I was late to the original Xbox. Though when I did finally grab one, I was sure to grab all the weird exclusives that I had never had a chance of experiencing. Voodoo Vince was one of those exclusives, along with Blinx: The Time Sweeper and Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus that I gave a go. It was probably the only one that I had fond feelings for, as I finished it multiple times since it had come out. News of a remaster excited me, but having spent some time with Voodoo Vince it’s very clear that sometimes rose tinted glasses are better left on.
The plot of Voodoo Vince is rather simple. Two henchmen break into a voodoo shop owned by Madam Charmaine, a local voodoo practitioner who uses her powers to help those in need. During the struggle, Madam Charmaine’s third best voodoo doll, Vince, is awakened. Forming a telepathic link, Madam Charmaine is kidnapped by the goons and it’s up to Vince to find her, while also taking down their master, a school drop-out named Kosmo The Inscrutable.As you’d expect with a game like Voodoo Vince the story is elementary. It provides a nice backdrop for Vince to visit these interesting locations, a warped low-rate Tim Burton-esque adaptation of New Orleans, but nothing more. There’s little surprise and plenty of writing that’ll make you chuckle to yourself here and there. To be blunt – the writing has not aged all that well.
When you first boot you’ll feel like you’re in a time machine. It’s a game that has no flashy cinematics, no brooding prologue setting up the games events. Instead, there’s just plain old fashion, straight forward cutscenes introducing you to the basic premise before throwing you directly into a linear level designed to teach you the basics. From that point on, the level design does get progressively more open, but still feels like it’s stuck (literally) in 2003.Each level is structured similarly, with some surprises here and there. Vince will enter an open area, there’ll be some gimmicks to deal with or items to find that are usually hidden behind a platforming trial. These are usually interesting concepts, Vince is discovering ways to hurt himself to remove an obstacle or defeat a boss. Most of these moments are cleverly written and fly in the face of typical game design – you must die to progress, essentially.