Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble review

When Saturday morning and every noise in existence collide

GamesRadar+ Verdict


  • +

    Iconic design and art style

  • +

    Goal-oriented battles

  • +

    Runs smooth even with the madness


  • -

    An arcade's worth of noise in one match

  • -

    Some blah

  • -

    worthless fighters

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The best way to describe Red Hot Rumble is by screaming into your ear until it bleeds, followed by a catapult ride into a volcano that’s somehow floating in the sky. Putting the Viewtiful Joe characters into a smash-tastic four-player fighting game seems like a great idea, but it’s often an indecipherable orgy of color and noise.

Normally, the goal in games like this (the best known is Super Smash Bros Melee ) is to be the last guy standing - it’s you against two, three or four characters in a gang-bang fight to the finish. Here, the goal is to complete one or two objectives per fight and still stay ahead of everyone else in overall points. Each chapter is divided into four parts - succeed in them all and you'll unlock new fighters, levels and admittedly snazzy animated videos.

One goal may be to grab the most diamonds that are raining down on the screen while the next is to defeat as many enemies as you can within a time limit. You can easily focus solely on the objective and ignore the competition, but no beat-em-up works like that. The three other players want it just as bad. If someone else gets in the way, you can send ‘em flying with the series’ signature VFX moves (think color-saturated Matrix).

Instead of having the reality-altering powers available from the start, they’re found in randomly appearing power-ups. Slowing down time, zooming in to enlarge yourself and catching on fire are a few of the moves fans will recognize from the traditional Joe games. Also scattered around are bizarre, black hole things that suck everyone into a 10-second, super-twitchy minigame. Once inside, you've got to instantly size up what it is you're supposed to do. They're all very simple things (bang on the buttons, time input commands) but man, are they fast.

And to this end, the game is perfectly fine. One, even two-player fights are crazy but manageable. Try to play with all four and you’ll need a vomit bag right next to you. Imagine a screen literally filled to the top with enemies, items, players, animated backdrops and who knows what else, all flying in every possible direction. If you say you can easily keep track of what's going on, you're either lying or you're a robot made out of eyes.

More info

DescriptionA four-way battle royal that tries to out-maniac Smash Bros. Its mission-based fights are fun enough, but just try keeping up when everything's happening at once.
US censor rating"Teen","Teen"
UK censor rating"12+","12+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.