There are times when it should be OK to copy something. For instance, if something has been done about as close to perfection as can be reasonably expected then why try and reinvent the wheel? Case in point: Vexx for the GameCube. No, it’s not the perfection that all other platformers should strive for, rather it’s an example where doing a little copying from a game like Mario 64 would have made a huge improvement. It’s not that Vexx is a bad game, it does have its moments of brilliance, but that it could have been so much more. I’ll try and explain…
|Our hero receives his calling.|
But first, let me quickly set up the basic story and some more details of the game, you know like the good little reviewer that I am. Vexx is your standard platformer in the grand tradition of Mario 64, Crash, etc. The story, as if it really matters in a game like this, is that on the planet of Astara a really evil dude named Dark Yabu, who besides being evil is also a Shadowraith (which actually might be redundant now that I think about it), decided it was time to wipe out the quaint village of Overwood. This, of course, is Vexx’s home and he and his uncle, Vargas, gave it the old-college try to defend their home but were promptly enslaved with just about everyone else in the village. In a moment of rage Vexx tries to strike out at his captures but instead ends up seeing his uncle Vargas get killed by Yabu. Vexx escapes and vows to have his revenge against Dark Yabu. It is while trying to extract some of this revenge that Vexx runs across the legendary Astani War Talons. In a kind of strange twist, the Talons bind themselves to Vexx in what looks like a very uncomfortable moment. Nevertheless, the Talons turn out to be just what the doctor ordered for Vexx.
Vexx himself is…uh…well…hmm, he’s a rather odd little fellow. I suppose he’s a cross between a satanic cat (really, aren’t all cats satanic?) and a snarling rapid bat. In a way he reminds me of Aero the Acrobat, also his nose reminds me of that Michael Jackson picture where Michaels nose is about to fall off. Yea, he’s not all pink and cuddly like Kirby that’s for sure. Despite not having movie star looks Vexx still has a lot of personality. Granted much of it consists of growling and snarling, but hey, it’s something! Some of the other characters in the game do provide a little more of a softer side, especially Darby the old guide and mentor. Vexx has the fairly standard collection of moves like jumping, long jumping, the always-popular “butt” attack, crouching, climbing, shimming, swimming, and many more. One kind of unique ability is the combo attack. Well, unique to platformers anyway. Also the War Talons can help Vexx climb walls and they have their own special powers. For example, while “juggling” enemies blue energy balls are unleashed. You collect enough of these and your Talons charge up to the point where you can use them to blast bad guys from a far.
The main objective in Vexx is to run around and collect Shadowraith hearts. These hearts are from the dead Shadowraiths. It seems that roughly 700 years ago these guys destroyed Astani’s really cool portal system that allowed them to pop all over place. If Vexx collects enough of these hearts more and more of the portals will open up allowing access to different sections of Astani. Naturally gathering these hearts is not always an easy task. One of the strongest parts of Vexx is the level designs. Some of the levels are just brilliant with a lot of original ideas and layout. The graphics are well done with pretty good draw distances. There are times when the framerate may take a small dip, but it doesn’t have much of an impact on the gameplay.