"A man wears a scar as a medal! Not to say I couldn't win unhurt."
"Henshin a go-go, baby!" says Joe after being granted one of the magical V-Watches from his superhero idol Captain Blue. This allows the ordinary movie-loving star of Capcom's modern beat 'em up game series to become his alter ego, Viewtiful Joe. Styled like a cross between comic books and Hollywood movies, the Viewtiful Joe titles have breathed fresh air into an otherwise stale genre of gaming, harking back to games such as River City Ransom and Double Dragon.
In the first game of the series, Joe's girlfriend Silvia is kidnapped by a bunch of ambitious silver-screen villains whose intent is to extend their power into the real world. To rescue her, Joe enters the world of films and assumes his superhero form. Viewtiful Joe can use the V-Watch to bend time in this otherworld. 'Slow' allows him to move in Matrix-inspired slow motion to dodge bullets and generally become more powerful. 'Mach Speed' has the opposite effect, turning him into an incredibly speedy trail of flame. His third power is 'Zoom In', stopping most enemies in their tracks and giving Joe extra abilities.
The bosses that Joe must fight at the end of each stage are varied, but one in particular, Alastor, considers himself Joe's nemesis. He uses lightning attacks and is therefore nicknamed 'The Midnight Thunderboy'. He is the one who gives Joe the idea to call himself 'Viewtiful'.
The relative success of the originally GameCube-exclusive game allowed the development of a sequel. In Viewtiful Joe 2, Silvia joins up with Joe in tag-team-style game mechanics. Released for both the GameCube and PlayStation 2, Viewtiful Joe 2 mostly stuck to the formula that the original set down. Other titles have been released to complement these first two. Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble is a multiplayer game inspired by Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble makes use of the Nintendo DS's touch screen to deliver a wider range of moves. An anime based on the games has been aired on TV Tokyo and has been licensed for U.S. distribution by Geneon.
Selected game appearances
- Viewtiful Joe (2003)
- Viewtiful Joe 2 (2004)
- Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble (2005)
- Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble (2005)
- Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars (2010)
- Puzzle Fighter (2017)