If you look at the biggest players in the history of console gaming, almost all of them have something in common- a mascot.
With Nintendo it was Mario, Sega it was Sonic and with Sony it was Crash Bandicoot — these mascots are immediately recognizable and were not only fun ambassadors of their respective consoles, but they were the stars of great games. The one company missing from this is Microsoft.
Microsoft planted their flag in the gaming space with Halo and ushered in a new era of gaming that put mascots, outside of Nintendos, on the bench–however; it’s not like they tried.
“Voodoo Vince” is an obscure Xbox original title that has been brought to life with a remaster and even with a polish, one can see why when you think Xbox you don’t think “Voodoo Vince.”
Following a Voodoo doll brought to life to save his creator from her kidnappers, “Voodoo Vince” has all the makings of what a classic should have — a dope main character, a fun world and immediately sucks you into this alternate version of the Big Easy; however, it also is plagued by simplistic boss battles and camera issues.
The best thing about “Voodoo Vince” is Voodoo Vince himself. Voice actor Ken Boynton brings, as Editor-in-Chief Patrick Hickey Jr. says, a Norm Macdonald quality to the role that makes every cut scene delectable.
Throughout the game as you explore this version of New Orleans that is part “Monkey Bone” and part “Book of the Dead,” you unlock countless new abilities to aid in your quest to find Madame Charmaine–this Rolodex of abilities does serve its purpose at times, and others it just feels shallow. When you’re unlocking 3-4 abilities a stage, it rarely feels like an accomplishment and each new one undermines the last.
Being part platformer and part open world with you being able to explore each stage as you please and even return to levels through fast travel, the game never quite formulates an identity through its gameplay. Everything is familiar with a brilliant art style, it fails to carve out its own niche. You defeat bosses through self-harm, which is a fun visual trick, but the bosses themselves don’t have the personality of Vince and become tedious tasks as oppose to engaging battles.
What “Vince” does offer is a decent amount of variety in its gameplay– you ride vehicles, solve puzzles and sometimes just straight murk enemies with your endless bag of trick–this and the game’s personality are enough to get through the game’s story.
The game is at its best at the opening, you are sucked into this world that you and Vince are experiencing for the first time. Despite his deadpan tone, he is new to the world of living and it makes for an interesting dynamic as this character who was lifeless must now save the life of the person who created him. Madame Charmaine is the voice guiding you through the world and your powers and this is why you want Vince to succeed, but as you dig deeper into the game, the characters that populate the world fail to have that same magic that Vince does.
Now, “Voodoo Vince Remastered” is not going to change the game’s history. There are lingering issues that hamper the game’s potential; however, if you were a fan of the game, it is something worth trying. The enhanced visuals combined with the amazing art style make for pretty sight. That being said, this revisit will not create any new fans, it’ll make one wonder what could’ve been if it had reached the potential of its ideas.