Mario 64 knockoff with insane draw distance, raised the bar for well-produced games.
Even though Viewtiful Joe isn’t a Nintendo-designed product, it seems to retain that characteristic flair that defines the “quirk” common to the Nintendo products. You’ve got a weird art style, an interesting story, memorable characters (c’mon, you know as well as I do that after you play that game for a bit, the characters will haunt your waking dreams), and a well-designed platform engine. I’m not sure if there’s ninjas or monkeys in it (that would really push the game over the top!), but we’ll manage with what we have. And since this game is GC-only, I’m sure it’ll actually make the ‘Cube’s f*cked-up controller work well.
This game has sold like hotcakes in Japan, and…wait. Do they even buy hotcakes in Japan? Anyways, it’s done really well, and all of us are chomping at the bit for a US release. For 40 beans, Viewtiful Joe won’t exactly break your wallet.
So there you go. 10 games. 10 fantastic games that you’d be a FOOL to at least not take a look at. All for the GameCube. Either on your shelves or WILL be on your shelves within the next ten months. And there was soo much more that we wanted to include. Stuff like Metal Gear Solid The Twin Snakes, Star Wars Rouge Squadron III: Rebel Strike, and Mario Golf Toadstool Tour. Games that you won’t find ANYWHERE ELSE except on this console. Games that are as godly to play as they are to watch. Games that will make even the most cynical Nintendo bashing drones SHUT THE HELL UP if they would just clear their minds of any sort of bias, sit down with games for more than five minutes, and honestly give the thing a chance.
Currently the GameCube is the cheapest of the “next-gen” consoles. To not own or even consider picking this thing up is insanity. Support good systems people. Support good games people. Otherwise, we’ll all be playing nothing but Army Men and Tomb Raider sequels in a couple of years. And we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves…
Actually, I won’t be blaming myself. I’m playing these games. You’ve been given the knowledge; let’s see what YOU do with it.