Putting all fanboyish comments aside for a moment, I am going to be brutally honest with you all about my thoughts on the original Xbox. The original Xbox would have been a complete and utter flop of a console if it wasn’t for two things. The first thing is Sega probably being the system’s best third-party developer. The second thing is a bit more obvious with the console’s success due to Halo. I mean, seriously, if you had to think of one game that represented the original Xbox, what would it be? Of course, it would be Halo. And before anyone leaves a negative comment about my opinion of the console, I know there are other great games for the console besides Halo. I am just hammering in that opinion because while the Xbox had Halo and Halo 2, it really had no other flagship franchise going for it until the Xbox360 came out, and it got franchises like Gears of War and the Alan Wake series. With that being said though, it had some really good underrated gems that I never heard of or know very little about, and this happens to be one of those games, Voodoo Vince. I know the Xbox was never really known for its platformers. I remember it tried having a platforming mascot, like Sega having Sonic and Nintendo of course having Mario, but the platforming mascot for Xbox was kind of, well, non-existent. Let us see if this prickly doll has what it takes to be this old console’s platformer icon.
The main story revolves around a voodoo doll name Vince, voiced by Ken Boynton. He is the voodoo doll that his owner uses in a small magic shop. One day, some grunts who work for a guy named Kosmo the Inscrutable, invade the store. The grunts take some zombie dust that is apparently all-powerful magic for Kosmo to use to conquer the world. They also kidnap Vince’s owner, Madam Charmaine, in the process. Luckily, some of the zombie dust brings Vince to life. It is up to Vince to get his master back and take down Kosmo to save the world. To be honest, the story is just okay. Besides a few clever lines and quotes, the story is forgettable. Vince isn’t that interesting of a character, and I felt like the developers were trying to make him some kind of Banjo Kazooie or Conker’s character with the sarcastic quips and fourth wall breaking jokes, but most of his lines fall flat. The developers, Beep Industries, made this their first game and after that, moved onto downloadable PC games. Sure shows how popular this game was. Okay, that might have been harsh, but I don’t hear anyone talking about wanting a Voodoo Vince 2 for next gen consoles.
Voodoo Vince plays like your everyday 3D platformer where you traverse open-ended levels to solve one huge puzzle to progress to the next level. There is some much needed variety in certain areas that does break up some of the platforming, which can be tricky at times. These activities go from riding down a clothesline collecting shirts, to flying a plane, and you get the idea. Since Vince is a voodoo doll, he of course can perform voodoo tricks, but these act as a clearing devices to rid a certain area of enemies. They all die, but there is some decent variety in how Vince kills himself and wipes out the enemies, from getting crushed, melted, to having a terrible time in the bathroom, and etc. Weirdly though, Vince can die, so make sure you keep his health up. There are a lot of things to collect from refilling your magic gauge, upgrading your health bar, to increasing your magic bar. There is a decent amount of stuff to do, and will probably be a good game for the completionist-style of gamers to try out.
The graphics are solid, nothing visually amazing, but it doesn’t look terrible. There are a good amount of colors and I do like how the world has a sort of New Orleans feel to it. This kind of vibe also goes into the music, which while not memorable to me, is solid and has one or two good songs. The voice work is also just okay. I know I keep saying how okay this game is, but I will get to that later. Like I said above, there are some funny lines here and there that do give the main hero some personality.
So, apparently I have shown I have problems with this game. The whole game is just okay. I feel like the developers were not being ambitious enough. They could have easily taken the voodoo concept farther and made this a unique puzzle-solving platformer, but nope! Sure, the bosses and the areas that break up the platforming are pretty cool, but the whole time I felt like I should be playing a different Xbox game or just a better game in general. I also think the way to increase the magic use is tedious. You have to collect all of the skull pages in the level and then go find a skull. Easy enough, but you have to get there in a certain period of time or else you won’t get it. I understand that there should be challenge and reward for completing said challenge, but when I could easily refill one skull quickly by beating a group of enemies, why would I want to search for these somewhat tedious skull pages for a skull I might not even get? This is also one of those games. while giving you an idea of what you need to do, doesn’t do it well enough. I’m not one to have a tutorial every 5 minutes, but I was confused on what to do at times.
Decent, average, just okay, no matter how you say it. Voodoo Vince is just an average platformer. I would guess this is why Microsoft’s consoles aren’t really known for their platformers until Twisted Pixel released their Splosion Man franchise. This game honestly does have a lot of cool ideas, and like I said, there are some things I do like about it, but it’s all buried under average platforming, a mediocre and mostly forgettable story, and game mechanics that could have been taken much farther, but aren’t. If you are looking to collect every Xbox game, go ahead and pick it up, but if you want great platformers from the time this game came out, go get Super Mario Sunshine for the Gamecube or Klonoa 2 for the PS2. I feel kind of bad starting this four part special with such an average game, so why not arm ourselves and get dangerous with the next game?
This game gets a 6 out of 10.