Viewtiful Joe is a combination of Platformer and Progressive Beat 'em Up. The games were originally released on the Nintendo GameCube, and also appeared in enhanced form on Sony PlayStation 2, with a third game on the Nintendo DS.The story begins when film fan Joe and his girlfriend, Silvia, go to see an old tokusatsu movie. However, when Silvia is unexpectedly kidnapped by the villain, Joe is brought into movie land to save her. The first game saw Joe running through various movie sets, defeating Mecha-Mooks with his powers of VFX Slow, VFX Mach Speed, and VFX Zoom, in an attempt to rescue Silvia from the evil Jadow and thus prevent them from escaping to the real world.In The Sequel, Joe and Silvia must stop the alien Gedow from taking over Movie Land and the real world.A Third Game, subtitled Double Trouble, was released on the Nintendo DS. It has similar gameplay, but new moves which take advantage of the double screen.There is also a Mascot Fighter, Red Hot Rumble, featuring characters from the Anime series, as well as a few from Devil May Cry in the PSP version of the game. This game is not connected to the main series, and its gameplay is similar to that of the Super Smash Bros. games.These games are quite hard, but also very good fun. Gameplay is reminiscent of old Streets of Rage or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games, and should appeal to young and old alike. Thankfully, none of the games take themselves very seriously.As well as those, there has been an anime adaptation, which maintains much of the feel of the original, but only lasted one season in the U.S.Unfortunately, Clover Studios, the makers of Viewtiful Joe, shut down, and the lead designer is now with another company. Though he's expressed interest in completing his console trilogy, the outlook is grim.Capcom has not left Joe out to dry, however. After Clover's demise, Joe has appeared as a playable character in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom and then Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. Regardless of what happens to his home series, Joe has found acceptance in Capcom's stable, ensuring he at least stays visible for the foreseeable future.
The series provides examples of:
108: "Thunder Boy Lives Twice" in the second game has a segment where you have to ring a giant bell 108 times (by hitting it) in order to continue, though knocking an enemy into the bell counts as 10 rings.
Both have a My God, What Have I Done? reaction after Joe beats them back to their senses; Jet Black in particular claims that he was being controlled by the Black Film, and in doing so hints that there was someone else controlling him. The third game probably would have addressed that...
On the other hand, Joe IS invincible during the animation, which can give you a little breather during combat, and with a VFX Turbo Charger, the invincibility lasts long enough to turn back into Viewtiful mode.
Blue and his wife Ivory form this, but only during the ending of the former's story in the first game.
Beat Them at Their Own Game: To put out Fire Leo's flames so he can be attacked directly, Joe's only option is to set himself on fire with a flame that burns hotter. The only way to do that is to use the meteors he leaves behind and hammer them with Mach Speed until you catch on fire.
Big Bad: King Blue/Captain Blue in 1, Dark Emperor Jet Black in 2, Queen Heinderella (who is actually Junko) in Double Trouble, Tsukumo in Red Hot Rumble.
Boss Rush: The penultimate level in three of the four games.
Bowdlerization: In the English adaptation of the anime, Silvia's Henshin form was changed from "Sexy Silvia" to "Go-Go Silvia" and "Six Machine" was changed into "Machine Six" (presumably to prevent it from being heard as "Sex Machine").
There are several variations too: "Henshin!" for Silvia and Captain Blue, "Devil Trigger!" and "Trigger me!" for Alastor, "Devil May Cry (is rockin' baby yeah)!" for Dante, "Tenshin!" for Jet Black, "Jushin a go-go, baby!" for Jasmine, and "Henshin a yo-yo, baby!" for Captain Blue Jr.
Joe also says "Henshin around!" sometimes, apparently just for the variety.
As per Captain Blue's original instructions, Joe's actual trigger phrase is just "Henshin!" as well. Joe just adds more to it because he's... well, he's Joe.
Chekhov's Gun: The V-Film in Double Trouble. Not only does its essence allow Joe to regain his VFX powers in the final battle, but it also allows Jasmine to transform in the epilogue as well. When players are first introduced to it, it is nothing more than Captain Blue's latest film.
Silvia - Fragile Speedster (she's faster than Joe, Alastor, and CB, her VFX bar lasts longer than anyone else, and she has the weakest physical constitution/lowest HP).
Alastor - Lightning Bruiser (VFX bar has to be activated manually a la Devil Trigger and drains constantly when he's in Henshin mode, has a longer jump, can fly briefly, stronger than the other three characters, but not as fast as Silvia).
Captain Blue - Mighty Glacier (cannot see skull marks regardless of difficulty, has the ability to hover across the screen indefinitely, and is stronger than Joe and Silvia).
Dante (PS2 version only) - Lightning Bruiser (he's not as fast as Silvia, but still stronger than everyone else in the entire game)
Combat Stilettos: Just about every female character, although some of these apply exclusively to their Henshin'd forms.
Continuity Nod: Statues of Gran Bruce, a boss from the first game, appear in Alastor's boss stage in 2.
Deconstructed Trope: Trapped in TV Land is deconstructed with Captain Blue, who went through many problems. First, he makes a rise to fame, then he's yesterday's news. Then he goes to Movieland, but due to the fact that he's trapped with no way to get home or back to his family, he ends up going insane due to the stress. It's even worse, when you take into account that, even if he could socialize with the characters of the films, he wouldn't be able to relate to them, because, no matter how realistic they are (or aren't), they're not really that relatable.
Degraded Boss: Fire Leo in Viewtiful Joe, Drill Sergeant Big John in Viewtiful Joe 2.
Dumb Muscle: Gran Bruce needs a second to think before he does... uhh... dehh... ANYTHING!
Except for telling Joe every detail of their dastardly plan.
Elemental Barrier: By attacking rapidly while in Mach Speed, Joe obtains a fire aura. In the second game, Silvia gains a lightning aura by using her Replay power. These auras protect the player from fire and lightning, respectively, as well as solving fire and lightning-related puzzles (like lighting torches and activating machinery). Switching out between characters also passes any active auras onto the other character, meaning that Joe can briefly gain Silvia's electric aura and Silvia can gain Joe's fiery one.
Elemental Powers: Joe's fire aura adds heat to his attacks, setting enemies on fire. Silvia's lightning aura causes some of her attacks to shock enemies. Both add additional damage.
Elevator Action Sequence: The last levels of Viewtiful Joe 1 & 2. There's also an elevator fight in one of the levels of Red Hot Rumble.
Foreshadowing: In the very first part of Viewtiful Joe, Silvia notes that there's something familiar about Captain Blue; at the end of the game, you find out that Captain Blue is Silvia's father. In Alastor's script, he also mentions the master's DNA, another possible hint.
Fragile Speedster: Silvia in both Viewtiful Joe 1 and VJ2. On Adults (the default difficulty), she'll receive four times as much damage. The first game compensates this by giving her a lot of speed, while the second game gives her ranged attacks.
Friendly Enemy: Alastor to Joe in the anime. This is even lampshaded at one point.
Alastor: "We're supposed to be enemies, but you treat me like I'm your cousin or something."
Genre Savvy: Joe, Alastor, and quite a few others. Justified to the extreme in that they are all characters in an action movie and are entirely aware of that fact. Oddly, the first game's main villain, King/Captain Blue, averts this Trope; he's supposed to be the guy who makes these films, and knows their cliches and ideas in and out, so how is he not a more dangerous threat if he's got those traits?
Genre Shift: In the very last level of the first game, when you find out the main villain is none other than Captain Blue, Joe makes very few jokes, and the end of the game is a little more serious than the others.
Dark Kaiser revolves around this—you have to catch up to the enormous mecha before it lays down punishment, because Dark Kaiser is invulnerable to attack until it opens its chest to unleash a missile strike, Jupiter pinball attack, or Saturn ring attack that traps you in a confined space. Also, those fire dragons can't hurt you if you punch the earth at Mach Speed and get a fire aura going. Yes, you have to punch out the freakin' Earth to keep giant flaming space dragons from burning your balls.
Dark Hero Jet Black is the same, but with him, if you follow him as he flies away, it's likely you're gonna get butchered by a sudden shitstorm of attacks. Wronski Feint much?
Hellish Copter: The second mini-boss you face in the 1st level is a Black Thunder Helicopter. Upon being killed, it flies out of control, crashes, and explodes into large V points (this game's currency).
Heroic BSOD: Only in the anime adaption, when Joe finds out that Captain Blue is the Big Bad. It takes Blue Jr., Silvia, and people Joe met through Movie Land to get him out of it.
He had a minor BSOD at the same moment in the game, too ("How? Why?"), but quickly snapped out of it himself.
Homage: The entire final level of the first game is a homage to Star Wars. There's a good deal of this in 2, as well, not least of which is Dark Kaiser being a giant mech whose torso is the Death Star.
Joe's father, Jet, shares near-exactly the same hairstyle, outfit, and color scheme as the father of a little girl in an episode of the Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon. That character's name? Jet. The characters are otherwise unrelated, as the Jet from the cartoon lives in the future with his daughter under evil totalitarian rule. Joe's father, however...
Humongous Mecha: Ups the ante to ridiculous levels, as Six Majin is big enough to walk around the Earth in a few strides, and Six X Six Majin is bigger than most planets.
The only thing in the Solar System that Dark Kaiser is not larger than is the Sun. King Blue is the same size as Great Six Majin. In Double Trouble, Alastor gets his own mecha in the form of Rex Majin, which is as big as Six Majin (read: Godzilla-sized).
The size of Six Majin is a bit muddled. In the beginning of the first game, and in Double Trouble, it's skyscraper sized. But in the penultimate battle of the first game, and in the transformation sequence where it combines with Great Six Majin, it is taller than mountains.
Justified Tutorial: In the first game, Joe is unsure how to use his V-Watch and has to be told how to use his powers by Captain Blue.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: In addition to never being dubbed in English, the second season of the anime was also never released on DVD in Japan. Oh, and it only aired once. Though Chinese subs of the first few Season 2 episodes crop up from time to time and the Spanish dub is readily available, you'll never find high-quality recordings for the Japanese track of Season 2, especially the later half. Trust us.
Killer Yo-Yo: Captain Blue Junior uses one in the anime, before he stars duel-wielding them in Henshin mode.
Laser Hallway: An incredible source of Fake Difficulty in the first game, since they move in 3D while you're limited to 2D, with terrible depth perception; also, they're hard to see while in Slow-mo, since the screen darkens.
Queen Heinderella follows in Jet's footsteps for the second phase on her battle in Double Trouble, implying that this is a hereditary trait. However, since she actually isn't evil, Junko is invoking yet subverting this trope instead of playing it straight.
Used in all three main games. Viewtiful Joe 2 has The Dark Emperor as Joe's father and Double Trouble has Big Bad Queen Heinderella as Joe and Jasmine's mother, come back from the dead for one day to see how her children have grown.
All he has to say to transform is "Henshin." The other words are just for fun.
Also: VFX Power Zoom. It consists of zooming in the shot on Joe, adding blur and motion lines everywhere to focus on the hero, and Joe striking an heroic pose. It also adds crazy effects to his attacks in the name of making everything awesome, like making his jumps into flying drills, his falls into earth-shaking Ground Pounds, his kicks into windmill strikes of death, turning his punch into a blindingly fast flurry of blows, and the Red Hot Kick into a burning dragon drill drop! Last, but not least, is the Viewtiful Forever, which has Zoom turn his Bullet Time dodge into a weaponized Ass Kicking Pose!
In the beginning of 2, Joe learns that the V-Watch can change the clothing of their users in accordance to their desires. Then comes this event:
Mundane Utility: It's easy to overlook the Shocking Pink item, but it has the useful quality of letting you break open containers in the background (normally you'd have to mach-speed-punch an enemy, but you can punch the bomb instead if none are around). This is more useful as containers can contain health, coins and most-impotantly the v-cans you need to extend your VFX bar, which is important seeing as the game is Nintendo Hard on higher difficulties.
Nintendo Hard: Fire Leo. Also, the Rainbow V challenge to unlock "super" versions of each character with unlimited VFX is quite possibly one of the most masochistic things one could do for a video game.
Ultra V-Rated Mode is sadistic; even if you know how to predict their blows without the indicators, it's still kinda hard.
No Fourth Wall: Alastor plugs the first game before his fight in the second.
Alastor: (addressing the player) "I'm not about to introduce myself. If you wanna know who I am, go to your nearest discount store and get a copy of Viewtiful Joe. Go! Now!"
Alastor: (to Joe, reading from a script) "For many years we have fought against Captain Blue for control of the world of movies. However-"
Joe: "Heyheyhey, wait up there. That's the old script!"
No Inner Fourth Wall: One of the best examples, and the source of a lot of the humor. Joe is fully aware of every old movie trope he encounters, though he remains oblivious to any video game tropes he runs into unless the two overlap.
The best example has to be Six Majin and King Blueliterally reaching through the fourth wall to pull Joe and Silvia into Movie Land.
One-Hit-Point Wonder: It takes some work to get the game that way, but playing Silvia in the 1st game (takes twice as much damage as normal) on Ultra-V mode (you take 4x as much damage as normal) turns you into a two-hit wonder at maximum health, with anything that normally takes more than one heart's worth of damage turning into an instant kill.
Only One Name: Joe, Silvia, and Jasmine and by proxy, Goldie, Ivory, and Junko are never given a last name. However, given that Jet Black is Joe and Jasmine's father and Junko's husband, and Captain Blue is Silvia and Goldie's father and Ivory's husband, this may have been answered in the most subtle of ways.
Power Copying: Joker, a recurring King MookMini-Boss from the first game. In your first encounter with him, his combat skills are limited to the standard Bianky punches and kicks, but in subsequent encounters, he adds additional abilities used by other Mooks to his repertoire, up until your last encounter with him, where he has learned most of them.
Playing with Fire: Fire Leo. Also, when Joe uses his mach speed power, it can send him into Red Hot mode, where he does added fire damage and is immune to fire.
Originates in the first with Joker and his slot machine.
Also Captain Blue in the first game.
Red-Headed Hero: The main character himself. At the end of Double Trouble, his sister Jasmine gets in on the action too.
Red Herring: At the end of 2, a new villain shows up in the real world to wreak havoc. Jet Black says that the newest adventure will reveal how he found the Black V-Watch and Black Film. Yet in Double Trouble the story picks up with Joe, Blue, Silvia, and Jasmine filming a movie. The two plots are almost completely unrelated, besides some possible insight on Jet's Start of Darkness.
Perhaps not. Double Trouble is more of a spin-off. Also, the first game did mention the Earth would have to be saved three times.
Running Gag: Whenever Alastor is defeated, he appears to "die" honorably. The narrator gets very sentimental over this. However, Alastor usually appears immediately afterwards to lament his lack of screen-time; in the first game he appeals directly to the players, and in 2 he speaks with Jet.
Sequel Hook: Invoked at the end of the first game and the second game. The first game specifically states that the world will be threatened "two more times". The third threat has yet to be seen.
And Double Trouble.
Sequence Breaking: In the fourth "episode" of the first game, It's possible to run across the torpedoes without deactivating them, which allows you to skip the first "mission" of the area and go right to the chapter end boss.
To go in-depth, Alastor himself. Not only does he possess the attacks (Stinger, Air Raid, Round Trip, Vortex, etc.) and purple lightning powers of his sword namesake, but when fought in Dante's story, Alastor reveals that he's the spirit of the sword and fumes that Dante didn't take him along during Devil May Cry 2 (not that anybody, let alone Dante, wants to remember that game). Alastor also possesses a version of Joe's Red Hot Kick called Ultraviolet Kick; this is a nod to the Leitmotif of Nelo Angelo in DMC1, "Ultraviolet." In 2, his Superpowered Evil Side (Underworld Emperor Alastor) physically resembles Dante's Alastor Devil Trigger and speaks the same line to Joe ("I am Alastor. The weak shall give their heart and swear their eternal loyalty to me") that he said to Dante before impaling him (Joe is much luckier, due to his VFX powers).
Some standout and somewhat obscure to US players examples: Joe's visor going down during boss battles and the overall design of his costume are homages to the 1977 tokuKaiketsu Zubat, and Joe's scarf is a homage to the Kamen Rider series.
The reference goes further: in the Viewtiful Escape level, Joe makes a bet with Another Joe that whoever wins the fight has to wear a yellow outfit. This is a reference to the original Kamen Rider: Kamen Rider 2's most obvious difference from his predecessor's appearance was his yellow scarf (as opposed to 1's red scarf).
Six Machine being similar in sound to the famous James Brown song "Sex Machine," anyone? Also, if Joe's last name is indeed the same as Jet's, it might be a reference to the movie Meet Joe Black.
The second level in Double Trouble has one to Resident Evil 2. Complete with the lobby music from the police department.
The music from the first game that plays while Captain Blue is explaining his past is a remix of a piece from the first Ace Attorney game. Here's acomparison.
Silvia possess a variant of Joe's Red Hot Kick named the Cool Blue Kick. While in the first game, it's exactly the same as Joe's technique, in 2, it gains electric properties, and her pose during the attack directly mirrors its source material: a lunging kick known as the Cold Blue Kick used by Remy from Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike.
Speaking of the Red Hot Kick, it's yet another way that Joe homages Kamen Rider: it's basically a Rider Kick. In Double Trouble, the Meta Rangers, who are basically Kamen Riders in all but name, have the same move, only instead known as "Meta Kick."
Heck, the Meta Rangers' boss theme is a Kamen Rider shout out: It sounds remarkably similar to "Let's Go Rider Kick," the theme of the first two Kamen Riders.
Also, the powers are shout outs to film techniques. Slow Mo is obvious, taken from slowing down parts for dramatic effect. Mach Speed is used in television mostly, used most of the time for clean-the-room montages in sitcoms. Zoom In is from the old school horror flicks, in which the camera would quickly zoom close to the face of some frightening person with a menacing gaze. Replay is based on the repeat cut, also known as the double/triple take.
"So what's with that V-Watch on your arm, huh? You think you're some kind of Mega Man or something?"
The "HMD" on Joe's shirt is a reference to the Lead Programmer of Mega Man 2, who identified himself as such.
A literal Shout-Out to classic Kamen Rider; Joe yells out "Toh!" when he jumps in a similar manner to the heroes in the Showa KR series.
The way the bosses explode over and over may be a nod to Space Sheriff Shaider.
Show Within a Show: Well, more like Movie Within A Game, which is where most of the action takes place.
Spin to Deflect Stuff: The spinning part is optional; you only need to be in Slow-mo. For maximum spin and maximum deflection, you can use the Zoom-In Spin Kick.
Start of Darkness: Jet Black uncovering the Black Film and Black V-Watch. Double Trouble implies that the untimely death of his wife Junko also pushed him over the edge. For Blue, it was his fade from popularity in the movies as well as his willingness to live in the movies.
Staying Alive: Alastor. He's never dead, no matter how sad the narrator gets over his death; he's just somewhere not getting any more screen time for the rest of the game. And complaining bitterly about it.
Alastor: "Aww, come on, help a brother out!"
Steam Vent Obstacle: In the third level of Viewtiful Joe 2, an air vent serves as an obstacle in a puzzle. There are two settings you can activate. Either can block the path below, or let you ride the wind inside it, depending on which side you come from.
That's why you protect yourself with Slow and up your damage with Zoom.
Tsundere: Silvia from 2-onwards, although she shows brief flashes of it in the first game.
Twincest: More than likely unintentional, but in the first game, all playable characters have the exact same actions in their cutscenes. Meaning that Silvia attempting to make out with Joe during the game's intro sequence carries through with Silvia and her sister Goldie.
Warrior Poet: Frost Tiger in 2. He even utters some poetry in his death throes. It makes his death all the more epic.
Frost Tiger (after dispatching Big John): "Though I have slain/ my heart aches/ the piteous beast fades/ as morning dew."
Frost Tiger (upon defeat): "Through countless battles/ I sought to attain/ the glorious path./ But true viewty comes/ in this late hour of defeat."
What Could Have Been: Viewtiful Joe 2 would have had a co-op mode where one player plays as Joe and the other as Silvia. This was implied in the first teaser trailer, but Capcom decided to remove this early during the development process.
There was also supposed to be a second sequel, but instead Double Trouble and Red Hot Rumble were released while the third was being planned. Clover then got shut down.
You Killed My Brother: Subverted with Frost Tiger. Joe and Silvia expect him to want revenge for the death of Fire Leo in 1, but Frost Tiger is too concerned with having a good fight to care about such petty things. Still, the strategy guide implies that Tiger may be a mite ticked off about the death of his brother.