"Sleeper hit of the year so far"
Every year titles are released with varying degrees of hype. Those with masses of it tend to let us down, but every so often a game with no hype whatsoever is released and bowls everyone over. Voodoo Vince is one of these titles. With Microsoft's previous platforming efforts Blinx and Munch's Oddysee receiving a mixed reaction, they may have thought twice about publishing another platform game. Microsoft has chosen wisely this time around.
The storyline behind Voodoo Vince really sets the tone for the game. You play as Vince, a voodoo doll brought to life by some magic dust two thugs unleash while kidnapping your owner, Madam Charmaine. Madam Charmaine talks to Vince and begs him to come and save her so one of the most unlikely hero's is born, Vince. Although he is reluctant to perform the tasks at hand, he agrees and busts out some of the funniest one liners ever. For instance once Madam Charmane has finished telling him his tasks he says "um...okay" in quite a sarcastic tone.
The reason why Vince is so successful in execution is definitely the character. He's very likeable and with his quick wit will have you in raptures of laughter at times. It's just plain fun to play as this character who seems to have no idea what he is doing yet continues on in his quest to find his owner. Using a Voodoo Doll as the main character has allowed Beep Industries to create some truly unique gameplay mechanics for Voodoo Vince.
Voodoo Vince is made up primarily of two sections; puzzles and boss fights. The puzzles are fairly in depth and do take time, but most are logical and easy to figure out. The first puzzle tasks Vince with getting into a museum to take on the boss fight but to do so he must jam with a jazz musician at the front door. However he doesn't have a trumpet nor does he have jazz skills or money. The area is made up of various stores open at different times, so he has to adjust the clock tower as well. I won't spoil the way to complete this puzzle because the enjoyment comes from figuring it out. The puzzles in Vince can seem frustrating, but they never get to the point where you want to throw your controller at the wall. This is because they are fun and interesting to play. Voodoo Vince definitely features the "just one more time" game mentality. Other puzzles task you with finding the materials for a balloon, or opening a door with a heavy object.
Along the way Vince will come up against numerous types of enemies and puzzles such as Pit Frogs, Gingerdead Men, some very obnoxious oil pumps, killadillos and others. Some enemies are easy to defeat, others aren't. To assist with this Vince has numerous attacks to use, he can punch them, twirl around quickly knocking them off their feet or jump up and dive headfirst into their bodies. However he has one very unique ability. Being a voodoo doll, if you harm Vince, you will harm his foes. As you defeat enemies via conventional means (spin, punch etc) they will release beads. Collect enough and Vince will be able to use his Voodoo Ability.
Vince's Voodoo Ability is his special attack and best used when you're surrounded by enemy characters. Holding L and R will perform this attack and Vince will deal out some serious damage to himself. Along the way, you will pick up the different Voodoo Attacks such as acid bath (Vince drinks a flask of acid), UFO (Vince is zapped by a UFO laser), anvil (Vince drops a rather large anvil on himself) and others. This mechanic is completely unique to Voodoo Vince, and not only will some of the powers shock you, but also have you laughing.
Voodoo Vince is set in various sections with travel possible between each one as they are completed. Once areas are unlocked, you can travel between them via the tram provided in the game levels. Environments include a city town with stores, a town hall, back alleys etc an underground series of caves and caverns and others. Each feature unique scenery and different challenges. For example in the town area its easy to move from place to place, but in the next environment underground, lots more jumping areas are prevalent. Vince can also use the environments to aid him in defeating enemies. For instance, he can set himself on fire at various times. This is used to defeat the obnoxious oil pumps early on in the game.
Vince will also get to command a number of vehicles throughout the game. In Roachfort, (one of the games areas where Vince is tasked to find the objects for a professors balloon), Vince will get to use a laundry basket to collect clothes from the line to use as the cloth for the balloon by hopping between the different clothes lines. Vehicles include the aforementioned tram, a submarine and others.
Visually Voodoo Vince is one of the best looking games on the Xbox. The characters are heavily detailed and Vince animates in superb fashion. In fact the animation of Vince truly adds to his character, he can pick up objects to use with current puzzle and also does a little dance when you complete a task. The environments are heavily detailed and unique and the Voodoo Powers look great, as do the enemy characters.
On the sound front, Voodoo Vince contains a fairly generic platforming soundtrack but it works perfectly fine for the game Vince is. The voice acting is great, with Vince often cracking out one liners such as when defeating an enemy he might say "and we have some parting gifts", it's things like that which truly push Vince up from great game, to superb game. Voodoo Vince is single player only, which harms the replay ability a little.
Voodoo Vince is one of those games that come out of no where and make you think "wow, why hasn't this been talked about". Beep Industries have crafted one of the most unique and funniest games that I have played for a while. If you love platform and puzzle games you simply have to check this game out, and if you want a game which doesn't take itself to seriously then Voodoo Vince may just be your ticket to fun. Recommended.
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