Voodoo Vince's innovative ideas and fantastic style have helped it stand the test of time.

User Rating: 8.3 | Voodoo Vince XBOX
While many games that came out in 2003 seem to have lost their luster by now, three years after its release, Voodoo Vince's innovative ideas, fantastic style, outstanding soundtrack and frequently hilarious humor have helped it stand the test of time. This game is still well worth a look, if you can find it.

Voodoo Vince isn't a very long game, but it's definitely a memorable one. For starters, Vince is a terrific main character. The fact that he's a voodoo doll means that, while most games would have you trying to avoid jumping into that pit of spikes, this game has you trying to jump into it from as high up as possible. Instead of avoiding those whirling blades, you're trying to get ground to bits. Yes, you actually want to get crushed between the two colliding trains. The boss fights in Voodoo Vince are usually just puzzles in which you try to figure out how to hurt Vince as much as possible, which puts a nice twist on much of the action. Vince also has a deadpan way of constantly pointing out the game's typical platform game formula, which may not sound that funny but is actually pretty hilarious. (Speaking of humor, Vince himself may be cute enough for little ones, but there's certainly a dark edge to the game's sensibilities. Take, for instance, the sausage factory sequence, where you have to...well...let's just say it involves an assortment of really cute cartoon animals and...uhh...making sausage.) Naturally, Vince meets a colorful assortment of characters throughout his adventure. Of course, there's the villain, Kosmo the Inscrutable, who fancies himself an evil mastermind capable of taking over the entire world but is really just a loser in a Hawaiian shirt. And then there's the very cool, very skeletal jazz man who jams with Vince on a few occasions. My personal favorite is Crawdad Jimmy, a Cajun chef who inexplicably refers to Vince as a monkey over and over and over again. Then, there's the game's sense of visual and musical style. The game's terrific jazzy soundtrack, a really unique score on the video game scene, is a perfect accompaniment for the lush purple bayou dusks and New Orleans town squares you'll encounter on your journey. If Tim Burton and Tom Waits were going to collaborate on a video game, I think it might turn out something like Voodoo Vince. It's not a perfect game. For starters, it's a bit on the short side at around ten hours, but when the time spent with a game is this jam-packed with memorable moments, who's counting the hours? And in the game's final stages, the focus moves away from the clever puzzles of earlier areas and emphasizes some very tough platform jumping. The frustration factor here may be a bit much for some players, while others may find that the stiff challenge only makes finishing the game all the more rewarding.

It's clear that developer Beep Industries put a great deal of care and effort into this game. It's a shame that, three years later, Voodoo Vince is, aside from a few downloadable PC games, still the only thing they've done. Voodoo Vince demonstrates just the kind of passionate, innovative design we ought to be seeing more of in games these days.