Author Topic: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe  (Read 7518 times)

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Offline Crimm

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RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« on: January 24, 2016, 03:47:18 PM »
This is the official topic for our next RetroActive: Viewtiful Joe. Comments posted in this thread may appear in an upcoming episode of Radio Free Nintendo. We'll be targeting our talk about this game sometime in late February.
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Offline TOPHATANT123

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2016, 04:12:46 PM »
Ordered. GameCube controller is broke so I went with the ps2 version, though from what I understand they are pretty much the same.

Offline azeke

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2016, 04:35:14 PM »
Excited to see retroactive to Kamiya's game.

Might write a wall of text or two about Viewtiful Joe tomorrow.

Ordered. GameCube controller is broke so I went with the ps2 version, though from what I understand they are pretty much the same.
PS2 port has slightly worse performance but also has more content (easier that easy difficulty mode and unlockable Dante from Devil May Cry series).
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Offline ejamer

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2016, 09:20:10 AM »
Tried playing this game a couple of times previously, but always gave up. Despite appreciating what Viewtiful Joe does, from great graphic design and tight controls, it didn't feel enjoyable while playing - probably because I was never really good enough to stop feeling like the game was a constant struggle.


Might give it another shot during this retroactive. Maybe.  ;)
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Offline azeke

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2016, 11:33:50 PM »
Tried playing this game a couple of times previously, but always gave up. Despite appreciating what Viewtiful Joe does, from great graphic design and tight controls, it didn't feel enjoyable while playing - probably because I was never really good enough to stop feeling like the game was a constant struggle.
I agree that game is definitely too hard on first playthrough. Viewtiful Joe is a huge visual and information overload at first. To play this game at some basic enjoyable level you need:
  • good platforming and movement skills: the biggest danger is often not the enemies but environmental hazards like lava or lasers
  • understanding of combat and enemy behavior: AI in this game is quite sophisticated and while they do have some patterns, good luck figuring them out when you're being surrounded by five enemies at once
  • game is peppered with puzzles. The were supposed to teach you mechanics of the game but more likely than not you will just be frustrated and will look up the solution 15 minutes later.


There are three tutorial segments in the first level explaining each of the VFX powers, and they actually teach quite a lot with "show, don't tell approach". But i personally completely missed on most of these hints.

I never figured out that i was supposed to bounce enemies into each other, that bounced enemies can pick up otherwise inaccessible v-badges for me and that my copies during fast mode can pick up boxes in the background.

I didn't even knew that was an uppercut move until i looked up the solution for puzzle that required it.

Viewtiful Joe 2 is actually better about this. It has comprehensive hints systems explaining all that stuff.
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Offline TOPHATANT123

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2016, 07:31:02 PM »
I've played the first two episodes so far and am very much enjoying it. It's a very creative take on a 2d action game with the slow down/ speed up time mechanic as well as the zoom stuff and the puzzle sections. Although I find that some of the game's logic makes no sense whatsoever, like if you slow down time helicopters fall out of the sky and your hits land harder than they would at regular speed. I still don't understand the section with the water drop and the barrels.

The zoom mode is neat but disorienting making it's usefulness limited unless you are very aware of your surroundings.

The art holds up (apart from that one cutscene in the very beginning where you see creepy non-super hero Joe up close), and the music is pretty good as well. I do wish it had subtitles though, for the bosses especially I can bearly understand a word they are saying.

The second end of level boss put up some resistance for me but once you learn the way to stun your opponent you can move in and go crazy on it for massive damage.

Offline azeke

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2016, 08:35:52 PM »
While i never got any of these speed related puzzles myself, in retrospect they make some sense. The key point is to imagine that speed powers only affects enemies but not you or general environment, like gravity.

Although I find that some of the game's logic makes no sense whatsoever, like if you slow down time helicopters fall out of the sky
Helicopters fall because their propellers rotate too slowly to sustain them in the air.

and your hits land harder than they would at regular speed.
This kinda makes sense from action/fighting games logic. Because the enemy is slowed down when you hit them your damaging animation takes more time for them. You punch them like usual, but to them it feels like your punch is prolonged twice as usual. Longer animation --> more frames where enemy is getting damaged --> more damage.

I still don't understand the section with the water drop and the barrels.
Same. And rocket powered bus puzzle still doesn't makes sense for me.

The zoom mode is neat but disorienting making it's usefulness limited
Zoom mode is your main damager. If you start punching with zoom on, it's a special move that kills any enemy in fraction of a second.

Zoomed roundhouse kick is good as a "GTFO my face" move.

Regular divekick is a useful not only as a damager but mostly as a way to move around, zoomed divekick sets enemies on fire though you lose in maneuverability (can't stop your descent once activated).

Zoomed divebomb is both damager and a very useful movement tool (to instantly land on the ground).

For most of these moves you just activate zoom once to do it and deactivate once it's finished to save your energy. You can do it safely if there is only one enemy or others are all stunned.

Zoom mode moves are very powerful so as a tradeoff game kinda limits your view.

unless you are very aware of your surroundings.
That's kinda entire game and many other action games. When in capable hands Viewtiful Joe is a sight to behold:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1SQxPXhrSQ&t=3m01s
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Offline pokepal148

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2016, 11:42:55 AM »
I've already had enough of that wonderful cycle of "really enjoy game made by Platinum/Clover and then get stuck on some digging minigame or a button mashing QTE that I just can't get through." to know how this one will end for me.
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Offline StrwbrryJams

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2016, 03:48:35 PM »
First-time-long-time, all that. 


I have a very strange relationship with Viewtiful Joe.  It was the first game I ever pre-ordered, and back in 2003, when I was 12, it was all I could do to contain my excitement (Wind Waker had me hooked on cel-shading, much like the rest of the industry).  It was overwhelming waiting from when I put my money down in May, to when the game shipped in October, but on the day the game came out, my dad died, unexpectedly. 


I picked up the game later that day and over the next few weeks as we lost our house and I bumped around to other friends and family members' homes, I played through the game several times, down various branching paths and through the new-game plus.  I could not have known it at the time, but it was kind of perfect, having a mind-numbing brawler to play through while dealing with the tragedy.  It was great, and I rarely felt completely duped by the puzzles, but perhaps I'm forgetting some. I got the sequel, but never finished it, and haven't touched the game since.  I'm supremely interested to know what I think of it 13 years later.  I am playing GC with original disk.


 The main character, Joe, feels very much like he might have been the embodiment of that Barenaked Ladies line "Like Kurosowa I make mad films...ok, I don't make films, but if I did, they'd have a samurai."  I mean, that very 90s male "cool" figure. I recall being put off by that at the time.  Also, he and Sylvia don't have an effective relationship - they really should not be together.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2016, 05:33:58 PM by StrwbrryJams »



Offline azeke

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2016, 06:55:55 AM »
Music:
From what i understand Masami Ueda was the main composer.

First of all i HAVE to link these two tracks from his previous game because 1) they're very good 2) just like VJ OST, they also use similar combination of harsh "industrial" samples (sirens, honks) with electronic music:
Let's add organ to the mix -- fitting for a game set in Antonio Gaudi-inspired castle:

Transitioning into Viewtiful Joe Ueda changes the pace, drops gothic atmosphere, but there are still

some sirens in "Joe the Hero":

and car honks in "Some Like it Red Hot"

Great remix of main theme with background siren once more in "Another Joe":

"Joe & Silvia" 80s spacey sound track from near the end of a game:



Controls:
How can one present "coolness" with control scheme? Look at how Viewtiful Joe did it.

There is something very cool about pushing gamecube's unique trigger and slowing down and speeding up the time. Activating zoom mode by "flicking" c-stick up is a satisfying motion even by itself but it also activates the best moves in the game.

Even secret shortcut to reset the game might probably be the coolest shortcut in any videogame and it is possible only on gamecube controller.

When you press Start+Y+B, game resets. Unlike Sakurai's finger tangling shortcut to exit the match in Smash -- this one is actually very simple to do and fingers naturally do this:

Bam, you just did a "cool" secret gesture. Kamiya just made you a member of his his secret gang.

For better or worse game is very tailored and designed around Gamecube controller. I tried to play the game with 360 controller (on both Gamecube and PS2 emulators) and i kept confusing punch and kick buttons because i didn't have tactile feedback of gamecube's bean buttons.

Using up and down directions on a stick for dodging is quite ingenious, because "up" is usually made redundant by dedicated jump button, but here it integrated into combat.

Ranking system:
Kamiya's Devil May Cry ranking system was deeply flawed. Even if it was balanced on all difficulties, it was still too primitive and inhibited exploration because if you took your time sightseeing on a level you would lose your rank on time.

Viewtiful Joe features redone ranking/style system. Levels are divided into isolated encounters ("missions") that automatically end after last enemy dies. That way only time that was spent in actual combat counts for rank. And now you can go back and forth and enjoy view and atmosphere, read all street signs and ads all you like -- it won't affect your rank.

And as any good solution it not only fixes a problem but also creates new features: VJ was the first game with "secret missions" -- hidden encounters that appear when you backtrack or do specific thing on a level. This system also allowed more robust way to measure your style -- it only counts points that you got since combat encounter started.

When you finish a level, all ranks you got for completed missions are then tallied up and you get average, with Viewtiful rank being good and Rainbow Viewtiful standing for the absolute perfection.

This system is so robust and versatile and majority of Platinum games are still using it.
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Offline ejamer

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2016, 08:25:17 AM »
Tried playing again last night.
I still think this is the kind of game I'd rather watch someone else (ie: someone good) play than play myself.

My kids watched a little bit and commented: "I don't know what's going on. This game is too crazy."
I felt about the same way.


Still love the ideas on display though - it's a very cool game, and really does feel like spending enough time to get good would make it an awesome experience.
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Offline azeke

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2016, 03:11:42 AM »
My kids watched a little bit and commented: "I don't know what's going on. This game is too crazy."
I felt about the same way.
I find Smash games way more overwhelming from visual and control standpoint, but millions of people play them just fine while i can't make heads or tails of it.

Tried playing again last night.
I still think this is the kind of game I'd rather watch someone else (ie: someone good) play than play myself.
This Let's Play is decent enough (some language).
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Offline freezestar

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2016, 07:03:00 PM »
Viewtiful Joe is one of my favorites game of all time. It was one of the first games I beat without watching my dad play the game and beat it first. When I heard that RFN was going to play through it for Retroactive, I got excited, I hadn't rebeat the game in a while and I wanted to play through it again. When I first tried to rebeat it for the retroactive, I tried to do it on V-Rated (this game's Hard Mode) and regretted it. I restarted it on Adults (Normal Mode) and had a much better time. Went through the first three levels with relative ease (the shark boss is still annoying, also when I say relative easy that doesn't mean that still didn't die often), did the level four skip (which I will talk about in the Tips part.) and then I got to Midnight Thunder Boy.


That is a HARD level, the first half of that level is probably the hardest level in the game. So much fire and jets and tanks. Luckily the train and the Rival fight against Alastor are easier. Then I reached my second hurdle, the Boss Rush. This one took a while, having to fight the first four bosses with increased health in a row without a break is difficult. It doesn't help that after those four is the hardest fight in the game Fire Leo. Beat him after a while, breezed through the final stage and then got to the final boss. The first half of this fight is Hard, but the second half is easy. What's annoying though is the fact that if you game over on the second half of the fight, you have to go back to the first half of the fight.


Now to get to the Positives and Negatives.
Positives:
I like Joe as a character. He reminds me a bit of Dante.
The Boss fights are each unique in their own way.
The soundtrack is AMAZING.
The game is relatively short.
I like the simplified dodging mechanic.


Negatives:
This game is HARD. I can't count how many time I got caught in between two enemies doing different attack patterns and then dying.
While the Bosses are fun, the mid-bosses can be annoying, especially when you fight them in a row like at the end of the first half of Midnight Thunder Boy.
The rival fight is kind of disappointing.
It ends on a cliffhanger (which luckily gets resolved in the sequel... which also ends on a cliffhanger because Capcom)
You can barely hear the dialog in the cut-scenes.


TIPS:
- The elite enemies (the ones in the black suits) can be stunned. After the first two telegraphed attacks (which are always random) they always do an un-telegraphed low attack then a high attack (or maybe it's the other way around, I forget right now), if dodge all of those attacks the will be stunned.
- Zoom is your friend, it does a lot of damage to bosses, when possible try Slow Zoom punching them to bring the pain.
- Don't bother getting Viewtiful Forever, it doesn't really do a lot of damage and ends up being a waste of VFX meter. That being said, make sure you get Sliding, Red Hot Kick, the VFX Charger, and as many hearts as possible.
- Speaking of Hearts, if you buy them and you are missing health, it will fill up your health.
-You can skip most of the submarine stage. In the beginning part with the torpedoes if you keep going to the right past where you are supposed to go you can find where the torpedoes are being fired, go through that area and then end up at the boss.
- And finally, STAY VIEWTIFUL.

Offline TOPHATANT123

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2016, 08:20:57 PM »
In the submarine stage I just went all the way to the right (and it forced me to learn I could stall in the air repeating punch kick punch). I saw there was a platform in the background and a vent along the path to push it to the foreground but had no idea how I could move it.

The shark boss can two shot you if you don't realise you can wiggle the stick to get out, but there is no actual feedback to tell you this is working so I found this part the most frustrating so far. I feel like for this game in particular knowledge is power and no amount of button mashing or spamming would allow you to coast through without properly learning. I like the Leo the lion boss since it uses the mechanics of the game in new ways instead of introducing whole new ones, and it requires thinking about exploiting weaknesses for massive damage, more than it does reflexes or dexterity.



Offline azeke

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2016, 11:31:40 PM »
- The elite enemies (the ones in the black suits) can be stunned. After the first two telegraphed attacks (which are always random) they always do an un-telegraphed low attack then a high attack (or maybe it's the other way around, I forget right now), if dodge all of those attacks the will be stunned.
Not exactly. Cromarties' first two telegraphed attacks are random, third attack is reverse of second and fourth is reverse of third.

- Zoom is your friend, it does a lot of damage to bosses, when possible try Slow Zoom punching them to bring the pain.
Yes, combining Slow and Zoom and punching enemies is one of the most overpowered moves in the game.

It's safe too, because one of the effects of Zoom is that enemies stop moving, because they're in awe of your awesomeness as the game puts it.

There are even more overpowered tricks involving bombs and boomerangs which kill bosses in literally seconds as demonstrated in various speed runs, but these are no fun.

- Don't bother getting Viewtiful Forever, it doesn't really do a lot of damage and ends up being a waste of VFX meter.
Viewtiful Forever is a great move and the most awesome way to finish your combo.

Viewtiful Forever is used when you see your energy is about to deplete anyway so you can use Forever to do insane damage to everyone on screen and look the most awesome as you can be in this game.

Obviously it's not worth using if you still have energy to spare, because it burns up everything you got. That's why you save it for moment where your energy bar is a few pixels away from zero for the ultimate money shot.

Of course, you're gonna be turned into regular form afterwards so you either use it for the last enemies in encounter or just be sure that you can recover into henshin form fast enough.

I can't count how many time I got caught in between two enemies doing different attack patterns and then dying.
Usually enemies don't really attack all once, so even if there is an enemy attacking high on the left and enemy attacking low on the right, you can still dodge both hits because these hits come one after another.

In the worst case you can just go into Slow and eat one of the attacks at the expense of energy but still dodge another which puts one of the enemies into dizzy mode and even one dizzied enemy is more than enough to start an awesome combo.

Things get complicated when you are surrounded by Cromarties because of their long 4-hit attack string, that you can NOT interrupt and have to dodge in a very specific manner from BOTH sides. Things get complicated further still when there are enemies who shoot you from afar. And even more complicated when there are lazers and fire cannons blocking off half of the arena available to you.

The way how enemy AI attacks and slips away from you is quite ingenious and ruthless at times...

Here are more videos of awesome VJ gameplay:
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Offline TOPHATANT123

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2016, 08:43:08 AM »
Yo I found ROB in my PS2 game, Nintendo PlayStation confirmed?

I like how Dante is implemented, he's got a different move set to Joe with his sword and gun attacks and during cutscens it replaces Joe and Silvia with Dante and Trish, and the voice acting is reversed making it sound like goobly goop and has subtitles that display what Dante would say. In Bayonetta when you play as another character it replaces the character in cutscenes which is awesome but they still talk and act like Bayonetta.

Huh, I don't have kids/adults in my copy, just easy/normal/hard. I suppose I'll start over on hard.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2016, 08:14:07 PM by TOPHATANT123 »



Offline azeke

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Re: RFN RetroActive #35: Viewtiful Joe
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2016, 10:38:29 PM »
and the voice acting is reversed making it sound like goobly goop and has subtitles that display what Dante would say. In Bayonetta when you play as another character it replaces the character in cutscenes which is awesome but they still talk and act like Bayonetta.
VJ does this with other characters as well. After you complete Adults mode in original release you unlock playable Silvia.

Messed up, slightly german sounding speech is an obvious cost saving measure so that they can don't have to record any additional lines.

For this same reason, cutscenes are unchanged save for main character model. Which leads to quite *interesting* results when you see Silvia making out with Silvia ("story wise" it's actually her twin sister, but uhh...) in the opening cutscene:


There are more playable characters after you complete V-Rated and Ultra V-Rated appropriately.
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