|a game by||Microsoft|
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 2 reviews|
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Voodoo Vince is a run-n-jump platformer that's sugary sweet in the middle but stale and crusty on the outside. At first, it seems like a total yawnfest--the first few levels offer a hodgepodge of uninspired, reconstituted stuff directly lifted from other platform titles. Vince comes off as a thoroughly unlikable hero, and his bored wisecracks mocking his own derivative gameplay only make you hate those sections more. And while our patchwork hero's voodoo attacks are fun, you can usually run past enemies unscathed. was ready to dismiss the game after the first handful of levels, but it manages to really pick up in the middle. It's hard to believe it's even the same game. My favorite part? A fantastic haunted-house level, complete with a giant, demented doll boss. At that point, I started enjoying Vince's beboppy jazz soundtrack, laughed at some of its dialogue, and even forgave its muted, earthy graphics. By the end, though, Vince reverts to heaps of long, bland platforming drudgery. The last level alone is frustrating and mediocre enough to nullify the fun memories of hours past. Not a good way to finish things out.
When Vince was first announced, I thought "Heavens! A noname platformer that's actually different from all the other no-name platformers!" I was right...sort of. The "hurt Vince to hurt meanies" premise really shines through in the boss battles, most of which are brilliantly hilarious--but they don't come often enough. Instead, most of the game is spent spin-attacking and floaty-jumping like every hop-n-bop since the Stone Age. Ah well. If you can deal with the lost promise, though, you'll find a decent romp.
Vince's makers are obviously a creative bunch. How'd they figure out that New Orleans jazz was the perfect accompaniment for a voodoo doll's quest? I liked the unusual ambiance of the game, too--a compelling melange of Gothic graveyards, dilapidated town squares, and haunted houses. But I get the feeling that after working so hard on this cool stuff, the team ran out of steam. The gameplay is somewhat tired--gimmicky voodoo powers, tedious jumping/flying sequences, and pointless collecting of shiny baubles all keep Vince from breaking new ground.
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With the numerous bland and repetitive platform games released every year, it can be difficult to gauge the quality of the gameplay associated with them. There are however always a few unique enough to make the game interesting but fall short of appealing to a broad audience. This is where Voodoo Vince fits in and although it brings some unusual gameplay elements together there are still many of the standard platform features that can become monotonous.
Voodoo Vince gives a unique story line where a robbery and kidnapping unintentionally gives life to a voodoo doll. This voodoo doll's only purpose is to rescue his creator and defeat her captors. Since 'Vince'? is a voodoo doll, he has a rather unique method of attack generally involving sticking himself with needles among other creative methods of self-mutilation. The more standard attack techniques for platform games are also included as Vince can kick, punch, and head bump enemies at will.
The game functions well overall with few areas that cause significant problems. The general gameplay for instance is solid, with a tight control system making it easy to move Vince around. There are few camera angle issues as it generally follows Vince from an appropriate viewpoint, and there are a number of vehicles that change the pace of the game. Unfortunately, the puzzles are on the easy side and don't require much effort to solve and although there are 30 levels, the game can become repetitive. There is a touch of humor and entertaining character development but it merely provides a crutch to help prop up some of the slower aspects of the game.
Visually, Voodoo Vince won't disappoint with well-designed environments, detail, and character design. In addition, the audio is also respectable with great character voice-overs, appropriate music for the New Orleans setting, and a decent amount of sound effects.
Voodoo Vince brings together a unique story line combined with solid gameplay. Although it suffers from historic platform issues, the humor and character development helps to push through the slow times. Fans of platform games won't be disappointed but others may want to be cautious.