Hello Games told us the inspiration behind Joe Danger: The Movie was a bunch of VHS movies. One of the members of the team didn’t want them and were going to throw them out but they were some awesome movies like Robocop, Die Hard and other awesome action movies. So what if they applied all those ethics to our dear stuntman Joe Danger? You get balls to the wall action with so much variety than their previous game.
You wouldn’t call Joe Danger: The Movie a sequel since while the gameplay retains much of the original style, stuntbikes are the least of your worries and you’ll get so many more vehicles. From the ones I saw, there were skis, snowmobiles, mine-carts and even jet-packs! They all controlled similarly to what you’ve played before but there’ll be a bit of a curve for the jet-packs.
Beginning with mine-carts since who doesn’t love those sequences from Donkey Kong Country? We were switching lanes just like in the original but the jumps were more catastrophic. Even Joe’s attire looked Indiana Jones-like which was totally radical. The controls are similar to the original so you’ll have no trouble jumping in to this new game with tricks still on the bumpers and boosting is all the same.
The next set of levels, we were in the snowy landscapes and tried out the skiing mechanic. It operates a little differently since you’ll have to buckle down in order to go faster. But then again, you have boosting to make you go even faster off the crazy jumps. Now the snowmobile is where things get interesting for me. The goals in a level are pretty similar to the original game but you’ll be doing even crazier things. Regarding the snowmobile, one of the goals was to shut down missiles that were being launched. Once you saw it, you had eight seconds to diffuse it or you’d fail that challenge. It’s similar to the “land on this platform” challenge but with more character and adds a bit of tension to get perfect.
I went back to the classic motorcycles but classic and movie-action are both very different. In this scene, as Danger in a police suit with a mustache, had to take out a gang you race against in the previous game. By switching lanes to catch up to all the gang members while collecting stars and pulling off tricks made it pretty tough. You can see that Hello isn’t just bringing back old tricks but adding more flavor to the tricks with more gameplay variations. It doesn’t even feel like a stuntman bike game anymore, it’s evolutionary and should be called a stuntman’s paradise.
Finally, saving the best for last with the jet-packs. Upon getting your first handle on it, it’s definitely very different than what Joe’s usually used. You use the A button to ascend and let go to descend, using the triggers to indicate what direction you want to go in. It was super confusing at first but once it clicked, it became like a mini-Rockateer game that the world always needed. You could even say like the jetpack sequence from Pilotwings but 2D.
Using this game as the finale for Joe’s adventure, it’s almost sad to think about as he’s become a wonderful character in the downloadable game space. But Hello Games are going all-out for Joe’s final ride and we’ll be behind the camera, controlling all the action. Look forward to this game coming soon this year.
Check out more awesome XBLA game previews and impressions from PAX East 2012!