Viewtiful Joe to grace PSP, GC; more DS details

Viewtiful Joe: VFX Battle bound for PSP and GameCube; DS version named Scratch! Viewtiful Joe.

In the latest issue of Famitsu, Capcom released some details on the upcoming PSP and GameCube game based on the Viewtiful Joe series. Titled Viewtiful Joe: VFX Battle, the game will feature familiar characters from the series, such as main man Viewtiful Joe; Joe's girlfriend, Silvia; Joe's rival, Alastor; and Captain Blue.

The game will also feature characters from the TV anime series of the same name currently airing in Japan. Captain Blue Jr. and Sprocket, a female labor shark working for the evil syndicate that Joe is pitted against, will both make cameos. This time, Captain Blue begins to produce a new movie, but he can't decide who should star as the main character. To find his movie's lead, he decides to have everyone in the movie fight for the role.

Screenshots of VFX Battle suggest that it will play like Nintendo's Smash Bros. series. However, it is not known how many players the game will support, as life bars for only two characters could be seen in the screens.

Viewtiful Joe series producer Atsushi Inaba commented that the key to winning the game will be to "stand out" more than the rival players--the more stylish the attack, the more points, especially when the screen zooms in on them.

No release date or price has been set for Viewtiful Joe: VFX Battle, but Inaba hinted that the game is already deep into development.

The magazine also updated readers on new details concerning the DS version of Viewtiful Joe. Capcom is tentatively titling the upcoming game Scratch! Viewtiful Joe, according to Famitsu.

Scratch! takes place in a large theme park where the latest movie of Captain Blue is in filming. However, a mysterious syndicate named Madou appears and steals the film. It's up to you as Viewtiful Joe to get it back.

In addition to Joe, the game will feature his younger sister, Jasmine, as a new character. Jasmine is a strong-willed lady who hopes one day to become an actress. It's not clear whether Jasmine will have a role in gameplay or will just appear as a side character.

Scratch! Viewtiful Joe will inherit the same 2D-graphics style as its console predecessors, though the game does make use of the handheld's dual-screen and touch-sensitive panel.

According to the article, players will play the game primarily with the D pad and other buttons, like any standard action game, but the touch-sensitive screen will be used occasionally--with the fingers, not the stylus. Inaba said it would be a burden to switch to the stylus during the game, hinting that actions using the touch-sensitive screen will not require precise controls.

One of the touch-screen moves is called the "split VFX," which divides the screen into two halves. This is accomplished when players pass their finger horizontally across the screen. The move causes objects on the screen to get "sliced" and become horizontally displaced. For example, players can use the split VFX to slice a large billboard on the screen, and then drop it on top of an enemy half a screen away.

The bottom screen will be used for playing the game, while the upper screen zooms in on areas of the game where users are recommended to use the touch-sensitive capabilities. At other times, the upper screen appears to zoom in on Joe.

No release date or price has been announced for Scratch! Viewtiful Joe.

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