Not much has changed since Viewtiful Joe hit Nintendo's Gamecube with much well deserved praise. The game is still a stylish mix of cel-shading, 2D and 3D art and action. It's still a whole lot of fun to play ' only now you can enjoy it on the PS2. Oh and you can play through it as .
Cel-shading can be a curse, turning a good game into a chance to show off evocative graphics, but Viewtiful Joe manages to dodge that misstep by building the game around a plot that supports the whole idea of cel-shading. In the game you are sucked into a cheesy Japanese movie to take on the role of your favorite super hero and save your girlfriend. So the game has this whole movie theme going for it.
Your moves are highly stylized, jumps tend to hover in mid-air for a second as Joe poses for the camera, kicks and punches are more swirling ballet-like affairs than moves of brute strength ' but let's not forget the powers. As you progress through what is essential a side scrolling game you unlock certain abilities. The first allows you to slow time down so you can deliver a flurry of punches and kicks to bad guys, knock bullets aside or attack otherwise untouchable bad guys. The second lets you speed things up, attacking so quickly that eventually you burst into flame igniting anything flammable that's near you. Finally, the game lets you zoom in, locking bad guys in mid-step so you can pummelize them.
Viewtiful Joe is an intriguing game to behold, making it almost as fun to watch and listen to as it is to play. But what makes this game an essential to any true gamers' library is that it's cool to its cel-shaded 2D/3D roots. Viewtiful Joe for the PS2 is essentially a slightly murkier looking version of the GameCube game with one more difficulty level and the chance to go through the game as Dante once you beat it ' but really that's all it needs to be because a good game on the Gamecube is still a good game on the PS2.