|Behind all the hoopla of the U.S. release of Marvel vs. Capcom,
there seems to be a media blackout, or at least Capcom isnt saying anything and
neither are most gaming sites out there, about the new Japanese release, Jo Jos
Bizarre Adventure. Yes, yes, I do understand were mainly
supposed to pay attention to what comes out in the States, but when you have a game that
is so cool and no one has heard of it, you just want to scream (or keep it as a nice,
little secret). And why not look on the horizon for that Next-Best-Thing ä
? With Jo
Jos Bizarre Adventure (to be called Jo Jos Venture in the U.S.) you
wont be let down, and you could even have it by the time you get tired of Marvel vs.
Capcom. Yep, Capcom is planning on (at least rumor says) porting it to the PSX and
the Dreamcast (with a Japanese DC release next month).
A brief history. Last year Capcom released Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure in the arcades, both in the U.S. and in Japan. Ive never seen it in an arcade, but supposedly its out there somewhere in coin-droppin land. The characters in the game are based upon the popular comic of the same name, which follows Joseph and others on a strange adventure. The big addition to the console game is a story mode that follows Book 3 of the comic series.
Granted, I didnt understand a single word of the story, making the language barrier again the biggest drawback, but hey, its an import, and I kind of expected that. The game still comes off as interestinginteresting enough to make me eagerly await the U.S. release. For me, the story mode was the most noteworthy aspect, aside from the classic Capcom 2D fighter excellence we all know and love (at times). Im used to playing the story mode and either beating it in a sitting, which most of the time is the case, or saying to myself, "they could have done better." Still, there are other fighters out there that balance the versus and the story like Bushido Blade. With Jo Jo it took me about three nights to make it through the story mode and get a firm grasp on how to control my characters and learn their strengths and weaknesses.
Like all the other Capcom classics, Jo Jos versus section is colorful and well animated, but with this game theres a difference. Instead of having a power move or a set of power moves, the game introduces a new system called the Stand attack. Essentially, you are able to activate and control your characters inner persona, making it easy to lay into the opponent with damaging combinations. You're also able to do simultaneous attacks as your persona and as your regular character. I found I could do this with a few characters, but not all of them. It actually takes some time to get used to this new type of specialty, especially when all of your moves are described in, you got it, Japanese. And trust me, the pictures of what buttons to push make no sense at all.
The biggest pain in the ass in this game was one of the mini-games you encounter during the story. Toward the end of the game, youll be in Egypt fighting some really tough and bizarre dudes. At some point along the trail you encounter a gambler who, of course, challenges you to games of chance. The first is dropping coins into a glass without overflowing the glass. I failed at this one. The second game is a card game that uses the ten, Jack, Queen, King, Ace and Joker. Not being a big gambler (I have a hard enough time figuring out poker) I had no clue how to win. I finally just got lucky and promptly saved my game afterward. That was the biggest hurdle I encountered.
Aside from the gambling game, there are cooler and more bizarre mini-games that cover a wide range of genre types. I mean you have a shooter section that kind of reminds of you of the old Silver Surfer game to sections where you have to guess whats a mirror and whats reality. These are just a couple of examples of what is in store for you during the story mode.
Certain games out there hold an appeal that one can never put a finger on. Is it the graphics? The game play? Or something else? For me it was just the bizarreness and, at times, the absurdity of this game. Some sections actually made me wrinkle my brow and go, "What the hell?" then keep playing to see what other oddities were coming up. Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure without a doubt breaks the typical fighter mold. I just cant wait to see it in the U.S. on both the PSX and the Dreamcast.