Voodoo Vince

September 30, 2003

There are few games out there that truly capture one’s imagination, make you lose track of time, forget that you have places to go, people to see; all because you are so captivated by the world the game presents to you. Personally, I have only had three games do this to me thus far – Halo, Ratchet and Clank, and Kingdom Hearts. In fact, Halo still captures my attention for hours on end countless weekends in the year. I am proud to add another game to my short little list: Voodoo Vince.

Is it hot in here or is it me?

Voodoo Vince is set in the surly, dark underworld of the New Orleans night life, in which Vince, a voodoo doll, is forced to become an unlikely hero when some unscrupulous bad guys steal Vince’s maker Madame Charmaine’s zombie dust. She is kidnapped by Kosmo the Inscrutable’s cronies and Vince, brought to life by the powers of the zombie dust has to save her. The game then takes you through level after beautifully constructed level of the New Orleans and Louisiana landscape with a twist, as it has all been altered by the negative effect of the stolen zombie dust. Each level is so well thought out and graphically stunning that you hate to leave each one behind when you complete it. The humor that is presented in the game is a little cheesy at times, but still it is funny and is suited very well to a 10″ voodoo doll. Each character you meet and obstacle you encounter is unique and funny in its own aspect too. This game, put out by Microsoft and Beep Studios, is so well thought out and planned that there are few details that are left untouched. The graphics and worlds created alone are enough to make this game worth checking out.

Another thing worth mentioning, while I am on the trend of extreme praise, is the music that is heard in the game. This is what really sets the mood of the game. The sounds of New Orleans come alive as you play through each level listening to jazz from smooth to lively. There was one bit of classical music that literally put me to sleep once while Cone was playing, but other than that, the music just completes the feel of the game. It helps to really take you there. Halo’s “soundtrack” is a good thing to compare it to…without it, it just wouldn’t be Halo. The same goes for Voodoo Vince, the levels just become that more alive with the sounds of good ole New Orleans jazz playing in the background.

Enter the Voodoo

Oh, did I mention that in addition to kicking and punching the baddies that you hurt yourself in a myriad of ways to kill them as well? Yeah, that’s right, in this game it is okay to “die.” Drop an anvil on your own head, jump into a flour grinder, swim in a bathtub full of man (or voodoo doll) eating sharks, get attacked by killer aliens; you name it, you can do it and it kills the bad guys in masses. The best part is that it is a simple task to do all of these things. You build up voodoo power and then pull both trigger and voila! dead monsters. That is another aspect of the game I really appreciated – the controls were kept simple. One button jumps, one punches, one does a spin attack, and the other allows you to pick up and drop items. This is not to say that the levels
not progress in difficulty, because believe me, they do, but it is just nice to have one set of controls with few combos to learn. One thing I did notice while playing is that the game goes from really easy to pretty complex and challenging somewhat quickly. I wouldn’t call it hard, but the game definitely makes you have to think. It isn’t like a typical slash ’em and run through the level game. There is an order and a reason to most everything you have to do. It isn’t so complex that it leaves you wanting more freedom to just play around, because it provides plenty of opportunity to do that as well. One thing that the levels do allow for is extensive exploration. There are sewers and rooftops to explore, along with countless rooms and windows to enter. I just wish I could go into every door and every window, but that is just because the levels were so well presented. Another thing that I wish they would have implemented into the game is a destructive environment. There were trashcans I wanted to overturn and crates I wanted broken, but I know a girl can’t have everything she wants.

My mom always told me not to run with scissors

My one true complaint about the game is this: when you were on a ledge or up against a wall it was almost impossible to see where you were going because the camera was right above your head. But you could pull into first person view so it wasn’t too bad.

Overall, Voodoo Vince is one of the best games that I have played in a long time; truly the most unique concept for a game to come out in a very long time. Vince is one of the best characters I have ever seen in a game. Taking him through the levels in which he complains about the “obligatory boss battle” and other sarcastic comments truly adds to the game play experience. There are a variety of mini games stuck in there and you never really have to do the same thing twice. I would suggest picking it up and trying it out because the concept to it is so unique and the levels so intriguing. Just remember “never mess with a voodoo doll, poindexter!”

Score: 5/5

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