Retro Review: Voodoo Vince (Xbox)

Time once again to delve into the vaults for a Friday retro review. This week: The Xbox One is here — time to delve into an overlooked Xbox Classic with Voodoo Vince.

Voodoo Vince: On the plus side

When Microsoft launched the original Xbox, it did so into an environment where most pundits figured that Microsoft would blow hundreds of millions of dollars and put out a product that few would love for a limited period of time before retreating away. This was the Microsoft style at the time for many non Windows/Office products.
It didn’t happen that way; while it wasn’t the first to take a console online, it was the first to do so in a way that made it accessible and sensible. Likewise with integrated storage.
Microsoft earned its position in the gaming world, one console sale at a time.
While the guts of the original Xbox were (more or less) just a standard PC of its day, there was a spirit of innovation that allowed for a number of interesting titles to be developed.
Not all of them were cracking efforts — there’s a reason why nobody talks about Blinx The Time Sweeper — but there were a number of solid titles that represented new properties seen only on Xbox.
Voodoo Vince was one of those; a rather offbeat tale of a Voodoo doll brought to life accidentally by a stray pinch of Voodoo dust that also alters reality around him in unusual ways.

Voodoo Vince is a pretty classic 3D platformer that, outside of its somewhat unusual settings mostly plays by the 3D game playbook.
It’s been a while since I’ve played Voodoo Vince, although I was rather pleased to discover that I still have my promotional Voodoo Vince doll from when the game was brand new.
Tip to game companies: Make soft toy versions of your game characters. Even if only for me.
It also meant dusting off the original Xbox, because there’s only one Voodoo Vince game, and it’s not one that plays on the Xbox 360.
If you want to play it, you’ve got to use the original hardware.
I remembered Voodoo Vince as a competent platform game that failed to really stand out, despite some interesting gimmicks such as Voodoo powers that allow Vince to hurt his enemies by hurting himself.
Aside from a bit of culture shock getting used to the “Duke” Xbox controller again, it’s all well presented stuff for its era. You don’t have to watch all of this video to get an idea of what Voodoo Vince is like, but it shouldn’t take you long to get the gist.

Voodoo Vince: On the minus side

The lack of backwards compatibility is a bit of a pain. While I’m a keen retro gamer, I’ve got to be honest and say it has been a while since I’ve powered up the Xbox specifically.
In that time, I’ve grown rather accustomed to the Xbox 360 controller, so going back in time reminds me of why in that era I’d generally opt for a PS2 Dualshock over an Xbox Duke. It feels rather timely, given the lack of backwards compatibility on the Xbox One to ponder on that, although at least the controller differences are relatively subtle, as I detailed in my Xbox One review.
Voodoo Vince is fun, but it’s not terribly long, and it is rather generic. It’s the kind of thing that should essentially get average-to-good scores, if I was the type that put scores on this kind of thing at Fat Duck Tech.
Which I don’t do, but I think you get the point.

Voodoo Vince: Pricing

As noted, there’s no emulated or HD upscaled version of Voodoo Vince, which means if you want it, you’ll have to buy an original Xbox copy, as well as an Xbox to play it on.
A quick trawl of eBay suggests selling prices of around $10-$15, which is decent value in my view.
I have no idea what a plush Voodoo Vince is worth. I know you can’t have mine.

Voodoo Vince: Fat Duck verdict

Voodoo Vince still holds a certain charm, even after all these years. There have been innovations in the 3D platforming space since, although not that many that I can name off the top of my head for the Xbox platform.
Maybe it’s time for Voodoo Vince to rise once again.

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