Voodoo Vince Remastered: the sack boy we deserved

Nostalgia is often thinly veiled and I definitely talk about this game with a sense of invigorated nostalgia. Voodoo Vince Remaster falls a little short of the title “Remaster” in my personal opinion. The game has maintained its completely perfectly quirky style as the original did and nothing has been done to really take away from the gameplay, the style or the feel of the game overall, clunky platforming controls and all.

The reason I express a little disappointment is possibly because I had my expectations set a little too high, as on par with the veil of nostalgia. I didn’t really realise when I was a child playing this game just how clunky that the models and the graphics actually were and when you look back at memories with rose-tinted glasses you often find it a little incomparable to the reality of the situation. The game delivers on everything it promises, a higher (albeit capped) FPS rate of 60 frames per second, higher resolution textures and slightly smoother animations. Whilst the game looks a little janky, the models of the environment are definitely the points that suffer the most in the modern day world; despite being as good as it gets for early-noughties platformer games, the hard edges of the world of Voodoo Vince become all the more highlighted in its freshly-coated lick of paint.

Overall the game is still everything it was and a little more; a stellar jazzy soundtrack befitting of its French Quarter ‘Nawlins aesthetic and corny, self-aware dialogue. Our main protagonist and hero is very self-aware as a character and often fits neatly into a “that’s what I was thinking” category of dialogue; often having a witty “Eh… okay?” response to the wacky world around him. The rest of the cast in the game are a little bit more one-dimensional but it makes them seem all the more charming in that kind of regard. Kosmo The Inscrutable is our run-of-the-mill bad guy with bad intentions but the game makes him an almost pitiable character with low intelligence and the personality stereotypes of a basement-dwelling, angsty teenager who plans to take over the world for dealing him a bad set of cards. The only other real “Primary” character is Madame Charmaine, the Voodoo Mistress who Vince sets out to save on his 4th-wall breaking journey to beat the bad guys and collect her magical dust that brings an assortment of monsters to life to stop him in his tracks. Whilst Madame Charmaine is a fairly generic character, her lines are written with a little less tongue-in-cheek attitude in comparison to characters like Vince or Kosmo; often being the voice of reason or the tutorial-esque guide, giving bits and pieces of information about the story whilst being unnecessarily vague, a trait that Vince occasionally gets frustrated with.

The platforming element of the game remains the same as it ever was… platform-y. The controls are a little messy in comparison to modern platformers and I found myself getting repeatedly annoyed by the fact that if I waited a fraction of a second too long before doing my double-jump, then Vince would just fall into a bottomless pit; and that was if he even jumped at all. My biggest pet peeve was the lack of in-game rewards, something that I had thought of when I was younger playing the game. There are a lot of collectables in the world and the game definitely encourages you to collect all of them because the first thing you see in the pause menu is the counter of how many of the objects you have collected on your journey but there is no real “Payoff” for collecting all of them per level. The dust gives you an extra health bar per 100 of them that you collect; the pages give you the chance to store another Voodoo-instant-kill ability and the Voodoo Icons let you unlock another new power (which are essentially just aesthetically different but have no real in-game difference). So short of expanding your health metre or getting the chance to see some new powers, there really is nothing worth chasing after in the collectable department. Even if it was just to get a chance to look at some concept art, deleted content or even voice-acting buggerups; it would definitely be something that made the journey to collect all the collectables a little bit more satisfying.

Overall, the game is split into different chapters with new, fresh environments to explore within each chapter. The Quarter, a clear reference to the French Quarter of New Orleans with an urban-grunge theme. Roachfort, an underground level with a close-quarters tunnel feel in which you have to obtain objects to build a balloon. Crypt City, an interesting town-esque city made of mausoleums, tombs and full of hidden pathways. Brusque Manor, a large “spooky mansion” controlled by a slight bipolar doll with control issues. The Bayou, the “water level” of the game with some of the most difficult platforming sections and finally, The Carnival DePrave,  full of broken-down rides and definitely one of the more challenging parts of the game. In each chapter are usually 4-5 different areas and a boss battle, each with collectables to obtain, new challenges and some new enemies. Generally, the game is quite short depending on your playstyle but there’s around 5-6 hours of gameplay if you move through it at an average rate. The environment is packed full of quirky jokes and self-aware humour, like being able to visit a burlesque club in The Quarter or drinking a bottle of laxative called “Gut Grease”; the game makes good use of the visual medium to create an immersive world with an overlay of fun fantasy and goofy humour.

Overall, the game is worth playing, especially if you never got around to playing its Exclusive Xbox release back around when it was released in 2003. It’s a simple platformer game that is only made challenging by its clunky controls but the fun story and wacky characters are definitely worth the experience. One of the bigger disappointments of the game for me was the fact that the original manual to the game was nowhere in the game itself; which gave a little bit of history about the world, the characters and a short explanation about what you were actually fighting. I wish they had rebuilt some of the older, messier models in the game but the texture quality definitely makes up for it.

 

Voodoo Vince

to top off the experience with this game we have some custom Artwork provided by: MiserableinOrange – Facebook

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