Viewtiful Break

One of the things that’s helped to rekindle my interest in City of Heroes is diversifying my play activity a bit. To these ends, I’ve found a few other things to do.

For example, I’ve been booting up Viewtiful Joe 2 and playing an “episode” (game level) of that each day. Compared to the original, Viewtiful Joe 2 introduces an additional “Replay” power and the ability to switch between Joe and his girlfriend, Sylvia. I had purchased the PS2 version earlier but actually shelled out for the Gamecube one because I think the presentation is better there. Something about the Gamecube’s pastel-like color palette just sets off Viewtiful Joe better.

Viewtiful Joe

Never heard of Viewtiful Joe? It’s a series was created by Clover Studios, an awesome game development house that heartless capitalism crushed. I hate it when money collides with art. I’ll miss ya, Clover, even with the sadistic difficulty you set Viewtiful Joe on.

Viewtiful Joe starts off as just a side-scrolling beat em’ up game. It innovates through the inclusion of various special “VFX” powers: “Slow motion,” “fast motion,” and “Zoom In” formed the powers of the first game. What really makes Viewtiful Joe work is not only those special effects, but also the awesome zany atmosphere, the powerup distribution system, and the extremely well balanced action sequences. I can probably describe the game better by simply showing you it:

A bit of footage of the original Viewtiful Joe. This guy is a lot better at it than me.

So, you can see, the Viewtiful Joe series is interesting because it takes a tired old 2D side scroller genre and makes it genuinely exciting. That’s pretty noteworthy – it makes me wonder how many other genres can be similarly enhanced. It’s the mark of true game artists that such a thing is even possible.

I’m thinking I’ll try to take a break every couple hours in City of Heroes (maybe longer if I’m involved in something big like todays highly successful groups). This kind of break is likely necessary to rebuild the focus to properly pay attention to and enjoy the game after extended play. If that works out as well as I think it will, then I’m far away from shelving the game quite yet.

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