Viewtiful Joe DS E3 2005 Hands-On

The big-screen superhero gets all touchy-feely in his first handheld adventure.

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The Viewtiful Joe series has, so far, relied on powers that relate directly to movies and film. Joe can speed things up, slow them down, zoom in for a devastating close-up, and so on. The Nintendo DS is getting its own all-new Viewtiful Joe game that keeps the same style and basic gameplay as the original games, but adds an all-new touch screen-friendly set of powers. As a result, the game feels completely fresh.

In this DS game, you'll be running around and knocking out dudes. However, you'll also be manipulating the "Joe camera" in a variety of different ways. You can split the bottom screen into two halves with a horizontal slash, which is used to move objects around. You can slide a water spray around so that it douses a fire, and you'll also move vacuums to suck up blockades or move batteries off their terminals to clear force fields.

The top screen often shows a close-up of the action. The slide power lets you slide the top screen down to give you a close-up view that makes your attacks more damaging. Sliding also works into some of the other powers, like touch and rub. Touch lets you interact with objects in the world once you've swapped screens. You can do this to flip switches or just pop smaller enemies with the touch of your stylus. Rub lets you shake things up when the screens are swapped, and it will disorient enemies and rattle things around. This lets you, say, make boxes fall from high perches.

The rest of Joe's gameplay consists of jumping, punching, and kicking, for the most part, and you'll be fighting the same sorts of crazy clockwork enemies you've seen in previous games. The look of the game is also similar, though you'll notice a bit of a quality reduction since the graphics are moving from the GameCube to a handheld.

All in all, Viewtiful Joe DS seems like an innovative take on the Viewtiful Joe series. It integrates the touch screen really well, and it does so without making the overall gameplay feel too gimmicky.

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