Voodoo Vince Remastered is a revisit to Bleep Industries’ 2003 Xbox Original platformer. It’s been 14 years since the sarcastic pin doll made his appearance, and it’s been long enough to justify a return. I never got a chance to play Voodoo Vince in its original form, so I’m looking at it with a fresh set of eyes. Does Voodoo Vince stand the test of time, and remain an enjoyable time 14 years after release?
A Crime of Magical Proportions
Voodoo Vince Remastered starts off with a kidnapping. Madame Charmaine, a mystic who runs a voodoo shop in New Orleans, finds herself taken captive by the evil Kosmo. Additionally, Kosmo steals Madame Charmaine’s magical zombie dust, giving him supernatural powers. Luckily, Madame Charmaine has a telepathic connection to her voodoo doll, Vince. Enter our main character, as he awakens with a start, his mistress missing.
The whole story of Voodoo Vince Remastered centers around Vince attempting to chase down Kosmo and rescue Madame Charmaine. The game is relatively light on story, instead centering around characters you meet along your journey. Voodoo Vince Remastered is more about the funny scenarios Vince finds himself in, rather than trying to tell a thoughtful or complex story.
The narrative of Charmaine’s capture and the occasional appearance of Kosmo (in floating head form) serves as a nice container for the action, and lends itself well to Voodoo Vince Remastered‘s slightly dark style and tone. The game has some decent comedy, slapstick humor, and entertaining characters. It’s an enjoyable world to inhabit, and the dark humor is a nice change from the often bright and colorful musings of popular platformers.
Worlds of Wonder
Vince’s mission to rescue Charmaine takes him to various worlds, all with their own distinct theme. There’s around 4 worlds in all, some more linear than the others, but always broken up into several levels. Levels vary in size and objective, but usually involve jumping about and collecting items. You collect Dust Bags to increase your health, totems that give you new Voodoo Powers, and Skull Pages. When you’ve collected all the Skull Pages, a pink skull appears, which you have to chase down and collect. This increases your maximum skulls, allowing you store more and more Voodoo Powers.
Speaking of Voodoo Powers, Vince has several of them. Voodoo Powers are much more basic than they seem. The main power is a crowd clearing move. By pressing both triggers at once, Vince unleashes his magic, harming himself in funny and inventive ways. This causes a ripple, which defeats all the nearby enemies. Collecting totems unlocks new animations, each silly and entertaining. From drinking a bottle of laxatives to running with scissors, Vince has plenty of funny ways to clear out enemy mobs. It’s unfortunate that you can’t pick between the animations; activating the super move chooses one at random. Beyond his ultra offensive move, Vince also learns to use a grappling hook, hover, find collectibles using his “All-Seeing Eye”, and more.
Gameplay is relatively fun, mainly consisting of platforming action. Occasionally, a level will require you to do some light puzzle solving or present you with interesting challenges. While the majority of the game is jumping about and fighting enemies, it’s not uncommon to find yourself in a mini-game or separate sequence. These switch ups help keep gameplay fresh, ensuring it never gets too stale. The inclusion of an on-rails shooting section as well as a fun boat race helped combat repetition.
An Upgrade of the Visual Sort
Speaking on the Remastered part of Voodoo Vince Remastered, not a ton has changed. Gameplay remains untouched, as the remaster only improves the visual and technical performance of the game. If that’s the aim, Voodoo Vince Remastered does it well. The game looks crisp and clean, textures are high resolution and the game runs smoothly. Textures haven’t exactly been updated, so while it looks good on a technical level, don’t expect any mind blowing visuals.
The game also controls very well, too. There’s the occasional cheap death or wonky jumping, but this is more an issue of level design rather than controls. Additionally, I was disappointed to see some slow down and frame rate drops. While this was rare, it was painful to see the game struggle for no obvious reason. Despite all of this, I was impressed with the overall clarity and polish of the game’s existing visuals.
The Bottom Line on Voodoo Vince Remastered
Voodoo Vince Remastered is just Voodoo Vince with a nice gloss. For my first time playing through it, I had a pretty decent time. Sure, 2003 game design isn’t the absolute best and it led to occasional frustration, but the game holds up surprisingly well. I found myself enjoying my time in the various worlds, enjoying their themes and art. It’s a game that is obviously a bit old in its design, but that’s not exactly a bad thing.
In the current landscape of modern gaming, we see huge open worlds with staggering amounts of quests and content. There’s complex and deep worlds full of lore, beckoning to be dove into. Then, there’s Voodoo Vince Remastered. It’s linear, it’s not an incredibly long game, and it’s to the point. There’s big boss fights, silly dialogue, and a general attitude of casual entertainment. In 2017, I wish I could say that about more games. So even though it took going back to a 14 year old game, I was able to have an enjoyable linear experience in 2017.
Voodoo Vince Remastered costs $14.99 (USD) and will take you anywhere from 8-20 hours to complete, depending on how much time you dedicate to collectibles. For that price, I can’t help but recommend it. It’s a game that won’t be for everyone, but if you enjoy some light action/adventure and a bit of platforming, give it a go.