VooDoo Vince - XB - Preview

Madame Charmaine and her zombie dust have been taken hostage, kidnapped, stolen and otherwise apprehended by the roustabouts of Kosmo the Inscrutable. Little does he realize what the zombie dust, floating through the city has done. It is warping reality.

But one of the effects, which is doing so much damage elsewhere, may have unleashed the one thing that can stop Kosmo. Vince, Madame Charmaine’s third best voodoo doll, has somehow been brought to life. He shares a mind-like with Charmaine. She implores him to use all the power at his command to stop Kosmo, only he can save the day.

His response?

"Um, okay."

Voodoo Vince is a wonderfully animated three-dimensional adventure game from Microsoft Game Studios and Beep Entertainment for the Xbox.

The game plays out with simplistic puzzles that must be solved as Vince wanders through a warped city to thwart the machinations of the evil Kosmo the Inscrutable. Most of the puzzles are on the variety of going to point A to accomplish the task that allows you work B to open C and advance to the next level. On those merits alone, Voodoo Vince is not all that challenging, and is not likely to reset the bar for puzzle/adventure games. But this game has so much more to it, and the other elements are what make it a delight.

Of course the game does not fail to recognize that it is merely a game. An evil vision of Kosmo (green, ethereal head) floats above the courtyard near Madame Charmaine’s, proclaiming himself to be the future master of the world and wondering who is the champion that dares oppose him.

Vince meekly edges out from behind a planter. Kosmo sees him and, as the camera in the cutscene switches to a shot from behind Vince to see Kosmo looking at him, begins laughing heartily. After a moment or two of the derisive ridiculing laughter, Vince turns around and looks at the gameplayer as if to say "what’s with this guy?"

Finally Vince pulls a pin out of his head, and the vision of Kosmo begins to tremble, "wh-what are you doing?" Vince slams the needle into his head and a spell erupts, dispelling the evil vision.

"Never mess with a voodoo doll, Poindexter," Vince scoffs."Freakin’ idiot, dragging me out on a night like this. I can’t believe they want a 10-inch voodoo doll to be a hero."

Attitude - this game has it.

The musical score is terrific. It has just the right flavor to power the game along, with subtle nuances in the score to reflect the mood at the time. The dialog is delivered tongue-in-cheek, and though there are many of the same style one-liners typical of the brash adventure game (Vince uses a voodoo power to wipe out a host of monsters and says, "It hurts to be you. Eww, dead monster smell.") still the voice acting is terrific - especially Madame Charmaine.

Graphically this game is incredible. Attention has been paid to the details. Vince sees a mirror on the floor and walks up to it. That is a true reflective surface. Just to test, go away and run past it. The mirror shows all the action. A fully-rotating camera allows players to look around and you can step out of the third-person mode to look through Vince’s eyes if the occasion arises to do so.

The control elements are simple to use, and the learning curve for this game is quite small.

As puzzle games go, Voodoo Vince does not have the most complex or challenging set of puzzles around. But this game will weave a spell around gameplayers with its style, humor, sound and graphics.

Gw
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