Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble PSP Review

Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble may have been the third Viewtiful Joe game released on the GameCube, but those expecting Viewtiful Joe 3 were in for a rude awakening as this was a break in tradition for Joe and company. Instead of the usual puzzle and fighting crossover, Red Hot Rumble was focussed on competitive fighting instead, and now the colourful action bursts onto Sony’s stylish portable.

When we mention fighting we’re not necessarily talking along the lines of Capcom’s own Street Fighter series, as you’ll often find yourself fighting for something opposed to just beating down your opponents. The story mode has you battling through chapters, with each boasting 3 stages and often a familiar boss to contend with at the end of the chapter.

Tasks are pretty high in number and are varied and mixed up enough to dispel repetitiveness setting in. You are always pitted against a number of rivals, ranging from a single to a trio of combatants, and the aim is always to give your opponents a good drubbing whether you are smashing plant pots, taking down as many enemies as possible, frantically attempting to be the holder of a flag when the timer reaches zero, popping balloons or even stuffing your face with enough hamburgers to make you violently sick.

The problem being that there’s no checkpoints throughout the stages, which leads to frustrations aplenty if you keep failing to complete a stage and then having to begin from the beginning again. There’s a strange magnetism though, which kept us coming back for more, assuring that we didn‘t abandon the game or even throw our PSP against the nearest wall.

Bosses have combatants cooperating together to knock all the life out of their power bars, but the twist is that the one who scores the most damage on the boss when the bar is diminished is the winner. Bonus points are also awarded for he who scores the final strike, which means that lesser infliction doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to lose when the points have been totted up.

Each stage has its own requirements to meet, therefore sometimes you’ll find that you have to simply beat your opponent/s in points at the end of a stage, win a certain amount of tasks or even having to reach a required score before you are allowed to move on. The number of stage requirements vary, which means that having to accomplish two to progress is more difficult than just having the one to deal with.

This PSP version also has a few notable exclusives, including a challenging 40-stage trial mode, and Dante of Devil May Cry fame once again makes an appearance following his brilliant debut on the PS2 version of Viewtiful Joe.

Stages, characters and VFX powers will be familiar to anyone who has played previous games as will the distinct visual style, which looks great on Sony’s little LCD screen it has to be said. If there’s one thing to complain about the visuals, it’s the overall speed of the game, which is hyper like a kid after a few Sunny D‘s. This does lead to confusion on occasion as your eyes lose your little character in amongst the chaos at times and suddenly find yourself in one of the button-mashing and speed requisite mini games, but this mad style of play does come with the territory and we’ll even stretch ourselves and say that it’s part of the charm. It’s all about getting into the zone though and keeping your eyes locked on your character as if you are possessed by the sleek portable glued to your hands.

Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble is addictive, frustrating, high on sugar, top fun in multiplayer and a nice spin-off from the series. In fact we wouldn’t feel like we were doing something wrong to claim that this is just as good as any previous game in the series, but in a totally different way. With this said we feel that Red Hot Rumble is an underrated and thoroughly enjoyable gem of a game.