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Viewtiful Joe looks like offering a truly refreshing experience, we chatted with Atsushi Inaba to get the lowdown...
Already console fans are shouting about Capcom’s GameCube Cell-Shaded side scrolling action game ‘Viewtiful Joe’. Many are saying this could not only be the best game on the Gamecube so far but one of the best games of the year - period.<br><br>Screenshots certainly do not do the game justice but many who have played the demo or seen the game live have been mightily impressed. Being developed in Japan, TVG managed to have a quick chat with acclaimed Atsushi Inaba, Producer of Viewtiful Joe, whose collective brainchild the game is along with Hideki Kamiya, Director of Devil May Cry and Resident Evil 2. <br><br>In this high valued production costing game that oozes originality you play Joe the super-hero, who battles with criminals in a big bad city. The background story may sound formulaic but the action and looks are certainly far from your standard offering. Using amazing special effects and deadly combat skills, you're going to smash through the bad guys and get the girl in the end. <br><br>The look can best be described as comic strip meets manga. The game idea is good v bad as you control a would be superhero you must hone and develop his skills. Viewtiful Joe offers action, strategy and plenty more but Atsushi set the interview off by telling us about the team and his inspiration behind the game. <I><b>”The team working on this title was a very small team compared to usual. We kept a tight unit to focus our ideas and try to produce work of the highest quality.”</b></I><br><br><b><I>”We took our inspiration from action movies and American action/super hero comics. Originally we were going to create a cute and innocent looking character with unimaginable super power and action. However, we thought it would be boring and decided to go for a much cooler approach with Joe.”</I></b><br><br>Viewtiful Joe starts off as a very ordinary dude but soon he meets folks who give him super powers (a neat box of tricks that include a 'slow mo' option - the enemy are fast so any help is gratefully accepted) and an outfit to get things moving. A comprehensive list of ideas and challenges is on offer and it is certainly not your run of the mill action bash. Capcom present and offer 'a brain-bending mixture of out-and-out action and challenging puzzles combined with super-cool special effects like Zoom and the aforementioned Slow-Mo for the first time in gaming history. <br><br>There is a strange story to the game, one that is focused on Joe and his girlfriend, Sylvia, who love movies and it just so happens that they are at the movies watching his favourite superhero, Captain Blue. Somehow, Sylvia is warped into the motion picture realm and it is up to Joe to fight the on-screen criminals and rescue her. In the effort of saving his damsel in distress, gaining new powers to perform special visual techniques that can be utilised to affect time and initiate a variety of devastating combos on foes, the big game begins in earnest!<br><br>Only as a super hero does Joe stand a chance of rescuing Sylvia and destroying the multitude of bad guys that stand between him and his beloved.<br><br>Cell shading, the technique preferred for this game, which has been used in a number of other noteworthy titles, basically is the art of rendering your objects to look like cartoons. Various cartoon effects can be achieved with very little modifications to the original source code. Atsushi added: “<I><b>All games take time to code. I wouldn't say this took any longer than other games I have worked on. In terms of the feeling of the game, Cell shading is obviously an integral part. I don't think it is necessarily a GameCube thing only. Cell shaded games have appeared on all 3 of the leading consoles, Jet Set Radio Future (Xbox), Auto Modellista (PS2) are obvious examples of this. In terms of advancements I can only say that we have created perhaps the smoothest looking Cell shaded game on any console ever.”</i></b><br><br>Having gone the route of having side scrolling action, could limit detailed action and some may see it as old-fashioned but Atsushi saw things differently. <I><b>”Certainly the idea of a 2D side scrolling action adventure may sound old fashioned and dated however, we are extremely confident that by adding state of the art 3D backgrounds and gameplay elements, this title will feel fresh and new to play.”</I></b><br><br><I><b>”Joe has many unlockable moves and weapons available to him. At various points within the game Joe can exchange his Viewtiful bonus points acquired by stylishly dispatching bad dudes for new stuff. The extra moves and weapons include Voomerang, Red Hot Kick, Slide Kick, Viewtiful Forever and many more… There are hidden areas and secret things to discover but I'm not telling you what they are! You'll have to play the game to find out!”</I></b><br><br>His biggest moves and special abilities apart from Slow mo are Mach speed and Zoom in. With Speed time up, Joe can attack multiple enemies at high speed, if this is done for any length of time Joe will set himself on fire along with any enemies he attacks. Zoom in enables Joe to go in close and execute devastating attacks to surrounding enemies.<br><br>The actions and challenges are diverse as Atsushi was pleased to announce. <I>”Indeed very diverse. I can absolutely assure you that this game is going to be highly challenging to all gamers. Players must learn how to master Joe's abilities and use them to best effect. These abilities not only affect Joe's adversaries but also the environment around him. Environments must be manipulated to help Joe solve puzzles and ultimately advance through the game.”</I><br><br><b><I>"The story line is a strong one. There are 7 stages and within each are many different locations. These include a hotel, a submarine, sewers, on street level, a wine cellar, underwater, the list is a very long one." </I></b><br><br>Viewtiful Joe could well redefine the action platform genre by mixing innovative ‘viewpoint’ fighting and amazing cartoon-noir environments. The various quasi 2D/3D cel-shaded environments certainly grab the gamers’ attention and many like ourselves can’t wait to see the final code which should appear sometime in October.
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